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Opponents of SB County Jail's Letter Ban to Share Progress, Next Steps

by Right to Write SB Thursday, Mar. 27, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Right to Write SB has been organizing against the postcard-only policy at the Santa Barbara County Jail for a year now. Tonight at the Santa Barbara community forum, they will be talking about how this policy relates to plans for jail expansion in SB county.

  Opponents of SB Co...
righttowrite.jpg, image/jpeg, 401x260

Tonight Right To Write SB will be hosting a presentation at tonight's Documentary Film Screening & Community Forum at Casa de la Raza in Santa Barbara, CA. Right to Write SB is a community group that has gathered to oppose the Santa Barbara County Jail's letter ban, a recent policy which restricts incoming mail for inmates to postcards only. Co-hosted by PODER Santa Barbara, the Young Survivors Legacy Support Network, Youth CineMedia, and the Coalition for Sustainable Communities, the event is taking place Marth 27th at 6:30 PM.

This presentation will include a new update on the campaign's progress, including support from the Southern California ACLU and a successful petition. Right to Write SB will also report on upcoming opportunities for community involvement, including action in this November's election.

In solidarity with Santa Barbara County groups opposing the Santa Barbara Gang Injunction, the North County Jail Expansion, and the Santa Maria ICE Detention Facility, Right to Write will also detail how the jail's letter ban fits into a larger context of jail issues, enabling further over-incarceration, increasing recidivism, and eroding the rights of inmates and their families.

In March of 2013, without community input, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff changed the policy on incoming mail to inmates at the County Jail, allowing inmates to only receive postcards. Immediately, Right to Write SB formed to overturn this policy, arguing that letters were the last affordable mode of communication between inmates and their friends and families. The group has argued that such a policy would unfairly punish the families of inmates, the working class and communities of color, and residents of north county, as well as worsen the jail's rate of recidivism.

“Because of the letter ban, I can't write my husband in jail to tell him how much I love him,” said Right to Write Organizer Marissa Garcia. “This is just another attempt by Sheriff Bill Brown to cut costs on essential services and make his jail profitable at the expense of families like mine.”

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