I don’t know about you, but I’ve never had to live in a bathroom with a mattress. No one should be sentenced to being cut off from their loved ones in a place like that.
-Raven Trapp, SAF Transportation
Support-A-Friend Transportation does exactly what the name says with a very important twist. The service began in October of 2017 in Peoria, Illinois with a mission to commute as many people to visit their incarcerated loved ones as possible. The controversial issue of mass incarceration and recidivism in America isn’t that complicated to company founder, Raven Trapp. The role of love and support in the rehabilitation of inmates is the responsiblity of their families and friends, not government. Support-A-Friend Transportation seeks to solve the problem of commuting family and friends to private and public prisons to visit their incarcerated loved ones when a phone call won’t do.
TBFS hooked-up with Raven Trapp to get a better gist of exactly how the process of obtaining transportation worked and ran into a heaping, fresh-from-the-soul-kitchen pile of black excellence. Not only does the service provide transportation for people in the city traveling to the outskirts of rural communities where these institutions are usually located, but the she also works locally to usher children to and fro for busy parents when schools close for the summer. “I work in my church’s food pantry and there are so many kids that go without, especially during the summer when school is out. We take them to camps, appointments, or wherever they need to go.”
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In addition to providing snacks and rides to children in her community, the primary service is geared towards easing the burden of travel logistics to and from the prisons. In a TBFS exclusive, the transportation activist mentioned, “A lot of the inmates that know us take it on themselves to pass out our flyers in the prisons. They have a vested interest in seeing us grow because they want to see their loved ones. They don’t want to be forgotten.”
Raven Trapp is a staple in her local community but hopes her idea doesn’t remain exclusively in Peoria. She recognizes that transportation is an issue for many families that want to visit their loved ones. Her goal is to expand her services as far as her reach as far as the problem of mass incarceration itself. “It’s not as if the private prisons don’t want me there because they have their own vendors. The service I’m offering doesn’t exist. No one is concerned with connecting families to prisoners but those are our people in there,” said a passionate and determinate pioneer.
The services offered by Support-A-Friend Transportation may not be a solution to the problem of mass incarceration and the systematic injustice inflicted on people of color in America. It may however dig a tunnel of hope through the darkness for people who are either victims of an unjust, biased court system or their own bad decisions. Either way, Raven Trapp believes that love is a right no one should be denied whether bonded or free.
I’m not looking at private versus public prison ownership right now. I only care about prisoners. Especially, when it comes to our (black) people in prison. We can’t just throw them away. They need us!
Raven Trapp, founder of SAF Transportation
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