ReEntry Support

   SWOP Behind Bars  a national chapter of the Sex Worker Outreach Project the is provides information and education for sex workers who are currently imprisoned in jails and prisons all over the United States.  During our first year, we were able to reach more than 1000 men, women and trans folks asking us more about sex worker rights at the intersection of mass incarceration.  We connected pen pals, created custom Amazon wish lists and donated books to prison libraries.   We helped folks get to where they needed to be on Greyhound and Uber.  We sent out Big Box Store gift cards so they could buy things like clothes and food, and we sent Welcome Home packages of basic hygiene items, composition books and stamped envelopes.  We operate the Community Support Line which allowed people to contact us directly for peer led support 24 hours a day.
   As 2017 approached, we determined that we needed to provide more than just information because there was a desperate need for resources.  Things like housing, education, transportation, communication, job training and legal support were desperately needed but way outside of our capacity.  We actively solicited partnerships to provide these crucial resources and were amazed at how our own sex worker rights community stepped up to make provisions and we were delighted to form alliances with other groups who were able to meet the desperate needs that many of our people who were being released experienced.  Late in 2017, we formed an advocacy committee and began helping our recently released clients connect to local resources within their own communities by providing recycled smart phones with 90 days of service.  We wrote letters of support for court dates, helped folks get their criminal charges vacated, and created a training course for Public Defenders.  We coached folks on writing resumes and helped them connect with employers who were willing to hire felons.  This completely shifted their ability to meet their own needs and access the things they needed easily and under their own power. 
   But we still thought we could do better.  As 2017 closed and 2018 opened, we discovered we could do MORE by keeping people OUT of prison and help them fight cases in court and even keep them from being arrested in the first place by launching a KNOW YOUR RIGHTS campaign and providing outreach cards in English and Spanish that gave the basic tips to follow when dealing with law enforcement.  Our new reentry reentry guide will be sent out to more than 1000 prisoners in April  and we really beleive this will have a positive impact on the ability of people to reconnect to their families, our community and join us in the fight for full decriminalization of sex work.
   We are now on the edge of following the example of the Pivot Legal Society to file a lawsuit in a southern state challenging the constitutionality of an unfair law that targets sex workers and holds them in jail for long periods of time with little access to legal representation and high bonds for misdemeanor charges.  We have more than 40 litigants who have been directly affected by these harmful laws - some of whom are STILL locked up without legal support or the ability to mount a defense.

This fundraiser will allow us to continue to provide these much needed resources (gift cards, transportation, smart phones and hygiene items) to men, women and trans folks all over the United States and empower them to get past their past and move into the future.  We anticipate more than 200 of our currently incarcerated members to be released in 2018 and they need our help to help themselves.  Won't you be a part of the movement to support our incarcerated community?  We appreciate our allies who have brought us this far and its time to push further!  Lets make sure that our returning citizens are set up for success!

And as always - your donation is tax deductible!


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Alex Andrews 
St. Petersburg, FL
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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