Political Prisoners

political prisonerThe United States has the largest per capita prison population in the world. Many of our nation’s inmates are political prisoners, having been caught on the wrong side of discriminatory socio-economic policies. This brief list mentions the more celebrated activist political prisoners, in no particular order.

(This page is a work in progress. Thanks are due to the prisoner activist organizations from whom graphics and blurbs have been adapted.)

Animal rights activists have been arrested, accused of stalking.

Linda GreeneLinda Greene #1300927
Century Regional Detention Facility
11705 S. Alameda Street
Lynwood, CA 90262

Arrested April 16, 2009. Charges are unclear at this time but apparently stem from peaceful, legal demonstrations against UCLA primate vivisectors. Lindy is a committed animal rights activist who has been active against Huntingdon Life Sciences, LA Animal Services’ needless killing of homeless animals, and UCLA primate vivisection, along with a number of other social justice and anti-war issues.

kevin olliffKevin Olliff #1300931
Terminal Annex
P.O. Box 86164
Los Angeles, CA 90086-0164

Arrested again April 16 after indictment by a secretive Grand Jury in Los Angeles. Charges are unclear at this time but apparently stem from peaceful, legal demonstrations against UCLA primate vivisectors. Kevin is a committed animal rights activist who has organized against Huntingdon Life Sciences.

Alex Jason Hall #323748
Booking number: 906610
Salt Lake County Metro Jail
3415 S. 900 W.
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

On March 5, William “BJ” Veihl and Alex Hall, were raided and arrested accused of raiding a mink farm in Utah, last August, and attempting to raid a second mink farm, in October 2008. Both are being held at Salt Lake County Jailed charged with Animal Enterprise Terrorism.

William Veihl #323754
Booking #:906617
Salt Lake County Metro Jail
3415 S. 900 W.
Salt Lake City, UT 84119

——– SHAC 7:
shac7The SHAC 7 are 6 activists and a corporation, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty USA Inc., found guilty of multiple federal felonies for their alleged role in campaigning to close down the notorious animal testing lab, Huntingdon Life Sciences. They were not accused of actually smashing windows, liberating animals or even attending demonstrations, rather reporting on and encouraging others to engage in legal demonstrations and supporting the ideology of direct action.

Jacob Conroy #93501-011
FCI Terminal Island
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 3007
San Pedro, CA 90731

One of the SHAC 7, sentenced: 4 years. Visit Jake’s support website: www.myspace.com/veganjedi.

Lauren Gazzola #93497-011
FCI Danbury
Federal Correctional Institution
Route #37
Danbury, CT 06811

One of the SHAC 7, sentenced: 4 years, 4 months. Visit Lauren’s support website: www.myspace.com/supportlauren

Joshua Harper #29429-086
FCI Sheridan
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 5000
Sheridan, OR 97378

One of the SHAC 7, sentenced: 3 years. Visit Josh’s support website: www.myspace.com/jharps

Kevin Kjonaas #93502-011
FCI Sandstone
P.O. Box 1000
Sandstone, MN 55072

One of the SHAC 7, sentenced: 6 years.

tre arrowTre Arrow #70936065
FCI Herlong
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 800
Herlong, CA 96113

In August 2008, Tre was sentenced to 78 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to two counts of arson, charges resulting from fires that destroyed several cement and logging trucks in Oregon in 2001. The sentence is less time served (Tre has been incarcerated in Canada and the US since March 2004), leaving a little more than 30 months to serve.

“I plead guilty to these charges to avoid going to trial and possibly spending the rest of my life behind bars if found guilty. I want to reiterate very clearly that this was a non cooperation plea agreement, wherein I didn’t give any information to the government about anyone or any action in order to receive this sentence. Unlike the three other defendants in this case I have not snitched on anyone. They received a 41 month sentence because they implicated me and cooperated fully with the government.”

nathan blockNathan Block #36359-086
FCI Lompoc
Federal Correctional Institution
3600 Guard Road
Lompoc, CA 93436

Serving 7 years & 8 months for an ELF arson against a Poplar Tree Farm and an ELF arson against an SUV dealership. Also admitted his role in an ELF/ALF conspiracy.

Resist the green scareJordan Halliday #24836
Cache County Jail
1225 West Valley View Highway, Suite 100
Logan, UT 84321

On March 13, 2009, animal rights activist Jordan Halliday was found in contempt of court for refusing to testify before a grand jury (a secret proceeding where witnesses are not allowed to have attorneys present). He may be held until the grand jury closes in June.

