Working to dismantle the prison industrial complex (PIC) in all its forms, all of Critical Resistance’s work is done through a spirit of solidarity for people locked up inside prisons, jails and detention centers, as the aim of our work is to free all prisoners and demolish cages.
CR also sustains campaigns and projects that provide direct communication, organizing and political education support to imprisoned people. Throughout CR’s history, we have prioritized building strong and principled relationships with prisoners across the PIC’s cages.
Prisoner Solidarity Efforts
Chapter Prisoner Mail Projects:
CR chapters correspond with prisoners regularly through a Prisoner Mail initiative across the organization. CR members outside of prison share information, newsletters, updates as well as political and legal resources with people locked up in prison. Our chapters in Portland, Oakland, and New York each host Prisoner Mail volunteer nights regularly. Prisoner Mail is great way to get involved with CR, as you learn about the organization quickly and start your CR work by building relationships with people inside. Learn more about our Prisoner Mail programs here, and get in contact with a local chapter to get involved with a prisoner mail program near you.
The Abolitionist Newspaper:
Fondly referred to by CR members as “The Abby,” The Abolitionist is a bilingual newspaper (English & Spanish) published by Critical Resistance that we send to thousands of prisoners. The paper is an inside-outside organizing and political education tool for prisoners in jails, prisons and detention centers. CR sends the paper a few times throughout the year free of charge to prisoners, and the paper focuses on movement updates from organizing inside and outside of prisons. Read past issues of the paper, check out upcoming launch events and issue features or learn more about the project and its history here.
Critical Resistance members also build with imprisoned comrades through our campaign work. Many of our campaigns and coalitions include workgroups that focus on supporting and building solidarity with imprisoned people to get involved in the campaign effort, from building with people jailed in 850 Bryant in No New SF Jail Coalition to shut down the notorious County Jail 4 in San Francisco, to connecting with imprisoned folks in Santa Rita jail for Decarcerate Alameda County, to building long-standing relationships with imprisoned people in state prisons across California to inform our work to close 10 California prisons with CURB (Californians United for a Responsible Budget). CR Chapters have also ran inside-outside study groups, conducting radical political education with comrades inside jails, prisons and detention centers.
Prisoners Speak Out
Read statements and quotes from prisoners CR has been building with through our campaigns and study groups on the Prisoner Speak Out page here.
Critical Resistance Phone Lines:
For years, Critical Resistance has accepted collect calls from prisoners through our national office in Oakland, CA. Prisoners in jails, detention centers, and prisons nationally call our office to speak with CR staff and non-paid members. In 2020, after COVID-19 protocol moved the organization to close our office and work from home, we expanded our call system so that prisoners could still contact CR, answering calls remotely. Our phone lines are now run by a national network of dozens of volunteers who help build vital relationships for the organization with people locked up in cages.
Support Kevin “Rashid” Johnson!
Imprisoned artist and organizer Kevin “Rashid” Johnson is experiencing increasing repression by prison administration, including back-to-back out of state transfers. Check out Rashid’s work and make some calls to prison administrative offices to support Rashid.