Protecting visitation and mail in Massachusetts prisons

The Massachusetts prisons system wants to make it harder to visit and harder to mail materials to incarcerated people. We tell them that's a bad idea.

by Joshua Aiken, September 28, 2016

Incarcerated people and their families are more likely to succeed if they are allowed and encouraged to remain in touch.

Unfortunately, the Massachusetts Department of Corrections is proposing new regulations that will make it harder for families to stay in touch. The proposed amendments would restrict the number of people allowed on a pre-approved visitation list, subject private attorneys’ correspondence with their incarcerated clients to unconstitutional review, and limit incarcerated peoples’ ability to receive more than five pages a day of photocopied material.

Tomorrow, at a public hearing, the Department will be taking comments on these and other proposed amendments to the Code of Massachusetts Regulations. Today, I submitted two letters on behalf of the Prison Policy Initiative addressing these counterproductive proposals.

My letters make the case that:

  1. The Department of Corrections should encourage, not discourage, written communication from loved ones.
  2. Forcing incarcerated people to choose which members of their families and which of their friends can visit them isn’t just unnecessary. It’s wrong.

2 responses:

  1. eileen geoghegan says:

    what happened at this hearing?

    1. Kim Cerullo says:

      In addition to Joshua’s letters, a variety of other organizations and advocates sent in letters and comments encouraging the Massachusetts Department of Corrections to protect visitation and mail for incarcerated people and their families. No decision has been made yet, and these letters will be taken into consideration throughout the process.

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  • Feb 21, 2019:
    Volunteer Attorney Stephen Raher will be presenting his paper “The Company Store and the Literally Captive Market: Consumer Law in Prisons and Jails” at the Consumer Law Conference at Berkeley Law School. The paper will be presented and discussed at 4:00pm.

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