What we do!
We work towards putting an end to abuse, torture, and unjust practices in U.S. prisons and the “above- the-law” attitude and actions of the criminal justice system.
Empowerment & Advocacy: We provide a safe place for family members of prisoners where there is no embarrassment associated with having a loved one in prison; HRC members are facing the same stigma, restrictions, dilemmas that you are going through this very minute. Our mission is to empower prisoners’ families to be leaders in prison organizing and to teach them how to advocate on behalf of their loved ones in prison and expose the inhumane practices of the Department of Corrections to the general public. We respond to the letters asking for HRC’s help by educating family members on how to build a support system and organize their family, neighbors, and church towards their individual issues; as well as the fact that abuse and torture will not be tolerated – the Michael Brown and Eric Garner crimes that were openly committed and excused are routine within the Department of Corrections and affiliations.
Bull Horn & Watch Dogs: We strive to build a strong base of resistance by making the public aware of the abuse that occurs routinely behind prison walls. We do this through regular updates of our website and Facebook to broadcast prison abuse. We publish online a Pennsylvania Prison Report which is a collaborative project between HRC’s Philadelphia and Pittsburgh chapters that includes printed news reports focusing on human rights abuses within Pennsylvania prisons. We have maintained a system wide DOC Prison Abuse Log which documents complaints where evidence of abusive prison practices by guards and cover ups by administrators are maintained. This log catalogs “prison-by-prison” evidence of willful and deliberate acts of inflicting pain and suffering upon incarcerated citizens “under” their authority. Also our newsletter, The Movement, is a powerful source of public awareness. It is the “bull horn” that brings prisoner issues to the public’s eye and the voice of the voiceless as we provide space for prisoners to speak and connect with the outside world as we dispatch newsletters all over the U.S.
Humanity Reminder: HRC understands that prisoners are human beings with problems that need to be addressed. Many prisoners have led horrendous lives of drug abuse, child abuse, or neglect, in addition to impacts of racism, sexism, class-ism and homophobia. We as citizens should demand that the prison system focus on the rehabilitation of prisoners so that they can return to society as productive citizens with the skills needed to take care of their families. See Abuse & Torture.