This week William and Disembodied Voice had the chance to interview Walidah Imarisha, who is an Oregon based writer, educator, public scholar and spoken word artist about her book Angels With Dirty Faces: Three Stories of Crime, Prison, and Redemption, her 2016 book out from AK Press and IAS, which highlights three distinct experiences that are all in different degrees tangential to the realities inherent to the prison industrial complex.
This book just won the Creative Non-Fiction Award in the state of Oregon earlier in 2017. In this interview we got to touch on a wide array of topics, mostly centered on Angels With Dirty Faces but also on accountability processes and what might have to change in order for them to feel more effective, her relationship to anarchism, and some upcoming projects and appearances.
We also get to touch on the book Octavia’s Brood, a compilation of speculative fiction that Imarisha co edited with Adrienne Maree Brown, who also wrote the book Emergent Strategy.
More about Imarisha, her work, and upcoming events can be found at http://www.walidah.com/
Resist Package Restrictions for Those Incarcerated in New York State!
The thugs who run the NYS prison system (NYS DOCCS) has issued a new directive (4911A) that describes new, draconian package rules that they are testing in 3 facilities as a ‘pilot program’.
Currently, at most facilities, family and friends can drop off packages at the front desk when visiting- packages that include fresh fruit and vegetables that supplement the high carb/sugar, meager diet provided by DOCCS.
These new rules are problematic in a lot of ways including:
1) Packages can be ordered only from approved vendors. 2) Fresh fruit and vegetables are not allowed. 3) Family and friends cannot drop off packages while visiting. All packages must be shipped through the vendor. 4) Each person is limited to ordering three packages a month for him or herself and receiving three packages a month from others. Each package cannot be more than 30 pounds. Of the 30 pounds per package, only 8 pounds can be food. 5) Allowable items will be the same in all facilities. (No more local permits.) 6) There are far fewer items allowed than before and of the items that are allowed, far less variety. This includes additional restrictions on clothing. 7) The pilot rules are not clear about how books, media, religious items and literature, or other items subject to First Amendment protection will be treated. This could mean that groups like NYC Books through Bars will not be able to send free books to the 52,000 people in the prison system.
The pilot program implements an “approved venders only” package system. This means that only packages from approved vendors will be accepted. The vendors appear to be companies that specialize in shipping into prisons and jails. There are currently five approved vendors identified on the DOCCS website. This amounts to a cash grab for these companies.
The pilot program is starting at three facilities: Taconic, Greene, and Green Haven. Those facilities will stop accepting packages from non-approved vendors on January 2, 2018.
We have to make this package directive unworkable. These new rules are cruel- eliminating fresh fruit and vegetables and creating massive profits for the vampire companies that will fill the niche.
WE CAN ORGANIZE TO ROLL THESE RULES BACK.
Some ideas how:
1-Sign the petition- share it with your address book, share it on twitter, share it on Facebook. It takes two seconds. https://diy.rootsaction.org/…/no-package-restrictions-for-n…
2-Get in touch with your people in NYS Prisons and let them know about this. Inform them, send them the info. Massive non-cooperation on the part of NYS prisoners will play a huge role in this.
3- Flood the electeds with postcards. Send one to Governor Cuomo and one to Anthony Annucci, the acting commissioner of DOCCS. It costs 34 cents.
Andrew M. Cuomo Governor of New York State NYS State Capitol Building Albany, NY 12224
Acting Commissioner Anthony Annucci NYS DOCCS Building 2, State Campus Albany, NY 12226
Some sample text:
Dear Governor Cuomo, This holiday season is about giving, not taking away. I object to the new DOCCS package rules. From, (Your Name) (Your relationship to people in prison, if applicable)
Dear Acting Commissioner Annucci, The new DOCCS package pilot punishes innocent families. Having a loved one in prison is already expensive and difficult—the new rules make it worse. Rescind the package pilot! From, (Your Name) (Your relationship to people in prison, if applicable)
4) Write a letter to both of these people (address above)
5)Call Cuomo’s office and leave a message about it. You won’t have to talk to anyone. Just leave your message. 518-474-8390
6) Email Cuomo: http://www.governor.ny.gov/content/governor-contact-form Annuci [email protected]
7) Tweet at Cuomo @NYGovCuomo
8) Write your NYS Senate and Assembly reps as well:
Show playlist here.