[diggers350] International prison campaign proposal from Justice Action in Sydney FWD

Tom Boland wgcp at earthlink.net
Sat Feb 5 20:21:50 GMT 2000

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CC REPLIES To: Justice Action <JA at justiceaction.org.au>

Hi Friends,

With the Olympic Games coming to Sydney this year, we will focus our
attention on drug law reform. With an estimated 71 - 83% of prisoners in
Australian jails incarcerated for drug offences, we see this as a key
issue for prisoners and prison reform.

Drug law reform would mean freedom for many and a transfer of resources
away from drug law enforcement (police, courts, jails) and towards
compassionate services for substance abusers (health support, counselling
and rehabilitation). The campaign will demonstrate how care and
understanding is more effective than scare and disempowerment, when
tackling social problems.

We look towards a global amnesty for the prisoners of the War on Drug
Users. We seek partners to participate in a drug law and prison reform
campaign in association with the Sydney 2000 Olympic next September.
(Australia's largest ever prison has just been built across the road from
the Sydney Olympic village!)

We have in mind to mount a census of the prisoners of the War on Drug
Users and, using the Olympic torch metaphor, a relay of counters going
from jail to jail in participating countries, counting the prisoners of
the War on Drug Users, listening to and collecting stories from prisoners
and their families about the injustice they have suffered.

The aim would be to make the prisoner count a major international media
event which associates the injustice of the War Drug Users with the Sydney
Olympic Games.

We propose that the Drug War prisoner tally be accumulated and relayed to
New South Wales, the host state of the Sydney 2000 Olympics, to join a
prisoner counting bus tour of all NSW jails in July - August.

The bus will arrive in Sydney a couple of weeks out from the Olympic Games
and be the focus of a major action demanding an amnesty for all the NSW
prisoners of the War on Drug Users before the Games start in September.

Given the global nature of the War on Drug Users and the global focus
created by the Olympic Games, we expect the tour to do for the prison and
drug law reform movement what the Freedom Rides did for the civil rights
movement in the US.

Global partners in this campaign could contribute in many ways. For

* organise and promote a prisoner counting relay in your own area. (let's
make it very visual - lots of eye candy for the TV new

* become a sponsor of the Drug War Prisoner Counting Tour and assist us to
promote it as a globally endorsed campaign to end the War on Drug Users

* conduct local and parallel actions and attach your own amnesty call to
the participation in the Sydney Olympic Games by sports persons from your

We will be drawing up an itinerary over the next few weeks, so any
suggestions/commitments now would be useful.

Brett Collins
Justice Action
19 Buckland St, Chippendale, NSW 2008,
Australia P.O. Box 386, Broadway, NSW 2007, Australia
email:  JA at justiceaction.org.au
voice: 61-9281-5100 fax: 61-9281-5303

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