Jeff LuersJeffrey Luers #13797671
9111 NE Sunderland Avenue
Portland, OR 97211-1708

In 2007, Jeff “Free” Luers won an appeal of his outrageous 23-year sentence for the burning of three SUV’s in Eugene, Oregon. His sentence was reduced to 10 years. He is scheduled to be released in December 2009.

Marie Mason #04672-061
FCI Waseca
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 1731
Waseca, MN 56093

Marie Mason is a long-time environmental and social justice activist and loving mother of two. In March 2008, she was arrested on charges related to Earth Liberation Front actions that occurred in Michigan in 1999 and 2000; no one was injured in the actions. On February 5, 2009, Marie received an outrageous 262 month sentence (a little under 22 years). The sentence was higher than even that asked for by federal prosecutors. Marie’s sentence is the longest given to any “Green Scare” defendant to date. Support website: www.freemarie.org

Eric McDavidEric McDavid #16209-097
FCI Victorville Medium II
Federal Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 5300
Adelanto, CA 92301

In September 2007, Eric McDavid was found guilty of conspiracy to sabotage federal facilities in the name of the environment. The government’s case was based on the word of an FBI informant who was paid over $75,000 to fabricate a crime. Both of Eric’s co-defendants testified against Eric in return for a lesser charge. On May 8, 2008, Eric was sentenced to an outrageous 19 years and 7 months in prison for a crime that was never committed. Eric is appealing his conviction.

Daniel McGowanDaniel McGowan #63794-053
USP Marion
U.S. Penitentiary
P.O. Box 1000
Marion, IL 62959

In June 2007, Daniel McGowan was sentenced to seven years in prison. Learn more about Daniel at the following websites: www.myspace.com/danielmcgowan.

jonathan paulJonathan Paul #07167-085
FCI Phoenix
Federal Correctional Institution
37910 N 45th Ave.
Phoenix, AZ 85086

Jonathan Paul was sentenced to 4 years and 3 months imprisonment for role in 1997 fire that destroyed the Cavel West horsemeat packing plant in Redmond, Oregon. He began his sentence on October 31, 2007. Jonathan said as he reported to prison, “This is way bigger than us, this is for the animals and the planet, we will never suffer as much as they do.”

Michael Sykes #696693
Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility
1728 Bluewater Highway
Ionia, MI 48846

Serving four to ten years for anti-sprawl arsons, criminal damage to a utility pole, spray-painting political graffiti and burning the American flag.

justin uribeJustin Uribe #T-29257
C-5/236 up
Pleasant Valley State Prison
PO Box 8503
Coalinga, CA 93210

Serving the final years of a 6-year term for arson. These actions were not animal or environmentally motivated, but Justin is an avowed animal liberationist, scheduled for release within the next year.

briana watersBriana Waters #36432-086
FCI Danbury
Federal Correctional Institution
Route 37
Danbury, CT 06811

On June 19, 2008, Briana was sentenced to six years in prison. She maintains her innocence and will be appealing her conviction.

joyanna zacherJoyanna Zacher #36360-086
FCI Dublin
Federal Correctional Institution
5701 8th Street – Camp Parks – Unit F
Dublin, CA 94568

In June 2007, Joyanna Zacher (“Sadie”) and Nathan Block (“Exile”) were sentenced to 7 years and 8 months imprisonment each. For more information, please contact their support campaign: solidaritywithsadieandexile@gmail.com.

——– CUBAN 5
Free the Cuban 5The Cuban Five are five Cuban men who are in U.S. prison, serving four life sentences and 75 years collectively, after being wrongly convicted in U.S. federal court in Miami, on June 8, 2001. The Five were falsely accused by the U.S. government of committing espionage conspiracy against the United States, and other related charges. But the Five pointed out vigorously in their defense that they were involved in monitoring the actions of Miami-based terrorist groups, in order to prevent terrorist attacks on their country of Cuba.

cuban five drawingRUBEN CAMPA #58733-004
FCI Terre Haute
P.O. Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

cuban fiveANTONIO GUERRERO #58741-004
U.S.P. Florence
P.O. Box 7500
Florence, CO 81226

U.S. Penitentiary-Victorville
P.O. Box 5500
Adelanto, CA 92301

cuban fiveRENE GONZALEZ #58738-004
FCI Marianna
P.O. Box 7007
Marianna, FL 32447-7007

LUIS MEDINA #58734-004
USP McCreary
P.O. Box 3000
Pine Knot, KY 42635

——– MOVE 9
free move nineThe MOVE 9 are innocent men and women who have been imprisoned since 1979, following a massive police assault on MOVE headquarters in Powerton Village, Philadelphia (seven years before the government dropped a bomb on MOVE killing 11 people including 5 children).

