We really need you THERE!
Monday, January 20, 2020, 5:30 PM
on the north steps of the capitol building in Olympia.
Check out the outstanding list of organizations that are backing this effort!
ACLU of Washington, Alliances, Black Prisoners Caucus of WSR, Civil Survival, Concerned Lifers Organization, Community Passageways, Designed Conviction, Disability Rights Washington, Faith Action Network, FreedomProject, Justice Involved Student Group at Evergreen, Latino Development Organization, M.O.R.E, Poverty Action Network, Prison PolicyInitiative, Prison Voice Washington, Projects for a Civil Society–Alternatives to Violence Project, Quaker Voice, Seattle Clemency Project, Snohomish County NAACP, Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Washington Defender Association
The program for Olympia
5:00-5:30: music by blues singer Deborah Hawley and hiphop group MSB.
5:30-6:30: Outstanding speakers, most formerly incarcerated, on the perspectives of prisoners, families, and crime survivors. Speakers include:
- Kurtis Robinson, a formerly incarcerated person, social justice advocate, firefighter, and a member of I Did the Time
- Jeremiah Bourgeois, sentenced to life without parole at age 14, author of several law journal articles, and a columnist for The Crime Report.
- Aaron Borrero, formerly incarcerated, and Mari Borrero, owners of American Abatement and Demo, an award-winning business that hires former prisoners
- Johnmoses Washington, formerly incarcerated member of the Monroe CLO and BPC, advocate for juvenile justice and prison reform
- Tarra Simmons, a formerly incarcerated attorney and candidate for the House of Representatives in District 23
- Annie Williams, former DOC official and crime survivor
- Willie Jimerson, formerly incarcerated, director of ULMS, over education and youth development
Need transportation to Olympia? We’re organizing buses and rides. If you can fill a bus with 56 people, we may be able to pay for the bus – or at least make it more affordable. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Yes, we DO have mass incarceration in our state!
If Washington State were a country, it would have the eighth highest incarceration rate in the world, according to the latest research. Our “blue” state has been an eager participant in the incarceration boom of the last 40 years. Since the 1980s our state’s population increased 70%, while our prison population exploded by 225%.
In Olympia, on January 20, we’ll hear from former prisoners, their families, victims, and others about what mass incarceration means.
We will also light 1,300 candles: For the 1,300 men and women in our prisons serving sentences so long they can’t live long enough to complete them; for their victims; and for ourselves, because all of us are affected by mass incarceration. We want our legislators to what mass incarceration looks like.
Check with us at email@example.com for information about transportation and to sign up to attend.
Will there be a parole bill in the 2020 session?
The situation is still unclear. Sen. Jeannie Darneille intends to revive 5819, a fairly comprehensive sentence review bill that would do many good things but unfortunately was amended to exclude people convicted of aggravated murder. We believe that the designation of “aggravated” is so broad and so unequally applied that it means virtually nothing. If Sen. Darneille succeeds in getting a hearing for this bill, we will support it but testify at the hearing that it doesn’t go far enough–that we need a rigorous review process for everyone, which, of course does not necessarily mean release for everyone.
Also in the works, it has been rumored for months, is a bill from Sen. Dhingra that would provide release for a narrowly defined group of geriatric prisoners. We will decide whether to support that or not when we finally see it. However, we do not generally support the legislators’ favorite approach to big problems: dealing with them in small pieces. We are not convinced that once legislators deal with the easy part–the “low-hanging fruit”–they will be able to find the political will to deal with the difficult cases. We elected them to address the whole problem, not just the relatively easy parts.
I’ve come to understand and to believe that each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done…. I think if somebody tells a lie, they’re not just a liar. I think if somebody takes something that doesn’t belong to them, they’re not just a thief. I think even if you kill someone, you’re not just a killer. And because of that there’s this basic human dignity that must be respected by law. I also believe … that the opposite of poverty is not wealth. I don’t believe that. I actually think, in too many places, the opposite of poverty is justice.