“To Cause A Disruption”
By: Spencer Butler
During the month of September after waiting for a copy of the September 2016 Issue of Prison Legal News, I finally decided to write the mailroom here at the French Robertson Unit and inquire if the publication was being held and if so for what reason(s).
Within a few days I received a response stating it was on hold with no other reason, so I then wrote the mailroom back asking wy it was on hold and the response was “due to questionable content” and would be held until the review is completed by the MSCP. (mail system coordinators panel)
Then on 10-11-16 I received a correspondence denial form for the Summer 2016 Issue of the Inside Books Project Newsletter stating it was being denied because it “would advocate prison disruption”. On 10-25-16 I received a publication denial notification concerning the Inside Books Project Newsletter being denied specifically because “page 10 contains information on a work stoppage which could cause prison disruption.”
The rule that is being used to deny these publications is on page 120 of the Offender Orientation Handbook which states © “It contains material that a reasonable person would construe as written solely for the purpose of communicating information designed to achieve the breakdown of prisons through offender disruption such as strikes, riots, or security threat group activity.”
The Prison Legal News has been in circulation within the Prison System for many years and the editor, columnists and many of the contributing writers are currently or have been incarcerated, so I’m sure they know what is and is not allowed, (correspondence related) in the prison system. Prison Legal News as you can tell is a LEGAL publication, so once again I’m sure they know what we as prisoners can legally receive in the mail.
In regards to the rule I previously mentioned I would like to concentrate on a word and that word is solely. According the Merriam- Websters Collegiate Dictionary 11th ed the word solely is defined as 1. Without another 2. To the exclusion of all else.
The denial form for the Summer 2016 Inside Books Project states the denied issue is on page 10 therefor showing it is NOT written for the sole purpose of anything because with there being 10+ pages the word solely does NOT apply.
The Prison Legal News publication usually has around 70+ pages and the articles are on several different issues therefor showing once again the word solely does not apply.
When it states it could cause disruption what could cause a disruption is frivolous rules that are made up, don’t apply and are not used to restrict what little freedom we have as prisoners.
The issue the denials were based on is a September 9, 2016 peaceful workstoppage that was nationally planned throughout the prison system and the reason this, amongst several other work stoppages have been done in the past and will continue to be done in the future is because of the slavery we as prisoners are forced to do or we are punished. We receive no pay or good time for our work or any type of earnings, therefor the peaceful work stoppages are done for the purpose of obtaining better treatment, medical, good time, etc.
If we were treated better and shown some form of appreciation maybe the workstoppages would not happen, so to get to the root of the problem what “could cause prison disruption”; it’s the treatment that inspires us as prisoners to commit to executing and planning the work stoppages that “could cause prison disruption”.
But plain and simple: the capitalist, imperialist, slave masters that call theirselves the Texas Department of Criminal Justice are where the possibilities of prison disruption originated from. Not inmates peacefully protesting this by refusing to be slaves.