Song Pick: “Zombie” by The Cranberrys
In one of the most egregious cases of arbitrary and capricious State agency action I’ve ever personally caught wind of, the Stafford Creek Corrections Center (SCCC) in Aberdeen, Washington, is showing just how despotic it can be with its prisoners.
A number of prisoners at SCCC have recently received some publications in the mail directly from the nonprofit publisher. Well, they didn’t exactly RECEIVE the publications. The publications were received at SCCC properly addressed to the prisoners, but the SCCC mailroom has withheld delivery. The reason for the withholding, you ask? According to the SCCC mailroom, the publications “Contains plans for activity that violates state/federal law, the Washington Administrative Code, Department policy, and/or local facility rules.”
What could these plans possibly consist of? All of the withheld publications consists only of personal pro se court forms which were merely custom formatted, printed out in multiples and mailed directly to the individual named on the forms. The nonprofit organization American Security Agency has a “Pro Se ‘PUBLICATION’ Program”(capitalization added for emphasis) whereby prisoners can reach out for assistance with obtaining the case laws and the court forms they need–custom formatted and typeset with their particular names and cases. These forms are then sent to the individual prisoner via the mail, where they can then proceed with their court matters.
ASA has been very helpful with prisoners, and the DOC apparently does not appreciate any outside organization meddling with its Gestapo-esque control over its prisoners. Recently the DOC has blocked all electronic communications to and from the organization on the JPay, and has also secretly withheld incoming publications without issuing mail rejections. When the prisoners whose publications was being rejected started grieving the illegal withholding of their incoming publications without having received a notice of the withholding, the SCCC mailroom issued the aforementioned mail rejection notices.
Except that there are no ”plans” to violate any rules, regulations, or laws whatsoever. The withheld publications are legal forms in proper, customly-formatted typeset. They only have the addressee’s name and case info in them, and are only for the applications of the addressee’s own individual case. The SCCC mailroom personnel have apparently overlooked the fact that the printed materials being withheld are clearly titled “PUBLICATION” from a nonprofit organization, and as such enjoy unalienable First Amendment protections. So eager to deny their prisoners of access to the courts were they that they invariably walked themselves right into an indefensible legal position. Tragic.
This report will be continued as the story continues.