Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sending Books

There have been some interest in sending books to Farrah while she is at Eyman. There are restrictions, but the process is not difficult. As long as the correct shipping address is used, only a few details will differ from ordering yourself a book.

Individuals cannot send books directly. All books must be ordered and shipped from a recognized publisher, distributor, or authorized retailer. Unfortunately, no third party vendors are allowed.  The books must be shipped directly from the company they are ordered from. Amazon Marketplace, Barnes & Noble, and e-Bay are all considered third party vendors. Amazon has reportedly been very inconsistent, sometimes orders from Amazon are accepted – but only if the order was shipped directly from Amazon, and even then there is no guarantee. Consider Amazon  a last resort.

Walmart is listed by AZ DOC as an example of an authorized retailer, and Farrah has received books shipped from Walmart. If a book is not available from Walmart, or you do not wish to do business with Walmart, you can go to most major publishers and order the book through them. Farrah has received books ordered directly from the publisher.

Selecting a book

All books are reviewed by facility officials before they are available for pickup. The purchaser's name, address, and the book title are recorded. Books send without that information are rejected automatically. For the most part, just use some common sense – most mainstream novels are fine. If you are a little uncomfortable with AZ DOC knowing you sent a particular book, think twice before sending it. A more complete list of restrictions will be included in the last section.

When selecting a book, you need to check several things before placing an order. The book must be either soft-cover or paperback. No hard-cover books are allowed. The book must be new, not used. While the regulations allow for used books under some circumstances, the chances of a used book getting through are very slim.

While it may be a nice gesture, do not include a bookmark with the order. Bookmarks are not allowed and will be removed from the package and discarded.

Make sure the book is coming directly from the business you are ordering from. Double check, it is important.

Please send one book at a time. Farrah is not allowed to have more than 10 books at once, and several of her books are reference books that she wants to hold on to. Sending one book at a time will give her a chance to finish one book before the next one arrives. She is a fast reader, and the books you want to send may be small, but you are not the only person sending her books.

Finally, if the book is rejected, it may not be returned to the sender and you may not be refunded. Please, do not spend more than you would be willing to just lose.

Shipping the book

AZ DOC will not accept books sent through a private shipping company. Do not select any method other than the US Post Office. The shipping address for Eyman is a PO Box, so this should not be a problem.  If the site does not specify a shipper, you can check with customer service before ordering. Special instructions may be required with the order. Please check. Dover publishers, as an example, requires the order comment section have the inmates name, id, address and a statement requesting the book be shipped via US MAIL.

If mail is sent from overseas, make sure it will be handled by the US Post Office when it reaches this country.

The order must include a receipt in the package with the book. That receipt must include the title of the book, the name of the company it was purchased from, the name of the purchaser and the billing address. Major retailers, including Walmart, include an acceptable receipt.  If using a smaller retailer or publisher, you may want to check with customer service before placing your first order.

The address the book is shipped to is very important. The address must include Farrah’s legal name, her DOC id number, and the unit she is housed in. The order of the unit name, and the PO. Box is not critical. The name of the facility is optional.

Eyman, Meadows unit
PO. Box 3300


PO. Box 3300
Eyman, Meadows unit

have both worked in the past. The following is an example of the shipping address I have used to send books from Walmart. It should be easy to convert this layout into the forms used by other businesses.

If you have met the requires laid out so far, Farrah should eventually get your book. Please remember that each book must be inspected and reviewed before it is available for Farrah to pick up. The review process will take some time. Delays of a week or more are not uncommon.

If your book is rejected, Farrah will only get a short form telling her a book was received and rejected. She will not know what book was rejected, and she will not know why the book was rejected.

Final Notes and Recommendations

Farrah will not be told who sent the book. She is only told that a particular book has been approved and is available for her to pick up. So, if you send her a book, please send her a letter or card letting her know what you ordered. The letter or card does not need to be long, and she loves hearing from people – and if you tell her what you ordered, she can get word back to you that the book arrived.

Farrah has been shipped the following books recently,
Armada by Ernest Cline
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
Robopocalypse by Daniel Wilson
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
Mathematics for Nonmathematicians by Morris Kline
along with an art book for drawing furries, there are several and the specific title is not known.

The following books will be sent in the near future,
Robogenesis by Daniel Wilson
Artemis by Andy Weir

Farrah tends to prefer hard science fiction, not fantasy or even science fantasy. She does not care for military science fiction either. She has also requested books based on game franchisees like DOOM or Elite: Dangerous. A formal list has not arrived yet. If you would like any specific recommendations, all you need to do is ask Farrah. Include a few suggestions, if you have any. She loves getting mail and will reply when she gets a chance.

Content Restrictions

The full details are available in AZ DOC department orders 909 and 914. Religious materials are covered by a separate set of regulations, which will not be included here. Religious books are available in the prison library, you do not need to send them.

