By the Slingshot Collective
We believe the Prison Industrial Complex is one of the flashpoints of class warfare and internal colonization in the United States.
The Slingshot paper is mailed free of charge to prisoners in the US who request it, our small but symbolically important act of solidarity with those behind bars. We receive a lot of prisoner mail; simple requests for subscriptions but also submissions of writing, artwork and requests for penpals and for legal aid. We appreciate that prisoners reach out but find ourselves overwhelmed as well….we simply can’t respond to the bulk of these communications and it’s a challenge for us just to keep our prisoner subscription address list updated.
We are unable to provide legal aid/advice, financial assistance, penpals, literature or respond to requests for other kinds of help. We understand that many prisoners are desperate for outside contact but we just don’t have the resources or the time to respond to the hundreds of letters we receive.
Slingshot is a small volunteer collective…. often no more than 5 people working the many hours required to produce and distribute the paper and fundraise thru the production and sale of the Slingshot organizers. We raise all the funds and do all the work with no grants, no advertisements and no paid staff. This project is a labor of love.
Alot of the article submissions we receive for Slingshot require extensive editing which we do in conjunction with the authors directly or over email but this process is often impractical with prisoners because the time required to do several back and forths by snail mail exceeds the timeline for next issue publication. If you are a prisoner submitting an article please do your best to be concise, clear and to the point… the Slingshot paper is a small publication so every word should count. We don’t publish poetry or fiction, and only run personal narratives if they are framed within the context of broader struggles. Understand that we do read every submission but can only publish a fraction of what we receive. We will run your article if it fits with the issue in question and requires little more than copy-editting. If you’re Ok with us editing your article without your input please say so when you submit, we will do our best to honor your ideas and intention.
If you don’t hear back from us please don’t despair,… we read your words and appreciate the thoughts and stories you share.
And if you are part of the Slingshot universe and are free to come to the Longhaul in Berkeley and help us, please do! Opening prisoner mail is just one of the many tasks we need help with and there are many other ways to contribute to the project. Get in touch, become a Slingshotter!
Here are some other projects that inspire us and might be able to help prisoners:
Incarcerated Worker Organizing Committee
PO Box 414304
Kansas City, MO 64141
iwoc at riseup dot net
Prisoner Literature Project
C/O Bound Together Bookstore
1369 Haight St.
San Francisco, CA 94117
They don’t give legal advice or pen pal services, but you can find out about those sort of things from:
Prison Activist Resource Center
P.O. Box 70447
Oakland, CA 94612
Similarly, any defendant facing felony charges can request a free copy of The Criminal Legal System for Radicals ‘zine by writing the Tilted Scales Collective at tiltedscales at riseup dot net or:
Tilted Scales Collective
P.O. Box 70447
Oakland, CA 94612