MOVE is an eco-revolutionary group who carried out protests in defense of all life. There are currently eight MOVE activists in prison each serving 100 years after been framed for the murder of a cop in 1979. 9th defendant, Merle Africa, died in prison in 1998.

SCI Graterford
P.O. Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426-0244

SCI Mahoney
301 Morea Road
Frackville, PA 17932

janet hollaway afrikaJANET HOLLOWAY AFRICA #OO-6308
451 Fullerton Ave
Cambridge Springs, PA

SCI Dallas
Follies Road, Drawer K
Dallas, PA 18612

451 Fullerton Ave
Cambridge Springs, PA

SCI Dallas
Follies Road, Drawer K
Dallas, PA 18612

SCI Graterford
P.O. Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426-0244

451 Fullerton Ave
Cambridge Springs, PA

mumia abu-jamalMUMIA ABU-JAMAL #AM-8335
175 Progress Drive
Waynesburg, PA 15370-8090

In 1981 Mumia, former Black Panther and vocal supporter of MOVE, was framed for the murder of a cop. He was originally sentenced to death but is currently awaiting re-sentencing following a court hearing in 2001.

Free the virgin island fiveABDUL AZIZ (Warren Ballentine)
Golden Groove Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 1100
Kingshill, St Croix, V.I U.S 00850

hanif shabazz beyHANIF S. BEY (B. GEREAU) #295933
Keen Mountain Correctional Center
P.O. Box 860
Oakwood, Virginia 24631

Wallensridge Supermax
P.O. Box 759
Big Stone Gap, VA 24219

Black panthers san francisco 8

imam jamil - revolution the bookIMAM JAMIL ABDULLAH AL-AMIN (H. Rap Brown) #99974-555
USP Florence ADMAX
P.O. Box 8500
Florence, CO 81226

Herman BellHERMAN BELL #2318931
San Francisco County Jail
850 Bryant Street
San Francisco CA 94103


1 Kelley Drive
Coal Township, PA 17866-1021

SCI Somerset
1590 Walters Mill Rd
Somerset, PA 15510

marshall eddie conwayMARSHALL EDDIE CONWAY #116469
Jessup Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 534
Jessup, MD 20794

Veteran Black Panther Party leader Marshall Edward (“Eddie”) Conway continues to maintain his innocence of a police murder in 1970, which he claims not to have committed.

Romaine chip fitzgeraldROMAINE CHIP FITZGERALD #B27527
P.O. Box 921
Imperial, CA 92251

robert seth hayesROBERT SETH HAYES #74-A-2280
Wende Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 1187
Alden, NY 14004-1187

Mondo we langaMONDO WE LANGA (DAVID RICE) #27768
P.O. Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542-2500

P.O. Box 2000
Dannemora, New York 12929

abdul majidABDUL MAJID #83-A-0483
Green Haven Correctional Facility
Drawer B
Stormville, NY 12582-0010


Jalil muntaqimJALIL MUNTAQIM (Anthony Bottom) #2311826
San Francisco County Jail
850 Bryant St
San Francisco, CA 94103

One of NEW YORK THREE, Jalil Muntaqim was arrested in 1971 at the age of nineteen following an armed confrontation between Black Liberation Army members and the San Fransisco police. He was subsequenmtly framed for the murder of two New York City police officers, and has consequently spent the last thirty years in prison.

ed poindexterED POINDEXTER #27767
P. O. Box 2500
Lincoln, NE 68542

RONALD REED #2195311
5329 Osgood Avenue North
Stillwater, Minnesota 55082-1117

Mutulu ShakurDR. MUTULU SHAKUR #83205-012
USP Florence ADX
P.O. Box 8500
Florence, CO 81226

Father of Tupak Shakur, Dr. Mutulu Shakur, a lifelong activist in the New Afrikan (Black) Independence Movement and a Doctor of Acupuncture, was cofounder of the Republic of New Afrika (1968); the Black Acupuncture Advisory Association of America and was one of the pioneers in using acupuncture in the treatment of substance abuse; the Islamic Young Men’s Movement, a youth prisoner organization; and was a key organizer in the historic gang truce between the Bloods and the Crips at Lompoc Penitentiary. Shakur was sentenced to 60 years imprisonment for an alleged conspiracy by the Black Liberation Army/New Afrikan Freedom Fighters against the U.S. government.

