Letters from incarcerated readers: ‘A glimpse into my struggle’
Dear Workers World,
I ran across an ad you all wrote about Russell Maroon Shoatz, and I became interested in finding out more about your organization and the things you all do. Please put me on your mailing list and send me any publications and resources you have for prisoners.
Thanks in advance, Laderic M., Charleston, Missouri
Dear Workers World,
I have recently been introduced to the Workers World newspaper by a couple of inmates here, and I really love reading the columns and cover stories in your paper. I hope to someday be able to join Workers World Party and add to some of the stories/columns in your paper with some of my experiences from behind these walls. I do not have much money at this time to be able to afford a subscription of the Workers World newspaper, but I would like to know if you could please donate a subscription to me at this time until I am able to afford to purchase one from your organization. Please continue your great work, and I thank you for your time and consideration in this matter.
Respectfully addressed, Edmund C., Frackville, Pennsylvania
Dear Workers World,
I hope this finds you well. I am a prison inmate in the state of Georgia. I am writing on behalf of myself and some others here at my facility. We would like to be added to your mailing list to receive your newspaper.
Thank you! James M., Jaysn M., Jackie N., Bradly H., Kenneth H., Stacy M.,
Garden City, Georgia
Thank you all for writing to us. Workers World provides free subscriptions upon request to anyone who is currently incarcerated. We love to hear from our comrades inside and look forward to hearing from you and printing your submissions in Tear Down the Walls!
Greetings and blessings! I’ve heard superb things about your publication, but my eyes have yet to have the opportunity to devour your food for thought. Please let me know how I can go about receiving this “food.” I recently soaked up Vol. 46, No. 11 issue of the San Francisco Bay View, and this issue featured an article about Russell Maroon Shoatz. They reference you as the original author of the article. Powerful stuff.
On another note, I just wanted to take out a few more moments of your time to give you a glimpse into my struggle. My name is Troy and I am a 37-year-old Black man (going to turn 38 on Dec. 15) who has spent years in captivity for crimes that I’m actually innocent of. To add to my misfortune, I have been isolated in solitary confinement for the past 16 years (and counting). I have been confined under the brutal status of Administrative Segregation (Ad-Seg). I am presently in a supposed “step-down” program, but the conditions are still isolated. I’m told this is a nine-month program that has to be completed, even though I just completed a nine-month supposed “step-down” program at Attica’s solitary confinement unit. Upon arrival to Mid State, I was told that I have to start the “step-down” process all over again.
You can view pieces written by me at betweenthebars.org and listen to interviews with me and others on the PrisonsKill Podcast. Me and all of my comrades at Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC) and Campaign for Alternatives to Isolated Confinement (CAIC) and PrisonsKill support your movement. Salute!
Peace n’ blessings, Comrade Troy, Marcy, New York
I submit this correspondence to your office in an effort to “check-in” with your organization to let you know that I have been periodically receiving your newspaper.
I want to thank you for keeping me abreast of what is happening internationally as well as here at home. I greatly appreciate your service, and I always look forward to receiving your newspaper. Especially during the COVID-19 quarantine phase of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections where correctional staff fail to social distance and wear their masks. The vaccine was a blessing, and I am presently trying to obtain a booster to the J&J vaccine that they administered to me in May of 2021.
The correctional staff continue to not wear masks, and many refuse to get vaccinated, so a booster would be imperative to at the very least ensure that I am not hospitalized for their negligence and/or ignorance.
In solidarity from a modern day slave, Louie V., Benner Township, Pennsylvania
Only 41% of guards and staff are vaccinated at SCI Forest. But we’re told to get vaccinated, or we’ll be locked down on a block that the unvaccinated would be placed with restrictions such as you can’t go to school programs, parole hearings, no visits and no phone time. But there is no restriction on guards or staff! And going to programs, we’re subjected to sitting in a room with nonvaccinated staff members who are running programs. When I asked guards, they stated, “I’d quit before being vaccinated!”
My question is this: Why do other employees in other professions and workplaces have a mandate that they have to be vaccinated by a certain date, but correction officers in Pennsylvania are not required to be vaccinated? Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf should have placed a mandate on the PA DOC employees to be vaccinated or lose their jobs. Why hasn’t that been done?
Prisoners’ lives matter too! Miley Fletcher, Benner Township, Pennsylvania