877-776-2004 Ext 555 swopbehindbars@gmail.com

Pennsylvania prisons to stop copying inmates’ legal mail – The Morning Call

PA Prison Mail Update: Suit filed by Davon Hayes, who is serving a life sentence at Smithfield prison. Another lawsuit was filed by the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, Abolitionist Law Center, Amistad Law Project, and the Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project. Article by: steve.esack@mcall.com Twitter @sesack


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We Oppose: FL SB 540 Prostitution Registry

Florida Senate Considers Creating Prostitution Registry: Florida Senate Bill 540 with the Orwellian title “Human Trafficking” would create a registry for people found guilty of the loosely defined crime of “soliciting, inducing, enticing, or procuring” another to commit “prostitution, lewdness, or assignation.”
Such people, once prosecuted would be added to a registry entitled “Soliciting for Prostitution Registry.”

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Slixa: FOSTA Essay Finalist

About this essay: Against FOSTA/SESTA was chosen as the First Place finalist in Slixa’s call for entires on the subject of FOSTA/SESTA. In addition to a cash award for the author, this designation also came with a matching contribution to a provider-focused service organization of the author’s choosing. Congratulations to Lucy Kahn. Slixa is proud to support SWOP – Los Angeles in their thoughtful and important work.

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Prostitution “Diversion” Programs – Yale Law School

Yale Global Health Justice Partnership (GHJP) released two complementary analyses on prostitution “diversion” programs (PDPs), one national in scope and the other focused specifically on New York City programing. The reports reveal that PDPs in the United States are radically varying, but share a common thread: across the board, PDPs operate contrary to their own claims of stopping the revolving door of criminalization and victimization of ostensibly “trafficked” or “exploited” people. While PDPs position themselves as rehabilitative and compassionate alternatives to the criminal adjudication of prostitution offenses, initial findings presented in the reports suggest that, in reality, they are unable to fulfill their goals.

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A LOVE BOMB TO INCARCERATED SEX WORKERS!

Thanks to your participation in the Holiday Greeting Letters to Incarcerated Sex Workers, we set off a LOVE BOMB in prison mail rooms around the United States!  More than 25000 Holiday greeting letters were sent by more than 1600 people who help public and private letter writing parties from across the globe. 

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Commercial Sex in American Law

Author’s Note: Thank you SWOP Behind Bars (SBB) for your support of my 2003 senior study discussion on feminism, consensual sex work, forced prostitution during armed conflict and human trafficking. This segment is part of a larger body of work privately archived with Goddard College.

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PA Now Pardons For Free

If you want to get a conviction scrubbed in Pennsylvania, you had better have at least $63 set aside. Eight bucks to download the application. $20 for a criminal background check, another $10 for a driving record, and then a $25 processing fee. At least, that was the case until now. Katie Meyer, WITF March 17, 2019

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Philadelphia In April: Rising Tide. Maternity Care Coalition.

Happening In Philadelphia: A Rising Tide. Maternity Care Coalition. The public face of over-incarceration is overwhelmingly male. However, between 1980 and 2016, the number of incarcerated women in the U.S. increased by more than 700 percent.

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New York Democrats announce plans to decriminalize sex work | Salon.com

Decrim NY has three goals: to decriminalize sex trade-related offenses in New York and pass legislation that protects people in the sex trade; to end the incarceration of sex workers and vacate criminal records related to prostitution; and to “destigmatize the sex trades,” according to a press release. The coalition also “supports evidence-based, harm reduction-rooted programs that empower people’s safety.” Salon dot com

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WHAT CAN THE SPACE SHUTTLE TEACH US ABOUT MAKING A BREAK FROM OUR PAST?
An excerpt from the book Illegal to Legal: Business Success for the (Formerly) Incarcerated © 2014 by RL Pelshaw, used with permission.

Your strengths are found in your past, both good and bad. I’m not here to beat you up over what you did, or might even be doing now. I’m here to give you a practical path that you can follow to help you use your past to propel you to a new future, your destiny, a future where you have left your past behind you.

Take a moment and think about the Space Shuttle. Obviously, the Shuttle was not designed to stay on earth. It fulfills its destiny in space, not on the launch pad. Blasting off is not a passive event. It’s violent, explosive, and a life-or-death battle to reach the stars. What is the biggest obstacle the Shuttle must overcome to get into space? It’s not gravity but the weight of the fuel. The fuel weighs more than nineteen times what the Shuttle weighs. It’s ironic because the Shuttle needs the fuel to get into orbit, but the fuel is so heavy it becomes the biggest obstacle the Shuttle must overcome to blast into space. Breaking through the atmosphere into its destiny is the most difficult thing the Shuttle will ever do. I promised to show you how to use your past to propel you to your destiny. Pretend you are the Space Shuttle. You’re designed and destined to be high above where you are now, but you’re stuck on earth. You’re on the launch pad, ready for something to get you moving. You are yearning for something better, knowing you don’t belong where you are now. You are unhappy that you can’t get to where you want to be but you don’t know how to reach the stars. As the Shuttle you have to use your fuel to blast off, but what is that fuel? Your past, your life experience, is like the fuel in the Space Shuttle. If the fuel is properly used it can propel you into orbit, your destiny. If the fuel is improperly used it becomes dangerous, explosive, and can destroy the Shuttle. If the fuel is unused it weighs you down and keeps you stuck on the launch pad. Life on the launch pad is an unfilled life. On the launch pad you’re never going anywhere, never changing, never doing anything differently, never improving, and never learning. All you are doing is wasting away and decaying while you ignore your destiny above you. I was being crippled by the mental load of shame over the consequences of my mistakes, what I lost, and broken relationships. There was no easy way from that, and I think every incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizen faces that. I asked for, and received God’s help, which I continually need to get past the shame and things that would weigh me down if I let them. Ultimately, I had to choose to get over myself.

You must decide if you want to let your past weigh you down, destroy you, or propel you to your destiny among the stars. What will you decide? Are you willing to do what it takes to make it legitimately, so you can reach your destiny, the life you were meant to live? Once the Shuttle blasts off it cannot return to Earth until its mission is complete. A return mid-launch would be catastrophic for the Shuttle.

History gives us another example of the commitment required for success. Spanish explorer Hernan Cortez burned his ships when he reached the New World in the 1500s. You must have that level of commitment if you wish to reach your goal. Returning to the past should not be an option at all, no matter how hard it is to launch or break through to your destiny. Just as the Space Shuttle cannot return to earth mid-launch, and there were no ships for Cortez’ men to return to Spain, there should be no chance of you ever returning to a life of crime. Close that door forever! This book will show you ways to start your own business so you don’t have to return to or continue crime to make a living.