amberspeaksup Profile picture
Executive Dir. @restorealliance, speaker, anti-carceral survivor, veteran, advocate & co-host of #valueallhumans Tweets my own
7 Apr
1/ It’s time for some truth telling. In the state of CT, rather than promoting reentry and rehabilitation, we have statutes intended to make the community afraid & deputize neighbors against neighbors.
2/ When a person is released after serving their court-ordered sentence for a specific category of crimes that have very low re-offense rates, CT offers communities the option of holding a COMMUNITY meeting to discuss that person’s crime & their conditions of supervision
3/ The intent is to have the community on the look out for technical violations so they know where to report them if they are is standing in the wrong spot or consuming the wrong beverage on their porch. This is what we are telling ourselves is “public safety.”
Read 9 tweets
16 Dec 20
A thread - We are so humbled & proud of the guests who shared a bit of their lives with the world on #Amplifiedvoices in Season 1.

As we gear up for Season 2, Catch up, comment, share & support! The more these voices are heard, the further change can go! #cjreform
@ThoughtasWeak was featured in the 1st full episode (3) She shared her thoughts on how her family was affected by both harm & the system, her search for answers, what they thought justice should look like, her spirituality, & journey to healing & advocacy.…
Episode 4 follows Iran Nazario, of @PeaceCenterofCT through his turbulent childhood, subsequent immersion in gang membership & entanglement in the cj system. His inspiring journey to repurpose himself as a proponent of peace & understanding makes an impact…
Read 18 tweets
4 Oct 20
1/When my LO was incarcerated, people in my circle helped pay for phone calls for my kids. I have NEVER forgotten that kindness. The bill was often over over $500 per month & I was ashamed that I needed the help. During the winter I couldn’t afford the calls & heat too.
2/A group of great people pooled money for modest Christmas gifts so my kids could feel like their world wasn’t crumbling around them. This gesture gave the kids the opportunity to feel a sense of normalcy. The givers? They didn’t even celebrate Christmas, but cared that we did.
3/Her first time waiting at the prison for a visit, my daughter began to cry uncontrollably while standing “on the line” waiting for her dad to be brought out. An angel of a woman next to her reached over, touched her shoulder and told her she was gonna be ok. #cjreform
Read 4 tweets
29 Sep 20
The attack on this politician is the most egregious use of fear-mongering politics I have ever seen. “New Jersey Dem Under Fire for Lobbying Against Sex Offender Registry”…
The idea that the @NRCC - National Republican Congressional Committee would use this type of rhetoric in an ad with no regard to the fact that these policies actually PERPETUATE sexual harm for political gain is disgusting.
I am encouraged that NJ Faith Leaders are calling for the NRCC to recall this ad. All people of conscious who understand that this framing is harmful to survivors, families, communities & public safety- speak up. This is partisan politics at its worst. Shame on you @NRCC
Read 4 tweets
2 Aug 20
1/ “It is important to note, that the people languishing on probation, on the registry, in mandated outpatient treatment, in rescue programs and other forms of out of prison confinement are considered to be ‘in the community’” @MayaSchenwar @LVikkiml #read4justicewithamber
2/ “This refrain raises the question of what it means to be part of a community. In the vocabulary of the prison nation, being in community simply means occupying the same physical space as others.” - @MayaSchenwar @LVikkiml
3/ “But community has a deeper meaning, a sense of mutual care and responsibility & it is this meaning that disintegrates in the face of constant surveillance and restrictions.” - Prison by Any other Name @MayaSchenwar @LVikkiml #read4justicewithamber
Read 5 tweets
23 Jul 20
1/“Interestingly, some of the most ardent prison critics are not troubled by the carve-out to the mass incarceration critique for sexual misconduct...even though there is no such carve out for aggravated assault, drug dealing, or even murder.”-@ayagruber #endtheregistry #cjreform
2/ “The exception for sexual offenses is so taken for granted that few feel the need to mention it or stray from the presumption that sex offenders are just a small minority of those swept away in mass incarceration” - Feminist War on Crime @ayagruber #cjreform
3/ “Reality is that according to a BJS report on the US prison population is that so’s at 12.4%, constitute a higher percentage than burglars & nonsexual assaults & nearly as high a percentage as all drug offenders (15.7%)” Feminist War on Crime @ayagruber #read4justicewithamber
Read 6 tweets
14 Jul 20
1/ If you are in NY, are affected by public registration, have a loved one who is, or fundamentally oppose registries as a matter of human rights & because they distract from strategies that actually reduce sexual harm - We must join those on the ground & expand our coalitions.
