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Fundraiser at Nightlight Bar & Club

We’re excited to announce that we’re partnering with Nightlight in Chapel Hill for a benefit show on Friday, Feb. 17 at 8 pm!Nightlight-Flier-Feb17-edit

What: Benefit Event for Prison Books Collective!! Help us send free books to people locked in NC and AL prisons!
When: Friday, February 17, 2017, 8-11 pm
Where: Nightlight, 405 W. Rosemary Street, Chapel Hill, NC
Cost: $10 ($8 for students, seniors and low-income)
Performers: Nicki Rivers + band, Reflex Arc + friends: extended set, UNC Wordsmiths
RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends!

More details:

Nicki Rivers + band
Nicki studied vocal performance at the New School of Jazz, New York, NY. She has performed in various venues from Japan to Paris, and has studied with Jazz masters from Shelia Jordan, to DeeDee Bridgewater, Drum Maestro Chico Hamilton, bassist Harley White, and mentored by pianist Jim Bell.
https://soundcloud.com/user-921602553

Reflex Arc + friends: extended set
A two piece experimental and improvisational band. Crowmeat Bob plays a variety of horns + sometimes electric guitar while Ginger Wagg plays a variety of body parts, spaces, and emotional states.
http://www.gingerwagg.com/reflex-arc/sugg6u38j7i9jrajatff5idpt1qofk

UNC Wordsmiths
Spoken Word Poetry
https://www.facebook.com/UNCwordsmiths/

Can’t make it to the event? You can still support us!

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For February 2017 Is Now Available

February Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for February.(11″x17″ PDF, 7.2MB) Also available in color here (11″x17″ PDF, 2.6MB), and as a shareable PNG file here (imgur link). Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night. Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list (not a listserv, one email per month), or if you would like to contribute in another way to increasing the profile of US political prisoners, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. A special thank you to the designers of this month’s poster. Designers are constantly bombarded with requests to work their trade for free, for publicity, or for a cause, and every month the PPBD Posters project relies on their generosity of time, skill and devotion to the cause of prison abolition. Cheers to Estraven for putting this month’s rad poster together.
  3. Do you need help advertising for your local Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night? Are you interested in distributing physical copies of the poster? Write to us and let’s find a way to get physical copies of our poster to you: ppbirthday@riseup.net
  4. After 35 years, Oscar Lopez Rivera has been released from prison. His community, friends, and family are rejoicing, and we rejoice with them.
  5. Chelsea Manning has also had her sentence commuted, and we are absolutely delighted to remove her from our list of people to support, as she will be amongst us and not behind bars on May 17th of this year.
  6. This presidency promises to be a wild ride, with utter tragedy and beautiful resistance occurring on a daily basis. All of this is happening so quickly there is hardly time to catch our breaths. There are at least 250 comrades facing felony charges (some of whom you can support here), and more to come as the bootheel of the state attempts to smash out our growing movement against it. Be careful out there, comrades. Take care of each other so that you can be dangerous together.
  7. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Mutulu Shakur, Mumia Abu-Jamal, Leonard Peltier, and more.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Political Prisoner Birthday Crew

2016: Crisis & Opportunities by Russell Maroon Shoatz

Long-time political prisoner, Russell Maroon Shoatz, recently wrote this analysis of this past year in politics. It starts with an analysis of the global stage, and then focuses on the U.S. It then ends with a call to action.

Read the full article.

Globally, 2016 has been dominated by political, economic, and social changes in the Northern Hemisphere. Massive upheavals have been occurring, seemingly churned up by the millions of asylum seekers fleeing wars and economic- and climate-related depredations in Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia.

The upshot of these upheavals brought proto-fascists to challenge the welfare states of Western Europe and the guinea pig economic systems of the former Soviet states. The Left there has either been crushed (Greece), is now on the ropes (Spain and England’s Left Laborites), or is circling the wagons (Germany and the Scandinavian countries), while Russia under Putin is using its military muscle to try to replicate what China has been doing in the economic sphere: remain independent of the U.S. and Western economic domination.

