Hello Everyone! I love that I get to learn something new every day no matter where I am in life or actuality. Today I learned that this topic (Hate Mail) is an ongoing series on the blog. Yea Missy!
Just a reminder, I’m still housed at the county jail facility, back from prison fighting for justice; and I say that to say this, the problems that we prisoners have sending and receiving our mail is endemic throughout not only the prisons, but also the jails. And not in any geographical or jurisdictional sense, this particular issue pervades the entire system at every level; local, state and federal.
How might someone in my position here in a county jail in Florida know this? Here in the Pinellas County Jail is a federal holding facility for the Middle District Federal Court in Tampa, and there are county-leased jails all over the country as it must be less costly for the feds and more profitable for the county jails; not to mention the federal cops will chase you down anywhere for placing a stamp cooked on an envelope. Well, maybe that’s an exaggeration… maybe.
Let’s look at the most recent action of errant-ry. If a person is indigent, in this county jail, you are permitted four legal mail envelopes per month through the law library by application as they are guarding those priceless folded and gum-stripped sheets of wood pulp from nefarious and unscrupulous users such as myself. I used one of the said envelopes to communicate my grievance of an appeal that’s best addressed in another article. The envelope, which was addressed to the Colonel of the jail, the highest ranked officer of the facility, was returned to me three days after I mailed it because someone deposited twenty dollars on my account some time between mailing and vetting. Instead of simply forwarding the envelope via in-house mail delivery… across the parking lot, they consumed the hourly wage rate of the law librarian, which certainly surpasses the forty-nine cents it would have cost to process the letter through the U.S. mail, to return the letter to me with instructions to open and return the contents and then destroy the envelope. This begs the question: What?
It’s the spend a dollar to save a dime mentality that connotes the need to make sure that people in custody are feeling the full force of those who must believe it’s their job to mete out punishment by way of mail interrupt-us.
It does get funny at times, though. I mean really funny. I had my best person in the world go onto the Florida DOC website to send me a location finder for Florida prisons; an outline of the state with the prison locations, no roads, no highways, or byways or parkways or even driveways. Alas, it was returned because we are not permitted to receive maps; just in case we get out of the myriad of locked doors and miles of razor wire, they don’t want us to find our way around or through the armies of law enforcement. I informed the mail room this outline had none of the attributes of a map and this is available to DOC prisoners from the DOC themselves. Under my suggestion, my love returned it to me with “This is not a map.” written boldly across the top. Lo and behold, the paper came to me this time and has been the subject of a great many he-haws since.
I don’t know if that is topped by this fact, but it is in the running: Among the crazy list of do-not-sends is newspaper or magazine articles or book passages torn from a publication. I have not been able to get any answer at all why this prohibition is in place, and I have asked, except that it is because it is. However, all you have to do is – put them on a copier, copy them onto a plain white piece of paper and then send it in. It will get to you. And, oddly enough, I have sent others articles ripped from magazines with no issue at all. If anyone can come up with any guess as to what logic may be applied here, I’d be so relieved to know what even your best guess might be since I’ve exhausted more brain cells trying to figure this one out than all others combined.
So many people who become incarcerated have no idea that just because we are behind the fences doesn’t mean that we have no rights. One of the most important rights is that of communication. We can, for all intents and purposes communicate with our lawyers and loved ones, and letters to state agencies and media are also protected rights.
However, the penal system that has no oversight and has a culture attempted through the excuse of penalogical interests and even by power drunk staff can and does read and withhold mail that may incriminate those powers that be by simply rejecting or censoring incoming and outgoing mail. But it goes further when they use your mail against you under the guise of being a threat to the order and security of the institution.
If any of you are familiar with the Uniform Commercial Code and becoming a sovereign citizen of the United States, there are real patriots out there that have legitimate companies helping people with a myriad of complex filing issues. I had written to such an organization out of Georgia. I’m not aware of other state’s decisions on this but the Florida Department of Corruptions, with their statutorily given right to make their own rules, has by rule and threat of punishment, made it an offense to even possess the Uniform Commercial Codes. Not being as knowledgeable, I am curious, so I wrote to this organization. My letter was rejected and sent back under the fallback go to that I was “being a threat to the security of the institution”.
