John released this statement through New York City Anarchist Black Cross:
“These past 20 months have been an ordeal to say the least. From court drama to safety issues to just the woes of incarceration itself, this has been a trying process. Yet, even within the darkness of a cell, cut off from the world, some light could still be seen. Your letters, donation,s and noisy solidarity were things of beauty to eyes forced to view the despair of a broken system day after day and eyes that could not help but watch as any glimmer of hope faded from so many youths as they were dehumanized by the tortuous conditions in which they were forced to dwell. Your zines brought much needed and often obscured information into a citadel of ignorance and fear, your books lifted the weight of monotonous oppression, and your donations aided in the welfare of so many with nothing but the state to care for them. A parcel of food here or some cosmetics there so often mean the difference between another night spent hungry or unclean and a good night’s rest, and never doubt the weight of one’s spirit in a time of need. Sadness, loneliness, and a lack of basic human needs often crush that vital spark necessary for a meaningful, productive, life and sadly press those “corrected” into a self-defeating cycle of unchecked violence or harsh drug use.
For so much I am thankful for the supporters, but of greatest importance was the solidarity. Your constant stream of letters and cards not only kept myself sane, but also gave tangible, physical proof of solidarity which revealed the tremendous weight of the conviction of people from the real world who likewise are willing to make a stand against the far too often accepted evils of the world, to an incarcerated populace who had often not heard of such people before. The attention brought by the constant stream of mail peaked curiosity and drove many to question what was going on. This in turn lead to discussions, which in turn lead to some longer discussions that I hope have made a difference in at least a few lives over the course of my stint of incarceration.
Now that I am free I am no less thankful for everything I have received from our amazing support network, which is in itself a testament to the will of a people willing to sacrifice to make a change. A support network populated by good hearted, noble people who have often suffered first hand under the weight of unchecked and unopposed malice. Thank you once again for everything you have done and continue to do; you are indeed an amazing people.
While John is now out of prison, he undoubtedly needs the kind of support that those nearest to him can provide. At the same time, one of the Tinley Park Five remain imprisoned. Please take this time to write to him. Jason’s address is:
Jason Sutherlin M34023
East Moline Correctional Center
100 Hillcrest Road
East Moline, Illinois 61244