Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Internal Memo Reveals Prison Mail Screening By An “Intelligence Analyst”

Aug. 14, 2011 Infoshop News

Mistakenly released by the Bureau of Prisons, an internal memo reveals
prison mail screening by an “intelligence analyst”

It’s no secret all prison mail in and out is read by prison employees,
regardless of the prisoner’s crime. But a memo mistakenly included in a
rejected letter to an ELF prisoner reveals an interesting layer: her mail
is screened by an “intelligence analyst” in a BOP “counter-terrorism

Read the memo here.


BOP Letter

The memo appears to have been inserted accidentally into an envelope for a
rejected letter to Earth Liberation Front prisoner Joyanna Zacher when it
was returned to the sender. The letter was rejected for being
“unauthorized material”, according to the official form that was also
included. The second document, viewed above, showed specifically who
rejected the letter, and why: it contained a review of the film "If a Tree
Falls", a review which the “intelligence analyst” felt advocated violence.

The memo “analyzes” two other pieces of mail. One is cleared, and the
second is rejected because a database search showed a former federal
prisoner lives at the return address on on the envelope.

During my incarceration from 2005 to 2007, I cannot recall any instance of
my mail being rejected based on content which “advocated violence”, and
only one content-based rejection during my entire stay. The trend in
federal prisons seems to be towards more restrictions on prisoner’s
ability to communicate with the world outside, as this memo indicates.

The memo means absolutely nothing new to those who continue to support
prisoners by writing them letters, and should in no way dissuade anyone
from continuing to write. Incoming mail has always been read in federal

What is significant is:

1) The Bureau of Prisons has a central “counter-terrorism unit”
selectively screening the mail of Earth Liberation Front and Animal
Liberation Front prisoners, and -

2) They are rejecting mail for those prisoners based on content – content
which is presumably allowable for prisoners not deemed “eco-terrorists”.

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