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Old 10-14-2018, 07:55 AM
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I attended a town hall meeting in Philadelphia organized by the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus and featuring Secretary Wetzel. It would be an understatement to say it turned into a "town brawl" and people refused to accept his explanations. he stood by their decision to farm this out to a small, family owned company in Florida that claimed to have 'correctional experience." It turns out the owners are former corrections officers. This option was deemed cheaper than staffing a processing center here in Pennsylvania and is expected to continue "for the foreseeable future."

I have had the same experience: some letters are showing up on MailGuard tracking, some are not. Some "untracked mail" got through according to the recipients. None has come back in two weeks, which leads me to think it's siting somewhere waiting to be processed. (For example, a letter postmarked in Philadelphia on 09/27 was transmitted to the prisoner on 10/11.)

When asked about enhanced measures for staff entering the facilities, all we heard was that they now use ion scanners on all staff at shift change and there are random urine tests. It seems the PSCOA was prescient: they made sure their contract limits the scanning and testing that can be done.

We heard the story of drugs smuggled in by a visitor who had a balloon in her mouth. While that's a serious concern, it can't begin to explain the quantity of drugs getting in. "Shakedown teams" have found stashes in day room trash cans that would have required a brown bag to get in ... Can't blame that on a visit or the mail. Wetzel claims staff will be prosecuted but did not confirm that any have. It seems all the resources they're throwing at "intel" are going to grabbing the end-users (inmates) and not the traffickers.

The Prison Society is compiling complaints and presenting them to the DOC in bulk. I would encourage anyone who has had a problem with mail to contact us.
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