Missouri Department of Corrections Ban Prisoners from Soliciting Pen Pals on

“Missouri Department of Corrections Matt Blunt Governor
Larry Crawford Director
For further information
Contact Brian Hauswirth,
Public Information officer
Tele: 573/522-1118
Direct FAX: 573/751-4099
P.O. Box 236
Jefferson City MO 65102
March 13, 2007
Department to Ban Inmates From Soliciting Pen Pals on Websites
Acting upon the recommendation of an Offender Fraud Committee he
formed in 2005, Missouri Department of Corrections Director Larry Crawford
announced today the Department will ban offenders from soliciting pen pals on
the internet. The ban takes effect June 1 st .
“During our review, we have identified numerous offenders who, through
misleading web postings and photos, have solicited thousands of dollars from
individuals and have devised other creative and purposeful intents to defraud the
public,” said Department Constituent Services Officer Lisa Jones, who chaired the
Crawford praised the Committee, saying its findings have resulted in
several changes in the Department’s operations. Crawford says increased
vigilance has resulted in the confiscation of thousands of dollars from offenders to
pay for cost of their incarceration, when it was determined those funds had been
obtained through misrepresentation and solicitation in websites.
Missouri’s approximately 29,900 inmates received a letter this month from
Division of Adult Institutions Director Terry Moore. The letter describes the ban
and the June 1 st effective date. The letter also reminds offenders it is their
responsibility to ensure that their name and advertisement is removed, if they are
a member of any pen-pal website. Failure to do so, or future efforts to post ads on
a website soliciting pen pals, will result in a conduct violation. The Department
will monitor pen-pal websites for compliance.”

This is the official release from the Missouri Department of Corrections. Because a handful of deceitful inmates have defrauded a handful of naive people, the dept. will now ban all inmates from using prison pen-pal websites. This is not only a blatant violation of the First Amendment, it is a hideous injustice that affects us all.
I realise that there are inmates that would take advantage of such programs. Here’s a news flash for the Missouri Dept. of Corrections: It happens on the outside, too! Should the state ban us from looking at prison pen pal sites? There are deceitful people that have never been to prison that con old ladies, and the naive out of their money. So why not just scrap the First Amendment? Or better yet, why not let the government decide how we will spend our money? They could give us an allowance. That way, none of us will ever be bilked out of our savings.
Many Missouri inmates participate in these programs, and those that have chosen to use it as a platform to make money have ruined it for those who wish only to create contacts with the outside world.
These inmates spend a large amount of money to participate in these programs. They do not have unlimited financial resources, and when the deadline hits, they will be out all of the money they have spent.
This is the most disgusting, heartless thing the state of Missouri could do. To take away this valuable resource is basically saying that inmates do not deserve outside contact.
When such an act of injustice is perpetrated against American citizens with the least power, it is up to us to address it