A New Year’s Update from Political Prisoner Marie Mason

Hello and Happy New Year!

It’s been a little more than a year and a half since I was transferred to the Admin Unit at Carswell. Many folks have written wondering if I was in the hospital here, and no, I am not. The Admin Unit is just part of a larger compound that has a major medical center for the Bureau of Prisons. This unit is completely separate from both the compound and the medical center. It’s actually more difficult to see most medical staff from here because of the security detail that must accompany any of us if we leave the unit for any reason.

It is a very small world here; only some 20 women are housed here in complete segregation from general population. It is a mixed unit and serves as both death row and as a kind of control unit. We are fortunately not locked down as often as the men’s units are, as policy in the BOP is different for male and female prisoners.

I have been able to maintain my vegan diet, mostly at my own expense until recently, and will continue to do that. It has been easier to get a more healthy and varied diet here than before. The Carswell kitchen has consistent vegan options for meals with a few exceptions, as beans and rice and vegetables are mostly available.

Carswell is far enough from everyone I know that it makes it hard for people to visit. It’s expensive to travel, it’s intimidating to come here I’m sure…But my family and my friend Julie have all made the trip to get here, things went well and it was good to see my loved ones. Mostly I have been struggling to keep up with folks through mail and email. I have had some trouble these past few years with lost letters and such, but have resolved to track and increase my communication this year. If you have written a letter, or signed one of the wonderful message cards (after an animal rights convention, at the Heartwood gathering, from a prisoner support letter writing night)- thank you so very much and please know how much I appreciated your kind words and encouragement! I’ve been so happy to hear about walks in the woods (how much I miss being in the forests!), amazing bike rides, photos of animal friends and beautiful natural places and descriptions of all the great campaigns to save forests and animals, to stop nuclear pollution and to halt the Keystone Pipeline project!!!! You all rock with a vengeance!

Tomorrow I will turn 50. It’s a mile marker and a time to reflect on my life. Like all humans, I’ve made mistakes and have some small regrets. But I am still an anarchist, a feminist, an internationalist, a Wobbly and community organizer, a passionate Earth First!er, and am still proud to have played my part in the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front’s work to defend the wild and our non-human brothers and sisters.

My life has been spent in many movements, and all seem to be part of the process of necessary change. That experiment in social change is still ongoing and we must all keep trying, keep contributing what we can. My body is trapped here, but my heart is with you still fighting out there. Never give up, never give in, keep your minds open to inventing better compassionate ways to make
change happen. And write when you can. I’m a mom, I worry about all of you out there…..
As Woody Guthrie used to say, take it easy…but take it.