2/ If you find it difficult to understand why this matters, consider this. A full 32% of the NY Corrections Committee agenda today involves bills that demand further restrictions, sanctions & punitive actions towards individuals who are required to register. #endtheregistry
3/Many of these are measures such as residency & proximity restrictions, parental visitation, & internet surveillance. All of these things have huge collateral consequences, do not protect children, infringe on rights & detract from strategies that help reduce sexual harm.
Read 6 tweets
6 Jul 20
@ayagruber reflects - “How did the feminism anti-violence agenda become so tethered to the tough-on crime position? How come gender crime gets a carve out or even veto over #cjreform?...In many ways the feminist war on crime is a feminist civil war”#read4justicewithamber
2 / “It is natural to want to advocate for more crim. enforcement in the face of rape crisis stats & stories of abuser impunity. However, in the rush to punish bad apples we forget that the cj system is culturally ordered, technocratic & beholden to specific political forces.”
3/ @ayagruber unpacks how “Feminist criminal law reforms have always operated within the context of larger social phenomena, from slavery to sex panics.” Check out the Intro, Ch1 Ch 2 this week. Share your thoughts & RT to #read4justicewithamber
Read 4 tweets
23 Jun 20
“We have to be more proactive than reactive.” - @Tamilbond4 On sexual harm & the state violence that is public registries. Part of recent virtual panel discussion with authors, @JudithLevine & Erica Meiners. Watch it here: #endtheregistry #endsexualharm
“I am hopeful that there is an opening for partnerships between secular society & those who are in spiritual communities of one shape or another to move change forward.” - Andrew, lived-experience organizer and clergy member. #valueallhumans
“Alliances of all kinds are important as we work to make people whole again. Sitting in a room full of people who agree with us may feel good but won’t move the mark.” - @amberspeaksup #endtheregistry #nomoreharm #supportsurvivors
Read 4 tweets
7 Jun 20
1/ Official statement from @GovNedLamont re: settlement reached with ACLU on COVID response in prisons, “This settlement affirms the approach that the DOC has been taking since the beginning of this pandemic. The department will continue to act in this responsible manner....”
2/Commissioner Cook said, “....Unity and collaboration will always prevail In fact, I believe Connecticut will be viewed as the balanced, compassionate and collaborative example to follow during such crisis in the future.”
3/ The ACLU response can be found here.…
Read 7 tweets
23 May 20
1/ Imagine that you were not allowed to access the internet or your would be sent to jail. There is a pandemic & most communications (zoom town halls, Facebook live briefings, smart tv’s, etc) were happening online or your job or school went to online meetings. #cjreform
2/ Imagine that the probation office didn’t inform you, but you tried to report & it was locked up tight. You can’t get a hold of your officer. Imagine the panic you start to feel. You slip a note under the door and leave a message hoping you’ll be okay.
3/ You are part of an at-risk population for #CoVID19 due to age or underlying medical conditions. You risked your health to report to that office, even had to take public transportation or miss work. #stillnotfree #lessismore
Read 6 tweets
18 Apr 20
My friends over at the Center for Rational Justice Studies @CFRJustice have just established a twitter presence. Please give them a follow. They advocate for proportional justice, restoration for all & an end to public registration practices. #SORegistry #CJreform #valueallhumans
Thank you for RT @JohnCar123411!
Thank you @AmberSm33136790 for the RT!
Read 11 tweets
11 Apr 20
1/ Thread illustrating that the system does not “listen to the victims”...2 years ago, our family was victimized when my elderly “auntie-mom” who had Alzheimer’s was financially exploited & left for dead by someone who posed as a friend and caregiver. You can read the story here:
2/ In Feb., the victim advocate called to say that the sentencing would take place in May, but that the defense was asking for a continuance to allow the convicted to have knee surgery before he served time. She tried to guide our impact statements to ensure that he was denied.
