Solidarity with Incarcerated Survivors Series
For the summer, we will be hosting letter-writing nights for incarcerated survivors and volunteer training for supporting local incarcerated survivors.
A book club will begin again in the fall of 2022.
Letter Writing Night to Incarcerated Survivors,
Thursday, June 16, July 28, and August 18, 7-8 pm
*Letter writing nights are free and open to all.
Volunteer Training for Supporting Incarcerated Survivors,
Tuesday, June 21, July 19, 6:30-8 pm
*Volunteers must be 18 and able to pass a background check to participate in Jail programs.
All summer events are meeting at Middle Way House. Come in through the New Wings gate and press the buzzer on the left-side door at 338 S. Washington Street, Bloomington IN, 47401. Parking is available behind the Allison Jukebox Center, at the park across the street.
If you are unable to join us live but wish to participate, send an email before the event and we will send information to you about the survivor we are writing to for the month.
Questions? Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Resources and How to Support
* Use lined paper,
* Use a pencil or black pen,
* Do not use watermarks,
* Do not add any extra flare (sparkles, glue, color, etc).
* Include the name and prison number of the person at the top of the page.
Options for mailing your letter:
Buzz in at the front desk- there is a large manila envelope at that desk to drop your letter off in and we’ll get them stamped and in the mail!
2. Use Middle Way House as a Return Address:
PO Box 95
Bloomington, IN 47402
If you use the Middle Way House address, please still make sure the
outside and inside names match.
3. Use Your Own Address:
If you get a letter back to your own address, please scan the letter and send it to email@example.com
You can also visit: Survived & Punished for active commutation petitions!
Or, if you wish to write your own letter (or an organizational support letter) in support of commutation, see this doc, which serves as a template.
History and Context
Because support for incarcerated survivors is critical, the community launched monthly letter-writing nights in October of 2015. Incarcerated survivors report that receiving letters and cards from the public has a great impact on their sense of safety and connectedness while incarcerated. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that social connectedness, which letter-writing builds, is a protective factor against violence.
It remains true that survivors are often criminalized when they defend themselves or their children from an abuser’s violence. It is important to understand that incarcerated survivors, especially incarcerated women, are overwhelmingly survivors of domestic and sexual violence. This violence typically plays a significant role in their incarceration. This is especially true for women of color, individuals who identify as LGBTQ+, and members of other oppressed and marginalized communities. One study in New York’s Rikers Island found the majority of survivors interviewed reported engaging in illegal activity directly in response to experiences of abuse, the threat of violence, or coercion by an intimate partner.
Survivors need healing, not punishment.