Virginia was a Leader in latest First Amendment-violating policies
I would like to comment on one of the articles in the Spring 2020 No. 70 issue of ULK, page 20, “Feds Threatening First Amendment with New Polices” by a Federal prisoner. Here in the state of Virginia at the Greensville Correctional Center they’ve been doing pretty much the same thing, since about April 2017. We were advised that this was for all security level 2 and above institutions within the Virginia Department of Corrections.
Please find enclosed a copy of then Lead Warden Eddie L. Pearson’s memo relative thereof. I’ve highlighted the most relevant sections.
"The original envelope, letter and all enclosed contents will be shredded in the institutional mailroom….
“Offenders will be limited to receiving a maximum of three, 8 1/2 X 11, black and white photocopied pages front and back to include the photocopy of the envelope. Each item in the envelope i.e., photograph, newspaper clipping, drawing, each side of a letter, etc. will be considered one photocopy.”
MIM(Prisons) adds: A comrade reported on this policy when it was first implemented back in 2017. Looking at the last couple years (January 2018 thru July 2020) Virginia censored MIM Distributors more than any other state. Most of this censorship however was of Under Lock & Key for “detrimental to safety of the facility”. More needs to be done to combat this repression, not just in Virginia.
A few years since being enacted in Virginia, these policies are now spreading across the country. This means that a lot of the educational materials and resource guides that MIM(Prisons) provides to prisoners of the United $tates are now impermissible for having too many pages or being two-sided (per new Federal rules). The departments implementing these policies claim to be concerned about drugs, when most drugs are being brought in by their own staff. The net effect is that people in prison have less information on how to combat the oppression they are facing every day.