Saturday, March 7, 2015

To Southwoods Incarcerated, Families and Friends

On April 4, at 3:30 pm, in Bridgeton, NJ, there will be a meeting of Decarcerate the Garden State at 3:30 pm at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 186 E Commerce St, Bridgeton, NJ.  The location of the meeting is less than two miles from Southwoods facility – right in the center of the City of Bridgeton. 

The timing of the event was scheduled to be after PM visiting at Southwoods with the hopes that we can get the word out to Southwoods incarcerated and their families and that families and other visitors would attend the meeting.  The idea is that we encourage families to make April 4 a special visit day, that they visit during the PM time slot and then that they attend this important meeting.

The meeting will feature a key note presentation by Shesheena Bray, co-founder and organizer for The Philadelphia Coalition for R.E.A.L (Racial, Economic and Legal Justice).

Also, Renee Felton, who has initiated the newly formed Southwoods Family United will speak.  She will talk about the idea of Southwoods families sharing information and working toward improvements in meeting the needs of incarcerated men at Southwoods and ending abuses there.

Where will also be speakers about the Jerame Reid killing by two police in Bridgeton and possibly others addressing local issues of how mass incarceration impacts the local community.

A member of Decarcerate the Garden State will talk about the group's action plan to unite affected communities to demand large scale decarceeration.

The talks will be followed by an opportunity for the audience to comment, ask questions and share information.

There will also be light refreshments – probably pizza – during a 3rd part of the meeting to provide an opportunity for people to meet informally in a relaxed setting.

The meeting will have a friendly atmosphere – it is not a function of the prison authorities or of the police.
We ask that families or friends of Southwoods prisoners make a plan to:

1.       Visit your kin on April 4 afternoon session and then attend our 3:30 pm meeting.
2.       Contact your kin as soon as possible by phone or letter or a visit before that date to let him know that you will be coming on April 4 and that you are attending this meeting.
3.       Suggest to your kin that they spread the word inside Southwoods to other incarcerated men there about this activity and that they too should invite their family members to visit them on the afternoon of April 4 and then attend the 3:30 pm meeting at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, 186 E. Commerce Street, Bridgeton, NJ.
4.       If you know other families that also have kin in Southwoods (or those interested in this meeting living near Bridgeton), let them know about the plan for the visitation and meeting on April 4.

If you are not personally directly connected to Southwoods but know people who have family there, please share this information with them.

This meeting is not just for Southwoods families – it is for all those that can make it there and believe that there are too many people incarcerated and something must be done about it.

It is also for those in Bridgeton working for justice for Jerame Reid and in general on working to improve the conditions for the Bridgeton community.

Those with questions or that have ideas as to how to make this meeting successful are encouraged to write to or call 908-881-5275.  Contact us as well if you have information about incidents or deprivations or neglect occurring inside the facility. 

There is a Facebook event for this event:

Southwoods Family United is on Facebook at this link:

Decarcerate the Garden State is on Facebook at this link:

In Solidarity,
Decarcerate the Garden State

More background on the Bridgeton decarceartion effort and related justice struggle:

Breaking! Bridgeton NJ Council Mtg Shut Down Over Jerame Reid Murder by Cops
Decarcerating in Bridgeton, a Historic Challenge
Decarcerating Bridgeton, NJ: Chapter 2

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