We will strengthen gender justice movements by building shared values, analysis, and strategy, countering divide and conquer tactics from our opponents, and lifting up leadership from jailhouse lawyer survivors and grassroots by-and-for organizations.
Gender-based violence remains rampant in U.S. prisons, where jailhouse lawyer survivors do important work under difficult conditions. Those in women’s prisons, as well as those in solitary confinement (where transgender people are likely to be placed), tend to have less access to legal training or law libraries than those in the general population at men’s prisons. Restrictions on contact with the outside world, as well as an anti-violence movement that for the most part has not prioritized collaboration with jailhouse lawyers, have limited opportunities for inside and outside advocates to support each other’s work, undermining all of our effectiveness. Meanwhile, anti-trans “feminists” spread lies that divide cis and trans incarcerated women. In this political moment, when our communities are under attack on multiple fronts and climate change is accelerating, it’s crucial that we build across movements and differences to center those most vulnerable. That is the path that will allow us to make the most meaningful and lasting change.