Prisoner's Justice Day (a reprint)

I wanted to remind everyone that August 10th is Prisoners’ Justice Day – an internationally-observed day started some decades ago by the tireless Canadian prison-abolitionist Claire Culhane. Prisoners’ Justice Day is the day prisoners have set aside as a day to fast and refuse to work in a show of solidarity with those who have died unnecessarily — victims of murder, suicide and neglect inside the cruel fortresses of power that masquerade as centres for “rehabilitation”.

Prisoners’ Justice Day is not just an observance for political prisoners, but for all men and women caught within the walls of class, race and gender – for all of those who have ended their journey inside a cage – a day when we in the community hold demonstrations, vigils, spiritual services and other events in solidarity with those who are trapped inside.

I would encourage people to take part in any Prisoners’ Justice Day events in your community, and additionally take some time to:

  • Write a letter to a prisoner you know, or even one you don’t know – there are lots of prison pen-pal sites online and if you prefer to spend your energy on a political prisoner, there are many lists out there.
  • Write a letter to your congressperson or Member of Parliament demanding better HIV/AIDS education, prevention and treatment in prisons. This is one of the major killers in prison and completely preventable.
  • Donate to one of the many Prisoner Support organizations in your community – Joint Effort, Books to Prisoners, Anarchist Black Cross, etc.
  • Write a letter in support of Leonard Peltier, Mumia Abu-Jamal, or any other political prisoner currently being held for their beliefs.
  • Get together with other family and friends who are affected by the prison system due to the incarceration of loved ones, hold a vigil or a study session on prison-abolition.
  • Donate some money to a prisoner’s commisary fund, or legal fund.
  • Write a letter to your local newspaper about prison issues, conditions, or prisoner rights.

These all seem like such small and almost-insignificant things – but not only do they let our prisoner-friends and family know that we are out here for them – each action helps to break down the shame and stigma of prison forced onto all of us who have loved ones on the inside. We are not ashamed of those we know in prison, but we should be ashamed to live in a society which can not come up with more creative and humane options in dealing with our issues.

A better world is possible,

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