Dear visitor of our website for the Prison Watch Network of Blogs, Brothers and Sisters,
The past years we have seen a growing interest in the situation concerning prison conditions, Solitary Confinement without any reasonable ending or program, without any court-ordered punishment, and also have we seen some positive movements concerning life without parole for children and the fight against shackling of female prisoners who are giving birth. Tamms, the supermax in Illinois, finally closed. Reasons being the budget, not cruel and unusual punishment, but nevertheless. It says something about admitting that such an inhumane building and having to keep people locked in cement boxes, buried alive, forever, is not really necessary. But solitary confinement still happens of course in regular prisons too. Just as having a cellmate forced onto you with whom you may not get along for 23 hours per day in a small cell…
Some people with innocence claims have received their justful freedom after many years of being wrongfully locked up. Many more are still inside, waiting for us to hear their calls and step up our efforts to give them a voice and to get attorneys and judges to hear their evidence.
More struggle and fighting (in the form of speaking up, raising our voices, giving those inside a microphone to do their mic-check with and towards us; informing politicians and gaining more support form “the general public”) is needed to get proper treatment for mentally ill prisoners, or those who become mentally ill because of their confinement.
Also to get proper medical care for those in prison.
More independent oversight is needed everywhere.
We also have to keep a sharp eye on the private prison industry.
We need more and better programs, education, access to higher education, re-entry programs, restorative justice and law firms working alongside prisoners.
We need more people like you to correspond with, befriend a person inside and to help the innocent with their struggle.
We recently opened a few more of our weblogs and updated some of the layouts. Still needing a few volunteers to keep up US States blogs in cooperation with us, and keep us all connected and updated. But we are still going strong, independently, and with 1500 followers on Twitter.
We saw a very successful Occupy4Prisoners demonstration of solidarity at San Quentin State Prison as well as in other cities across the country (Feb. 20th), with many people joining to show they care.
What our wishes are for 2013:
That we help each other in solidarity: that when you work for justice, peace, fairness and humanity, that you join and find others to fight alongside. Too often it is that people find themselves alone in an uphill struggle. They become overwhelmed and disillusioned. Help each other and listen to each other. “Settle your quarrels.”
We will do our best to be mindful of this and we hope everyone will join and help each other. We need each and every one! Let’s take the California Pelican Bay Short Corridor Collective and the people thinking up positive plans for and with us from inside Corcoran SHU as an example of working together and establishing justice, peace and solidarity – Happy New Year from the Prison Watch Network!