“Just a voice sometimes is enough to keep the prison administration on their toes. Everything MPAC members do is meaningful. Thank you for not giving up on us.” – Jeff
Dear Friend of Restorative and Humane Justice for Maine People,
We deeply appreciate your past and ongoing support of the work and goals of Maine Prisoner Advocacy Coalition (MPAC). We are Maine’s prisoners, former prisoners, families, victims of crime, and people like you who understand the ethical, practical, and humane changes needed in Maine's criminal justice system.
We're grateful to share MPAC’s Annual Appeal with you for the purpose of organizing advocacy projects and expanding access for all Mainers to a JUST and EQUAL society. We hope you'll be able to contribute.
Last year MPAC greatly increased advocacy through an effective coalition led by coordinator, Joseph Jackson, assistant coordinator Jan Collins, and many committed members. With the fortunate combination of leadership from former prisoners, and direction from current prisoners, MPAC has now expanded outreach to youth – mentoring former and presently incarcerated young men and women, and changing the policies that affect them. We've collaborated with Maine Inside Out, Youth First, Maine Children's Alliance, and other youth mentoring projects in Portland, Biddeford, Lewiston and other towns. Now we need to ensure that these new projects keep growing, while still increasing MPAC's adult prisoner actions as well. MPAC's “Fair Chance” Legislation (Ban the Box on employment applications) begins in this new legislative session. Here again, MPAC is incorporating young leadership by training college students through presentations beginning this month at Bates College and UM-Presque Isle.
One more important note: MPAC began a special emphasis in 2016 on unique issues and the over-representation in Maine's prisoners of prisoners of color, both youth and adults.
Many Maine citizens are directly affected by incarceration. Nationally, one out of every 100 adults is behind bars (1 in 6 for young men of color). One in 31 is on some form of state supervision such as probation, and 1 in 23 children has an incarcerated parent. As the illness of chemical addiction, combined with income disparity, continues to impact our towns, more people are incarcerated and costs rise in terms of taxes and loss of hope for families. We’re fortunate to have a handful of alternatives; yet, these don’t affect most people. Everyone benefits from MPAC’s push toward Fair Chance Legislation, Sentencing Guidelines Revisions, Supervised Community Confinement, ending Solitary Confinement's abuses and costs, Medical oversight, and training new leaders from the very people we represent.
For over nine years, MPAC activists have worked with Maine’s incarcerated men and women to improve prison conditions and post-release successes. MPAC acts as the primary state watchdog on inhumane disciplinary policies. We promote pay-for-work plans for prisoners, continue to reduce solitary confinement, and speak for the growing numbers of mentally ill citizens confined in Maine's prisons. MPAC networks with diverse groups in our coalition to bring about legislative improvements; and we stand against efforts to remove civil rights, such as the recurring attempts to remove voting rights for prisoners. Equally important, MPAC keeps constant pressure on prison healthcare providers to combat medical negligence, and constantly meets with prison officials so that incarcerated men and women's voices are heard and crises overcome.
“Your acceptance of us as who we are, and ability to see the good in people, is inspirational. Having MPAC involved here creates a whole new atmosphere.” – Matt
While recidivism in Maine, as in the nation, still averages 67 percent, MPAC’s work creates another reality in which incarcerated Mainers are more likely to receive crucial assistance that can make the difference between returning to prison or finding a place in our communities. What this means is:
Incarcerated men and women are exposed to alternatives and hope.
Families are more likely to stay intact or are reunited.
With a rise in wage earners, businesses increase profits and communities have less crime.
Costs are lowered. Advocacy reduces tax dollars and MPAC’s services are free.
“I know I'm still young with plenty of life to live. Sometimes I just need
to be reminded about how decent life can be.” – Sean
Essential prisoner advocacy in Maine:
MPAC volunteers and jail and prison residents are grateful for your support. Your contribution will deeply affect positive assistance for incarcerated men and women and ex-prisoners throughout the coming year. Rather than short-term help, MPAC’s projects mobilize whole system change, with a long-term commitment. MPAC nurtures leadership from those who have been excluded from resources, power, and the right to active self-determination.
We particularly appreciate your assistance, since the nature of our innovative projects for prisoners makes conventional funding a challenge. And, your contribution is tax deductible through MPAC’s fiscal sponsor, Resources for Organizing and Social Change-ROSC, a 501c3 charitable organization (resourcesforsocialchange.org).
Now, more than ever before, MPAC needs assistance to combat regressive ideas and indifference toward Maine's prisoners and their families.
Thank you for your support and caring.
Judy Garvey and Jim Bergin, for MPAC Board of Directors
“You have all blessed my life mightily through your kindness and never failing support. Keep shining on.” – Ed