Transgender, intersex, gender non-conforming people are disproportionately profiled and targeted by police for arrest. As a result, our communities are overrepresented in a criminal legal system that works to further isolate them from their community. SRLP provides legal services and engages in political education and organizing with incarcerated individuals to combat the isolation of our prison industrial complex. Our prison organizing and advocacy takes many forms, as described below, and we are always looking for people to connect with our work!
SRLP Prisoner Justice Project
As with all of SRLP’s legal work, the Prisoner Justice Project seeks to address the immediate needs of our incarcerated community members and connect them with opportunities to engage more fully in our collective. Most people initiate contact with the PJP in a state of crisis, often reporting physical and sexual assault, biased disciplinary action, a lack of access to medical care, punitive segregation and a lack of access to programming. In response, SRLP provides direct services on an individual basis, engages in policy negotiations with prisons and jails and pursues impact litigation when necessary. We also solicit attorneys to take prisoner name change cases on a pro bono basis and provide trainings and technical assistance to attorneys and social service providers with transgender clients at all stages of the criminal legal process.
SRLP Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC)
The Sylvia Rivera Law Project holds a strong belief that the people most affected by the systems of violence and oppression we fight are the best people to lead that fight. We also believe that social justice organizations must find ways to directly involve the members of our community who have been separated from us by the criminal injustice systems. The Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) is one way to overcome the enormous state-created barriers to communication and political participation for the people who are most affected by the prison system. PAC currently has around 70 amazing members who are enthusiastic about sharing their time, passion, and expertise with SRLP. Our members are trans, intersex, gender non-conforming people and allies who are currently incarcerated. Members of PAC work together with members of our collective to develop plans of work. Already, PAC members have helped with a national position statement on transgender healthcare in correctional settings and provided comments to the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. They are developing creative ways to work on changing policies, building community and sharing information and strategies.
In Solidarity Newsletter
In Solidarity is a collaborative newsletter created by SRLP’s Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) members, who are involuntarily locked away, SRLP staff & volunteers. Together our words & collective efforts work against injustice for low-income and/or people of color who are trans, intersex & gender non-conforming both inside and out of the prison industrial complex and towards gender self determination for all. Read the Winter 2013-2014 issue of In Solidarity.
Prisoner Postcard Project
2-4 times a year, SRLP creates a space for people to come learn about our critical work and organizing happening with trans, gender non-conforming, intersex community members and allies, in prison. As a part of the Prisoner Postcard Project, we write messages on postcards designed by Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) members and other members of SRLP to be sent to over 70 trans, intersex, gender non-conforming and allied community members, locked away in New York state detention facilities. This is a perfect opportunity to gather as a community to break down barriers, celebrate our art and culture and hopefully encourage people to become a volunteer pen pal from the outside. Learn more…
SRLP Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) Blog
We believe that storytelling is a revolutionary act and we have created the PAC Blog to share the stories of our PAC members with no censorship or editing (excluding minor name changes to keep identities confidential, where necessary).
The experiences of incarcerated transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people make one point very clear: prisons are not supposed to be a place where we survive. SRLP’s Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) is a tool for community building within the prison system. A tool to ensure that our people survive on the inside and their stories are shared on the outside. See posts from the blog below, or visit the main blog page here!
News about PAC and blog posts from PAC members
- How does solitary confinement affect prisoners? Read Dee Dee’s letter and call to action (10/8/2014)
- Sisterhood is more than siblinghood, for Prisoner Advisory Committee Member Synthia (8/21/2014)
- Solitary confinement, “a cruel and unusual punishment that benefits no one…nothing about it rehabilitates…” (8/7/2014)
- A lovestory from “one of the darkest corners of this world” (7/31/2014)
- What is freedom? A poem by Synthia China Blast (7/25/2014)
- From someone currently incarcerated in the prison system: The Prison Rape Elimination Act is not working as it should. (7/17/2014)
- How difficult (or unsafe) can it be to work out or to buy lotion in prison? (7/10/2014)
- New prison mail: it takes courage to say “hello” to the voice that is you (6/19/2014)
- New prison mail: Being trans is a journey, but not a choice! (6/12/2014)
- What is life like in prison? The unsimple answer. (Part 4) (6/3/2014)