Russell maroon shoatzRUSSELL MAROON SHOATS #AF-3855
175 Proggress Dr.
Waynesburg, PA 15370

Russel Maroon Shoats is a Black (New Afrikan) POW. Maroon is imprisoned for his activities on behalf of Black Liberation. In 1967, Maroon was a founding member of Philadelphia’s Black Unity Council (BUC). The BUC eventually merged with the Black Panther Party, and Maroon became a member of the Philadelphia’s BPP chapter.

In 1970, Maroon and five other comrades were accused of attacking a Philadelphia Police station, resulting in the death and wounding of several police officers. This attack was carried out in response to the unjustified deaths in the Black community commited by these officers.

SEKOU KAMBUI (William Turk) #113058
P.O. Box 56 SCC (B1-21)
Elmore, AL 36025-0056

sekou odingaSEKOU ODINGA #05228-054
P.O. Box 8500 ADX
Florence, CO 81226-8500

USP Otisville
P.O. Box 1000
Otisville, NY 10963

In 1969 he and 13 others were arrested in the Panther 21 conspiracy case. He was held in jail without bail and on trial for two years before being acquitted, along with all other defendants, by a jury deliberating less than two hours.

Upon release, FBI intimidation of potential employers shut off all employment possibilities in the computer profession and stepped-up COINTELPRO harassment, surveillance, and provocations soon drove him underground.

In May 1973, while driving the New Jersey Turnpike, he and his comrades were ambushed by N.J. state troopers. One companion, Zayd Shakur, was killed, another companion, Assata Shakur, was wounded and captured. One state trooper was killed and another wounded, and Sundiata was captured days later.

oso blancoBYRON SHANE CHUBBUCK #07909-051
USP Talladega
P.O. Box 1000
Talladega, AL 35160

Byron is a wolf clan Cherokee/Choctaw raised in New Mexico, his Indian name is Oso Blanco and he became known by the authorities as “Robin the Hood” after the FBI and local gang unit APD officers learned from a CI that Oso Blanco was robbing banks to send thousands of dollars worth of supplies to the Zapatista Rebels of Chiapas on a regular basis during 1998 and 1999.

“I am serving 80 years in Beaumont federal Penitentiary for bank robbery and firearms violation. I robbed from the banks and gave to the Hood and indigenous warriors. I was dubbed by the FBI as Robin The Hood. For my info on me all you need to do is Google my name you will find both the lies of main stream media and some independent interviews where I was able to give my accounts of the situation. Do this and then write me if your still interested in me helping others.”

Support Oso Blanco/White Bear/Yona Unaga on Myspace.

alvaro chicano mexicanALVARO LUNA HERNANDEZ #255735
Hughes Unit
Rt. 2, Box 4400
Gatesville, TX 76597

Alvaro was charged with one count for disarming the sheriff and one count for a wound suffered by Sgt. Curtis Hines from a ricocheting police bullet. Alvaro’s elderly mother was charged with “hindering apprehension” and jailed. On June 2-9, 1997, Alvaro was convicted of “threatening” the sheriff, but acquitted on the charge of shooting Sgt. Hines. He received a 50-year sentence. His case is currently on appeal.

leonard peltierLEONARD PELTIER #89637-132
USP Lewisburg
P.O. Box 1000
Lewisburg, PA 178371

Leonard Peltier is a Native American PP imprisoned for the 1975 shoot-out between the FBI and the American Indian Movement (AIM) in which two federal agents and an Native American man were killed. Four years after his incarceration, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) suit released documents which prove Leonard Peltier’s innocence and FBI’s targeting of the activist. Leonard was a close associate of Dennis Banks (one of the founders of AIM).

puerto ricoCommittee to free Puerto Rican POWs.

oscar lopez riveraOSCAR LOPEZ RIVERA #87651-024
U.S.P. Terre Haute
P.O. Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

He was arrested in 1981 and sentenced to 55 years for seditious conspiracy. In 1988 he was given an additional 15 years for conspiracy to escape. His release date is 2021.

puerto rico carlosCARLOS ALBERTO TORRES #88976-024
FCI Pekin
P.O. Box 5000
Pekin, IL 61555

