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Guide to Writing Letters to People Behind Bars

Currently & formerly incarcerated survivors have stated again and again how important letters of support are to their well-being. Letters are also important strategies to build relationships and organizing coalitions across prison walls. Here’s a basic guide for how to send letters to incarcerated people. ​This document is adapted from a prisoner letter-writing guide created by the California Coalition for Women Prisoners. Thank you CCWP!

Goals of letter-writing to incarcerated survivors:

  1. Strengthen our connection to criminalized survivors and collectively resist their disappearance;

  2. Strengthen and guide the anti-violence movement by gathering and sharing information on how survival is criminalized;

  3. Respect and promote the leadership of incarcerated survivors by responding to requests for information and by asking for their input in all matters of their survival and release;

  4. Connect incarcerated survivors with information, resources and support;

  5. Monitor and resist abusive prison conditions;

  6. Inform us of upcoming release possibilities for incarcerated survivors, including parole hearings and commutation processes, so that we can advocate with survivors for their release;

  7. Resist the isolation that incarceration of all forms creates, paying particular attention to how incarcerated women and transgender people disproportionately suffer the loss of outside support systems;

  8. Express our solidarity with incarcerated survivors.

For more about writing letters to incarcerated people, please visit Survived and Punished

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