For Immediate Release

Abolitionist organizers make sure prisoners get all needed information to file for their missing stimulus checks, and be informed on the benefits of vaccinations..

Oregon––On March 9th, Critical Resistance Portland, with the help of Willamette Valley Abolition Project, and Siskiyou Abolition Project, began to coordinate a mass mailing of Economic Impact Payment (Stimulus Check) forms and vaccine info one pagers to all 14,500 prisoners in Oregon state prisons.

This joint effort launched in response to the continual refusal of the Oregon Department of Corrections (ODOC) to make sure prisoners get their stimulus checks. This entails circulating  forms that contain information to help prisoners to file for their Rebate Recovery Credit, which allows them to receive the funds from all previous EIPs if they weren’t able to meet the deadline in October. As was the case in October after the landmark Scholl v. Mnuchin ruling allowed prisoners to receive CARES Act payments, ODOC had absolutely no plan to distribute the necessary forms and information for prisoners who have yet to receive their first Economic Impact Payment (EIP).

“ODOC, the entity that claims responsibility for the wellbeing of prisoners, has demonstrated its complete incapacity to even distribute relevant information to prisoners during this pandemic.” said Shannon, mother of two and Critical Resistance Portland member. “When it comes to meeting the needs or upholding the health, dignity, or humanity of prisoners, ODOC’s inabilities are indicative of its design, not of its failures.”

As of March 30th, volunteers have sent 14,500 packets to all Oregon state prisoners. The vaccine one pager included in the mass mailing, was developed by NU Abolitionist and the Northside Prisoner Letter Writing Coalition of Chicago, and provides people inside with information on how to make the best choice about getting vaccinated. Only 69% of Oregon state prisoners have opted to take the first round of the vaccine, and many are justified to feel immense skepticism of medical providers as staff reportedly has been spreading false information about vaccines to imprisoned people. Given this, the fact sheet is of vital importance to assist in the circulation of accurate information to support those in prison in making the most informed decisions possible regarding their health options.

“Oregon Department of Corrections and Governor Kate Brown are responsible for 42 entirely preventable deaths, and counting, due to toxic, life-endangering conditions inside of their facilities.’ Says Kate Stubblefield of Critical Resistance Portland, “The fact that we, small grassroots organizations mobilizing a few hundred volunteers, have provided more information on vaccinations, and on how to file for taxes to prisoners than ODOC illustrates its incompetence.”