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  #1  
Old 01-17-2003, 02:32 PM
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Question writing to a warden...person to person?

hello everyone,

i am kicking an idea around, and i would appreciate any feedback, insights, gut reactions you might have...

as many of you know, my boyfriend and i are currently restricted from visting until early march. this started early december. details can be found elsewhere, but i think it is fair to say that the "charges" levied against us were severe, and unfair.

this morning i thought about writing to the warden of the prison. not really to ask him to DO anything...but just to have him sit and think about what it is like to be separated from a loved one...what it might feel like for us on the outside to be afraid to write to him complaining about the COs because of the ramifications it might bring to our loved ones...that i am scared to come back to his prison, because of what might happen to me the next time i visit? basically a letter that is not angry, not accusatory, but just plain sad. a letter from one human being to another.

i think i could write a letter of this nature, epsecially with your help and feedback. i'm sure he is bombarded with complaints and/or formal sounding notes...who knows what must pass his desk...

do you think such a letter would be completely useless? could it hurt? is it worth a try?

call me a fool for being naive. i won't mind.

i just want to feel like a PERSON in the eyes of the doc.

thanks, everyone.

emme
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Old 01-17-2003, 02:38 PM
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well emme... you asked for gut reactions... here's a few thoughts that popped into my head as I read your post....
1. to communicate with a warden heart to heart assumes they HAVE one.... maybe yes, maybe no....
2. keep in mind there is a good chance the warden may not ever actually SEE a letter you send.... all of their mail is screened, sorted, delegated, etc.....

BUT........ I think that a well written letter really couldn't hurt.... You will never know if you don't write it and send it...
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Old 01-17-2003, 02:44 PM
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there are others to whom i could cc the letter...legislators? newspapers? other folks in the doc?
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Old 01-17-2003, 02:56 PM
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Emme, I think you should write the letter. If nothing else you would feel better. I sometimes am nieve, but I do believe there maybe a chance he could read it and it could give him pause. Some times we get into the habit of griping and never taking any action. Amir was transfered out of Atwater after many letters to the head of the bop, congressmen, representative and such. So, it can happen.
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Old 01-17-2003, 03:00 PM
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Emme, you have nothing to lose by writing since you are not accusing anyone of anything or demanding anything. I don't see what it could hurt. It might make you feel better to know that you have done everything in your power to make you and Lee "real" in the systems eyes. Plus, we never know what kind of long reaching effects we can have on people. Maybe your letter will plant a seed that in time will bloom into something good. Hope that makes sense. Anyhow you are a talented writer and if anyone could write this kind of letter it is you.
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Old 01-17-2003, 03:03 PM
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In May of last year my son was thrown in Ad Seg at Jamestown "for his own protection". Seems an employee of the prison knew the family of his victim, so he had to be segregated until he could be transferred.

I wrote the warden at Jamestown and expressed to him how unfair I thought this action was. I also wrote the sentencing judge. I thought his punishment was being inluenced by people outside the system. I also asked him why a prisoner should have to be protected from employees of the state of California.

He did write back in a personally signed letter and assured me my son was not being punished. He was only being treated like he was being punished, although he didn't say that.

My son's transfer did come through fairly quickly after I wrote the letter. Sometimes in a large organization it is good to write to someone right at the top. They probably don't even know what is going on, but when they start asking questions it makes the lower down folks uncomfortable because they have to start explaining their actions.
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Old 01-17-2003, 03:24 PM
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thank you for all of your insight. dmb, i very much like what you said that perhaps the person "at the top" really doesn't know what's all of what's going on...possibly not even through any fault of their own. a prison is a huge place, and i know there are so many things a warden must deal with that i can't even begin to imagine...but no reason not to give him yet another thing to do, right?

i know that i would not have been able to write this letter a month ago, when i was hurt and angry and could not have stopped myself from lashing out. i think/hope i am now beyond that!

i just think it's so sad that i have to even *ask* this kind of question...shows how debilitating and demoralizing the prison system can be if i have to question whether it is wise to be heard.

i have thought and said so many times "i don't want to make things worse for lee..." of course that remains true. i sincerely hope that if i move in this direction, that there won't be any negative consequences for him.

again, i thank you all. and welcome any more notions you or others may have.

emme
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Old 01-17-2003, 03:46 PM
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emme...i would write that letter! I am better at writing then talking so I would sit down and write what I felt but in no way blaming him or the system or say anything negative...if you do want to say anything negative then write it in a possitive way...I would write everything the way I feel and see it just the way it is in my head...the first letters I write are almost always the best...and then I would read it again and let some others read it and maybe change something, and then decide whether you will do this or not, if it is yes, then put it in the mail fast before you go changing your mind again and feel unsure...once you mailed it, do not think about anything bad, because there is nothing you can do anymore about it then....I know clinton told me last time when I was visiting him not to write to the warden at all, because he was a mean, not understanding type...he made me promise I would not write or contact him...well I did not do it, and when I just had one hour to visit I was sorry I had listened to Clinton...I mean...i should have been brave and open about my visit and just told the man I was comming from so far, and who knows what might have happend, but no clinton thought he knew best...well I don't know but I sure did not get my rights that day either, and maybe if I had written him I would have been able to stay longer....
so...I know you are a good writer, you can put under words what you want other people to know and you do it well...if you know a way to reach the warden, maybe through a chaplain to be sure he gets it, then go for it! you are a free person Emme, you have rights! don't let anyone treat you wrong for no reason again.
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:09 PM
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emme,

Here are my thoughts...

