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Life Arts    H1'ed 6/15/14

Is BOP Using Our Tax Dollars to Sever Family Ties?

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The cruelty of this poor mother being turned away was clear to all of us, as she openly cried, heartbroken, while trying to hold on to the wall to keep her balance as she tried to put her shoes back on to return to her car and leave without getting to see her son.

The BOP should be so proud.

JB: Hardly. What else is on the agenda today?

JW: Together with doing everything possible to prevent prisoners from being exposed to human beings - family and friends coming to visit them - prison employees withhold, delay, interfere with and even steal or discard mail being sent to and from prisoners.

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JB: Aren't you exaggerating?

JW: Of course, under federal law, any such interference with the mail is a criminal act for which the criminal committing the crime should be prosecuted, fined and imprisoned. BOP also has written policies requiring prison employees to deliver mail to prisoners no less than 48 hours after delivery to the post office box where prison employees are supposed to pick it up daily, and requirements that mail from prisoners is to be taken to the post office every business day. We have established these violations and the prison employees' pattern and practice of ignoring federal law, but clearly, prison employees are exempt from the laws that apply to the rest of us. Isn't that a wonderful example for people who are in prison because they were convicted of violating a law, to experience and witness every day complete lawlessness by government employees with no consequences?

Getting back to last Saturday, after visiting Gary I took mail for him to the local post office, mail that was complete with tracking - and did you know when your mail has a tracking number, you can have notifications sent to your phone or email? I use those features constantly! That tracked mail was placed in the postal mail receptacle - there is no post office box with the assigned number - on Monday morning at 8:10 a.m. The post office opens at 8:30 and prison employees normally go to the post office around 9:00 or a little after. They took possession of my mail to Gary Monday morning, but as of today (Friday), the fifth day of prison employees' possession of my mail to Gary, they still refuse to deliver it to him!

By the way, what I mailed to Gary last Saturday included a print-out of our last interview published at And you and I have previously discussed the prison's censorship of these interviews, including the disappearances and long delays before delivery when I have sent copies to Gary.

But that isn't all. We have established that the prison employees withhold and delay Gary's mail to me, too. At best they are now only taking Gary's mail to the post office sporadically, two or three times a week rather than daily, and there is an entire week's worth of Gary's letters to me that have simply disappeared. We know the USPS moves mail from Arkansas to Alabama - I took a photo of one of the mail trucks I often see while driving to and from prison.

In the meantime, the kids and I have sent Father's Day cards to Gary in time for him to receive them by Thursday before Father's Day this weekend, but those, too, have been withheld and not delivered to him.

Through such tactics, the BOP makes it almost impossible for prisoners to maintain the very ties that are leading factors in whether or not they end up back in prison.

JB: Sadly, rehabilitation does not seem to be their goal. This behavior sounds more like a vendetta against Gary and the other prisoners. Thanks for keeping us in the loop, Judy. Regards to Gary. Happy Father's Day, indeed.


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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)

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