TDCJ Uses Drug War Propaganda to Crack Down on Prisoner Support

 TDCJ has changed mail regulations beginning 3/1/20.

Under the premise of ending trafficking of drugs and phones into Texas prisons, TDCJ has launched “Inspect to Protect”(link), which means huge limitations on what can now be mailed to Texas prisoners. This change also essentially ends the ability of well-meaning individuals and prisoner support groups to send commissary to prisoners in need by limiting this ability to their approved visitors and call list, and subjects visitors to search by drug dogs– which can lead to a permanent visitation ban whether or not any illegal substance is found.

Frankly, it is past time for TDCJ to expand phone access to all prisoners, so we are not very sympathetic to this “problem” and we are also not interested in the false concern about drugs, especially when we know that underpaid correctional officers are often the source of contraband more often than the friends and family members who get felt up or strip-searched every time they come to visit already. The idea of punishing all prisoners and visitors because some prisoners are breaking the rules, which essentially is Collective Punishment, is also wrong on many levels. At the end of the day, this is about further clamping down control on these prison plantations and will likely do little to nothing to improve the horrific conditions inside TDCJ. In fact, if TDCJ worked this hard on actually improving conditions, maybe so many of the people on the inside wouldn’t desire substances to help numb themselves to what they are experiencing! Just as the drug war has failed to end, or even worsened, drug use on the outside, the people caged in TDCJ are no different. We plan on organizing against these new restrictions, but for the time being– please take note so that your correspondences will (hopefully) be approved.

The full changes are as follows:

  • Offenders will only be allowed to receive mail from general correspondents on standard white paper. Mail received on colored, decorated, card stock, construction, linen, or cotton paper will be denied.
  • Letters sent to offenders may not contain uninspectable substances such as perfume, stickers, lipstick, bodily fluid, powdery substances or artwork using paint, glitter, glue, or tape.
  • Offenders may not receive greeting cards of any kind.
  • There is no restriction on the length of incoming or outgoing correspondence; however, a limit of 10 photos will be allowed per envelope.

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