Filed under: Announcement, Incarceration, Southeast
Support prisoners in North Carolina who are currently fighting against JPay.
On February 5th of this year, the North Carolina prison system imposed a draconian new policy on prisoners’ use of the JPAY system, requiring that anyone who wants to send money to a prisoner must first become an approved visitor. This makes it significantly harder for prisoners whose family members have felonies, prisoners with security or gang status, prisoners who rely on political or non-family support networks, and prisoners with undocumented family members to receive any kind of financial help. Consequently, the amount of money coming into prisons has dropped significantly, and reports of prisoner-on-prisoner tensions and violence have increased at several facilities.
Prisoners, their relatives, and outside anti prison activists have pushed back, using phone-zaps, a simultaneous mass grievance filing on May 21st, a corresponding action which saw trash, furniture, and banners dropped at the entrance to Prison Director Lassiter’s neighborhood, and a 9 prisoner hunger strike in early August at Scotland CI. Since this time, NC Prison Director Kenneth Lassiter has announced his resignation, despite recently receiving a raise.
The following call is from one of those hunger striking prisoners, Joseph Stewart, who has since been transferred to Central Prison as retaliation for his organizing role. While prisoners across the state fill the mailboxes of these politician-scumbags, please take the time to join them by calling those responsible for this policy.
-Floodgates NC Prison Newsletter
All power to the people,
By now each and everyone of you reading this has been affected by the discriminatory J-Pay Restriction Policy that was incorporated by the soon to be retired Kenneth Lassiter, on February 5th. Some of you contributed to the grievance writing campaign attempting redress, and some of you attempted direct action. Hitherto all efforts have been ineffective and the policy remains in place, and we have accepted this, which is exactly what the oppressors want.
As of yet we haven’t gotten the attention of those who are able to rectify this policy, nor has there been a united demonstration carried out by our outside advocates, demanding that this policy be abolished. Grieving to the administrators of these razor-wire plantations won’t suffice. It’s similar to the slave complaining to the slave-master.
Earlier this year NC Senator Bob Steinburg founded the Senate Select Committee for Prison Safety, which is made up of13 senators whom I will list before this call to action is concluded. Moreover, these senators meet with Kenneth Lassiter and now Commissioner Todd Ishee to discuss strategies and plans to make NC prisons “”safer.”
There haven’t been any discussions or plans to ameliorate our living conditions. I believe it’s due to our voice not being heard within these meetings. Nor are the voices of the activists beyond these walls voices being heard.
President Nixon once said, “People that are afraid will go along with anything.” Fear is our greatest hinderance, consequently this fear has impeded us from marshaling the essentials needed to successfully resist our oppression. We must purge this fear, but this won’t happen overnight or next week, it’s a process because many of us have been conditioned to be afraid. But until this fear is purged we must strategize and use tactics that don’t demand sacrifices.
I entreat that each of you write a letter to one or several of the senators that I mentioned. Explain how this J-Pay policy is affecting you and others, and expound on the fact that this policy has actually increased the violence and strong arming amongst the prison class, due to prisoners being compelled who have become indigent. Also, point out how this policy violates the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment.
I also entreat that all comrades beyond these razor-wire fences engage in an organized phone and email zap to the following senators listed, expressing how y’all feel this policy is discriminatory and cruel.
Senator Floyd McKissick 300 N. Salisbury St. Rm 629 Raleigh, NC 27603 919.733.4599 [email protected]
Senator Joyce Waddell 16 W. Jones St. Rm 1113 Raleigh, NC 27601 919.733.5650 [email protected]
Senator Bob Steinburg 300 N. Salisbury St. Rm 301-B Raleigh, NC 27603 919.715.8293 [email protected]
I hope y’all take this action seriously. As John Gerassi pointed out in “The Coming of the New International,” the system could easily sustain and tolerate individual and isolated acts of dissent, but it could not sustain and tolerate class war. We must be united in spirit and action and speak with one voice and act as one body.
Before I conclude this its imperative that I salute some of my dearest comrades that I’ve been unable to correspond with due to the many communication barriers put in place.40 LOC Aka KC—panther love homie, I’m here, I’m alive and I’m struggling forward. Trigg, what’s good soldier, I’m here for you and waiting to hear from you. Jhaden I love you brother, until the box drops. And to my haters—I’m on my wave, you better find one before fuck around and drown.
Dare to struggle, Dare to Win
Deputy Minister of Defense
Joseph Shine White Stewart