You can copy and paste this text into letters to prisoners who you know are in striking facilities, or who are experiencing repression due to the September 9, 2016 prison strikes.
The National Lawyer’s Guild has offered to file an individual “notice of claim” on behalf of each prisoner against abusive and retaliatory prisons and guards. Filing a notice of claim tells the prison that a suit could be filed and puts them on notice that abuse has happened. It is not the actual suit, but it gives violated prisoners time to find local lawyers. Please send the details outlind below directly to:
NLG Mass Defense
132 Nassau Street, Room 922
New York, NY 10038.
(Family/supporters on the outside can also email to: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com)
Details required to file an effective notice of claim:
What occurred? What officials were involved? Is the Warden aware of this? What efforts have the prisoner(s) taken to try to seek relief? Did they suffer retaliation for it? Where did the incident occur? When? Was it witnessed by others? Did it occur in the line of sight of known video surveillance cameras?
A notice of claim will also put the prison on notice that the pre-litigation preservation obligation has been triggered, so the destruction of any evidence related to the incident would constitute an actionable offense. For example, case law allows prisons to destroy video as part of “standard data overwriting practices” so a notice of claim may prevent this from happening. The more detail the NLG has, the more effective the notice. Every notice begins with a summary of what the prisoner(s)—or their families—have reported: “It has been reported to me that...” From there, the notice goes on to cite case law and prison policy that establishes that such act(s) are unlawful. Also cited are other incidents that have occurred at the facility that could be seen to corroborate the prisoner(s)’ claims. The NLG will research the laws, policies and other incidents, but if you have any of that information, please include it as it will save them work. The most important thing is getting the specific incident details to the NLG as soon as possible. Also, notices are vastly more effective if they are issued in relation to one or more specifically cited prisoners. So, to the degree that more than one person feels safe having a notice linked to their name and prisoner ID#, that is very helpful. Please send your contact the following info:
P.O. Box 11032
Pueblo, CO 81001
P.O. Box 6305
Oakland, CA 94621
Those folks can help set up phone calls and media outreach about the situation. And send a copy of this letter, which can help set up preliminary legal response.