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Some Good News and Ways to Give Back

For millions of families, this time of year is yet another reminder of all that is missed when a loved one is incarcerated. As 2022 ends, there are close to 2 million people locked up in the United States. Many of them live in unbearably inhumane conditions that will remain just as miserable on Christmas day as the days and weeks before. Some are on death row, wondering if their execution date will come next year. All are separated from their loved ones on the outside.  

Below are some ways to help support incarcerated people and their families during the holiday season and throughout the year. (If you have an effort that you’d like highlighted, please email The Appeal at

We also want to say thank you. Thank you for sticking with us this year as we rebuilt The Appeal into a worker-led newsroom that exposes injustice. We’re so proud of the impact our work has had and on that note, are excited to share an update with you on one story we’ve been covering. In July, Elizabeth Weill-Greenberg reported on the moldy and spoiled food served at a women’s prison in Virginia, which caught the attention of Delegate Patrick Hope, who demanded action. Just last week, an incarcerated advocate wrote to Elizabeth and shared that the women have been told that improvements will finally be made. 

“While this is just promises at this point, I have hope, as it is the closest thing to change I have seen since I have been here,” she wrote to Elizabeth. “I attribute this to your work and the work of Delegate Hope. I cannot thank you and him enough for what you have done.”

This will be our last newsletter for 2022—we need to recharge and close our laptops for a bit, and we hope you’re able to do the same.

See you when we reopen in 2023.

In solidarity and with hope!

— The Appeal workers  

The following organizations provide support to currently or formerly incarcerated people:

  • Root and Rebound assists currently and formerly incarcerated people to reenter the community and access services.
  • Volunteers with Survived and Punished correspond with criminalized survivors. 
  • The Appeal is proud to work with Empowerment Avenue, an organization dedicated to uplifting and compensating incarcerated writers.
  • Through El Refugio, volunteers provide companionship through letters and calls with people imprisoned at the Stewart Detention Center in Georgia, a private prison that primarily houses immigrant detainees. Speakers of language(s) other than English are needed.


In the news


Five “Cop City” protesters were arrested and held without bond on domestic terrorism charges. As Aja Arnold wrote in The Appeal last year, Georgia’s “Cop City” is a $90 million police militarization training facility and has faced fierce community opposition. [Associated Press]

At an Illinois public school for children with disabilities, administrators call the police on students every other school day. [Jennifer Smith Richards, and Jodi S. Cohen / Chicago Tribune and ProPublica]

Theodore Roosevelt High School in Des Moines, Iowa, replaced police with restorative justice practices.[Andy Kopsa / In These Times]

Ballot initiatives that ban prison slavery may benefit incarcerated pregnant people—in particular women of color—who can be forced to work immediately before and after they give birth. Incarcerated women of color are more likely to be made to perform manual labor (such as picking cotton or corn) while white women are more likely to be assigned desk jobs. [Katherine Gilyard / The 19th]

The United States voted against a United Nations resolution supporting a worldwide death penalty moratorium. The resolution passed in a vote of 125-37 with 22 abstentions. [Julia Conley / Common Dreams]

ICYMI — from The Appeal

Police have arrested thousands in “proactive” online sex stings, using officers posing as children. The operations draw splashy headlines and big federal grants, but as Steven Yoder reports, they also risk entrapping people with no criminal intent.

New York City prosecutors recently dropped murder charges against Tracy McCarter, a domestic violence survivor who killed her estranged husband in an act of self-defense. “There are too many women sitting behind bars simply because they were trying to survive,” writes Caryn York

We thought it was time to bring out a few stories from the archives in honor of the Mayor’s Retail Theft Summit in New York City:

  • Big retail chains are manufacturing a shoplifting crisis, wrote Jerry Iannelli.
  • Reporters who parrot corporate claims of out-of-control theft play into a narrative that benefits big business and perpetuates carceral policies, wrote Kyle C. Barry
  • PR professionals who run the NYPD’s official Twitter account boasted to more than 700,000 followers that police had arrested 12 people who were allegedly responsible for stealing $1,800 worth of diapers, cold medicine, body wash, and laundry detergent, wrote Nick Wing. Two of the people arrested, including one 64-year-old woman, appeared to be living at homeless shelters. She was accused of taking about $20 worth of items—a bottle of laundry detergent and a bag of potato chips.

That’s all for this week. As always, feel free to leave us some feedback, and if you want to invest in the future of The Appeal, please donate now and your donation will be tripled here.

The Appeal will be closed from December 23 through January 8 for a much-needed rest and recharge. We’re wishing everyone a happy holidays, and looking forward to doing big things together in the new year.

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