Freedom News

Writing to #FrackFreeFour Prisoners

This is a re-post from Netpol.

The three anti-fracking activists sentenced on 26 September are currently in HMP Preston (although they are likely to be moved to another prison). Writing to them is a way to show your solidarity, as well as vital to building strong movements in which we take care of each other.

To write in, your need to include your name, address and date of birth on any card or letter and their prison numbers on both the envelope and letter, which are:

  • Richard Roberts: A9915EF
  • Roscoe Blevins: A9902EF
  • Richard Loizou: tbc

The address is HMP Preston, 2 Ribbleton Lane, Preston, Lancs, PR1 5AB

We urge you to also donate to the support fund that will help to provide support such as travel costs of family or friends visiting.

Writing to prisoners – some advice from London ABC

When you’re writing for the first time, keep it short – you don’t want to overwhelm someone. We suggest maybe send a card or a A5-sized letter first, with greetings and a bit about who you are, what you like, what you do and where you are from.

Some people reckon it’s better to be upfront about your politics as well, to give prisoners the choice to stay in contact with you or not. You can say where you heard about them from too.

Remember: prison guards will certainly open post before the prisoner does and theoretically at least will read everything that’s written, so don’t send anything that could get the prisoner or anyone else in trouble; if you wouldn’t say it directly to a cop’s face then you shouldn’t include it.

Explicitly political literature should only be sent if the prisoner specifically requests it. No matter what their politics, they might not want it and it could cause problems for them.

Make sure you put a return address if you want a response. If you want a reply, send a stamped addressed envelope and some paper to write on! We hope that all three prisoners are flooded with messages of support, and stamps and paper are expensive. If you can, send in extras.

However, only offer what support you feel able to give and avoid making promises you might not be able to keep.

There’s no rules for writing to prisoners, but here are some suggestions of things to say if you’re feeling stuck when writing for the first time or signing a card.

Helpful things to say:

– Best wishes / take care / stay strong / we support you!
– How can we best support you – can we send anything in or publicise your campaign?

Unhelpful things to say:

– You rock (probably)
– I’m going out tonight to get drunk.
– You should try writing about prison
– God, prison must be boring and shit
– There’s a dog here. I’m going to pat it now

There are lots of reasons why it might not be a good idea to try and define someone else’s prison experience (eg “prison is the best education”, “you should…”). If you’re writing on your own for the first time try to keep it simple:

– ask how you can help,
– say that you support them and where you heard about them
– maybe something about yourself (eg if you are a student, squatter, working)

Writing makes a difference

“Thanks for all the support while I was in prison. It was great to know that people cared and it had an impact on the prisoners I spent time with – some were constantly amazed that I kept getting so many letters and everyone liked the cards. Please pass on my best wishes to anyone you see who supported me on the cards you sent.

In the words of Troy Davis ‘we need to dismantle this unjust system, city by city, state by state and country by country’. When we come together its inspiring and I know we’re gaining ground. Love and Solidarity.”

Letter to Brighton ABC from anonymous activist imprisoned in 2014

Photo: Reclaim the Power

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