How to Fight to Free Cannabis Prisoners

By Rolling Up


More than 650,000 Americans are arrested a year for cannabis every year despite the fact that it is legal in 11 states, and medically legal in 35 states. They simply go to jail. The Last Prisoner Project is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to freeing people who are suffering from injustice with cannabis crimes. The harmful effects of the war on drugs have ravaged the oppressed. As cannabis legalization becomes wider spread, cannabis prisoners must be released and provide proper reentry programs. 


The war on drugs needs to end. Here are ways you can help according to The Last Prisoner Project:


CALL YOUR LOCAL OFFICIALS AND URGE THEM TO IMMEDIATELY RELEASE ALL PEACEFUL PROTESTERS


Contact your State's Attorney and request the following using this sample script. Leave a voicemail if you can't get through.


SAMPLE SCRIPT: “Hello, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the State's Attorney drop all charges against peaceful protesters.


Contact your local Police Department and request the following using this sample script. Leave a voicemail if you can't get through.


SAMPLE SCRIPT: “Hello, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the _____________ Police Department immediately release all protesters arrested during the recent demonstrations."


CALL YOUR LOCAL OFFICIALS AND URGE THEM TO TAKE THE NECESSARY STEPS TO PROTECT OUR INCARCERATED COMMUNITY FROM CORONAVIRUS


Locate your governor's office here.


Locate your state's Department of Corrections here.


Get up to date information on your local correctional facilities' response to the pandemic here and then use the appropriate sample scripts based on the response.


SAMPLE SCRIPT: “Hello, my name is ______ and I live in _________. I’m calling to demand that the [Governor or DOC Commissioner] engage in immediate decarceration and other emergency measures to protect the lives of incarcerated people in our state. There is no question that COVID-19 will spread rapidly on the inside. Health experts have made it clear that everyone is at risk, so everyone incarcerated needs to be freed right now. Because of confinement and the punishing and inhumane conditions incarcerated people are forced into, they are put at the highest risk for COVID-19. They cannot safely self-isolate and cannot access needed medical care.


Your office can take steps to decarcerate by paroling all incarcerated individuals over the age of 65 or at risk inmates, as well as any individual incarcerated on a nonviolent marijuana offense. No one incarcerated for a victimless cannabis offense should continue to be incarcerated today. Now is the time to free our cannabis prisoners and further reduce the risk of outbreaks in correctional facilities. The only acceptable response to COVID-19 is decarceration."


If your local correctional facilities have suspended visitation but not provided free phone calls or smart visitations add this sample script:


"Your office recently took the step of [suspending/restricting] in-person visitation at [jail name] to prevent the spread of COVID-19. While there is no question that in-person visitation can be risky at this time, incarcerated people and their families must be able to communicate in order to endure this trying, confusing, and constantly evolving pandemic.


I am calling to request your leadership in protecting incarcerated people and their loved ones by providing phone and video calls free of cost for at least thirty days – as sheriffs have done in the past on special occasions, such as Christmas, and as has been recommended by prosecutors nationwide."


If your local correctional facilities have not waived medical co-pays add this sample script: 


"Your office has not yet taken steps, as many jurisdictions have, to suspend medical copays during the coronavirus pandemic. This is a critical step that your office MUST take in order to ensure incarcerated individuals are able to access medical care and testing and to mitigate an outbreak. It is cruel and unusual punishment to deny access to lifesaving medical care to incarcerated individuals simply because they can't afford it."


​Sign the petition urging the President and the Federal Bureau of Prisons to take the necessary steps to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus on our incarcerated communities.

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