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As most of you probably know, prisoners are very much a part of the zine scene, as much, if not more, by desperation and necessity, than by choice.

I often get submissions of art, poetry, essays, etc., and requests to typeset and print zines, chapbooks, etc. I wish I had more time to do this, but in all practicality, I don't, and therefore I can't promise them anything.

I know that Christopher Robin of Zen Baby helps out prisoner's a lot, and Randy Robbin's of Narcolepsy Press Review has contributed more than his share in the effort, but I'm sure they've got their limits of time and financial resources, and I've read Randy's had some serious health problems.

I recently stumbled upon a service called Shot Caller Press, 8316 N. Lombard St.Portland, Oregon, www.ShotCallerPress.com, a publisher of prisoner art and poetry. I'm glad they have a physical address I can pass on to prisoners in my mail to them, but I wasn't able to learn much about them from their website (I don't absorb info from the Net very well). Are they legit?

A prisoner also gave me a thick digest prison resource zine called Words Break Bars, but I believe it was printed in 2002, so how good most or all of the many addresses they provided are may be a bit doubtful. I looked it up on Zinewiki, but didn't find it.

So, my main point and question:

What I feel would be very valuable to the disorganized prisoner support scene is some kind of Factsheet 5/Global Mail/APA for prisoners, filled with their art, poetry, rants, LOCs, etc., etc., and PHYSICAL ADDRESSES for free zines, pen pals, prison social services, etc.

I've recently read on this forum that scanning zines is more time consuming and difficult than I thought it was, but this zine could be assembled, scanned and archived on the Net, and it's administration could be web-based, but with the fact in mind that the prisoners participating HAD to have a way of communicating via PHYSICAL/USPS mail. (Several "prisoner support" websites/forums are entirely web-based with no means of feedback for prisoners, except via a third party)

Now, I would not be a candidate for the scanning, website construction and maintenance, etc. I do not have the aptitude and skill for any of that. But I may be able to help financially and contribute, with others, in small ways. Many hands could make light work.

Maybe there's already one, or more. of some zine or network like this in existence that I'm not aware of. If so, by all means let me know. But I'm sure this would be a big step forward in making things easier for prisoners who want to learn, and hey, just have a little fun, through zines.

Any info or ideas would be appreciated.

Thanks.
JND

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Maybe you should contact some kind of social welfare organisation that acually deals with prisoners, or get prisoners themselves to do the work..
i really want to help with this one, but i don't have any idea :| I agree with womans monthly tha there should be social welfare orgs that'd be able to help out.

as for helping, I'd love to help out... i've retired from web design now though :[ i can't handle that along with college... maybe through scanning and maintenance, or uploading and updating if you do push through with this...?
WOMAN'S MONTHLY: "Social welfare organization" has a somewhat "governmental" connotation and as a libertarian, perhaps bordering on anarchist, this isn't something I'd want to get involved in. This would be as much for "fun" as for open communication, and something controlled and interfered with by the government or even "quasi-governmental" agency would be all bland and stifling. The project I'm envisioning would be a collaberation between zinesters, "free" and prisoner, with as little involvement by the "authorities" as possible. This would be a ZINE, not a "newsletter".

DENISE: I'm no good at web design at all. I've moderated a couple Yahoo forums, but often incompetently. My internet/computer skills are VERY rudimentary. I don't know Photoshop or any program for arranging and editing photos or images. I hope to try learning this some day, but I don't have the time or quite the need right now. What I'm looking for is a group of people to typeset hand written stories, poems and text, and upload art, and basically "assemble" an "e-zine" that's easily and economically printable, so that hardcopies could be sent to prisoners. They'd probably only have to be printed a few at a time. Maybe it'd be a monthly, 6 pages, or whatever comes first. These details could be worked out later and tinkered with on an ongoing basis.

Maybe we could have regional editors and as many physical addresses for same, to receive letters, contribs, etc. from prisoners, so as to divide and lighten the work. Prisoners would send these to the address nearest to them. How many editors/addresses? Four? Five? Six? More? Fewer? Again, that'd be a detail we could work out later. BUT PHYSICAL ADDRESSES ARE ESSENTIAL SO PRISONERS CAN CONTRIBUTE AND COMMUNICATE. Most or many "prisoner support" websites I've found don't seem to have this feature. There's no prisoner feedback and no way for it (unless I'm not understanding something).

The mailers would have to have a decent printer, preferably that can do color. My own preference would be that the zine definitely be double-sided, but maybe that's just my own aesthetic quirk. Again, space should be used economically, at least as economically as, say, a printable Wikipedia article, though of course, with any art that's been contributed, which I imagine there may be a lot of.

I imagine the "front" name would be pretty inoffensive, so that we could develop some sort of "vendor" recognition, though how vendors become "recognized" or "accepted" by the gulagcrats, I've never quite understood.

Yes, I'll try to look into INDEPENDENT prisoner support groups on the e- and papernet myself, but I'd appreciate any info or ideas. Someplace where there's a lot of info in the same space would be nice.

This is just an idea in the formative stages. Any suggestions or offers of help would be welcome.

