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People Against Prisons Aotearoa and the Prisoner Correspondence Network

In this podcast Kate McIntyre and Tom talk about People Against Prisons Aotearoa (formerly No Pride In Prisons), and the Prisoner Correspondence Network. The interview was recorded during a workshop creating end-of-year holiday cards for prisoners. Nationwide, over three hundred cards were made.

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The recording features Kate McIntyre discussing the activities and purpose of People Against Prisons Aotearoa (PAPA), a Wellington-based organisation advocating for prisoner rights with the ultimate ambition of prison abolition. The interview explores PAPA's origins, initially as No Pride In Prisons, stemming from a protest in 2015 against the participation of correction officers in the Auckland Pride parade which was seen as undermining the experiences of queer and trans prisoners. Following an incident where an organiser was injured, the group garnered international attention and began focusing on advocacy for prisoners, particularly those from queer and trans communities.

Key successes included facilitating the transfer of a trans woman to a women's prison and campaigning against the solitary confinement of a prisoner who was victimized in prison. These initial actions led to a broader campaign for the abolition of solitary confinement in New Zealand. As the organization evolved, it expanded its mandate beyond queer and trans issues to encompass the needs and advocacy for all prisoners, irrespective of their sexual orientation. The shift was also reflected in the rebranding from No Pride In Prisons to People Against Prisons Aotearoa.

One of PAPA's significant endeavors is the Prisoner Correspondence Network (PCN), designed to link prisoners with supportive individuals in the wider community, thereby combating isolation and providing an avenue for advocacy when needed. The networking initiative not only gives prisoners the opportunity to develop their literacy and communication, but also offers volunteers outside of prisons a deeper understanding of life within the penal system.

McIntyre, who is responsible for organising the Wellington branch of PAPA and lobbying Parliament, delves into their experience with activism, expressing satisfaction with how PAPA has grown beyond its roots to challenge the broader institution of corrections in New Zealand. Despite changes in focus, the necessity of opposing the inclusion of uniformed correction officers in pride events and combating what is perceived as 'pink washing' activities by these institutions, remains crucial.

The recording concludes with a description of a workshop where participants create holiday cards to send to incarcerated individuals. This effort highlights the simple yet profound acts of kindness that can signify support and recognition for those in prison, especially during the festive season, which can be particularly challenging.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:10th December 2017
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington, Aotearoa New Zealand
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004497).