Free Pierre Pinson
Pierre Pinson is a Black man who was sentenced to serve 50–150 years by an unjust system. He is currently incarcerated at SCI Fayette, a maximum security prison in southwestern Pennsylvania.
Read his story, in his own words, here:
Perhaps I should have started at the beginning...
Where should I start? I don't like policing. It may sound harsh but it is a drastic evolution from the kid who didn't like police. Here is where most people say, "But there are some good cops." To which I respond, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." Policing is only good to those who believe that Black and Brown people need to be policed. Policing is not only founded in oppression it is literally, violence…
During the 2020 presidential debates I found myself rooting for Donald Trump, he had called out Joe Biden on his part in perpetuating the Clintons' "Superpredator" propaganda used to push the 90 create the current state of mass incarceration. Unfortunately, Donald Trump could not close the deal, he was not educated on the subject—not many Americans are. Most are under the assumption that it is all about the drug laws, it is so much more…
Pierre's TRAUMATA series
Short stories from an upcoming book
The old man was a fixture at the shore, his brown feet pressed into the ground sturdy like a tree that peered out into the vastness of the sea. He was faithful in his routine, each day at dusk he ventured beyond the limits of the village where the trees gave way to soft white sands…
I often wonder how to quantify a Black woman's soul energy. What amount of the universe mist she call upon to perform the magic that she does? I do not pretend to know…
Never trust anyone that says, "Trust me." I don't give shit if they descend from the clouds floating on coagulated baby giggles. Tell them to fly their fancy ass some place where trust is cheap…
My name is Senzar. It is the name I had when my mother adopted me. She said that I stared at her with my big brown eyes and captured her heart. "And there you were a sweet brown sugar," she would smile. The white people in Podunk, including my parents, never saw me for my color, I was just Senzar…
"I've seen some cold nights and bloody days." I've been in many hands and have taken many lives. I've been gripped by some killers and some coldblooded cowards…
Eyes were always upon her like hands, hands were hungry like mouths and mouths that meant destruction. To Thomasina, white men's words were like mucus pulled from the bowels and spat in her face…
Adelaide was making sandwiches and potato salad. She said that "it's too hot to be turning on the stove." Her wiry black fingers creased and folded the wax paper to make a pocket for the turkey sandwiches…
by Maurice Stevens
Turn Around! Turn Around! I yelled into the mirror as I watched a shadowy figure approach me from behind. My body wouldn't obey. I stood stiff as if I'd been encapsulated in concrete…
Pierre's Other Writings
The 2019 University of Pittsburgh Equity report exposed the city of Pittsburgh as being among the worst in the country for Black women to live. Despite this fact, many surveys have the city listed as one of the most "livable" cities in the country…
I braced myself as I pressed the gas pedal. My black sedan seemed to sense my trepidation and hesitated before it lurched forward through the intersection into Wishanick Woods, a place I had avoided for most of my life…
We Got Issues series
"You know there are no black people in Africa," she said…
Pierre's post on #Prisonskill
In the 1800s, slave owners were faced with what they perceived to be a perplexing phenomenon, the runaway slave. A group of slave owners turned to Dr. Samuel Cartwright to research and remedy their problems with the absconding slaves…
"I am looking to collaborate with people inside and outside of prison, who have been affected by the corruption in the Allegheny County Criminal Justice system. I want to hear their stories and give them the outlet that Pittsburgh lacks." Click to learn more, or go straight to the main project website: thefreeusproject.org
Saturday, May 21st, 2022: A Free US Project Event
Hosted at Community Forge in Wilkinsburg, PA, 1–5pm
This was an event for criminal justice reform and abolition. Free to attend. If you came by, we're glad you did. And if you didn't, we're working on a follow-up event that'll be even better.
Links from Pierre
Pierre's Reading List
Books, articles, and publications Pierre recommends:
Miriame Kaba—Organizer, educator and curator who is active in movements for racial, gender, and transformative justice; fellow at Barnard Center for Research on Women
We Do This 'Til We Free Us: Abolitionist Organizing and Transforming Justice (Haymarket Books, 2021)
Jennifer C. Nash—Professor of Gender, Sexuality, and Feminist Studies at Duke University
Pretty much any of her texts!
Saidiya Hartman—Scholar of African American and American literature and cultural history, slavery, law and literature, and performance studies at Columbia University
Scenes of Subjection: Terror, Slavery, and Self-Making in Nineteenth-Century America (Oxford University Press, 1997)
An Afrocentric Guide To A Spiritual Union (Kamit Publications, 1992)
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome—America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing (Uptone Press, 2005)
The Mis-Education of the Negro (read for free online!) (The Associated Publishers, 1933)
As an incarcerated person, Pierre does not have access to regular email or the internet. There are two ways to contact Pierre: physical mail, or a special email system. Both are detailed below.
Physical mail is simpler administratively as you do not need any prior permission to send a message. Simply mail a regular letter to Pierre at this address:
The address above is for the mail-processing service that the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections has contracted with; they will scan your mail and transmit an electronic copy to SCI Fayette, where it will be printed and given to Pierre. Before sending physical mail, read about the DOC's relevant policies here.
Third party contractor's email system
The DOC has contracted with an email provider called Connect Network (connectnetwork.com), owned by Global Tel*Link Corporation. You can create an account on their site and then enter Pierre's information (as listed above in the mailing address) to request permission for your account to be able to communicate with his. Once that's complete, you'll be able to send Pierre electronic plain text messages with a 2,000 character limit at a cost of 25¢ per message.
A note on surveillance and delays
If you choose to write Pierre, keep in mind that all remote communications with Pierre, whether conducted via physical mail or electronic mail, are subject to monitoring and censorship by the DOC or their contractors. This censorship encompasses both what you send to Pierre, as well as anything he sends back to you. Sometimes messages will be delayed briefly by this process, i.e. for a day or less, but sometimes the delay may be longer. Keep in mind that the contents of communications with Pierre could be used against him in a legal proceeding.
The only exception to this surveillance program is attorney–client communication, which is allowed to pass (ostensibly) without any government monitoring.