This is main blog of FFUP, Forum for Understanding Prisons, a non profit that has been working with prisoners for almost 17 years. This blog is intended as a"connector blog", organizing the over 50 blogs FFUP has done over the years. Look in the page tabs directly below and at the side to find links to the subjects you need. Gradually,we will get this to work effectively. Please take a look.
FFUP'S GOFUNDME page-will be updated soon to include new campaign explained here in page 9 and 10 of newsletter:
Bird Forest by DarRen Morris, Incarcerated as juvenile in WI prison system
FFUP’s Future: I am 70 and infirmities are
a’coming to my husband and I, and the warning bell has sounded that prisoners
and I need to get some kind of structure for FFUP if what we have started here
is to outlast me. I have an idea, the first leg of which I sent to litigators I
work with in there. The response was good. For prisoners having issues with the
prison that rise to the level of needing litigation, the plan is to connect you
with a guide- not to do your case, but to guide you in learning the law or
cooperate with you if you know the law and would like to make your case as
consequential as possible.
The bare bones of this we have been
doing for a long time, albeit not consistently. Now, as the two lawsuits
against the abuse of Act 355 attest, (see page one), single lawsuits have a
hard time affecting change for all. The DOC is appealing the decisions and the
money is still disappearing from prisoners’ accounts, although I hear a few
prisons have voluntarily stopped the stealing. The Peter Long letter citing the
fourteenth Amendment on page 3 possibly gives us a template for strategy
building on the two cases won.
I bring this up now because here is a
good example of the need for combining efforts. I hope we can build a structure
where we combine cases in either joinders or class actions to finally address
the ongoing problems at their root and get changes in the system as well as the
money/damages that are usually the only positive result of single actions. The plan
is to have well seasoned litigators help guide and /or work with prisoners who
have similar complaints and file multiple plaintiff actions, either joinders or
class actions as circumstances allow- For example: ADA complaints, lack of
health care, PREA non existence are all piled up in FFUP’s inbox- we combine
some of these. There is also good
possibility for a good go at one of the pillars that keep out parole system
stuck. The list of possibilities is long
and if we work together, we can do this.
FFUP will continue to help with stamps and
paper and copying and will add paying filing fees and expenses of litigators
who are working toward the bigger picture. At present FFUP is working with
prisoners on a multiple plaintiff action against overuse and abuse of solitary
which is soon to be filed and we are watching carefully the fate of what could
be a far reaching effort on health care. Both these cases will be templates and
show us paths forward.We intend to help
establish some balance in the system, to move us away from the anything goes
punishment only ethic that seems to rule the WI DOC now.
BUT WHERE IS THE money going TO COME FROM? Paying filing Fees? paying
expenses for litigators? More stamps and paper / And and and. YES we need fundraising
FFUP has a GOFUNDME account- it goes well considering it is neglected.
GOFUNDME, for all the hype, goes nowhere unless you spend time using social
network to spread it. I have no “social network” on the net and my prison work
takes all the computer time I can handle. So after plumbing family and a few
friends, I am done and they can give no more.
A) What I am thinking is that you, the
prisoner, go to your families and ask them to go to their social networks and
churches to help fund and help build a wider network. Together we can find ways
of making real change. We can also influence the legislature, get bussing going
again and a program to get prisoners connected before they leave prison. Oh the
dreams FFUP has collected from prisoners and I have had over the years- they
are possible still –we just have to connect finally. We can sell prisoners arts
and crafts on the net. Again, I have tried that but we need someone committed
to spending time on the internet spreading the word
So for starters, we need names and addresses of prison ministries in your
churches- enough info that we can find a contact person to air this idea to.
Ask you families what they think of the idea and if they will help.Our gofundme account now is slated to help
with stamps, paper, books and legal guides. With this new venture, we will have
a new campaign and pay Filing fees ( when appropriate), and expenses for
litigator helpers will be added. Also, if we really take off- solitary folk
need their books, radios and tvs to survive- I do the headphones and antennae
when I can but that is all.
C) FFUP needs people to help with
general social media work- for facebook, our numerous blogs, and all the rest.
All lie mostly dormant as I can’t get there- an hour a week would make a lot of
difference. Also we need help making campaign materials and proofreading,
consulting on fliers and pamphlets.
D) I know people need to make a living
and get paid before spending a lot of time on any venture. We need to develop
grants to pay part time coordinators and gradually develop a division of labor
if the programs we have started together are to persist and if we expand to
develop our dreams..