Montgomery, Alabama

Here's what everyone had to say who attended the convention:

----- Original Message ----- 
From: Esther Brown 

Hi Roberta and Sherry,

On behalf of Project Hope to Abolish the Death Penalty I would like to thank you for your dedication and work that went into making this important convention such an outstanding success. The number of people who attended, the organizations and dignitaries you were able to attract speak for themselves. I believe the message is that there is strength in numbers and that politicians will listen to us if we present a united front. Please keep the momentum going! Alabama needs it!

With many thanks as ever,


From: Roberta Franklin

I want to thank everyone for making the First Annual Family Members of Inmates Convention a success. Family Members of Inmates was started to mobilize the family members so they can become a powerful voting block and become the voice for their loved ones and other inmates. Family Members of Inmates is a division of the P.A.T.R.I.C.K. Crusade and very proud to be so. 

The workshops were awesome. They were so informative that the participants did not want to leave out to go to the next one. Family members from all over the state of Alabama and the United States were in attendance.  The exhibits by the inmates were beautiful and we thank the inmates who sent items especially Alvin Daniels.

Thanks to all of you for making this first convention a tremendous success, especially Sherry and Patrick Swiney of the P.A.T.R.I.C.K. Crusade. This was our first convention so we know the next one will be bigger and better. Thanks to all of you for making this one an educational, informative and fun event. The theme for this movement has been "Shine The Spotlight Of Shame On Alabama" and we must continue to do just that. There has been a major uncovering of corruption within the walls of the Alabama Department of "Corruptions".  We have formed a lobbying group to go before the legislature and the senate. We are in the process of putting together a group to go before the Parole Board similar to the Victim's Rights Groups, and we are submitting names and suggestions to the Commissioner for his advisory board. Please let us know if you have a suggestion or would like your name submitted for the advisory board.

Again, thank you for your support and hard work this year. God is opening doors for us and we are witnessing him at work. We are being contacted by all kinds of media and people are coming together to help us in our fight. We must become and remain a self-supporting organization.

There are 27,000 inmates in Alabama prisons. If each one has at least one relative they could pay one dollar a month and that would be 27,000.00 a month.  When we remain self-supporting we can continue in the manner we started. 

I am able to say what I say on the radio because I pay for my show out of my pocket. I do not get a salary for the radio show. If we start to take money from politicians and other government entities then we must watch what we say, be careful of whom we may offend with the truth, and more. By remaining self-supporting we can go after our elected officials and get them to put bills on the table for the inmates of Alabama; we can secure attorneys who will work for us and not against us.

When you are buying your home you set the rules for your home. When you are renting the landlord sets the rules, well the Family Members of Inmates are buying their homes and we are becoming rooted and grounded in prison reform. We have brought more attention to the state of the Alabama inmates than any other group.  It has been a long, hard fight but it has been worth it. Lawsuits have been filed and won, we staged a phone boycott, we set the climate for the passing of the felony voting rights act, we have brought national attention to this movement and NaphCare is gone, but we are also asking that the residual staff leave as well.  We want a new health provider and a completely new staff.  There was a time when we would have accepted them just changing providers but now we know how they work. Again, thank you for supporting Family Members of Inmates and we will continue to fight for the rights of the Alabama inmates. See you next convention.

Roberta Franklin-Family Members of Inmates

Alabama DOC logo
From: Pam Thrasher

To be honest, at first I didn't even know if I really wanted to go or not.  After spending 11 years fighting the Alabama system, I thought what could I learn, how could this really help me?  We have had to deal with every problem there is with the Alabama Justice and Penal system.  What I did learn was that we are all in this together and only by sticking together and working together will we ever win.  We can win!  The numbers are out there and those of us that have finally come together have got to convince those that haven't.  I left the convention energized and ready to continue our long battle.  I had really gotten tired and felt I was fighting alone, losing hope.  Getting together with everyone and discussing our common goals, prepared me to go out and do battle again.  The Convention of 2003, I hope, was the beginning of many to come.  I also hope that more will attend and will discover that they aren't alone and there are more of us than we ever imagined.  When we get every family member for every inmate in Alabama to stand up........that is an awesome thought, and think how those legislators will be oiling this squeaking wheel then.

Pam Thrasher
Justus 4 Christopher Thrasher
"A Child is a terrible thing to waste!"

From: Professor Edward Blackwelder 

My comments on the 2003 convention: 

"Eternal vigilance is the price of justice" and this vigilance was demonstrated at the first annual Inmate Family Conference in Montgomery.  This group of individuals showed that there is power in numbers and they are ready to tackle the establishment to see that inmate rights are honored.  I feel proud to have been a part of this gathering.

Professor Edward Blackwelder

From: Vicki Coffman 

What a joy to be apart of this first annual convention in Alabama. To laugh and even at times share a tear with those that are walking in our shoes everyday, to offer understanding and support along these bumpy roads. This convention was pack full of information, that was all worth the small price that we paid to attend.  I personally can't wait until next year to do it again.

Vicki Coffman