Today is a day to celebrate interdependence and embrace the truth that no one truly does anything alone. Welcome to the beginning of our new Guaranteed Basic Income initiative – a Softer Landing Fund.
What is a Softer Landing Fund?
A Softer Landing Fund is a guaranteed income initiative that will distribute recurring cash payments with no strings attached to 10 formerly incarcerated people who are connected with Let’s Get Free. This pilot initiative will last one year and prioritize women returning from long sentences. The initial cohort will be invited to participate by Let’s Get Free’s board and volunteers.
We want to join with the 80 programs across the US in this international practice of distributing cash – no strings attached – to people who need it most.
This project was inspired by the Community Love Fund in Massachusetts led by The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls and Families for Justice as Healing. We unite with their motivation, “The program is intentionally designed to challenge the racial and economic injustice plaguing families affected by the criminal legal system.”
We named our project A Softer Landing because even if you have a lot of support coming home from prison it is still very hard. There is the idea that often when you leave prison you enter into “financial incarceration”. You have to pay to be on parole, pay for unnecessary urine tests, face employment and housing barriers from felony status, you may be ordered to pay court and restitution fees and experience exclusion from social welfare programs, and more.
On top of financial obstacles and fees there is the unquantifiable cost of what prison does and the cost of living your life under surveillance. For example, having to get permission to leave the county, having to relive your crime every time you apply for a job or try to rent an apartment. This creates a lot of stress which impacts the health of the body and the mind.
Help us raise $50,000 – our largest community fundraising effort to date!
Organizers hope to raise $50,000 for this inaugural fund, distributing a total of $4,320 to 10 people over 1 year in monthly payments of $365.
It costs people in Pennsylvania roughly $30 a month to be on parole – that’s $1 a day for the general supervision charge. We are using this number symbolically as the amount participants will receive and will give an extra $365 on top of the year to spite the accrued annual fee!
May a thousand basic income programs bloom until income is no longer needed to live!
Graphic adapted from original artwork by Tomie Arai made in collaboration with The People’s Paper Co-op as part of their annual Free Our Mothers Campaign