Nondistribution: Changes in the Tactics of Prison Censorship

Because a learned prisoner is an affront to the PIC, the PA DOC will stop at nothing to suppress prisoners’ efforts to connect with the outside world. Last fall, it enacted an onerous mail policy that banned all publications. After much backlash, it modified the policy. The PA DOC would have the public believe that prisoners now have access to publications. We don’t. The PAD DOC built a security processing center which was supposed to function as a drug detection and shipping site. Publications were to be sent to the center, inspected, then shipped to the prisoner’s facility and distributed. But that is not happening.

Publications are being sent to the processing center and disappearing. Publications are not being distributed. And nondistribution is censorship. PA DOC has a policy that states prisoners are to be notified concerning rejected /denied mail. This is not happening. Mail is being shipped to the processing center and not delivered to prisoners. I was sent a package of zines from True Leap Press. I never got it. And it wasn’t returned to True Leap. I was sent another package from True Leap and was given some of the contents, but not everything. I wasn’t even given the envelope the materials came in.

Books have faired no better. We run a Bold Type Book Club here. Each month, Bold Type Books sends ten books inside. And every month, a few of those books never get to the prisoner it is mailed to. Twice this happened to me. Somehow seven or eight of the books make it, but others don’t.

All questions regarding publications go unanswered. The prison blames the processing center. The processing center blames the mail room. And it’s the prisoner who is harmed always. Something needs to be done about the nondistribution of publications, the disappearance of materials and the extremely late delivery of mail. The PA DOC’s plan to suppress prisoners’ efforts to learn and grow have not ended. It has morphed. Nondistribution is its new tactic.

In Solidarity,


Author: Dreaming Freedom Practicing Abolition

> network of self-organized prison study groups at SCI-FAYETTE > consolidating networks of resistance across the PA DOC system