1) A well composed complaint letter (I know that this is not your intent) is well worded and does not accuse or lash out. It is structured as a constructive criticism and when a complaint is addressed in a positive way you usually get more action. (This is my opinion and experience)

2) If you are writing person to person and explaining the personal hurt on both sides, especially if this may have been a misconception or false accusation, you may get somewhere. Just outline the personal ramifications and emotional impact and don't deny the charge or admit to it. Elude to the fact that you have soul searched and cannot find the justification. You are extremely good with words so I know that if you are in the right mindset you will write a convincing letter that will just lay out a situation that may have received an over reaction from the DOC?

3) Personally I am not one that wants to rock the boat in cases like this because I am afraid of who might be pissed off from the letter coming through, and making the visits harder in the future? This may sound like a copout but I think also that I am coming from a different perspective and I always feel like I am on 'thin ice' because of lifestyle issues anyway.

4) Post a question to our members regarding your b/f's prison and Warden to see if there are any experiences around that are either good or bad? Get some feedback as to this Warden's personality?

5) I don't think that you have anything to lose with the way you want to approach this because you don't intend to go in yelling and screaming... I think that if the Warden has a heart and the letter is well structured you have a chance at getting somewhere...

6) Ask your b/f for his opinion on this and how it would be received. He is probably aware of other appeals that have gone to his Warden before? Also, for his sake, it may be better for him to know that a letter is on the way in case it comes back to him or he is questioned? Just a thought.
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  #10  
Old 01-17-2003, 04:28 PM
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I'd wait Emme...at least till you get your wisdom teeth pulled out, you could include them in your letter and start it off with a bang...

Dear Warden:
I am at a loss for words and quite frankly, been pulling my teeth out over this... etc etc etc...


that'll get his attention
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:37 PM
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teb and toe, you don't know how much you both mean to me! you're like my canadian yin and yang...err...or something like that...two sides of the same coin? salt and pepper shakers? do i know what i'm talking about? no...


but here i am, all scowly and serious-like, trying to write my letter, follow teb's great advice, add in hilde's passion...then i see that toe has shared his wisdom...has me laughing like crazy...which will also help make the letter great...perspective, perspective...it keeps the scowling at bay...

oh, if only i could laugh so hard that my wisdom teeth could fly out onto my nice clean laptop screen...

back to scowling now.

emme
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:39 PM
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Ha ha ha !!! Toe your "funnily" crazy !!!

Emme, I would agree with Teb, ask Lee first before writing this letter. If the warden is a real a--ho-e, he could suffer the consequences of your letter. Think of him first.
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Old 01-17-2003, 04:56 PM
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Emme,

Your letter will be wonderful because you will do it with style and the wisdom that you share with us everyday!

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Old 01-17-2003, 05:37 PM
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EMME......GO FOR IT!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 01-17-2003, 07:32 PM
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Emme, I agree. Go ahead and write the letter. Why do we always asume the worst? Think positive! He will read it and something will be done! And don't scowl!!! It puts permanent lines between your eyebrows! I know! lol
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Old 01-17-2003, 07:57 PM
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I vote for Toe's approach.
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Old 01-17-2003, 08:44 PM
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Emme,

I'm trying to remember if Lee fought the ticket before etc... and I can't remember.... Anyway, I have written the warden and cc'd it to many people including the Director of MDOC, MI-CURE, American Friends Service Commitee and others and I WON!! It took about 6 weeks total and I did them all with return receipt requested and they were all written with facts and logic etc... There were no ignorant etc.. comments included and I got a very nice letter back from the Director of MDOC who overturned the warden's decision. The Director also cc'd the warden the letter to me. Anyway, it can work and Bill sufferred no ramifications. In fact, I believe he was respected more as they knew we would not take the shit laying down. I hope this makes sense. If you want to talk pm me or come in chat..... Godd luck and I KNOW you can do this!

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  #18  
Old 01-17-2003, 09:36 PM
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emme, I have to agree with Teb, you do have a way with words, and you write well, so I think you should write the letter.

lol@toe

Cindy
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Old 01-17-2003, 10:30 PM
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emme - you are a thoughtful, intelligent, strong woman and with your insight and gift with words - i'd say go for it!
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  #20  
Old 01-18-2003, 02:03 AM
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I think more often then not we try our best to protect our loved ones. And because of the way they and ourselves have been treated by DOC we worry about retribution to our loved ones. I agree Emme you are a very articulate , intelligent woman. I think you should write the letter.


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