Read the full article. And learn more about Russell Maroon Shoatz.

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For January 2017 Is Now Available

January Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for January.(11″x17″ PDF, 5MB) Also available in color here, and as a PNG here (imgur link). Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night. Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list (not a listserv, one email per month), or if you would like to contribute in another way to increasing the profile of US political prisoners, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. A special thank you to the designers of this month’s poster. Designers are constantly bombarded with requests to work their trade for free, for publicity, or for a cause, and every month the PPBD Posters project relies on their generosity of time, skill and devotion to the cause of prison abolition. Cheers to Jenna Peters-Golden for putting this month’s rad poster together.
  3. We’ve had some amazing news in the last month:
  4. 2016 was an amazing year: heart-rending, beautiful, and tragic. We won’t recap the events here, since others have done it so well elsewhere.
  5. Let’s help 2017 go in like a lion with this year’s New Year’s Eve Noise Demonstrations. In the words of comrades in Montreal: “Prisons were created to isolate people from their communities. Noise demonstrations at prisons are a material way to fight against repression and isolation. We want to extend a message of solidarity to folks inside, and wish them a happy new year. Although, a truly happy new year would be one without prisons and the world that needs them.” Here’s a list of events we were able to find, but check in with the prison abolition group in your area to see where you can get plugged in:
  6. Do you need help advertising for your local Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night? Are you interested in distributing physical copies of the poster? Write to us and let’s find a way to get physical copies of our poster to you: ppbirthday@riseup.net
  7. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Oscar Lopez Rivera, Leonard Peltier, Standing Rock, and more.
  8. We recently updated our prisoner list, and this poster does not feature two people we think deserve your support. Help them celebrate their birthdays this year as well!
    • January 4, 1950
      Fran Thompson
      #1090915
      Chillicothe Correctional Center
      3151 Litton Drive
      Chillicothe, MO 64601
      freefran.noblogs.org
      Fran Thompson is serving life plus 10 years for killing a stalker who had made threats against her life after he broke into her home. Fran was a dedicated eco, animal & anti-nuke campaigner and had seen her prosecutor before on the other side of a protest. Her activism was brought up as a scare tactic to increase her sentencing and bias her jury.
    • January 18, 1995
      Janye Waller
      #BA2719
      CCC B Facility
      Post Office Box 2400
      Susanville, CA 96127
      handsoffjanye.tumblr.com
      In Oakland in 2015, a white liberal confronted several black liberation demonstrators protesting against non-indictments of police murderers. He shoved and swung fists at the young men to pacify them, one of whom retaliated with a hit from the head of a hammer to his head. Police said Janye Waller “fit the description” of that young black male. Despite witnesses denying his involvement, he was convicted of the assault. Before his arrest, Janye volunteered at a West Oakland social center that empowers black and indigenous people through education, mutual aid, urban farming, and community autonomy.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Political Prisoner Birthday Crew

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For December 2016 Is Now Available

December Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for December.(11″x17″ PDF, 25MB) Also available in color here(11″x17″ PDF, 25MB), non-PDF available here (imgur link) for sharing. Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night. Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list (not a listserv, one email per month), or if you would like to contribute in another way to increasing the profile of US political prisoners, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. There’s a special urgency to fight back the fascist creep represented in our white house and the US government. This is a great opportunity to reexamine your position within society, and dedicate yourself further towards its upturn. Whoever occupies the white house, the same cops occupy our neighborhoods, and our neighbors occupy their cages. More now than ever, more today than yesterday, and more yesterday than the day before it. Renewing your dedication to the struggle to abolish this prison society can take many forms. Maybe you’ll be able to contribute financially. Maybe you’ll be able to contribute time. Maybe you have a special skill you can contribute to the struggle. This is the time to find out about yourself, the time to get together with your friends, coworkers, and neighbors, and the time to seize all available opportunities to disrupt and destroy the coming fascist menace. We are all we have, and no one is going to save us but ourselves. Sever the means of the reproduction of life from the market and share with the least of those around you. If we learn nothing else from 1936, it’s that the most potent fight against fascism is a vibrant movement of working class people against capitalism, white supremacy, patriarchy, and the state. Dig in, folks, we’re in for a serious struggle. Trump might be our next president, let’s try to make him our last.
  3. A special thank you to the designers of this month’s poster. Designers are constantly bombarded with requests to work their trade for free, for publicity, or for a cause, and every month the PPBD Posters project relies on their generosity of time, skill and devotion to the cause of prison abolition. Cheers to Corina Dross for putting this month’s rad poster together.
  4. Do you need help advertising for your local Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night? Are you interested in distributing physical copies of the poster? Write to us and let’s find a way to get physical copies of our poster to you: ppbirthday@riseup.net
  5. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF, 252KB) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Chelsea Manning, Eric King, Oscar Lopez Rivera, and more.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Political Prisoner Birthday Crew

