Open Letter to Activists on the Outside

by Sergio Hyland

From PHN Issue 18, Fall 2013

I’m not one of those people who accept the notion that the existence of prisons is inevitable, because if I accept that, I’ll have to accept other associated notions as fact. Like the notion that the thousands of inhumane solitary confinement torture chambers across the nation have to exist. Because I’m on the inside and see the reality of these places, I definitely can’t accept the notion that prisons keep our communities safe!

I study my history. I know the truth. We know that there was this thing called “slavery” that many people didn’t believe could be abolished. But it was. The time has come for this system of mass social control, intimidation, legal lynching, and human experimentation to end! Our government is owned and controlled by corporate heads who can only have their way if the masses are held in check and locked away inside of prisons. The only ones safe from capitalism are the 1% who sit at the top of every committee that decides the fate of the 99%. It’s this truth that the masses must be exposed to. And at the end of the day, it MUST also be this truth that serves as the glue that unites us around our direct need to abolish the largest system of mass imprisonment this planet has ever seen.

Your work as prison abolitionists is vital to the destruction of the Prison Industrial Complex. We on the inside react in the same way as you on the outside: We push forward. We don’t tone it down. We push harder. We get frustrated. We get fatigued. We get upset. But we never quit. Our consciences won’t allow us to, because we know that we’re doing the right thing. So to anybody who may be reading this, you must know that we on the inside are with you, and you must do everything humanly possible to let those on the inside know that:

1. It can be done;

2. It has been done before;

3. We have a plan to get it done;

4. You need the help of those on the inside; and

5. Those on the inside have a vested interest in getting involved.

But more importantly, those of us on the inside have to know that people on the outside care about us. Because love is the strongest motivator I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing. And if it was strong enough to turn me into a believer, I can only imagine what it will do for others on the inside of prison. On behalf of those on the inside who are already in the know, thank you!!!

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