Believe it or not, I found out about this awesome project because a prisoner emailed me about it.* Martin Vargas, an incarcerated painter who has worked with the Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP), sent me a message letting me know that our mutual friend and PCAP alumnus Julia Taylor was involved with this new venture called Prison Production which uses theatre to inform high school students in New York about how the prison industrial complex affects all of our lives.
Prison Production is at the tail end of a fundraising campaign and have almost met their goals. If you’d like to donate to this incredibly worthy cause and perhaps receive a postcard or piece of artwork from Martin Vargas in the process (depending on the size of your donation), go to the Prison Production Website.
*As a side note, here’s what it means for someone to be able to send email from prison. Generally speaking prisoners are only allowed fifteen minutes or so of computer use at a time, and depending on the state, they have a restricted list of people to whom they can send emails. Prisoners do not have email access as you and I know it. The computers on which they send and receive email are set up only to allow them access to their own email accounts and nothing else on the web. In some states, like Texas, prisoners can receive but not send email messages. This means that a prisoner in these states would never see or touch a computer but would receive a printed version of an email message sent by a person on the outside. The benefit of sending an email rather than a letter is that it reaches a prisoner faster than regular mail, usually within 48 hours and sometimes on the same day you have sent it. Sending an email costs the same amount as the going rate for a US Postal Service stamp, but the money goes to the corporation running the email operation. In both Texas and Michigan, prisoner email is run by a corporation called JPay. I prefer that my money goes to support the US Postal Service rather than JPay, but I will use it in a pinch to relay information that I want to reach someone quickly.