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These groups can provide health or legal info or connect you with college classes, pen pals and people to help you fight for your rights.
When you write to a group, you can increase your chance of getting a helpful response by: 1) Stating clearly and briefly, in the first paragraph of your letter, exactly what you're asking for; 2) Keeping your letter short and to the point, offering to send more info if needed; 3) Asking if there is a specific person you should write or call; 4) Asking if the group has a branch closer to you; and 5) Printing your name, ID number and address in the letter as well as on the envelope.
Unless otherwise noted, none of these groups accept collect calls. Most are national, but some only answer mail from certain states. We included websites in case someone outside can contact them by computer on your behalf. If a listing says something is free, it means free for people in prison. When it says a resource can help "people," it means people in prison.
For more listings than we had room for, see "Other Resource Lists." If you have a friend outside who can print from the Internet, see "Internet Only." We wish you all the best in your search for information, health and justice!
You have a right to participate in decisions about your health care, and getting info from these groups can help. It's important to keep your own records with dates and info from your doctor visits and tests. You may need to file a grievance to get medical care. If you have a loved one on the outside, they can help by calling medical staff if you sign a release form allowing them to discuss your medical care.
1233 Locust St., 2nd Fl.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Write (better than calling) with questions on any health condition, not just HIV/AIDS. You can also ask for fact sheets, lists of groups with info on your health condition or info on HIV issues like treatments, nutrition and history. They also offer info on re-entry and discharge planning in PA only. Free.
Protecting Your Health and Safety: A Litigation Guide for Inmates
$16; a 325-page manual on health and safety rights and how to enforce them. Published by the Southern Poverty Law Center. To order, send payment to:
Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 1151
Lake Worth, FL 33460
Prison Health News
c/o Philadelphia FIGHT
1233 Locust St., 5th Fl.
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Free quarterly newsletter on HIV and hepatitis treatment, cancer screenings, nutrition, stress relief exercises you can do in your cell, mental health, getting better care for yourself and others and more. Publishes articles by people in prison. Spanish version coming soon.
Asthma and Allergy Network
8229 Boone Blvd., #260
Vienna, VA 22182
Free: Understanding Asthma pamphlet, Breathe Better fact sheets on causes of bad air quality and 1 copy of Allergy and Asthma Today magazine.
1330 W. Peachtree St. NW, #100
Atlanta, GA 30309
Free publications, including (English and Spanish) Coping With Arthritis, Managing Your Pain, Exercise and Arthritis; and (English only) Back Pain, Drug Guide 2015 and Walking Guide. Limit 4 pamphlets per request.
Cancer Support Community
1050 17th St. NW, #500
Washington, DC 20036
Free fact sheets about most cancers (specify the type), treatments, side effects and supporting someone with cancer.
275 Seventh Ave.
New York, NY 10001
Free fact sheets by type of cancer. Lung and liver cancer fact sheets also available in Mandarin.
American Diabetes Association
Attn: Center for Information
1701 North Beauregard St.
Alexandria, VA 22311
Free fact sheets on diabetes management, nutrition and meal planning, exercise, medications and complications, and legal rights to diabetes care in correctional facilities.
Prisoner Diabetes Handbook
c/o Prison Legal News
P.O. Box 1151
Lake Worth, FL 33460
37-page handbook by and for people in prison. Single copies free.
Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS
Center for Health Justice
900 Avila St., #301
Los Angeles, CA 90012
Prison Hotline: 213-229-0979 (collect)
No legal help. Free HIV prevention and treatment hotline; takes collect calls from prison Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-3 p.m. (PT). People being released to Los Angeles County can get referrals for health care and insurance.
Hepatitis Education Project
911 Western Ave., #302
Seattle, WA 98104
Free newsletter and info on hepatitis, HCV treatments and how to get treated.
New Mexico AIDS InfoNet
P.O. Box 810
Arroyo Seco, NM 87514
Free, easy-to-read fact sheets in English and 10 other languages on HIV prevention and treatment (including alternative/complementary). Ask for Fact Sheet 1000, which lists all 802 fact sheets, so you can request the one you need. Free summaries of HIV and hepatitis C treatment guidelines, which tell doctors what care to provide in different medical situations.
462 Seventh Ave., 19th Fl.
New York, NY 10018
A lifestyle, treatment and advocacy magazine for people living with/affected by HIV/AIDS. 8 issues/year, with annual guide to HIV drugs. Free to people living with HIV in prison.
Attn: Distribution Manager
5050 N. Broadway St., #300
Chicago, IL 60640
HIV treatment and research magazine. Annual guide to HIV drugs. 7 issues/year; free to people living with HIV in prison.
High Blood Pressure/Stroke
American Heart Association
7272 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75231
Will answer questions by mail and send free materials on high blood pressure, stroke and other heart problems.
National Women's Health Network
1413 K St. NW, 4th Fl.
Washington, DC 20005
Free fact sheets on fibroids, osteoporosis, mammograms, hysterectomy and other topics. Ask health questions by mail or phone Mon.-Thur. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. EST.
Living and Wellness Project
c/o Justice Now
1322 Webster St., #210
Oakland, CA 94612
Free 53-page manual, Reproductive Health, including how to communicate with your doctor, abnormal pap smears and pain management. Free Navigating the Medical System manual for women in CA prisons.
National Alliance on Mental Illness
3803 N. Fairfax Dr., #100
Arlington, VA 22203
Free info packets: Bipolar Disorder, Depression, Schizophrenia, Borderline, and General Mental Health Concerns, plus fact sheets and brochures on specific mental health conditions. Each free mailing is limited to 5 brochures and 10 fact sheets per person.
Wings Beyond Walls
P.O. Box 7019
Richmond, VA 23221
Free program to connect incarcerated people who have mental health concerns to people outside, so they can correspond and have a space to discuss mental health concerns without judgment. A volunteer will read your first letter in order to find a good pen pal match. All volunteers self-identify as having mental health issues and/or experience with institutionalization ("self-identify" means it's what they say about themselves, not what a doctor or someone else said about them). They work hard to match each person seeking support, but it may take months.
This article was provided by The SERO Project. It is a part of the publication Turn It Up!.