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Hello Friends,

We are back again with our bi-weekly update of our work and goals at the AFSC Michigan Criminal Justice Program.

The following is our Program Update for 10/1-10/21:

Ending Perpetual Punishment- Michigan Specific Convening: As many of you know, AFSC (in collaboration with several other organizations) hosted a national convening to confront life and long/indeterminate sentences which result in the perpetual punishment of tens thousands of people throughout the country. On October 9, 2019, AFSC hosted a follow-up convening to strategize around ending life and long sentences in Michigan. In attendance were representatives from Safe and Just Michigan, University of Michigan Law Clinic, University of Michigan Carceral State Project, A.R.R.O.W, ACLU of Michigan, MI-CURE, and MI-CEMI. The group determined goals for the next 2-5 years, strategized around those goals, powermapped around work already being done, and discussed messaging and narrative changes. A write-up of this convening is being drafted, and will be available soon at endingperpetualpunishment.org. We are also building out the EPP website with state by state resources, in order to have a comprehensive national landing pad for groups and individuals interested in joining the struggle to End Perpetual Punishment.

In addition, please check out the new AFSC blog article “If we oppose capital punishment, we must also stand against death by incarceration,”  by AFSC Program Director Natalie Holbrook in honor of World Day Against the Death Penalty.

National Lifers of America (NLA) End Life Without Parole Rally: On October 10th, 2019, the NLA from Cotton prison hosted a rally on the steps of the capitol to provide visibility to people serving life without parole and their loved ones. The rally was a great success, with over 100 people in attendance. Please see Safe and Just Michigan’s Annie Mahar's post about the event on S & J's blog.

National Lifers of America (NLA) rally in Lansing, MI

Pregnant women in prison and conditions of confinement at Huron Valley Women's prison Legislative Work: This is an update on this work. If you want to get involved, please let us know, so we can be sure to invite you to upcoming stakeholder update and planning meetings.

In the past few weeks, we have seen months of work around pregnant women in prison, caregivers of children in prison, and oversight of the overcrowded women's prison finally being realized in the form of drafted legislation. If you would like to get work done with us on the ground and help mobilize people to get their legislators and communities to care about the problem of prison and the treatment of people who live in prison, join us. We will meet Friday, November 1 from 3:30 to 5:00 to hear from Senator Geiss and organizers who are working to confront inhumane conditions, stop cycles of trauma caused by incarceration, lift up alternative responses to harm in communities, and create oversight of prisons. Please contact Jacq Williams: jwilliams@afsc.org if you would like an invitation to this meeting.

Eliminating Mandatory Felony Firearm Excessive Punishment: AFSC MCJP has been helping to organize various stakeholders including: Siwatu Freedom Team, ACLU-MI, Safe & Just MI, JLUSA, Nation Outside and impacted folks to challenge the mandatory nature of the felony firearm sentence. We will be holding a community education workshop and story collection gathering on Wednesday, November 13 at Grace in Action, 1725 Lawndale, Detroit, MI from 5:30 to 8:30. Dinner will be included. We will send out formal invitations soon, but hold the date if you or someone you love has been impacted by this mandatory sentence. And, feel free to contact Natalie at nholbrook@afsc.org, as we are still collecting co-sponsors and names of people who want to help us organize. If you have been directly impacted by this sentencing enhancement and wish to share your story, please contact Natalie or just head to the event.

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