Untitled (From the Series “Who Speaks for Me?”) by Mark Isaac

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Dear Mr. President,

One of the most shocking injustices associated with mass incarceration is the fact that our prisons have become a dumping ground for people who have experienced severe trauma, resulting in mental health issues. Instead of receiving needed treatment, they are subjected to additional abuse and mistreatment.

Taylar Neuvelle served four and a half years after she was charged with breaking and entering the house of a former girlfriend and attempting to commit suicide. Taylar was diagnosed with PTSD, trauma, and severe anxiety disorder, and a pre-sentence report recommended that she be treated rather than sent to prison, but the judge overruled this recommendation. In prison, rather than receiving treatment, she was raped, locked in solitary confinement and placed on suicide watch.

Working with Taylar and my wife Gabriela, we adopted a strategy that allowed Taylar to represent her intimate stories and memories. First, we photographed her, and Taylar then took the photographs and distressed them to represent her abuse and mistreatment. By sharing her traumatic experiences with us,

Taylar is opening the door for others to find their voices and bring about much-needed reforms.

Yours truly,

Mark

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“Shutdown Gitmo DC Metro Tiles; Injustice Underfoot” by Gabrielle Preston

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Dear Mr. President,

American incarceration injustice is at its most heinous, abhorrent and ultimately ineffectual at Guantanamo Bay. Please continue Obama’s work to release prisoners and create greater oversight. Surpass his efforts by working to end ongoing illegal CIA torture operations at Gitmo. We’re not fighting terror or getting good intelligence (report after report has shown that information torture tactics at Gitmo don’t yield reliable or usable intel), we’re fueling terrorism by so flagrantly disregarding human rights and prisoner of war conventions (“war” undeclared by Congress).
#No to Gitmo

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drawing by Erin McGinn

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Dear Mr. President,
I would like you to know to not every incarceration gets the right criminal and not every criminal needs to stay locked in jail. However every incarceration destroys relationships, futures, and lives. They deserve to have the ability to redeem themselves and get their future back. Justice is redemption and forgiveness not punishment.

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