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Inmate denied chance to read SI, for some reason complains

In the editorial in the newest issue of the Student Insurgent – which is radically written in first person – it is mentioned that a prisoner “is being denied his right to receive our paper.” (For those of you who don’t know, the SI uses part of its student-funded budget to mail its issues to prisoners across the country. In the Fall, Ted Kaczynski wrote to the SI telling them to take him off its mailing list. See page 30) Kevin “Rashid” Johnson writes:

This is Rashid. While I’m on your mailing list the uniforms here have repeatedly refused to allow your newspaper in. I expect you all have used some of my art and maybe writings.
Anyway, enclosed is a recent cartoon I did which you can use.
Of Course any replies or suggestions are welcome. To ensure that I receive any letters please send them to the following…

The Insurgent urged people to call the Red Onion State Prison, where Johnson is being held, and listed an address and number. Red Onion is no white collar resort prison; it sounds a lot more like federal pound me in the ass prison. It is set up in Southwest Virginia as a supermax prison and has had investigations about its treatment of inmates since it opened in 1998.

I contacted the Virginia Department of Corrections about this. Larry Traylor, Director of Communications, said he can’t comment on a specific inmate’s case, but sent this e-mail about the publication policy.

“…in general the Virginia Department of Corrections has a Publication Review Committee (PRC) which reviews all publications on an issue-by-issue basis.  There is no blanket ban on ordering a publication. 
It is possible that if an inmate was denied a publication, he did not order it properly (i.e. get approval to order it) and it was denied for that reason rather than because of its content.  Also, if the publication was sent to him unsolicited then he did not have approval to get it and it would also be denied.”

The VADOC governing policy is Operating Procedure 803.2, Incoming Publications, a copy is attached.  Again, all publications are reviewed on an issue-by-issue basis so there is no blanket ban on ordering a publication.

 (I can e-mail the Procedure document if anyone wants it.)

 As for Johnson – a “fantastic revolutionary artist” according to the Insurgent – he has 14 total convictions and his total sentence is a single life plus 43 years, 13 months and 30 days. In 1991, he was convicted of first degree homicide and two counts of attempted homicide.

  1. Anthony says:

    I often wonder whether UO student groups get together and just think of the most outrageous ways to waste other students money via the incidental fee. What is more outrageous is the joke of a student government that sits there with a straight face and actually increases their budgets…ugh.

  2. Olly says:

    “In the Fall, Ted Kaczynski wrote to the SI telling them to take him off its mailing list.”

    I still get a kick out of this – both the fact that they decided to start sending him the Insurgent, and the fact that he asked them to stop.

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