Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Jailhouse Lawyers Speak: "General Open Membership" for Prisoners

Revolutionary greetings to all freedom fighters and supporters for prisoners human rights:

On a southern plantation (prison) Jailhouse Lawyers Speak was founded in 2015 amongst a group of Jailhouse Lawyers who were already in unity as a cadre based upon the studies of George L. Jackson. This original group of comrades make up the current central committee.
Today, Jailhouse Lawyers Speak (JLS) is a national collective of imprisoned persons who fight for human rights, by providing other prisoners with access to legal education, resources, and assistance.

Our focus is on challenging laws that are dehumanizing prisoners and educating prisoners about these laws. We aim to educate and engage the public at large about prisoners human rights violations. We seek to achieve this “by any means necessary.”

We are freedom fighters that believe the current model of how this society addresses people that has fallen short (according to this society’s own terms), and must therefore be dismantled.

This can only be done by prisoners speaking out. Prisoners must use our own voice and organizing skills to connect with the world for change.

Sunday, December 08, 2019

The Louisiana Network for Criminal Justice Transformation

A year ago, I named a P.O. Box the "Louisiana Network for Criminal Justice Transformation." By April, a handful of supporters had caught the vision and, together with a jailhouse lawyer inside Angola, we began to organize our ideas and our dreams to provide case management services for incarcerated citizens in Louisiana. Friday, we mailed out our first newsletter to 164 men inside the walls and about 50 of their loved ones outside. This week, we will email a pdf of the newsletter to the media and to organizations and individuals who support the principle of prison abolition on one level or another. We are now reaching out to the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women of Louisiana and, quite frankly, the LA-NCJT is building at such a pace, I spend a good bit of time these days feeling as though I'm being dragged by the foot through my own life.

We're simultaneously working on a website, a closed Facebook chat room, a closed sub-reddit marketplace, and a Twitter account to serve, support, and inspire the families and friends of those inside the walls in Louisiana. We're putting together an Advisory Board. And I have officially announced to the University that I will step down from my full-time position there on July 31, 2020, to dedicate myself to LA-NCJT till the wheels fall off.

In the newsletter, we publish (among other things) "A Vision of Prison Abolition," saying:

Our perspective is not that efforts to reform the criminal justice system in the United States should be abandoned, but rather that the cultural and practical mindset that has plagued law “enforcement” and “correctional” systems for two hundred years in this country is such that we are being prevented from advancing as a civilized society. We believe that an entirely new approach must focus on the individual and collective effects of the root causes of “crime,” including such factors as poverty, White Supremacy, income inequality, and routine discrimination against the poor, People of Color, women, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants, addicts, and the mentally ill. Populations that are vulnerable to abuse at the hands of our society’s decision-makers and those who have the Power-to-Define should be allowed to benefit from what society has to offer, as well.

We believe that this is practical and even necessary if we are to stop endlessly treating symptoms and begin the process of freeing ourselves so we can support others in freeing themselves from the brutality of a system the bedrock of which has been the foundational principle holding that money is more important than life. Consequently, we seek to make connections and create relationships with current and formerly incarcerated citizens, their loved ones, and others in the community who share our desire to transform the criminal justice system to reflect a consummate and intractable commitment to human rights. We do not consider it adequate to hold this commitment as a standard to which we aspire. Rather, we make the claim that all humans have an inalienable right to expect and, as necessary, to demand their dignity.

Toward that end, we offer our services to meet the needs of incarcerated citizens and their loved ones – in whatever ways we are realistically able – to increase their conscious awareness of the implications of their own humanity. The strength and energy of the indefatigable human spirit continually astound us as individuals – apparently hopeless and broken of will – rise to meet their challenges without fear or hesitation on the basis of the tiniest flicker of connection. We have seen the smallest specific encouragement turn the tide of despair, unleashing a human being prepared to exercise their personal agency by participating in their own fight for freedom – no matter where their body resides. Interventions as small as an email, a letter, a piece of information, or an invitation to participate in a collective effort can engage a heart that truly believed it had no reason to live.

The coming year should be interesting. If you want to follow our progress, you may contact us at:

Louisiana Network for Criminal Justice Transformation
P.O. Box 2701, Hammond, LA 70404

If you can help to cover the cost of this edition of the newsletter, please visit our GoFundMe account at Thanks.