Black Prisoners' Caucus


The Black Prisoner's Caucus has asked supporting organizations and people of conscience to stand up to defend TEACH -Taking Education and Creating History, that has existed at Clallam Bay Corrections Center in Washington State for the last four years.

TEACH is a university that was created by and for prisoners. Their teaching philosophy is one that moves at the pace of the slowest, and having each one teach one. The program has awarded 700 certificates of completion to participating students and awarded over 400 college credits. The program has reduced the amount of violent infractions by their participants by 99%, non-violent infractions by 88.4% and minor infractions by 83.4% (based on a survey of 60 participants conducted by the Black Prisoner's Caucus earlier this year). Further, they were able to double the number that experienced no infractions whatsoever over the life of the program. Zimbabwe, one of the founders of TEACH, observed that the program provides the avenue for themselves and others to become whole human beings once again, to find purpose and to heal. Andre Hagin, one of the creators of the Partners in Parenting class noted, "We have given incarcerated fathers the ability to sit down with their children and help them with math, science and English assignments."

At this moment, TEACH is threatened to end as it exists in one year because of policy that makes it not possible for some of the long term proponents to be involved after that time is up. The policies enacted by the Department of Corrections (DOC) are currently being interpreted to stifle the continuance of this program.

DOC policy 490.100 limits volunteering to one year, after this year is up inmates are not allowed to volunteer to maintain programs such as TEACH.

DOC Policy 700.000 limits "employment" (compensated at .45 cents an hour) for prisoners to 2 years. These immediate issues are relevant because before the leaders of TEACH were employed to be compensated to do this work, this year the they were reduced to "volunteers." After this year they will not be allowed to continue facilitating this program. Another policy that is being used against the core organizers is that they cannot volunteer for more than one thing at a time, they are being asked to choose between T.E.A.C.H. and other programs.

They are calling for DOC representatives to attend the community meeting on June 12, 2017 at Plymouth Congregational Church, 1217 6th Ave, Seattle, Washington 98101. This will help them understand the importance of TEACH to the broader Washington community.

The solidarity community calls for DOC to write in explicit exceptions to DOC Policy #490.100 and #700.000. There are already exceptions so that prisoners who work with dogs and cats can do so for more than one year. All we are asking is that TEACH education get the same consideration.

The larger solidarity community calls on DOC take affirmative action to stop reprisals and retaliation by DOC staff against the TEACH program to spread misinformation, discourage students, sow division and conflict, and from mistreating the people who participate in TEACH.

Write Emails to:
1) Stephen Sinclair, DOC Secretary - SDSinclair@DOC1.WA.Gov
2) Robert Herzog, Interim Assistant Secretary -
3) Mike Paris, Education Program Administrator - MJParis@DOC1.WA.Gov
4) Ron Haynes, Clallam Bay Correction Center Superintendent - REHaynes@DOC1.WA.Gov


"Community Review Board" Legislation - 2017

Often referred to as the "New Jim Crow", the Prison Industrial Complex has resulted in the mass incarceration of black and brown bodies. If you are Black in Washington State you are incarcerated at 6.4 times the rate of your white counterparts. Washington State has no parole, for those serving long term sentences,  since 1984. Establishing a "Community Review Board" would create a racially equitable process that would allow for our community and family members living long term sentences in prison to be reviewed for release after a period of 15-20 years.

The Black Prisoners' Caucus is the lead Black organizing group behind this piece of legislation and is supported by Black Out WA and a network of anti-racist, multi-cultural organizations such as FIGHT, Ending the Prison Industrial Complex - EPIC Seattle, The Village of Hope, European Dissent Seattle, Freedom Summer, YUIR Seattle/ Tyree Scott Leadership Institute (Freedom School & YUIR), Washington Coalition for Parole, I Did the Time Spokane and more...

Black Prisoners' Caucus / BlackOut WA Community Review Board Meetings:

Seattle - We have joined our meetings with the general meetings at the Village of Hope on Wednesday from 5:30 pm - 8:30 pm.

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The Black Prisoners' Caucus higher education program for the incarcerated, T.E.A.C.H. (Taking Education and Creating History), is a college program designed to change the expected outcomes of men in prison by transforming incarcerated men into college educated students. Located at Clallam Bay Corrections Center, TEACH offers a new and innovative approach towards increasing the mens availability to Liberal Arts and Natural Science Studies. Education has been shown to be key in eliminating inter-generational poverty, debt, homelessness, and improve the quality of life. Every student will have the opportunity to excel within this learning community and as they grow they will learn how to confront their social and academic challenges with a richer and broader perspective.

The most fundamental tools needed for success in today's society begins with education. With a growing prison population and a dwindling budget every available opportunity to post-secondary education for prisoners has been eliminated except for a few basic courses and those programs developed by community organizations such as ourselves. TEACH has a rigorous curriculum that begins with a series of introduction courses (to assist students returning to school after some time away) which will lead into two educational pathways: 1 certificate pathway in general knowledge courses and 2 for-credit pathways in Social Science Applied Science.  (Learn more...)

"Chipping Away at the Cultural Wall"

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The Village of Hope holds weekly meetings EVERY Wednesday at 6:00pm at the Village of Hope office.
9421 18th Ave SW, Seattle, WA 98126
These meetings include support for BPC issues and activities.
For more information please call the Village of Hope at 206-937-2701.