Animal Protection > Worldwide Actions > ALF POWs
Prison Mail Screened by Counter-Terrorism Unit

From Voice of the Voiceless

Mistakenly released by the Bureau of Prisons, an internal memo reveals prison mail screening by an "intelligence analyst"

It's no secret all prison mail in and out is read by prison employees, regardless of the prisoner's crime. But a memo mistakenly included in a rejected letter to an ELF prisoner reveals an interesting layer: her mail is screened by an "intelligence analyst" in a BOP "counter-terrorism unit".

Read the memo here

The memo appears to have been inserted accidentally into an envelope for a rejected letter to Earth Liberation Front prisoner Joyanna Zacher when it was returned to the sender. The letter was rejected for being "unauthorized material". according to the official form that was also included. The second document, viewed above, showed specifically who rejected the letter, and why: it contained a review of the film If a Tree Falls, a review which the "intelligence analyst" felt advocated violence.

During my incarceration in 2005 to 2007, I cannot recall any instance of my mail being rejected based on content which "advocated violence", and only one content-based rejection during my entire stay. The trend in federal prisons seems to be towards more restrictions on prisoner's ability to communicate with the world outside, as this memo indicates.

The memo means absolutely nothing new to those who continue to support prisoners by writing them letters, and should in no way dissuade anyone from continuing to write. Incoming mail has always been read in federal prisons.

What is significant is that the Bureau of Prisons has a central "counter-terrorism unit" selectively screening the mail of Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front prisoners, and rejecting mail for those prisoners based on content which is presumably allowable for prisoners in for crimes not deemed "eco-terrorism".

- Peter Young

Fair Use Notice and Disclaimer
Send questions or comments about this web site to Ann Berlin,