In 1980 he was arrested and charged with seditious conspiracy and related charges, and sentenced to 78 years in prison. The parole commission recently told him he must serve another 15 years in prison before they will consider his case. His release date is 2024.

marilyn buckMARILYN BUCK #00482-285
Unit A
5701 8th St. Camp Parks
Dublin, CA 94568

She was charged with conspiracy to support and free PP/POW’s and to support the New Afrikan Independence struggle through expropriations. In 1988 she was indicted for conspiracy to protest and alter government policies through use of violence against government and military buildings and received an additional 10 years for conspiracy to bomb the Capitol. She is serving a total of 80 years.

matthew depalmaMATTHEW DEPALMA
Sherburne County Jail
13880 Business Center Drive
Elk River, MN 55330-4601

DePalma is an anarchist convicted of illegally possessing Molotov cocktails allegedly intended to be used at the Republican National Convention and against the police outside the convention.

The government indictment stated that between August 22, 1008 and August 29, 2008, DePalma began to build roughly about five Molotov cocktails. Police started watching him during a CrimeThinc Convergence near Waldo, Wis. It was here where they claim he devised his plan to use explosives to disrupt the RNC at the Xcel Center. He was arrested on August 30, 2008 by agent of the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force at a residence in Minneapolis. The plan involved tunnels near the center and using explosives to destroy cables and cause a power outage.

As with the more recent arrests, a great deal of evidence against DePalma has come from the assistance of a paid informant. DePalma pleaded guilty on October 21, 2008. He pleaded guilty to 1 count of possession of destruction device.

david gilbertDAVID GILBERT #83-A-6158
Clinton Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 2001
Dannemora, NY 12929

David Gilbert is a North American political prisoner. On October 20, 1981, he and other comrades were captured at Nyack, NY during an attempted expropriation by a unit of the Black Liberation Army and other white revolutionaries (known as the Revolutionary Armed Task Force – RATF). During the expropriation attempt, 3 officers were killed. Charged and convicted of felony murder, David is serving a 75 year (minimum) to life sentence. While in prison, David has been actively involved in the struggle against AIDS, and has remained a staunch opponent of oppression still dedicated to human liberation.

jaan laamanJAAN K. LAAMAN #10372-016
USP Tucson
P.O. Box 24550
Tucson, AZ 85734

Jaan Karl Laaman is an Anti-Imperialist political prisoner, imprisoned for actions carried out by United Freedom Front (UFF)­ a left-wing guerrilla group active in the US in the early ’80s. He is currently serving a 98 years sentence for charges ranging from Seditious Conspiracy, firefights with government forces and weapon possession.

In the 1960’s, Jaan was involved in various grassroots movements, ranging from the peace movement, anti-racist struggles to the labor organizing. During this time, he joined the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), where he worked side by side with Black Panther Party and Young Lords organizing the youth. Due to a combination of government repression and slow progress of the movements of change, Jaan joined up with the underground revolutionary movement.

MCI Shirley
P.O. Box 1218
Shirley, MA 01464-1218

William “Lefty” Gilday is a 60’s radical sentenced to death for his involvement in bank expropriation while attempting to finance the anti-war movement during the Vietnam war.

USP Hazelton
P. O. Box 2000
Bruceton Mills, WV 26525

Helen Woodson #03231-045
FMC Carswell
P.O. Box 27137
Fort Worth, TX 76127

Serving 8 years & 10 months for a series of actions that focused the interrelationship of war and the destruction of the natural world. The actions included destruction of Government property (pouring a tin of red paint over the security desk of a federal court) and making threatening communications. Prior to her arrest Helen had served 20Þ years for actions which included: 1) Using a hammer to disarm a nuclear missile silo. 2) Burning $25,000 on the floor of a bank whilst denouncing war, environmental destruction and economic injustice. 3) Mailing warning letters with bullets attached to Government & corporate officials.

