Client Assistance Fund
ARC, Inc.’s investigators have, collectively, nearly three decades’ history of building relationships with clients. That means hundreds of visits to prisons and countless moments of witnessing the deplorable conditions that are found there. Our clients may not share details of their experiences right away – and may take much longer to ask for help, if they ever do – but in visit after visit, their needs become clear. We care deeply about our clients’ well-being, and want to help them to meet their basic needs.
That is why we have launched our first-ever online fundraising campaign to support the creation of a Client Assistance Fund. Meeting our campaign target of $2,500 would allow us to provide direct assistance to our clients throughout 2016.
The need for assistance is real. We have seen our clients forced to choose between eating moldy, undercooked, or rancid prison food or going hungry. We have known clients who need regular assistance with hygiene products so that they do not have to rely on the powdered toothpaste and other inadequate items provided to them. Soap is often a much-needed item, as clients report having to wash their own clothes because what they receive from the prison is still dirty and covered with stains. In some prisons, our clients are even responsible for purchasing their own toilet paper.
In addition, support for this campaign will also go to the purchase of items such as paper and stamps for letters and to providing funds for phone calls – both crucial to being able to keep ties with loved ones. Most of our clients come from communities where it would be difficult to accept even a standard collect call. Prison calls are notoriously expensive, sometimes costing as much as $10 to $15 for a single call.
Our clients are among the most vulnerable individuals in the criminal justice system. For some, who have been entirely cut off from their home communities, their defense teams are the only people to whom they can reach out for help. Even for those with supportive family or friends, the expense required to provide adequate support may be too much. Often, relationships formed with our team members are nothing short of a lifeline.
You might wonder how being able to offer this type of support helps our work more broadly. When clients have health issues because of inadequate nutrition or poor hygiene, it makes it much more challenging for them to engage with us during visits. Simply put, it is hard to focus when you are hungry. Likewise, clients can find themselves falling into depression due to the isolation that comes from solitary confinement and that is compounded by their inability to connect with family or friends. Sometimes, providing assistance is simply a way of showing that we can follow through on small but meaningful requests.
Your support – in any amount – will have a direct impact on the lives of ARC, Inc.’s clients. We appreciate your help in ensuring that our clients can meet their basic needs while in confinement.