All items are reviewed for content, and may not include the following:
  1. Material that describes or depicts anything that could aid or incite any resistance
  2. Instructions for sending or receiving prison contraband
  3. Any depiction or description of street gangs, hate groups, terrorist organizations, et.
  4. Pictures or instructions regarding the function of locks or security devices
  5. Instructions or promotion of drug paraphernalia, or the manufacture of drugs or alcohol
  6. Content promoting racism, religious oppression, or racial superiority
  7. Martial arts or self-defense training manuals
  8. Pictures, descriptions or instructions for the sale, manufacture, concealment or construction of any weaponry. Simple pictures or broad descriptions of a weapon would not be grounds for rejection. Describing how a zip gun was put together, even in fiction, would be rejected.
  9. Detailed descriptions of computers, electronics or communication systems. Neuromancer by William Gibson would be perfectly fine, but Hackers by Steven Levy would probably be rejected
  10. Anything involving ciphers, codes or cryptography
  11. Anything involving intelligence gathering, or investigative techniques. Works of fiction are fine, but nothing approaching actual police or military procedures. Sending anything describing or instructing in the use of military procedures could be considered a violation of the law
  12. Anything promoting violence
  13. Anything sexually explicit
  14. Instructions on the sale, manufacture, concealment or construction of tools
  15. Any content that could cause a health hazard, fire hazard, or disruption facility operations

All items are reviewed according to these regulations, but the reviewers are allowed flexibility. Use your common sense. Mainstream mystery novels, science fiction, or spy novels like Jack Reacher or Jason Bourne, are fine.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Looking Ahead: Facing Future Obstacles

As of writing this entry, Farrah has 13 months until release according to her ADoC prison profile. However, SoS believes (pending confirmation) that Farrah's release date will be pushed to 15 months, as she received a prison violation for refusing housing to avoid being raped/harmed by her bunk mate. Regardless of release date, things are going to be rough for Farrah, her family, and her friends when she finally walks out of prison. The SoS team has been conferring with legal counsel to see what, if anything, can be leveraged or modified, but if nothing changes, expect the status quo for Farrah to be as follows:

  • Farrah will be released, not as a free woman, but on intensive probation.
    • Intensive probation can cost up to $1,000 per month depending on the restrictions applied.
    • Intensive probation will likely include:
      • GPS ankle monitoring.
      • Daily meetings and frequent searches with police.
      • Submitting a daily itinerary outlining where Farrah will be, when, and why?
      • Asking permission and reporting to the APD for each person she meets.
      • Requiring permission for any electronics prior to possession.
      • Restriction from internet use to include smart phone possession.
      • Restriction from travelling outside of Maricopa County.
      • Curfew that restricts her from being out when the sun isn't up.
      • And all normal restrictions under regular probation.
  • Farrah will not yet qualify for interstate compact, and she will have to serve her initial probation in Arizona.
  • Farrah will have to pay restitution for the legal costs of the hearings she received both prior to and during her stay in prison.
  • Farrah was robbed of everything in January 2017 after she was jailed in December 2016.
    • She lost all of her identifying papers, drivers license, birth certificate, social security card, and bank cards.
    • She also lost her car, all of her clothes and shoes, her phone, art supplies, physical artworks, cards, and gifts the she received over the year that she was living in AZ.
    • Finally, using her stolen bank cards, the perpetrators cleaned out her bank accounts.
  • When Farrah is released, she will have nowhere to go and nothing but a set of loaner clothes and orders to register with the probation office within 24 hours.

It's critical that Farrah gets what she needs to meet the orders of probation. Failure to comply with probation or restitution will result in an added prison sentence of up to an additional 3 years. If this happens, it will not remove any standing charges, and Farrah will have to start intensive probation over again. This cycle can continue indefinitely until she complies. Here's a short list of what Farrah will need to comply with the basics of probation:

  • A residence with an address in Maricopa County.
    • Must be approved by the APD.
    • Can be a house, apartment, or rented room.
    • Must be at least 500ft away from schools, parks, and churches
      • Depending on the reviewing officer, distance restriction may also include gun stores, adult stores, and shopping malls.
    • Must not have firearms in the residence.
    • Must not have porn or adult items readily accessible.
    • Must not have marijuana or other illegal substances.
  • Employment.
    • Preferably fulltime, but part time work can be argued for compliance if fulltime is unavailable.
    • Preferably no computer use. If computer use is necessary, the place of business must agree to have the systems audited by the APD.
  • Reliable Transportation.
    • A bus pass would suffice as long as she can get to and from work, therapy, and PO visits.
  • Therapy.
    • Farrah has been barred from returning to her former therapist (no loss).
    • Ultimately, the APD will decide where Farrah will attend sex offender therapy, but there are ways to leverage this decision towards a better option.
  • Money (as much as we hate to say).
    • Farrah will be immediately required to pay off her legal fees and registration fees for probation.
    • There are no payment plans and these fees are rarely waived.
    • Failure to pay will result in additional prison time.

Please note that the above information isn't a request for money; it's meant to paint a picture of what we and Farrah will face at the time of her release. That said, if you have contacts, knowledge, or anything you're willing to offer, it would go a long way in helping us keep Farrah from additional punishment.

