Who We Are:
Decarcerate Western Mass is a coalition of people and organizations across so-called Western Massachusetts, that came together at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic with the purpose of supporting incarcerated folks and getting people released. We are an abolitionist group, aiming to reduce the number of people incarcerated in prisons and jails across the country (eventually to 0!), with a local focus in Western Mass. We currently have 5 working groups, focusing on different projects.
Read about them below and contact the group you’d like to plug in to — please name any of the specific projects you feel excited about or equipped to support!
Purpose: Communications handles social media (instagram, Facebook, this new website), email correspondence, publicity for actions, press, getting out information from people inside or important info around incarceration (like recent legislation), and education on prison abolition and incarceration in Western Mass.
Usually meets: 7:30 pm on Thursdays
Purpose: Parole is a team of people training and guiding volunteers to help incarcerated folks up for parole to put together “parole packets.” These are packets of information about the person, why they should be granted parole, and demonstrating their support system if they’re released. Volunteers are paired with cases or lawyers working on cases and trained on how to support. The parole group is also working on expanding their work to include immigration parole packeting.
Usually meets: 11 am on Sundays
Purpose: Fundraising is a group working to generate material support for existing abolition and decarceration campaigns and organizations in Massachusetts. Currently, the group is working with Massachusetts Against Solitary Confinement (MASC) to increase their sustaining donorship and put together a fundraising webinar. The group eventually hopes to create a mutual aid fund for those currently or formerly incarcerated and their loved ones.
Usually meets: 5 pm on Wednesdays, 4 pm on Sundays
Outreach / Accountability:
Purpose: Outreach / Accountability is a group working in direct contact with people who are currently incarcerated, as well as those who have been formerly incarcerated. We believe that this work must be led by those with direct experience and who are most impacted. One of the things that came from this group was the letters of solidarity campaign, which followed the car rally hosted by Decarcerate outside of the Hampden Co. Jail in June.
Usually meets: TBD
Contact: TBD (but for now, email email@example.com if interested)
Purpose: This group formed to organize the phone zap that accompanied the car rally outside of the Hampden Co. Jail. The group is continuing to work on future phone zaps, with the hopes of applying pressure through ongoing, sustained, and strategic phone zapping.
Usually meets: TBD