I AM A LIFELONG resident of Delaware, incarcerated by the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections. Gov. Rendell and Secretary of Corrections Jeffery Beard are preparing to send 1,500-2,000 prisoners out of state, hundreds, if not thousands of miles away from family and friends.
Most will not want to go. However, some would love to transfer to their home state's department of corrections. I've requested a transfer under the "Inmate Interstate Corrections Compact" to Delaware. Each request has been denied, stating that I don't meet the criteria for that type of transfer. But no one can produce a copy of the criteria that I have to meet to be eligible for the transfer.
I've received a number of responses saying the transfer has to be in the best interest of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. I guess easing the overcrowding is not in the best interest of the commonwealth, yet it is ready to send almost 2,000 men out of state.
A recent article said the transferees would be convicts who don't or hardly ever receive visits. Is the Department of Corrections going to take into account the fact that most prisoners don't get visits because they are shipped to the opposite side of the state? Why not get those who are not from Pennsylvania and see if they want to transfer to their home state's Department of Corrections?
The mission of the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections is to provide the opportunities for inmates to acquire the skills and values necessary to become productive law-abiding citizens. Can't your family and friends help you to do that?
As most prisoners know, that makes sense and would be the right thing to do, but because it does make sense, it's not an option for the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections.
Walter Allen, SCI. Forest