Stop Censorship by North Carolina Department of Public Safety

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Stop Censorship by North Carolina Department of Public Safety

initiated in January 2012
updated on May 13, 2017

In early 2012, as our subscribership in North Carolina had begun to grow quickly, the North Carolina Department of Public Safety (NCDPS) began a systematic censorship of Under Lock & Key and other mail coming from MIM Distributors. Things like the Jailhouse Lawyers Manual and form letters listing the mail that we had sent someone were censored. The NCPDS went on to ban every issue of Under Lock & Key for 3 years straight. To this day, most issues are still censored.

Since 2012, volunteer legal assistants have worked to appeal every instance of censorship. (see our database for back-and-forth correspondence with the NCDPS) It soon became clear that the review process was a rubber stamp of the Publication Review Committee's original decision. So we focused on investigating the review process and pushing NCDPS to provide justifications and citations of the exact content being censored.

These efforts have resulted in the overturning of some censorship more recently. But even then, the mail does not seem to be delivered to the subscriber. Most recently, the Director of Rehabilitative Programs and Services admitted that inflammatory language against the police does not pose a threat to the safety and security of the institution. So we are making progress in getting them to follow their own rules.

In 2016, a lawsuit made it to court by a former prisoner subscriber of ULK [UPDATE: winter 2017-- we have not seen any followup on this case]. We have also seen a hunger strike in one NC prison lead to more mail being let in. Now is the time to step up the pressure on NCDPS mail policies. With the momentum that has been building over the last five years, pushing for a legal victory has the potential to change the practice across the state as we've seen happen elsewhere.

Updates/Reports from Inside

Related Censorship

expand[NC] 04/21/2017 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 55 (March 2017)p. 13 ”Regarding Daily Body Searches” promotes insurrection [Download Documentation] Lumberton Correctional Institution permalink
[NC] 04/21/2017 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 55 (March 2017)p.13 "Regarding Daily Body Searches" promotes insurrection Piedmont Correctional Institution permalink
[NC] 03/19/2017 letter Unconfirmed Mail Formreturn to sender Lumberton Correctional Institution permalink
expand[NC] 02/23/2017 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 54 (Jan 2017)“Last paragraph [on p. 14] advocates for prison violence if necessary.” Piedmont Correctional Institution permalink
expand[NC] 12/21/2016 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 53 (Nov. 2016)unknown - no reason given Marion Correctional Institution permalink
expand[NC] 12/12/2016 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 53 (Nov. 2016)newsletter promoting prisoner work stoppages and additional anti-authority activities is not authorized as inmate personal property Pamlico Correctional Institution permalink
[NC] 09/02/2016 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 51 (July 2016)page 1 (sept.9 Day of Peace and Solidarity 2016) ENCOURAGES INSURRECTION AND DISORDER Pender Correctional Institution permalink
expand[NC] 09/02/2016 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 51 (July 2016)page 1 (sept.9 Day of Peace and Solidarity 2016) ENCOURAGES INSURRECTION AND DISORDER Marion Correctional Institution permalink
[NC] 08/01/2016 letter Unconfirmed Mail Formunknown- no notification given Pender Correctional Institution permalink
[NC] 07/05/2016 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 50 (May 2016)Generational Gaps and Rev. Concepts on p.8 encourages insurrection and disorder This was overturned Pender Correctional Institution permalink
[NC] 04/25/2016 zine/pamphlet Under Lock & Key 49 (March 2016)p.1,10 advocates insurrection/violence Pender Correctional Institution permalink
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