Please call in TODAY, Friday Sept 14th, to Pennsylvania Governor Wolf, state senator and representatives, Lt. Governor Candidate (and Gov. Wolf’s Running Mate) John Fetterman and PA Department of Corrections (DOC) Secretary Wetzel to protest outrageous new punitive DOC policies that will impinge on prisoner’s rights and those of their families. This comes as state prisoners across PA have been held in a 10-day lockdown, unable to communicate with loved ones and supporters. See action alert and suggested talking points below from Amistad Law Project.
On September 5th DOC Secretary John Wetzel and Governor Wolf announced a number of new punitive DOC policies that will impinge on prisoner’s rights and those of their families. Governor Wolf and the Department of Corrections want to censor and restrict books, increase surveillance of prisoners mail, violate attorney-client privilege and institute cruel, restrictive visiting room policies which violate the American Disabilities Act and further discourage contact between prisoners, their loved ones and those professionals who work with them. On Friday, September 14th we are getting mobilized. JOIN US AS CALL ON OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS TO DO THE RIGHT THING AND CANCEL THESE PUNITIVE POLICIES.
We are asking everyone to make FIVE calls: Governor Wolf, Your State Senator, Your State Representative, Lt. Governor Candidate (and Gov. Wolf’s Running Mate) John Fetterman and DOC Secretary Wetzel. If you are limited by time that is ok, but lets make as many of these calls as we can. Our elected officials (and aspiring elected officials need to hear from us.) A sample call script and call in numbers are below:
Governor Wolf: 717-787-2500
Lt. Governor Candidate John Fetterman (currently Mayor of Braddock)- 412-654-4041 (Phone Number to the Mayor’s Office)
Your State Representative and Your Senator Senator: http://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/legis/home/findyourlegislator/
DOC Secretary Wetzel: (717) 728-2573
“Hi. My name is _________ and I’m calling to speak about the new DOC policies which will violate the rights of incarcerated people and their families.
I am calling because I’d like [Gov. Wolf/Lt. Governor Candidate Fetterman/Representative So and So/Etc.] to take action to see that these policies are cancelled and that the rights of incarcerated people and their families are respected.
These new policies will violate people’s rights in a number of ways. I would like to tell you about some issues with them. Under the new policies:
-all mail must now be sent to a private company in Florida where it will be scanned into a permanent searchable database increasing surveillance on prisoners and their families. The original will be destroyed and a copy will be sent on. No longer will incarcerated people be able to touch a letter that their loved ones wrote with their own hand.
-All legal mail will be copied by DOC employees exposing it to be read in violation of attorney-client privilege.
-A DOC controlled marketplace for books will be established which is a monopoly and will increase censorship. No longer will prisoners friends and families be able to order them books from approved vendors such as Amazon. Community based and faith based books to prisoners programs will be cancelled.
-For 90 days prisoners and their families won’t be able to share food from vending machines or memorialize their visits by having pictures taken. Small children cannot go a full visit without access to food. Furthermore diabetics and people who cant go without food for a full visit will be limited in visiting in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
-Official and legal visitors will be required to wear plastic gloves on visits. This serves no public health purpose and sends a message that people in prison and their families are contaminated or toxic and is extremely dehumanizing.
-These and other policies will cost taxpayers 15 million dollars. They were instituted overnight without oversight by the legislature.
I am calling on you as an elected official to take action to see that the rights of incarcerated people, their families and those work work with them are respected. Can I count on you to take action to see that these policies are reversed?”