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Re: [BKARTS] Inmate Update



I thought people on list might be interested in an email I received after
sending a letter to Governor Rowland's office in Connecticut.  The text of it
follows.

Ms. Hill:

My name is Brian Garnett.  I am the Director of External Affairs for the
Connecticut Department of Correction and I am responding to an e-mail which
Governor Rowland's Office has referred to me.  You had expressed concerns regarding
the status of the writing program which is led by Wally Lamb at the York
Correctional Institution.  Let me make clear, that this program,  which has been
conducted for the past five years, is continuing at the prison.  The Department
of Correction is extremely proud of this unique and innovative program just as
we are proud of the accomplishments of the women who have participated.   The
introspection and self-examination offered through the writing experience
provides positive rehabilitative benefits.  The program was temporarily on hold
for about a month, as concerns were addressed about the dissemination of news
within the prison, of the $25,000 PEN America prize, awarded to one of the
inmate authors.  The Department of Correction had been given no prior notice of
the nomination or the awarding of the prize.  There is a very real concern
regarding safety and security for the inmate and the prison, with her being
identified as having access to that amount of money.  Based on a recent productive
and positive meeting of all parties, including Mr. Lamb, the issues have been
resolved.  Media reports also charged that writing materials were destroyed.
There was never any malicious intent on the part of the Department, nor was any
destruction ordered at any time.  Our only intention was requiring that the
writings be committed to computer disks to fully preserve those materials and
ensure they would be in place when the program started up again.  We have now
learned those initial reports of destruction were erroneous and little if any
material was lost.  Thank you for your time and concern.

Respectfully,

Brian Garnett
Director of External Affairs

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