Northwest UU Justice Network

Call to Action: Support the Black Prisoners' Caucus

The Black Prisoner's Caucus has asked supporting organizations and people of conscience to stand up to defend the Taking Education and Creating History (TEACH) program that has existed at Clallum 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.

  1. DoC representatives 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.

  2. DoC must 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.

  3. 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.

Sign the Petition:

Write Emails to:

Stephen Sinclair, DOC Secretary

Robert Herzog, Interim Assistant Secretary

Mike Paris, Education Program Administrator

Ron Haynes, Clallum Bay Correction Center Superintendent




NWDC, N. (2017). Call to Action: Support the Black Prisoners' Caucus. Retrieved from


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