I am awaiting responses from the CPM, Correctional Program Manager, and the Superintendent, from letters that I wrote to both of them regarding the issues that we would like to see addressed. I do not know when, but the CPM did send me a message on the kiosk that she had spoken to the unit representatives, although if I would still like to speak with her to let her know. Which leads me to believe that she is responsive to positive ideas and interactions.
Most recently the issues that I have come across is the Special Visit requirements, that are being enforced, and the unpredictable access to the JPAY.
Special Visit approval is based on the distance of travel. Therefore a visitor must live 300miles to even begin consideration for a Special Visit. Not 250-not 285, not even 299 miles.
I know this because I requested a special visit for my 73 year old mother who had heart surgery in 2014, had partial amputation of her foot(toes), in 2013, and cancer surgery in 2008. It would be a burden for her to travel from Western Washington to Walla Walla, and unsafe for her to travel alone. So my aunt volunteered to come with her. But since my mother only lives 265.53 miles, and my aunt 284.54 miles there was no further consideration for special visit. It was denied, and the only comment was “Not 300 miles from WSP.”
Now the Department of Corrections states that they promote family interaction, and the positive effects of family support on inmates returning to the community. Yet the limit of DOC’s or rather Walla Walla’s support of family members attempting to support thier loved ones consists of 300 miles. It is incredibly discouraging to family members that have to overcome financial burdens, time, and travel to visit Sons, Brothers, Fathers, and Husbands, only to be hindered by the system. So it is safe to say that the not only is the inmates expeience at Walla Walla uncomfortable, but so is the experience of those who support their loved ones who are housed at Walla Walla.
The JPAY is supposed to be an effective form of communication, that is less expensive, and quicker way to write/send EMAILS to our family, friends and loved ones. Well at Walla Walla, the access to jpay is so unpredictable we do not know when we will be able to send or retrieve messages from the main system. You see we have the capability to write letters on the JP4 player. But in order to send those messages out we have to take the player along with the USB cord to the dayroom to plug in to the JPAY KIOSK, where the message will be downloaded and then sent to the indicated recipient. Also any messages that have arrived will be retrieved and uploaded to your player allowing you to read them in your cell.
The problem occurs when the guards allow prisoners out to utilize the kiosk. There is a schedule that each day begins at one end or the other of either the top tier or bottom tier, each on alternating days. So one day it will begin with cell 101 which is the first cell on the bottom tier. The next day it may begin at 233 which is the top tier, last cell. The next day will be 133, the last cell on the bottom tier. Then 201, top tier first cell. Unfortunately the prisoners between 14-20 cells regularly are unable to access the jpay kiosk.
We are unable to take our players out of the cell during dayroom, which further limits our access, although we can use the jpay during dayroom. So we can sit down and write a letter during dayroom, but many people use this time to order music, and most people are considerate enough to just check messages because so many people are trying to use the jpay during this time. Especially in the case of Level 2’s who only have dayroom access every other day.
Basically the constant confussion, and unorderliness that is the daily routine at the West Complex makes it difficult to find normalcy here.
The previous issues that I have addressed are still of concern, while othe issues continue to arise.
The challenge sits before us, and the work is complicated but we look forward to success.
Again your support is always welcome, in any context. Even if only a prayer or thought throughout the day. If you know or are willing to contact State Representatives, DOC Officials, Lawyers or Prisoner Rights Advocates please speak up on our behalf. The more we are heard the better chance we have for change.
THANK YOU ALL, FOR READING THIS AND YOUR HELP AND SUPPORT.
Categories: Samuel Hawkins