Organisations and activists around the world regularly organize to support folks in prison. We’ve probably all seen lists with names of prisoners, the contact information of jailed anarchists and animal liberation activists. There are also many suggestions how to show solidarity with prisoners, for example by writing letters, donating books, or providing financial support. Supporting comrades in prison is a cornerstone of a radical movement. We hate the state, and we want to abolish all prisons, physical as well as mental. But as long as the struggle for a better life means that we risk prison, and that some of us will be imprisoned, we must always take care of our comrades in prison. The struggle continues.
But some prisoners do not want their trial, sentence, or prison time to be noticed. There can be various reasons why an inmate does not want to be seen in the media. For example, you may be tired of being exposed in public. Many have a long period of repression, detention hearings, trials, appeals, possibly getting hanged out in the media by fascists and animal oppressors, behind them. Others may be worried that further exposure in the media will make it harder to return to everyday life, once released. We should take notice, respect and support the wishes of these prisoners. Of course should we not public expose prisoners who do not want that kind of attention.
The fact that some comrades for various reasons do not want attention during their time in prison does not always mean that they do not need help. These prisoners also need solidarity and support. Which they also often get, from friends, families and close peers. The responsibility for taking care is then placed more on individuals, than on organizations for prisoner support to rally help. For this reason, it is important that we who have a friend, comrade or family member in prison, take the time to support, for example by writing letters, donating books or giving a penny, even though the friend’s name is not on prisoner lists, or when no photos on the family member circulates online. And sometimes it also is the person who supports a prisoner who needs our solidarity, in order to be able to help their friend throughout his/hers time in prison. There are as many ways to help as there are comrades in prison. Together we take care of each other!