As with all of Sylvia Rivera Law Project’s (SRLP) legal work, the Prisoner Justice Project (PJP) seeks to address the immediate needs of our incarcerated community members and connect them with opportunities to engage more fully in our work. Most people initiate contact with 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, and pursues impact litigation when necessary.
This year, PJP’s accomplishments and victories include…
- Responded to 255 letters from people incarcerated across the country
- Provided respectful and affirming advice, referrals, and legal services to 265 clients in 302 legal matters
- Coordinated 110 members to write cards to our incarcerated folks, take part in direct actions, and gain political education on the prison industrial complex and abolition
- Trained or presented to 295 people, including service providers, legal advocates, and law students, on issues facing TGNCI incarcerated people
- Provided technical assistance to 18 organizations and service providers who are serving TGNCI people facing incarceration or criminalization issues
- Grew PJP’s Prisoner Advisory Committee (PAC) from 101 to 131 members
- Launched campaign to keep visiting hours open in New York State maximum-security prisons and had a direct action with our members in February, which resulted in maintaining visiting hours for maximum-security prisons
- Began the 3 year project of re-writing “It’s War in Here”, a report on the experiences of incarcerated TGNCI people in New York State
- Launched public education materials, “Self-Care on the Inside”, “Solidarity in Action: A Prison Visiting Guide” and “Name Changes for Transgender Adults in New York State Prisons”
- Sent out our “It’s War in Here” relaunch survey to all of our New York State PAC members – 86 people!
- Were able to provide Trans Housing Unit (THU) class participants with certificates for participation in our courses, and we have already heard that defense attorneys are responding favorably to this as it increases the chance of clients being considered for Alternatives to Incarceration programs and reduced sentences
- Made eight visits to incarcerated clients throughout New York State
- Met with New York Civil Liberties Union and Legal Aid Society’s Prisoners’ Rights Project to submit edits to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s draft policy on gender-affirming surgeries
- Provided testimony to NYC Board of Correction on issues of housing, safety, and sexual violence facing TGNCI people held in the City’s jails
- Succeeded in getting the Board of Correction to push the Department of Correction to become compliant with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and their own Minimum Standards or face sanctions
- Testified on healthcare needs of incarcerated TGNC people and delivered recommendations based on the experiences of our PAC members at a New York State Assembly public hearing, held jointly by the Health Committee and Corrections Committee
- Welcomed home 12 PAC members who were incarcerated!