BILL DUNNE #10916-086
USP Big Sandy
P.O. Box 2068
Inez, KY 41224

ojore lutaloOJORE NURU LUTALO #59860
P.O. Box 861
SBI# 0000901548
Trenton, NJ 08625

tsutomo shirosakiTSUTOMU SHIROSAKI #20924-016
FCI Terre Haute
P.O. Box 33
Terre Haute, IN 47808

veronza bowersVERONZA BOWERS JR. #35316-136
P.O. Box 150160
Atlanta, GA 30315

azania zoloZOLO AGONA AZANIA #4969
Indiana State Prison
P.O. Box 41
Michigan City, IN 46361

lumumba fordPatrice Lumumba Ford #96639-011
USP Coleman I
P.O. Box 1033
Coleman , FL 33521

Herman Wallace #76759
Elaine Hunt Correctional Center
Unit 5, E-Tier
PO Box 174
St Gabriel, LA 70776

Albert Woodfox #72148
CCR, Lower A5
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola, LA 70712

gary tylerGary Tyler # 84156
Louisiana State Penitentiary
Angola, LA 70712

In 1975, Gary Tyler, an African-American teenager, was wrongly convicted by an all-white jury for the murder of Timothy Weber, a thirteen-year-old white youth. Weber had been killed the previous year during an attack by a racist white mob on a school bus filled with African-American high school students in Destrehan, Louisiana. Tyler ‘s trial was characterized by coerced testimony, planted evidence, judicial misconduct, and an incompetent defense. He was sentenced to death by electrocution at the age of seventeen.

pol brennanPol Brennan #A88 785 324
South Texas Detention Complex
566 Veteran’s Drive
Pearsall, TX 78061

Former Irish Republican Prisoner of War, Pol Brennan, has been detained by the US Border Patrol and is awaiting possible deportation.

yu kikumuraYu Kikumura, #09008-050,
P.O. Box 8500-ADX,
Florence, CO 81226.

Yu Kikumura, a Japanese National – US Political Prisoner is imprisoned at A D X Florence in Colorado. This is a super maximum-security federal control-unit prison. He needs some direct legal support (advice and/or representation). Yu Kikumura was a member of the Japanese Red Army. They acted in support of the Palestinian struggle. In 1986 Yu Kikumura was arrested in Amsterdam carrying a bomb in his luggage. He was later deported to Japan but released on a technicality. He was arrested on April 12, 1988 at a rest stop on the New Jersey Turnpike by a state trooper who thought he was acting suspiciously.

hugo pinellHugo L.A. Pinell #A88401 SHU D3-221
Pelican Bay State Prison
P.O. Box 7500
Crescent City, CA 95531-7500

Hugo was a student and comrade of the legendary Black Panther Field Marshall, the late George Jackson, with whom he worked to organize other Black prisoners against the racist violence and prison conditions of the ’60s and ’70s.

Visitation Info, from ABCF:

Restrictions and criteria for visiting Federal and State prisons are different. Generally, it is easier to visit state prisoners. Visiting condtions are usually better at Federal prisons. Listed below are some of the different guidelines for visiting Federal/State prisoners, and some guidelines useful to visit any prisoner.

Federal Prisons. To visit Federal prisoners, you must first be approved by filling out a form that the prisoner must send you in advance. Only people who say they had a relationship to a federal prisoner prior to their imprisonment can be approved. Usually, the prison will not approve people who say they visit other prisoners. Once you complete and mail the form to the prisoners counselor, the prisoner will tell you if you have been approved or denied.

State Prisons. Some state prisons require you to be placed on an approved visitors list but most do not. Contact the state prisoner you want to see and have them fill you in on the procedures of the particular prison they are held. Some state prisoners may receive food packages. Check with the prisoner for restrictions on what they can receive.

Before visiting any prisoner, write to them, be considerate and send a postal money order made payable to the prisoners name and number so they can buy stamps to reply. (most prisons DO NOT allow you to send stamps). Ask all questions through the mail before your visit. Ask about visiting days/hours, dress codes, maximum number of vistors allowed per visit, about getting photos of your visit, and anything else you can think of. You wont be allowed to visit without presenting a valid photo ID like a drivers license or county ID. Bring small bills or change for the vending machines in the visiting room.

Writing prisoners, from ELPSN:

Things to remember when writing to prisoners:

1. Don’t discuss any illegal activity (ALL mail is read by prison officials).

2. Each prison has its own mail restrictions.

3. Do not put any stickers inside or outside the card/letter (including Air Mail/Par Avion stickers, if writing from overseas)

4. Do not include any paperclips, staples or anything extra in your letter.

5. Write your address on the envelope AND inside the letter, since prisoners often are not given the envelope.

6. Do not send money to the prison address (please contact activist’s support groups to financially support prisoners).

7. Prisoners appreciate books, but they must be paperback, and must ship directly from the publisher or from online retailers like Amazon.com.

8. Your letters are appreciated , even if you don’t receive a response (prisoners are only allowed a limited amount of paper, envelopes and stamps, making it difficult to respond to every letter).