Ties to friends and family are threatened in the case of many Drug War POWs. By itself, the prospect of imprisonment for 10 years (a light term by US Drug War standards) ruptures marriages on average in less than two years, contributing to the despair and defeatism Drug War prisoners face. Family members and friends who hope to keep ties strong often are frustrated by the expense of travel and accommodation and the distance they must cover to keep the flame of kin and friendship lit. Visiting a POW family member imposes hardship in not only the federal US system, which incarcerates a California resident in Georgia and a New York resident in Oregon, but in state systems also; increasingly, states circumvent court orders against crowding by shipping prisoners to commercial prisons in states like Tennessee where for-profit prisons thrive.
To help counter the abandonment many Drug War prisoners feel, The Committee on Unjust Sentencing proposes to operate a matching plan which matches prisoners and viewers. For example, a native of New York imprisoned in Southern California may be matched with a resident of Los Angeles. Though letters in the mail provide a crucial means of communication, the project encompasses more than a pen-pal arrangement. To visit a POW in prison confronts a visitor with the stark reality of Drug War operations, serving as a wake-up call if one is needed that is of benefit to visitor and POW alike.
Would-be visitors need look no further. E-mail your name and address and any information you think relevant to firstname.lastname@example.org. A POW receptive to visits from a concerned outsider may write to COUS and request placement on the list. Allow time for the matching plan to grow.