Reading Materials and Correspondence

abcThe Tinley Park Five are all pretty much settled into the facilities they’ll probably serve the duration of their sentences at. They’re all really happy to be out of Cook County and be in facilities where the inmates want nothing more than to do their time and get out. They’re all able to exercise, watch television, listen to music, and read in order to pass the time quickly.

We’ve also been told to make sure we give a shout out to Anarchist Black Cross (especially Denver, Chicago, NYC, and Bay Area) for their ongoing and continual support. Another big shout out to those members of the Anonymous collective who have supported #opValentine and #opPenPal (not to mention #opStormFrontRaid, #freeAnon, #opBlitzkrieg, and #opRacism). It means a lot to them to know that they’re not forgotten. They are continually amazed at how much suipport they’re receiving from all around the world.

I spoke with one of the Tinley Park Five on the phone a couple days ago. Apparently he has been getting so much mail that he raised the suspicion of one of the guards. This guard approached him, a “humongous beast of a man”, with a shaved head and white skin.

“Who the fuck are you? Why are you getting so much mail?”

He tried unsuccessfully to evade the issue. “My girl writes a lot…”

“Motherfucker I’m just going to go home and google your ass. Who’s ass did you beat to get this ‘mob action’ conviction?” the guard asked menacingly.

At this point, our young friend is pretty convinced that this guard is going to be giving him hell for the duration of his sentence, but there’s nothing he can really do. There’s nothing he can do to stop this guy from typing his name in a search engine. So what else can he do but step up and own his beliefs.

After he tells the guard just exactly what he’s in for, the guard smirks and shakes his head and starts reaching for what my friend thinks is the can of pepper spray the guards carry on their holster. It turns out though that the guard was just reaching for his wallet. He unfolds it and shows some pictures of his beautiful black wife and children.

“You’ll be fine in here…” He says as he chuckles and walks away.

Moral of the story: Don’t judge a book by it’s cover I guess.


Prison Censorship

So there’s a little bit of a problem with mail and reading materials getting confiscated by the mail room. Typically when a prisoner’s mail is confiscated they get a slip saying that there was a package that was sent back for security violations and sometimes they give a lose explanation as to why. Apparently with the high volume of mail, one of the TP5 got about twenty of these confiscation notices in one week.

While these notices aren’t supposed to carry any consequences, it does draw a lot of unwanted attention to our comrades. Since all of the TP5 expect to get parole immediately upon becoming eligible, we’re all just apprehensive about giving the State any excuse to extend the length of their incarceration.

Also, very concretely, they simply aren’t getting the materials. Please don’t stop sending them zines and political reading though! We’re just asking that if you send them things, try to avoid materials with inflammatory rhetoric, anything they’re going to try to say is ‘gang-related’, explicitly violent material, or get this… anything with a can or bottle of beer visible in the pictures. Once you start sending them stuff you can work with them to try to make sure that they’re getting as much of it as possible. Apparently a lot of these decisions are pretty arbitrary and depends largely on who’s working the mail room any given day.

Thanks for your continued support!




Update: Frequent Relocation Within the Jail

For unknown reasons, the Tinley Park Five are being relocated within the Cook County Jail quite frequently. Some inmates have been moved as many as seven times over the course of the last month. This is causing delays in their receiving correspondence. Books sent from major publishers seem to be getting to them more efficiently than other articles. Before visiting, please make sure to check the Cook County Jail website for visiting hours and current housing location. Their “profiles” on the Cook County Jail website can be reached by clicking on their names on the letter-writing ¬†and visitation pages.

We’re unsure of the motivations of these moves. It’s possible that they are purely administrative. The gears of the machine that is the Cook County Jail do turn slowly.

It’s also possible that these moves are a vain attempt to prevent the political prisoners from organizing and bonding with fellow inmates. A copy of People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn was sent to each of the TP5 soon after their incarceration. One of the defendants reports that his copy of the book has people “lining up” to borrow it. Books and zines which do reach the TP5 are being circulated throughout the jail to inmates of all backgrounds. Contrary to the common image of willfully ignorant career criminals perpetuated by our media, prisoners are hungry for knowledge and education. Unfortunately, our “criminal justice” system places minimal emphasis on education and is slashing prisoner’s access to libraries and educational¬†opportunities.

We would like to encourage everyone to continue sending reading materials to the TP5 as well as all prisoners and to consider supporting groups like Books Through Bars and Pages For Prisoners.