Something about pursuing any legal means necessary to expose them for the cruel culture that has been prevelant for so long buys you special attention. So I was called to the gang Sergeant’s office because I apparently became part of a security threat group seeking out information to help gain my freedom. I am 55 years old and have never been in trouble in my life, but now I am supposedly on an FBI watch list. Normally I would laugh this off but later, I applied to be placed in an honor dorm with mostly age-grouped inmates and was denied as being a gang member.
Is it overkill? Probably so, but beyond that it’s motivated by fear that someone may draw attention to the American plague that is our prisons.
The Florida Department of Corrections (FDC) is in the process of implementing a new service for our inmate population. Through JPay Inc., a Florida–based company, the Department will make available a variety of multimedia services to inmates through both an interactive kiosk, available in each general population housing unit, and secure tablets. These services are geared toward enhancing family connections, expanding educational opportunities, and incentivizing positive inmate behavior at no cost to the Florida taxpayer.
FDC will implement kiosk services in all major correctional institutions, annexes, work camps, re–entry centers, and Department–operated Community Release Centers throughout the state. Implementation of kiosks began in August 2017, with a projected completion date in the Spring of 2018. Upon completion of the kiosk implementation, secure tablets will be made available for purchase. (projected Spring 2018). Educational content, including JPay’s Learning Management System (LMS) Lantern LMS and Khan Academy Lite videos will be available.
Additional services include:
|Secure Email, including pictures
||Educational Content (including JPay’s Learning Management System (LMS) Lantern LMS and Khan Academy Lite videos)
||Movies (available for rental)
|Electronic Greeting Cards
||eBooks and Audio Books
|Link to Employ Florida Marketplace job search
Video visitation will be offered at the cost of $2.95 per 15-minute session, making it a very affordable option for inmates who want more access to their families, and competitive with the rates in other states.
Secure Mail is available to inmates at a cost of $0.39/stamp, with one stamp purchasing one email. This is $0.10 cheaper than the cost of a first-class postage stamp, currently at $0.49. The cost of Secure Mail covers the cost of the infrastructure to support it and monitoring of the messages for safety and security purposes.
All inmates who currently have a digital music player, through an existing contract with Keefe Commissary Network, are eligible receive a free JP5mini tablet, along with a $10 credit to apply to media purchases. All other inmates will have an opportunity to purchase either the JP5mini (4.3” tablet) for $79.99 or the JP5S (7” tablet) for $129.99. Additionally, for the first 60 days after implementation at their institution, inmates can purchase tablets for a 50% discount.
Each secure tablet will come with complementary content, provided at no additional cost to the inmate, including several games, 100 classic eBooks, relaxation music, and access to educational content including Khan Academy Lite videos and GED preparation. The cost of games, movies, ebooks, audiobooks, and music will vary depending on the item purchased, similar to how prices in online stores like Apple iTunes and Google Play vary.
The Department is committed to ensuring that services provided to inmates are offered at a fair and reasonable cost that maximizes the use and benefits of these services. Through careful monitoring and a clear contract, this partnership with JPay, Inc. has the potential to modernize programming for inmates and provide the Department a delivery channel for future innovative programming ideas.
Received via Corrlinks (the email system for BOP [Federal] inmates) today from our friend Mickey:
Gosh, It’s so great to be out of the Hole after 35 days!
It feels super weird to me after being locked in a 12′ x 8′ cell for over a month with the window covered.
Honestly, I can’t believe in 2017 that they are still allowed to do that to people. It has to stop! It’s ridiculous!
I just wanted to say Hi ; – ) and see how you are doing? I heard it’s rough out there in the Free World???
I haven’t heard from many of you in a while but i pray that you are well and hope to hear from you soon.
I am almost down to 100 days until I go to halfway house in Philly December 6th, 2017. These last few months are creeping along but thanks for supporting me with your; letters, pics, prayers, love. I’m very grateful, Thank You : – )
Remember that the BOP changed their policy and now they want you to send letters on white paper in white envelopes with no stickers, not even return address labels. You can still print out letters on your computer. Some people have gone to using a stamp for the return address or typing or hand writing it. I am so sorry for the change.
Well, have a great week, my friends. Be well and take care of yourself.
This is a little ironic, considering BOP uses to and from labels (stickers) on the envelopes that the prisoners use. But there you go – if we do it, it’s now considered contraband and the mail is rejected. Any excuse to limit outside contact for prisoners. Disgusting.