American Indian Prison Project Working Group

American Indian Prison Project Working Group
9327 Turnberry Alcove
Woodbury, MN 55125

Mission:

The mission and service of AIPPWG are targeted towards the empowerment of American Indian political, social, justice, and spiritual systems for detained and incarcerated youth and adults; pre-incarceration, though re-entry back into their communities and Nations.

History:

Over the past four years, AIPP has provided pre and post-release services to over 300 Native youth and adult incarcerated and incarceration survivors. We have contributed to policy changes within the juvenile and adult prisons in MN and serve as a lead advocate for youth and adult incarcerated/ incarceration survivors in MN, SD, ND. While the structure and composition of the AIPPWG have been reshaped in the past 4 years; we have held steadfast to our values of compassion, generosity, honesty, and respect for those we seek to serve – detained and incarcerated Native youth and adults.

The Issues:

Native people in MN, SD, ND, AK are incarcerated at a higher rate than any other ethnic group in those states and also have the highest rates of recidivism, homelessness, poverty, and loss of parental rights than any other population. The AIPP seeks to reverse the current rates of incarceration recidivism through Native cultural based, restorative and trauma-informed practices and services. Due to the low population of Native people in each of the states that we provide services in our people are invisible and do not receive adequate resources/funding supports in order to move from band-aid strategies to “transformative, empowering, and sustainable” strategies to create systems changes that would reduce the mass incarceration rates of Native youth and adults in the United States.

Constituency and Leadership:

Native/Indigenous incarcerated and incarceration survivors youth and adults in MN, SD, ND, AK. The community we serve range in age from 13- 70 years old with an almost 50 -50 split on gender, as part of our Native cultural protocols we do not inquire about sexual orientation but many of the youth and adults share that they are LGBTQ and/or Two-Spirit. The services and design of the AIPP is guided by those we served in the prison and in the community. AIPP has an advisory group at each prison and in the reentry community we serve and their voices inform the decision we make and services we provide.

Tackling Oppressive Structures:

The AIPPWG by the nature of our work in federal-state prisons is faced with issues of oppression, racism, and the disproportionate rates of incarceration of Native men, women, and youth in prisons. The biggest challenges have been with prison administration/policy issues with freedom of religion and equal access to Native community programs. We celebrated a victory three months ago with AIPPWG being able to support one of the women from the state prison in the past two years who had a vision to lead AIPPWG work and now she is working inside the state women’s prison for AIPPWG conducting the monthly one to one pre-release work sessions.

Movement Building:

There is only one Native organization in the state of MN that provides pre and post-release services to Native women and that is the Northwest American Indian Community Development Center. AIPPWG has been in partnership since its inception two years ago. AIPPWG has also partnered with Morning Star Gali (Restoring Justice for Indigenous Peoples) to present on the issues of incarcerated women at a National Conference in MN in June 2020 “Women are Sacred”. The executive director of the AIPPWG, Stephanie Autumn also networks on a national level with Native organizations and individuals who provide pre-post release supports to Native people and in the fall of 2019 Stephanie was named to the Circle for Justice “FreeHer” participants/Circle advisors. 

Long-term Vision for Change:

Our vision, commitment, and goals are targeted to impact and create systemic policy change and increase services, resources, and cultural-based & restorative practices programs for detained and incarcerated Native youth and adults and incarceration survivors. In our Indigenous World View and commitment of “Being a Good Relative” we have to take it one prayer, one day at a time, and one human being at a time.   

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Organization Budget:  $75,000
Request: $6,000

Raised This Week to Date:

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