Mr. R. Geer, Publication Review
2575 Center St. NE
Salem, Oregon 97301
April 13, 2013
RE: Illegal censorship of letter to Mr. xxx, Snake River CI
Dear Mr. Geer,
Recently MIM Distributors was notified by the above-named prisoner that three articles of mail we sent to him were never received. The articles of mail were a magazine titled MIM Theory 13, and two publications titled Under Lock & Key issues No. 27 (July/August 2012) and 28 (September/October 2012). Under Lock & Key 27 (ULK 27) and MIM Theory 13 were mailed to Mr. xxx from MIM Distributors on July 27, 2012. They were mailed together in the same envelope, via Standard Presorted mail with the USPS. The publication ULK 28 was sent on October 2, 2012 via Standard Presorted mail with the USPS.
MIM Distributors was not notified of the censorship incidents of any of these three publications. Mr. xxx investigated the censorship further, and the mail room staff at Snake River Correctional Institution (SRCI) claim they never received ULK 27or ULK 28. They informed him that MIM Theory 13 was mailed to Mr. Geer in July 2012, and that it is still under review. I would like to highlight the illegality of these incidents.
➤ First, of course, is the fact that MIM Distributors was not notified of the censorship or review of these materials via the process outlined in the Oregon Administrative Rules and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Your own mail rules state at chapter 291-131-0037
(6) Correspondence and Publications: When, after opening, mail is rejected for violation of these or other department rules the following procedures shall be followed:
(a) Rejected Mail:
(A) Non-inmate sender: The sender and intended inmate recipient shall be notified of the rejection of mail, including the reasons, on a Mail Violation Notice (CD 618a) for correspondence, or a Publication Violation Notice for a publication. If the rejection is based upon written or pictorial content, the notice shall advise that an independent review of the rejection may be obtained by writing to the functional unit manager within 30 days of the date of the notice. Mail rejected based on written or pictorial content shall be returned intact to the sender. The rejected portion(s) of the mail shall be photocopied and retained pending any administrative review. If no administrative review is requested, the photocopy shall be maintained according to archive standards.
As you are certainly aware, the U.S. Supreme Court has clearly stated that both the sender and the prisoner have a right, under the First Amendment and the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, to receive notice and an opportunity to be heard when prison administrators or staff prevent the sender?s expressive materials from reaching their intended recipients (Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S.396. 94 S.Ct 1800, as reaffirmed on the point by Turner V. Safley, 482 U.S. 78 (1987) and Thornburgh v. Abbott, 490 U.S. 401 (1989) and Montcalm Publ'g Corp. v. Beck, 80 F.3d 105, 106 (4th Cir.), cert. denied, 519 U.S. 928 (1996)). In plain and striking contradiction with these principles, neither the prisoner, nor MIM Distributors were notified of the censorship decision or actually of any decisions that the Mailroom staff has made with regard to the publications listed above.
In refusing to provide notice and an opportunity to be heard to both the prisoners and the publisher (MIM Distributors), under local policies and/or practices, prison administrators and staff violated clearly established constitutional law and acted under color of state law for purposes of 42 U.S.C. ? 1983.
➤ A second problem I would like to highlight is the claim that Under Lock & Key 27 was not received, but MIM Theory 13 is in review. These two publications were mailed in the same envelope. Mr. xxx was even provided with a list of all the mail that has been processed for him from MIM Distributors, and ULK 27 was not on the list. This is an unreasonable claim.
➤ Lastly, Mr. xxx informed us in February 2013 that MIM Theory 13 is under review by Mr. Geer, and has been under review since July 2012. The practice of holding publications and/or letters for an indefinite time without providing notice of any determination is certainly unconstitutional, as it does not satisfy the obligation that the prison administration has to provide both the sender and the recipient with a decision in a reasonable time and ultimately frustrates the right that both the sender and the prisoner have to appeal a negative determination.
We recently re-sent Mr. xxx the publications Under Lock & Key issues 27 and 28. We are hopeful that he received them without any illegal hangups or unjust censorship. We appreciate your time and consideration in assuring SRCI staff are upholding the policies, procedures and law which they are obliged to work under. We also anticipate your determination MIM Theory 13.
PO Box 40799
San Francisco, CA 94140
CC: Affected parties