prisoner support

this weekend – starting with thursday, actually – the u of o hosted the beyond patriarchy convergence.

free and i discussed prisoner support as one of the panels yesterday. this page has the info i prepared for that discussion.

Resources for prisoners:

PEN America:

PEN American Center is the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization. International PEN was founded in 1921 in direct response to the ethnic and national divisions that contributed to the First World War. PEN American Center was founded in 1922 and is the largest of the 144 PEN centers in 101 countries that together compose International PEN.


Founded in 1971, the PEN Prison Writing Program believes in the restorative and rehabilitative power of writing, by providing hundreds of inmates across the country with skilled writing teachers and audiences for their work. The program seeks to provide a place for inmates to express themselves freely with paper and pen and to encourage the use of the written word as a legitimate form of power. The program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a free handbook for prisoners, provides one-on-one mentoring to inmates whose writing shows merit or promise, conducts workshops for former inmates, and seeks to get inmates’ work to the public through literary publications and readings.

Every year hundreds of inmates from around the country submit poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic plays to PEN’s Prison Writing Contest, one of the few outlets of free expression for the country’s incarcerated. Manuscripts come to us in many forms: handwritten, typed, and written in the margins of legal documents.

PEN’s Handbook for Writers in Prison features detailed guides on the art of writing fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and screenplays. This is an invaluable resource to any incarcerated writer.

The Prison Art Story

Ed Mead, the organizer of Men Against Sexism at Walla Walla, the co-founder of Prison Legal News, the past president of California Prison Focus, and the current editor of Prison Focus Magazine.

He is a nearly 70 year-old former political prisoner, having served 18 years for “crimes” committed while a part of Seattle’s George Jackson Brigade .

When released from prison and working full-time, would send money in to some of the political prisoners he had left behind (there are over a hundred POWs in the U.S. today, mostly former Black Panthers). Then came up with the idea of creating a website where these progressive prisoners could sell their arts and crafts, which would most likely be consciousness raising items, and thus earn themselves some money and educate the public at the same time. As it turned out, most political prisoners did not have much interest in doing arts and crafts. But much to my surprise there was a great demand for such an outlet by social prisoners (those not confined for political offenses).

Prison Art
P.O. Box 69586
Seattle, WA 98168-9586

Prison Legal News

Prison Legal News is an independent 56-page monthly magazine that provides a cutting edge review and analysis of prisoner rights, court rulings and news about prison issues. PLN has a national (U.S.) focus on both state and federal prison issues, with international coverage as well. PLN provides information that enables prisoners and other concerned individuals and organizations to seek the protection and enforcement of prisoner’s rights at the grass roots level.

Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 2420
West Brattleboro, VT 05303
Phone: 802 257-1342
Fax: 866-735-7136

links page is awesome! tons of resources for prisoners…

For Political Prisoners:

Rosenburg Fund for Children

116 Pleasant St, Suite 348, Easthampton, MA 01027  |  Phone (413)529-0063 | Fax: (413)529-0802


The RFC was founded by Robert Meeropol, who was orphaned at age six when his parents, Ethel & Julius Rosenberg, were executed at the height of the McCarthy Era.
In 1990 Robert figured out how he could repay the progressive community that helped him survive. He started the RFC to help children of targeted activists in the U.S. today- children who are experiencing the same nightmare he and his brother endured as youngsters.
Since then, the RFC has awarded millions of dollars to benefit hundreds of children in the U.S. whose parents have been targeted because of their involvement in progressive movements including the struggles to preserve civil liberties, wage peace, safeguard the environment, combat racism and homophobia , and organize on behalf of workers, prisoners, immigrants and others whose human rights are under threat.

Funding Philosophy

Robert and his brother, Michael, were 6 and 10 years old when their parents were killed. Thousands of people they never knew rallied to provide funds that helped them attend progressive schools and summer camps where social justice was celebrated and the history of activism was honored. Robert and Michael were fortunate to be raised by loving adoptive parents, Abel and Anne Meeropol, who were teachers and artists and valued education and creative expression. Both boys found comfort and solace in these nurturing settings, and in their artistic and educational pursuits.
The RFC was created to echo the type of support that Robert and Michael received from the extended progressive community after their parents were killed. We make grants to assist with the cost of services that meet our beneficiaries’ educational and emotional needs. Robert knows from experience how vital services like summer camp, art or cultural lessons, therapy, attending a progressive school, or traveling to visit a parent in prison, can be for children today experiencing similar nightmares.


The RFC defines “targeted” as someone who as a result of his or her activism, has:

  • lost a job
  • suffered physical or mental injury or disability
  • been harassed or discriminated against
  • been imprisoned
  • or died
The RFC defines “progressive activities” as those taken to further any of the following beliefs:
  • All people have equal worth
  • World peace is a necessity
  • People are more important than profits
  • Society must function within ecologically sustainable limits

Voice of the Voiceless

Peter Young is the creator of Voice Of The Voiceless, a site created to offer:

*News on the Animal Liberation Front / direct action animal liberation movement.

*Actionable tools for legal animal rights activism.

Peter Young is a veteran animal liberation activist and former political prisoner convicted for his role in liberating thousands of animals from fur farms across the country. Emerging from a grand jury indictment, 7 years of being wanted by the FBI, a federal prison sentence, and nearly 15 years in the animal liberation movement; today Peter is an activist, lecturer at universities and events, writer on liberation movements, and unapologetic supporter of those who work outside the law to achieve human, earth, and animal liberation.

“(Peter Young) did tremendous damage to many people in the fur business, and shows no remorse”. Dennis and Jill Preissner, third generation mink farmers

“Unrepentant”. The Associated Press

“He incited people to break the law, and if caught he’d do it again.” Federal judge Stephen Crocker

Major Animal Liberation Prisoner Updates
Mar 21st, 2010


The NA-ELPSN is part of the Earth Liberation Prisoners Support Network (ELP), an international network of groups that support people who are accused or convicted of actions taken in defense of the Earth and its inhabitants. Such actions, accusations, or convictions that would warrant support by ELP would include: Earth and animal liberation activity (regardless of whether the “A.L.F.” or “E.L.F.” claimed responsibility), anti-nuclear activity, communities fighting development, peace action, indigenous resistance, anti-fascist, and prisoners from the MOVE family.

Our support is not based on whether people fit a strict ideological checklist but is granted on a case by case basis. We do not impose ideological or lifestyle limits on our support, although we DO NOT support people that provide information to law enforcement or snitch on allies or co-defendants.

The Civil Liberties Defense Center

the CLDC  is a nonprofit organization focused on defending and upholding civil liberties through education, outreach, litigation, legal support and assistance. The Civil Liberties Defense Center strives to preserve the strength and vitality of the Bill of Rights and the U.S. and state constitutions, as well as to protect freedom of expression.
see also:

Corporations and politicians are labeling activists “eco-terrorists” and national security threats. Think red-baiting, with a green twist. Here you’ll find original reporting and analysis of the Green Scare, and history repeating itself.


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