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Beyond Prisons - Help Us to Build a National Resource for How to Support Prisoners During the Covid-19 Crisis
This resource is a work in progress!
What motivated us to build this resource?
Beyond Prisons started this resource because we believe that each prisoner and their loved ones need localized support during the Covid-19 crisis. We believe that having a place to share information with others makes it easier to do the work of supporting people on the inside while fighting for their release.
Why do we need this resource?
We need this resource because people in prison are extremely vulnerable to Covid-19. We say this not to be alarmist, but to make it clear that holding thousands of people captive, in often filthy and crowded conditions with limited access to cleaning products, is a recipe for disaster.
We are not the only ones saying this. In recent days, a number of organizations have come out with strong statements about the likely impact of COVID-19 entering prisons and other places of confinement including youth detention centers, ICE facilities, county jails, half-way houses, and more.
We believe in being prepared. Prisoners and their outside support people should work together to identify what their needs are and what to do in the event of prolonged lockdowns, bans on visitation, and inadequate healthcare inside.
Where will this resource be published?
This resource will be published on the Beyond Prisons Facebook page. We will update the information on the site as submissions are received.
This resource is free. We aren't charging anyone for access to this information and we aren't being compensated to compile or coordinate this effort. We do not receive grants or other funds for this work.
We believe that this resource will be useful beyond the current public health crisis. We encourage you to imagine creative ways that the information we collect can be used to dismantle the prison industrial complex.
This is a work in progress...
This resource is in the very early stages. We're hoping that collectively we can create a resource that will live beyond this current crisis. Feel free to share this form, and to add information for prisons, ICE detention centers, youth detention centers,
The lack of transparency from Department of Corrections (DOC) around the country regarding COVID-19 puts everyone at risk. COVID-19 is a global pandemic and we can no longer accept the DOC's silence on this issue (or any other).
The inhumane treatment of prisoners has been a long-standing problem and one that at times receives some attention, but that is generally ignored by most people. There are currently more than 2.3 million people incarcerated in this country, hundreds of thousands under correctional supervision which includes probation and parole. We do not have to sit around waiting for prison officials to tell us what they are doing or going to do in response to Covid-19. We can’t rely on prisons to respond to this crisis in ways that attend to people’s needs.
We can take action now! By organizing locally and sharing our collective knowledge we are sending a clear message to people in prison that they have not been abandoned.
Expanding the tentacles of the PIC
While strategies like adding money to people’s commissary or phone accounts helps to line the pockets of the PIC, we also recognize this is a moment of crisis and that we need to a) address people’s immediate needs for things like food and b) that maintaining communication between people inside and outside is absolutely necessary to our collective mental health. We have developed a list of demands that includes free commissary and free phone calls and video visits.
We will publish this resource soon and update it as we receive information. Eventually, we imagine creating an interactive map and an app so that people can click on their state and find the information they need. We’re not there yet, but if someone has the skills to help build this part of the project please reach out.
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