We are accepting book donations again!!

Great news! We are once again accepting ALL book donations! As a reminder, books must be softcover and in20161101-lowonbooks very good/good condition (and no writing inside).

We’re getting very low on Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery and African-American/Black non-fiction. We know you have books you’ve been setting aside just waiting for us to start accepting donations again! Now is your chance!

Check out our donate books page for more info.

Email is at: prisonbooks@gmail.com to arrange a pick-up or drop-off. Or check out our contact page for other ways to get in touch.

Please do NOT stop by our space to drop off books without checking with us first.

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For November 2016 Is Now Available

November Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for November.(11″x17″ PDF, 28MB) Also available in color here. Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night. Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list (not a listserv, one email per month), or if you would like to contribute in another way to increasing the profile of US political prisoners, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. A special thank you to the designer of this month’s poster. Designers are constantly bombarded with requests to work their trade for free, for publicity, or for a cause, and every month the PPBD Posters project relies on their generosity of time, skill and devotion to the cause of prison abolition. Cheers to Dylan Petrohilos for putting this month’s rad poster together.
  3. Do you need help advertising for your local Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night? Are you interested in distributing physical copies of the poster? Write to us and let’s find a way to get physical copies of our poster to you: ppbirthday@riseup.net
  4. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF, [##]KB) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Imam Jamil Al-Amin, Mumia Abu Jamal, Seth Hayes, Walter Bond, and more.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Political Prisoner Birthday Crew

Political Prisoner Birthday Poster For October 2016 Is Now Available

October Political Prisoner Birthday Cake

Hello Friends and Comrades,

  1. Here is the political prisoner birthday poster for October.(11″x17″ PDF, 3.7MB) It is also available in color!(11″x17″ PDF, 3.6MB) Print it out and plaster your community, both in commemoration of these freedom fighters and to advertise locally for a political prisoner letter writing night. Get together with some friends in your town to send birthday cards to these fighters in our struggle. It’s an easy way to help remind them that they aren’t forgotten. If you make one, remember—don’t use anything like white-out, stickers, tape or glitter on it. We also recommend that you put a return name and address and their name and prisoner number on the card, lest the authorities “lose” the envelope and forget where it is going. If you would like to add a birthday or sign up for our poster mailing list (not a listserv, one email per month), or if you would like to contribute in another way to increasing the profile of US political prisoners, email us at ppbirthday@riseup.net.
  2. A special thank you to the designers of this month’s poster. Designers are constantly bombarded with requests to work their trade for free, for publicity, or for a cause, and every month the PPBD Posters project relies on their generosity of time, skill and devotion to the cause of prison abolition. Cheers to Robin Markle for putting this month’s rad poster together.
  3. The September 9th Strike to end Prison Slavery is still in effect in many areas of the United States, and solidarity actions are being planned for TODAY all across the planet. There has also been a call for renewed actions to support the Prison Strike on October 15-22 so if you haven’t started organizing your solidarity demonstrations, it’s time to get ready! Keep abreast current news of the struggle inside at the Support Prisoner Resistance blog, who have had in depth coverage and prisoner testimonials of the spread of this strike and campaign. Slavery ends in 2016, it’s up to all of us (inside and outside) to make it happen.
  4. Do you need help advertising for your local Political Prisoner Letter Writing Night? Are you interested in distributing physical copies of the poster? Write to us and let’s find a way to get physical copies of our poster to you: ppbirthday@riseup.net
  5. Be sure to check out the latest Political Prisoner/Prisoner Of War every-other week update (PDF) by the NYC-Anarchist Black Cross. There are lots of important updates on many political prisoners. This one includes updates on Chelsea Manning, Mumia Abu-Jamal, and more.