Thanks to modest donations from friends and family, SaveOurSisk will be able to repurpose our Patreon as a savings account from now until Farrah's release, at which point we will donate those saved funds to cover some of the item illustrated above. We want to give a massive thanks to everyone who has been contributing Patreon for all this time. Keep it up! Every little bit helps; especially now.

We will keep you updated as things develop.

--SSG Ops.

Monday, January 15, 2018

A Message From Sisk: Always Be True To Yourself

Our world is host to many toxic, dangerous environments for transgender individuals, and among them, prison is one of the worst. Chances are, if you are transgender and sentenced to prison, you will not be sent to a prison that matches your gender. The best you can hope for is that the prison staff and your fellow inmates will be supportive, but that is rarely the case.

Just like the world on the outside, prison denies trans people their identities, or otherwise forces them to hide their identities to avoid severe risk. Guards will intentionally dead-name trans inmates and use incorrect pronouns. Trans people tend to be a running joke among other inmates, and are often isolated from socialization. What's worse is that, more times than not, trans inmates must face the majority of their sentence in administrative isolation for their own safety.

All of this is still true today, and fortunately, a fight for acceptance is happening both in prisons across the United States as well as the outside world. Farrah is a part of that fight, both inside and out.

"There are a lot of people in this world that you can betray, but if there is one person in this world you should never betray, it's yourself." --Farrah (Sisk)

For those who are unaware, Farrah is a transwoman (post HRT) who has been confined to a male prison yard in Arizona. She frequently writes to us about the deplorable conditions she faces daily. However, she continues to thrive in such an oppressive environment by holding on to her identity despite the hardship, and in a recent letter, she encourages you to do the same. Today, we share that letter with you:

Remember to always fight for yourself. You know who you are, and you deserve to be that person on the outside just as much as you are on the inside. You may not be all the way to where you need to be, and that's okay. These things do take time, especially with all the hardship the world can throw at you.

I wish I could describe the glee I experience when I hear about the people I know out there who are exploring their true identity. There can be a lot of risk stacked against such exploration and sometimes it can take a fuck-ton of courage to stand up to that risk and say, "You know what? This is who I am, and this is who I'm going to be." And so when I get news that someone is affirming their identity, changing their name, starting hormones, or even just changing their look, it's a huge deal!

I'm on a journey of my own here, and I'm growing to be a stronger, more assertive person. That's the person I am on the inside, and that's the person who is going to get me through this. Through both my journey and yours, it's the little things that make all the difference.

That's a wonderful thing, you know? You have no idea the true scale of how much the little stuff matters. Like pronouns! Being acknowledged as female is a little thing that reinforces my identity, and solidifies it to the point that I have a trustworthy foundation to build my self-esteem upon. Someone referring to me as "him" has zero bearing on what I can do as a person, but all those little paper cuts can, and do, add up to a lot of misery, not being acknowledged as who you see yourself as, and transgender men and women have turned away from or even lost their lives due to no one wanting to see them for who they are. They never had a chance to build a foundation of identity because those around them made them second-guess even building a foundation in the first place. Others wanted them to build their foundation upon a place that their soul and mind could not support, as if they were building on sand. And that's a big fucking tragedy.

Thankfully, I'm a stubborn bitch who doesn't know any better, and though I'm in a hyper-masculine environment, I not only refuse to let a place as dangerous as prison impinge upon my identity, but I also refuse to "take advantage" of the fact that I'm female, because, although in some weird strategic sense that might be a good move, it's not who I am either.

I dug in, and people took notice. Not everyone uses female pronouns with me, but for the ones that do, it's an outside step for them. A few weeks ago, I had a guy comment to me that out of all the "transgenders" on the yard, I was the only one that he actually thinks of as female; this is a guy who is squicked out by the idea of trans people. And he's not the only one. There are others who use female pronouns with me, and not for the other trans women here.

Why? Who the fuck really knows. Everyone says because I act like a woman (whatever that means), but I didn't run around the yard demanding to be recognized. I just was, and it's a decent hypothesis that I earned that by not compromising who I am. Some stuff is subject to politics, some stuff is necessary to compromise on, but an identity is not among them.

In short: just be you. It's okay to nervous about stuff, but never ever think for one moment that you can't be who you are on the inside. Others may be against you, the world may push back at times, but you are your own person; you are you, and that's the most important thing, the part of yourself that you should never betray. If you dig in for your identity, I will always support you, and there are thousands upon thousands of others out there that will accept and support you too.

Please keep exploring who you are. Go out there and buy some dresses, get a manly haircut, or whatever suits you. If you need to change your name to a better fit, do it. If you need to start a dialogue with a gender counselor to find yourself, do it.

Don't make excuses. It's never to late to start this journey. You CAN be the person you feel like, whether that person is the manliest of men, the sweetest of women, or somewhere in between. It doesn't matter what you started as. All it takes is that first step forward and dedication to yourself.

You can do it!

--Farrah "Siskmarek" Barney