JND
James N. Dawson said:
DENISE: I'm no good at web design at all. I've moderated a couple Yahoo forums, but often incompetently. My internet/computer skills are VERY rudimentary. I don't know Photoshop or any program for arranging and editing photos or images. I hope to try learning this some day, but I don't have the time or quite the need right now. What I'm looking for is a group of people to typeset hand written stories, poems and text, and upload art, and basically "assemble" an "e-zine" that's easily and economically printable, so that hardcopies could be sent to prisoners. They'd probably only have to be printed a few at a time. Maybe it'd be a monthly, 6 pages, or whatever comes first. These details could be worked out later and tinkered with on an ongoing basis.

how about making a social network that for everyone who wants to be part of this project? you can make it here at ning, and while no one can find someone who can commit (i really want to but I'm busy with college) to the web design, then it can be the temporary site for the time being too.

I think I have the know-how in computers (for the most part) since I majored in that for a while in the university. I can help with typing, scanning, layout, photoshop or whatever whenever and however I can if you do decide to do this.
James: It may have those CONNOTATIONS, but I'm sure there are plenty of independent organisations supporting prisoners. Perhaps even in between anarchist and police state.
Zine World does some of this work by marking zines in their large reviews section which are free to prisoners - is that the sort of thing you mean, James?
EMMA: (Hope it's okay if I address you by name---I read your profile:) ) I suppose I should do some research, but I tend to get hopelessly confused and exhausted doing internet research---it's like wandering through an endless labrynth of wrong turns and dead ends. I was hoping somebody knew of a simply designed web page or even physical address I could write to that's done all the work for me! I've searched and found a few prisoner support networks, but as I've said, almost none have a physical address prisoners can contact themselves, which makes them dependent on go-betweens (like me). But I'll keep looking.

WES: Yes, I know about Zine World's FTP listings, but how do prisoners get a copy of Zine World? Apparently they must, because they often mention they saw my zine offered there. I don't think Jerriane offers ZW FTP---and I wouldn't blame her one bit if she didn't, all those zines add up, I know---so I'm guessing a few prisoners order a copy and it gets passed around. I've gone through ZW myself and made a one-sheeter briefly listing and describing FTP and FREE zines, but it's time consuming. I was hoping to co-ordinate a co-operative effort , to enlist a little help. Right now even a single sheet I and others could stuff in an envelope, maybe a quarterly, full of zines FTP, pen pal ads & various resources with addresses prisoners could write to would be a good start. From that maybe a full zine could develop. I thought assembling it on the web might be easier. So my invitation's still open to anybody with good organizing and web skills (which I'm afraid I don't have :).
You could also check with organizations like Pages to Prisoners or Books Behind Bars to see if they know of any resources like you are speaking of.
you should also include a resource for zine makers attempting to send materials in. Prisons can be VERY restrictive in what sort of materials they allow in; from whom - has to come from the actual publisher; size and content censorship as well.

Local public libraries around prisons are a GREAT resource and might be willing to distro or help in some way depending on location.
JAMES WROTE:
'EMMA: (Hope it's okay if I address you by name---I read your profile:) ) I suppose I should do some research, but I tend to get hopelessly confused and exhausted doing internet research---it's like wandering through an endless labrynth of wrong turns and dead ends.'


Well, I hope it has a happier in ending than Kafka's The Castle.

' I've searched and found a few prisoner support networks, but as I've said, almost none have a physical address prisoners can contact themselves, which makes them dependent on go-betweens (like me). But I'll keep looking.'

Or start talking. If you e-mail these places with your concerns on this issue, then you might discover like-minded people who have been mulling the same thing over themselves. We all do what we can, what we're good at, but sometimes a bit of preliminary infrastructural arranging needs to take place first. At least, many of them may be university educated, and could turn you on to some contemporary publications on the subject. policy stuff...

Hey people who send zines to prisoners: I know mail art is really popular and cool-looking, but some prisoners won't get their zines anymore with certain decorations on the envelope or product. Check this out: http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57053440-78/mail-galetka-letters-...

Thanks, Kari.

Actually, I'm pretty much aware of these kinds of rules and the rationale's for them.  Problem is, even if you try to follow their imperious rules to the letter, they'll still find some trifle to reject your mailings.  I was so incensed by this article and this petty tyrant, "Kerry Galetka" that I wrote the following to the LP Radicals Yahoo group (a pretty much do-nothing LP caucus):

 

I am not part of the "prison abolition" movement. Unfortunately, there are violent anti-social people in this world I believe must be contained, to prevent them from aggressing---murdering, raping, assaulting, abducting, etc. I do not hate these people or have a vindictive attitude toward them. Maybe on some level, they "can't help themselves", are mentally and spiritually sick, or are driven by uncontrollable urges. I believe it's morally acceptable to "humanely contain" them.

I also believe I have a right to send them letters, zines, books and other gifts, and that gulagcrats who interfere with this are aggressing against my freedom of association. I believe it is monstrously inhumane to deny a prisoner books, of any kind, to ease their boredom and isolation, or to improve themselves with knowledge.

Here is something that really offends and concerns me:

http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/57053440-78/mail-galetka-letters-prison.html.csp

What do you "LP radicals" feel about this? If you were to gain office, would you make it a priority to speak out against this oppression and to fight it politically?

I'd like to know who my comrades are, and who my political foes are. Thank you.

 

Sorry if this sounded a bit vitriolic, but this kind of meanness and petty tyranny really gets to me.

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