Remember: They are in there for us, we are out here for them!

Fellow Workers: Remember! We are in here for you, you are out there for us!

Until Every Cage Is Empty,

The Prison Books Collective

The power of language

Note: The headline in the original story uses the very term that the Office of Justice Programs has stopped using. We have re-written the headline below.

Justice Dept. agency to alter its terminology for formerly incarcerated people.

Source: Washington Post

May 4, 2016

The Justice Department is taking a number of steps to reintegrate those released from prisons and jails into society, most notably during the recent National Reentry Week, such as asking states to provide identification to convicts who have served their sentences and creating a council to remove barriers to their assimilation into every day life. Here, Assistant Attorney General Karol Mason, who has headed the Office of Justice Programs since 2013, announces in a guest post that her agency will no longer use words such as “felon” or “convict” to refer to released prisoners.

By Karol Mason

During National Reentry Week last week, federal prisons and prosecutors’ offices and local organizations held job fairs, community town hall meetings, special mentoring sessions, and outreach events aimed at raising public awareness of the obstacles facing those who leave our prisons, jails, and juvenile justice facilities each year.  The American Bar Association has documented more than 46,000 collateral consequences of criminal convictions, penalties such as disenfranchisement and employment prohibitions that follow individuals long after their release.  These legal and regulatory barriers are formidable, but many of the formerly incarcerated men, women, and young people I talk with say that no punishment is harsher than being permanently branded a “felon” or “offender.”

This new policy statement replaces unnecessarily disparaging labels with terms like “person who committed a crime” and “individual who was incarcerated,” decoupling past actions from the person being described and anticipating the contributions we expect them to make when they return.  We will be using the new terminology in speeches, solicitations, website content, and social media posts, and I am hopeful that other agencies and organizations will consider doing the same.

Full article on Washington Post.

Re-Entry in Alabama

In this article from Alabama Public Radio, the author talks about how hard it is for people leaving Alabama prisons, and efforts to assist them with re-entry. It mentions several of the prisons we receive requests from. We need to recognize that most of the people currently in prison will be getting released. What are we as society and individuals doing to help them integrate back into society and life on the outside? Ban the box is certainly a good start. But so much more needs to be done!

A note about language in this piece: this article refers to people as ex-convicts. This is dehumanizing language that identifies someone by something they have done, rather than by who they are as a human. In fact, the U.S. Office of Justice Programs committed to ending their use of that term earlier this year. So read this article just for the mentions of some of the places we serve in Alabama.

Prison Reform: “Re-entering Society”

 

For many prisoners at the Limestone Correctional Facility, the heavy bang of a steel gate is the first thing they hear when they enter the Alabama prison system. It’s also the last thing when they come out.

 “They give you a bus ticket and a check for ten dollars and they say “Have a nice life.”

That’s Brenda Lee Kennedy. She was incarcerated in the Montgomery Work Release Center for nearly five and half years before being released in November of last year.

Why should Alabama care? [Joyce White Vance, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Alabama] says because a lot of Alabamians have done jail time…

 “The numbers that come out of the Alabama Department of Corrections say that one in four adults in Alabama has had either a felony or misdemeanor conviction.”

That’s a lot of job application forms with the little check box that asks if you’ve been convicted. Many businesses shy away from hiring people who check that box with a  yes…

Joyce Vance’s office is unusual because it’s the first in the nation to hire an attorney specifically to get inmates back into the work force when they get out of prison. The private sector is trying to help too.

Read the full article on the Alabama Public Radio website, or listen to the audio.