Monday, August 3, 2015

To Family, Loved Ones, Friends . . . of the Incarcerated

You and your dear ones on the inside of the American gulag prison system are the most important constituency to our organization – Decarcerate the Garden State.  Our organization was launched in 2014 with varying measures of success but we can not begin to dismantle the prison apparatus in the state of NJ or across the USA without full involvement of the families and the incarcerated in this fight.

You and your loved ones on the inside are on the FRONT LINES of this fight.  If we are unsuccessful – it is you and your families that suffer.  If we get any degree of success you are the ones that could benefit.  You are the ones that are fully aware of the exact toll mass incarceration takes – on the individual incarcerated – on the immediate family – on their beloved ones .   We can not go any where on this issue effectively without your involvement.  You have the most to gain from any possible success and the most to lose if we are ineffective in winning any of our demands for Decarceration and for an end to abuses inside the carceral apparatus of NJ.  Therefore our organization needs your active membership and involvement in order to even begin to approach any aspect of success.

What can incarcerated and their families do to facilitate and lead the movement to Decarcerate the Garden State.

1.       Communications.  The incarcerated in NJ and throughout the USA live under the most extremely repressive conditions imaginable.   Every aspect of life is totally scrutinized and treatment and abuse of incarcerated is totally arbitrary.  There are numerous ways authorities can pressure incarcerated – and direct violence and neglect are rampant.   That said, there is communications that occurs between the incarcerated.   When we were organizing an event in Bridgeton NJ, we sent some random letters into the facility to incarcerated and at least one loved one was contacted from inside the facility and she ended up attending the event.  She stated that “they know about it” of the event – indicating that the word had traveled within the facility.  This was a random experimental jab to see if information can penetrate NJ’s facilities.  It can!  Imagine a well orchestrated sustained effort?   Communication with the incarcerated and through them to their families is possibly the best way to spread the word to the most affected constituency of mass incarceration.  It takes some level of coordination but it could be key to our success in winning Decarceration goals in NJ.

2.       Information.  Part of the methods and goals of Decarcerate the Garden State is to shed light upon and expose the abuses, neglect, corruption, institutional violence, racism, physical, mental and emotional health depriving, live shortening of mass incarceration including exposing specific examples from within the dungeons of NJ and throughout the US.  In order to accomplish as much we need for the incarcerated to tell the stories – through their own words and through communications to us and through their families.  We want to throw open the full  communication resources of our organization, including our paper, our blog site, website and social networking pages to the incarcerated.   Let the truth be told.   We need to be in direct communication with the incarcerated and their families – to get the word out about the bad food, the abusive set ups, the medical neglect, the arbitrary mind games, the systemic exposure to violence, the arbitrary deployment of solitary and other severe punitive measures that is day-to-day in the facilities of NJ and throughout the country.  Please use the means at your disposal to get information to us – either directly or through a conduit ( a family, a friend, a trusted go between).

We would like our blog site to regularly feature the writings of incarcerated and their families.   We want to be able to educate the masses of NJ about the atrocity of mass incarceration in NJ and at the same time give the incarcerated and their families a voice.  You are denied the vote and the system wants to deny you a voice – to fight the system – we want to give amplification to the struggles for survival against severe oppression of the incarcerated.

3.       Strategy.  Who best to determine the way forward for the Decarceration movement, the tactics, the goals, the methods of struggle, the organizing strategy, than those most directly affected – those with the most to gain or lose upon the success or failure of the fight – the incarcerated and their families.  We need you to help us figure out the best strategy, what are the demands, what are the abuses that need to end inside the system, what are the sentencing abuses that occurred, the prosecutorial and police misconduct that put people in prison unjustly, what are the laws that resulted in placing people in prison that do not belong behind bars, who are those that should be eligible for relief, pardons, sentence reductions, assistance.  Who are the people who are being hurt inside the system by neglect, health and medical neglect, arbitrary denial of privileges, locked in solitary, subjected to physical abuse and systemic violence.  We need the incarcerated, their families and loved ones at the strategy table to determine the plan of action to Decarcerate the Garden State.

4.       Organization.  There is a natural kinship between families of the incarcerated in their shared plight.  The incarcerated themselves, given their forced proximity, while thoroughly repressed by the incarcerating authorities, surrounded by weaponry, surveillance and control technology, still have opportunity to coalesce and whisper to each other and unify.  While incarceration authorities deal harshly with the political minded in the facilities, the incarcerated can often perservere and develop structures.  If the incarcerated align their structures toward the goals of ending mass incarceration and determine a way to work inside and coordinate through their families and other supporters of Decarceration on the outside – Inside – Outside convergence and unity can begin to force the systemic changes needed to dismantle mass incarceration.

We invite you to contact us: .  Tell us what is going on with your loved one / family member / friend on the inside.  Was s/he falsely convicted?  Over sentenced?  Was there prosecutorial misconduct?  Are they incarcerated based on trumped up charges over a ridiculous infraction?   Are they being mistreated and abused?  How?  What kind of support is needed from the outside?  Are they being subjected to solitary?  Are “privileges” being denied / revoked arbitrarily?  Have they been subjected to medical or other neglect?  Have they been subjected to physical or any other forms of violence either by incarcerating authorities or by other incarcerated?
Do you want to speak / write openly on these topics?  Does your loved one on the inside want to write about these issues publicly?  Perhaps you want to share information on these issues but do not want to do so publicly – that can also be arranged.  Do you want to put your loved one directly in connection with us?   Do you want us  to write directly to them?
Let’s make these connections and build these links between the families and the Decarceration the Garden State movement and between our organization and those who are incarcerated.   The potential for this kind of unity is unlimited.

Contact us now: .

Related topics:

Poking A Hole in the Prison Wall – Writing to the Incarcerated in NJ

Decarcerate the Garden State to Challenge Prison Policies Barring Effective Communication to Visitors

Interviewing Free Alabama Movement (FAM)

Communicating Through the Walls




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