We're delighted to announce that APB is once again able to send free/donated books to Alexander CI (AXCI) in Taylorsville!
We challenged a nonsense policy and WON.
As reported in this blog post last week, Asheville Prison Books was notified by the AXCI administration back in March that no one would be permitted to send in free books any longer to the facility. This seemed absurd to us, and we knew it would cause totally unnecessary suffering among people housed in the facility.
So we called and made contact with an Assistant Superintendent at AXCI with whom we shared these concerns, and encouraged others to call as well. While we don't know how many people called ultimately, what we do know is that a couple weeks after our initial conversations with AXCI staff, we were informed that our ability to send in free books had been reinstated!
Power concedes nothing without demand
Let's be clear: this issue was resolved because people on the outside decided to stand up in solidarity with incarcerated folks! And given the recent victory regarding similar, arbitrary restrictions on access to books in Federal prisons, we can say without a doubt that this is part of a larger trend of collective advocacy on behalf of incarcerated people that is strong and getting stronger!
Miles to go (before we abolish prisons)
This may seem like a big win, or a small victory—it kind of depends on your vantage point.
But for an abolitionist project like APB, the most important takeaway is that incarcerated folks need people who are not locked up to go to bat for them. Without people on the outside to identify and squash abuses both large and small as they arise, incarcerated people are uniquely vulnerable; after all, there is rarely meaningful accountability for anything that happens to them, even up to and including torture and murder.
So the fact that people cared enough to raise a ruckus over this comparatively small book issue means that there are those out there ready and willing to fight for the basic human rights and dignity of imprisoned individuals—and THAT's sure as s#!t worth celebrating.