3/ Much to her surprise, I explained that while we understand the system, we wished for accountability & rehabilitation. I reminded her that his sentence was NOT to a life of physical pain due to lack of healthcare. We had no problems with a continuance. #restorativejustice
Read 9 tweets
7 Apr 20
1/ Advocates & advocacy groups - please LISTEN! You can call for immeadiate action without making the violent/nonviolent distinction. I know it’s well-meaning, but it can do A LOT of damage to the criminal justice reform narrative. #COVID19 #cjreform
2/ You can say “release the elderly/sick” without saying “leave the juveniles”. You can say “release people” without saying “leave the violent offenders to die”. You can say “release those awaiting trial” without throwing those jailed for tech violations or who are convicted away
3/ Make your evidence-based arguments for your desired outcomes - WITHOUT harming others in the process. Offer to be a part of solutions. Tell the stories of humans who do not deserve to die slow, painful deaths when it could have been prevented. #valueallhumans #COVID19
Read 6 tweets
5 Mar 20
1/ 97.1% The number of people, convicted of a sexual offenses who were NOT convicted of a new offense within 5 years of release in CT (OPM). Evidence is not the reason for exclusion from relief. We must continue to educate, advocate and liberate. #cleanslatect
2/ Erasure is not about relieving someone who has been already held accountable from responsibility. It is about allowing all citizens, including those who have been convicted and those who have been harmed to live in a place of real (not merely perceived) safety. #nocarveouts
As @JoshuaBHoe says - HOW people come back from prison matters. Making people insecure increases crime & recidivism, the best way to stay safe is getting people jobs & stable housing, to ensure they are connected to & not isolated from their communities. #cleanslatect
Read 4 tweets
29 Feb 20
1/ Classic question in public hearing on bill that would restore voting rights to individuals on parole in CT. "What about the victims?" This is horrible framing that perpetuates the "us vs. them" culture. Victims & perpetrators are often one & the same.
2/ Communities that are disproportionately affected by our unjust criminal legal system, are subsequently disenfranchised on a massive scale AND they contain both victims and perpetrators. Aside from that, voting is a RIGHT, not a privilege. #votingisaright #restorethevote
3/ We need to STOP acting like restoring victims is at odds with restoring those who have perpetrated harm or been convicted of a crime and served their time. Back to my motto - harm piled upon harm does not equal safety. It equals MORE HARM #cjreform
Read 4 tweets
20 Feb 20
1/ Look, I understand why people immediately jump to the “What about rapists?” question when we talk about clean slate. Please inform yourself. Harm is contextual - trauma often perpetuates trauma. Those who harm should be held accountable in a way that RESTORES.
2/ Convictions are disproportionate for many populations, charges often trumped up & mislabeled. Creating hopelessness & asking people to live in a world with no ability to function in the world will not create safety. Shame & oppression will not make someone be a better person.
3/ #Secondchances should be available to every person, regardless of conviction type. Every person’s opportunity to succeed affects the success of our communities and our nation. Evidence tells us that time in the community without reoffense leads to desistance.
Read 4 tweets
12 Feb 20
1) Many individuals who are doing some of the most amazing work in the areas of employment and housing, still find the very specific challenges of those subject to registration outside of the scope of what they are able to help with.
2) This should tell policy makers what those of us who live with those impacts every day already know. There is no way to mitigate or control the collateral consequences of a system that insinuates that people on a list are so dangerous that their rights can be infringed upon.
3) Disclaimers that “no assessment of dangerousness has been made” do not work when the very nature of the “list” is a label meant to shame an isolate under the myth that this will create “public safety”. It’s circular logic that does not hold up.
Read 6 tweets
29 Jan 20
1/ Sometimes it is very necessary to speak truth to power, even when people discourage you. Individuals assert that people will not hear, or that their “hands are tied”. Feelings do not negate FACTS.
2/ We must hold leaders accountable to do what they can, when they can and pledge to take steps to get there even when it will take time, work, public education and planning. They should be committed to truth and overall societal benefit. #wearehuman #cjreform
3/ What is NOT acceptable is to send the message to any human that they do not matter. It is NOT acceptable to entertain ideas that perpetuate false narratives and harm more people than they help, simply because we are not paying attention to details. #SORegistry
Read 4 tweets
21 Jan 20
Thread- We must amplify and uplift more individuals who are directly impacted by bad laws and policies to be part of conversations, especially difficult ones. Our law makers need to hear from individuals with LIVED experience. #valueallhumans
2/ If we don’t speak, it is too easy for those in power to analyze, theorize, rationalize and dehumanize. This is particularly true when it comes to criminal justice policies. False narratives run rampant if there are no voices to counteract them. #cjreform #peoplenotprisons
3/ I stand in solidarity with all those who possess the courage to speak authentically about how they are affected by oppressive systems and inequality every day. I encourage those who are struggling to get there. You can make a difference. #peoplenotprisons
Read 4 tweets
14 Jan 20
1/So, today I must share something unrelated but very related to what I often tweet about. The harm of our criminal justice system. This is very raw and emotional for me, so please give me grace as I share.
2/ First you must know that my mother passed away when I was 16 years old, creating a very difficult time in my life. It was then that my aunt took me under her wing. We always joked that she was my “auntie-mom.”
3/ In 2014, after losing her father, and sister, my aunt’s husband abruptly passed away. She simultaneously started being more confused and depressed (which turned out to be Alzheimer’s disease). We moved closer to help her.
Read 16 tweets