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New FDOC Rule Change Eliminates Paper Mail

In their latest power grab, the FDOC has announced a new rule titled “Processing Routine Mail Electronically.” The body of the rule has not yet been released but there are already damaging implications. The rule will eliminate paper mail, requiring all prisoner correspondence to be conducted via tablets.

Among concerns are those regarding prisoner’s right to privacy, especially with respect to their legal correspondence. Surveillance and retaliation are already issues surrounding prisoner mail, and the switch from paper mail to electronic will intensify these issues.

In order to find out more about this proposed rule, we ask that you email Paul A. Vazquez ([email protected]), Assistant General Counsel, and Richard Comerford ([email protected]), Director of Institutions, for more information and to let the FDOC know we are watching.

Email Script:

Hello, my name is ____________ and I am writing to voice concern and obtain additional information about the proposed Florida Department of Corrections rule change number 33-210.1011, entitled “Processing Routine Mail Electronically.”

At the time of writing this email, the body of this new rule has yet to be published, but there are numerous concerns over the implications for those affected by the prison system in the state of Florida.

On the surface, the dissemination of tablets and migration to electronic correspondence might seem prudent. However, eliminating paper mail would cause multiple issues for prisoners and their loved ones. By shifting all communications to electronic mail, the FDOC will commodify another basic right. Many prisoners receive legal correspondence by paper mail, and the introduction of this rule threatens prisoner’s right to privacy for legal documents. Further, the introduction of this rule creates even more ways that prisoners will be subject to surveillance and retaliation, jeopardizing their access to mail altogether. The elimination of paper mail during a global pandemic, when human connection is especially vital, will only further isolate prisoners from their loved ones.

I ask that you and the FDOC provide more clarity about this rule that will drastically affect both those inside and their loved ones.

Sincerely,
Your Name