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Sunday, 19 February 2012

Could you live without friends? (WAP petition)

I've been away for a few days and been busy as it's been my birthday, but I need to post a link to a petition that has been set up by the folks at the Write A Prisoner website.

To sign it, click HERE and please add it to your Facebook, Twitter, etc

The rationale behind it is as follows.....

"We are WriteAPrisoner.com, a website that posts the following types of profiles for inmates: Educational, Employment, Housing, Legal, and our most popular, Pen-Pal. Members of the public choose to write the inmates posted on our website via postal mail. We do not give inmates access to the Internet in any way. In 2003 the Florida Department of Corrections proposed a rule to ban inmates from seeking pen-pals. This rule bans inmates from participating in all of our programs. We attended the State’s public hearing on the proposed rule in Tallahassee, Florida, as did representatives from many other organizations that oppose the rule, including the ACLU, the Catholic Church, members of the public, ministers, and others. Not one person showed up to support the rule! Still, in 2004, the rule was implemented by former Florida Department of Corrections’ Secretary, James Crosby. (Incidentally, Mr. Crosby, who implemented this rule, has since been imprisoned himself on corruption charges.) In 2009, along with Freedom Through Christ Prison Ministry (one of the oldest prison ministries in this country), we challenged this rule in Federal Court, represented by a highly competent team of lawyers from the Florida Justice Institute. Presenting NO EVIDENCE of wrongdoing by pen-pals or WriteAPrisoner.com of any kind, the district court arbitrarily ruled against us (and the inmates).

We appealed to a panel of judges on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in hopes that justice would prevail. Again, presenting not a single piece of evidence of wrongdoing, a panel of three judges ruled against us in yet another stunningly arbitrary decision. While we pursue the appeals process, we are hopeful that you will sign this petition asking Governor Scott of the State of Florida to repeal this senseless and destructive rule.
Research overwhelmingly shows that inmates having access to contacts outside of prison has a highly positive and effective impact on rehabilitation. Still, the State of Florida has cut them completely off without even so much as a single documented problem. Numerous studies show us the State’s position is counterproductive to helping these people turn their lives around and returning to us as well adjusted citizens: http://writeaprisoner.com/why-write-a-prisoner/default.aspx

Since the adoption of this ban in Florida, two other states have followed suit and adopted almost verbatim language of the Florida Department of Corrections’ rule that bans our mail. They are Governor Nixon from Missouri and Governor Daniels from Indiana. We intend to send this petition to all three governors. Please support what little is left of a First Amendment for prisoners or those seeking to help them turn their lives around, and sign this petition today. Thank you!"

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