DOC mail policy critics deliver hundreds of holiday cards to Gov. Wolf's door

Steve Tawa
December 18, 2018 - 3:40 pm

Steve Tawa/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- People who have been complaining for months about the Department of Corrections' mail policy showed up at Governor Wolf's Philadelphia office, to hand-deliver hundreds of holiday cards. As they rally on behalf of loved ones in prison, these folks got creative with their artwork - one of them depicted an image of a dancing Grinch - and Governor Wolf's face superimposed on a giant holiday card.

Since this summer, prison advocate Josh Glenn says the Commonwealth has been sending all prison mail 1,300 miles away to a Florida company, where it is opened, scanned and emailed to prisons to be printed and delivered.

“People in prison can't receive the real copies of the letters that their families send,” he said.

Lorraine Haw, who is known as 'Miss Dee-Dee,' gripes that inmates like her son, can no longer receive paper mail, including original holiday cards, photos and art work.

“My great granddaughter, she can't even send little drawings that she would send to her Pop-Pop,” she said.

They say while scans are kept in a database, originals are destroyed.

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The state took the action to cut down on contraband being mailed into the facilities, after prison staff members were sickened by exposure to synthetic drugs, but Dee-Dee isn't buying that:

“If you really look at it, if you look at 100-families, maybe one may be crazy enough to try to do that, but drugs usually come in from the people who work there,” she said.

Demonstrators outside the governor's Philadelphia office want him to change what they call "punitive, anti-prisoner policies," and allow them to send real holiday cards, photos and mail to their loved ones.

They're posting images to social media, using the hash tag #WolfDoBetter.