Last week, on the anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, in order to draw attention to the nearly 2 million people locked up in prisons and jails in the United States, a campaign called Critical Resistance held “Go to Prison Week” to build alliances between prisoners and the “free world.”
Critical Resistance, the brainchild of Professor Angela Davis and Attorney Ellen Barry, is a national campaign to stop the growth of the prison industrial complex and strengthen public security by increasing funding to schools, housing and employment programs. This movement is an outgrowth of a September 1998 conference at UC Berkeley, where 3,500 people met to form new alliances and develop anti-prison strategies. Last week’s events, designed to “break the walls of ignorance and silence about the failures of the U.S. criminal justice system,” included prison visits and demonstrations in a number of cities in this country and around the world.
- Asha Bandele, activist, author of a memoir entitled ??The Prisoner’s Wife, and the author of a collection of writings called ??Absence in the Palms of My Hands and Other Poems.
- Ida Robinson, a former political prisoner, and the founder and director of Families with a Future, an organization that rebuilds connections between people in prison and their families