I am happy to announce that the Challenger Street Newspaper is partnering with the Inside Books Project to send back issues of our paper into Texas state prisons. The Inside Books Project sends books and other reading materials to Texas prisoners, in 2012 receiving 12,000 requests and sending out over 20,000 free books.
In addition to sending in our paper, I am excited to amplify voices from within these prisons, what a friend has called America’s Largest Public Housing Program. We are sending in fliers recruiting writers and artists!
Years ago the Inside Books Project introduced me to the Prison Abolition Movement, which helped me begin to think critically about the justice system in the US. Prison Abolition to me is the vision of a world where people are not put in cages and the creation of attitudes and social relationships where the police are not the answer to conflict and suffering.
For me, police and prisons represent and maintain a society based on oppression and exploitation serving to discipline the population to “know their place”, where ever that place may be. A year ago I published an interview with a friend, who, recently released from Texas prisons, was struggling to find housing and stable employment, due to his record. Mass imprisonment has a huge repressive impact on society, showing us all the consequences if we step out of line.
With the beginning of this project I hope to amplify prisoner voices and prisoner struggle, connecting the dots for a broader movement of the poor against the social order.
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