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I co-founded the Prison Policy Initiative to put the problem of mass incarceration — and the perverse incentives that fuel it — on the national agenda. Over the last 16 years, our campaigns have protected our democracy from the prison system and protected the poorest families in this country from the predatory prison telephone industry. Our reports untangle the statistics and recruit new allies.

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Letter to the Editor: Cecil County, MD, should cancel jail letter ban plan

by Leah Sakala, March 17, 2015

Cecil Whig letter to the editor thumbnail
The Maryland Cecil Daily just published my letter to the editor about why county officials should immediately cancel plans to ban letters from home in the county detention center:

Social science research is clear that one of the best ways we can help people in jail succeed when they return home is by allowing them to preserve social ties to their families and communities. My Prison Policy Initiative report, Return to Sender: Postcard-only Policies in Jails, finds that jail letter bans sever these essential ties by outlawing the affordable and confidential family communication that takes place via letter.

Major correctional associations emphasize that letter writing and family communication are key to meeting correctional safety goals. The courts and top correctional officials alike have also agreed that letters are critical lifelines for people in jail. Every single state prison uses mail security procedures that allow family letter correspondence, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s national standards explicitly prohibit letter bans in facilities that hold detainees.

For more on this issue, read the full letter and check out the Prison Policy Initiative resource page on protecting jail letter correspondence.

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