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This Thursday: Demand Reinstatement of Friend of a Friend!

By kate | June 19, 2012

For our readers in Baltimore:

On Thursday June 21st 2012 at 9am community and student organizations will host a demonstration to demand the immediate reinstatement Friend of a Friend program at Jessup Correctional Institution following its arbitrary indefinite suspension.   The demonstration will take place at 300 East Joppa Road in Towson, Maryland.  Please join us, and bring signs and placards that read Reinstate Friends!

The Friends program was founded by a group of concerned men in the prison system, including political prisoner Eddie Conway, to provide mentoring to young prisoners. The program began with an attempt to identify the problems, expectations and daily needs of prisoners – many of whom are of African descent – and excluded from full participation in the social and political process.

Following a graduation ceremony for program participants at the Jessup Correctional Institution (JCI) we were informed that the project was being “dismantled” with no explanation except that contraband was found on the premises. There is no evidence that the Friends volunteers were involved in the smuggling of the contraband, nor is there any evidence that our incarcerated participants were involved.  We are asking the entire community to attend this demonstration and support our incarcerated brothers, to demand immediate reinstatement of this program that has helped hundreds of prisoners and former prisoners, and more transparency in the Maryland Office of Public Safety and Correctional Services. We are asking concerned community members to email and/or fax the Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services Gary Maynard and the fax number is 410-339-4240.

Demonstration Co-sponsors include: Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Students Against Mass Incarceration-Howard University, The Social Justice Committee of Pleasant Hope Baptist Church, Red Emma’s, the Baltimore Free School, The Youth Resiliency Institute, and Nommo Theater.

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