Thomas Silverstein – Official Website

Solitary Survivor

A Very Important Message from Tom 1.31.2019


Dear Friends & Supporters,
As I’ve noted 4 decades, w/ each new warden (administration) that they rotate every 3 yrs or so, usually takes away from what we’ve got instead of gives us more. Although this new warden had added a few insensitives & letting guys actually work our way out of this hell hole unlike his predecessors who were 2 scared 2 make a fruitful decision 4 us, but didn’t mind/hesitate tightening the noose, using “security” 2 justify it, even though it was allowed 4 20 yrs w/o a problem, but w/a new sheriff n town, they gotta flex their muscles as cowards do w/ the hopeless & helpless. So every 3 yrs, we all brace 4 a new shit-storm 2 blow thru & now we’ve been issued new mail restrictions that I must share w/ those of U who may drop me a note from time 2 time, so it’s not rejected.
1) Some general correspondence will B photocopied & U will only B provided the photocopy.
2) All incoming general correspondence envelopes & paper must B white—no color.
3) Incoming general correspondence containing materials such as glitter, stickers, lipstick, crayon or marker will B rejected. Correspondence that is stained or contains an oily substance will B rejected.
4) Postage stamps & envelope flaps will B removed prior 2 all incoming correspondence.
5) All incoming general correspondence utilizing a label 4 either the recipient or/& sender information will B rejected. The recipient & sender information must B completed n ink or through address stamp.
6) All incoming correspondence w/ fragrance, such as but not limited 2 perfume or cologne, will B rejected.
7) All “homemade” greeting cards will B rejected. Commercial greeting cards will B photocopied prior 2 delivery. U will not be provided the commercial card.
I imagine the mailroom CO’s R pulling their hair out. Just think of the added work load this will take & cost 2 A: write up a rejection notice & B: post it. R mail is already SLOW, and now it’s about 2 get even SLOWER, at a time they’re cryin’ about staff shortage. Ha Ha. This is BOP management 4 U.
I can dig the drug concern, but I’ve never heard of anyone getting a dirty test since I’ve been here & they test us monthly. This should apply only 2 those they bust.
Almost everyone I correspond w/ does what’s now forbidden & it’s never been a problem.
Lo and behold. They just brought my mail w/ a reject notice. They put the person’s name but NOT their address. Thankfully I know this person. But if I’m just hearing from someone I’m unable 2 write back & ask if they got a rejection notice.
My friend Alan sent me parts of his manuscript that I didn’t get & my webmaster, who sends me my emails, didn’t get a notice, so I can’t appeal, which I would b/c whatever he wrote about time N YA as a kid hasn’t anything 2 do w/ “security” 50 yrs later. But that doesn’t matter.
Sadly, all those things they now deny us really added fun 2 my correspondence. All those sweet feminine touches was part of the fun hearing from those who take time 2 write. My gal makes cards & I’m her biggest fan. I think her cards R awesome. She’s N a class all her own. I invite U 2 check her work out (please see Renee’s link). No one that I know of who makes cards R as personal as hers. Designed at the time 4 a special person & situation that I’ve encouraged her 2 share w/ folks who R n R situation & gals who may be able 2 relate w/ the messages she was compelled 2 express w/almost childlike honesty. Now all those wonderful things we shared aren’t allowed due 2 no fault of R own. Like the monotone bars & walls that entomb me, they’ve stamped out the colors of happiness that I enjoy sharing w/ the outside world, enforcing a black & white existence N this colorless hole of madness.
Please take care & thank U all 4 your much needed love & support, especially when my box continues 2 shrink!
Your pal, Tommy

3 thoughts on “A Very Important Message from Tom 1.31.2019

  1. The most recent Solitary Watch post reports

    “A set of new security policies and procedures that will cost the Pennsylvania state a total of $15 million. All mail sent to people incarcerated in Pennsylvania is now being re-routed through the private company Smart Communications in Florida, which scans everything—including letters, cards, children’s drawings and family photographs—and transmits the scans to prisons, where they are printed out and delivered. The department is also installing airport-style body scanners for visitors.

    Recently, the federal Bureau of Prisons implemented similar restrictions at the U.S. Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum (ADX), its supermax facility in Florence, Colorado.

    The reason given for both the statewide lockdown and the enhanced security measures is a cluster of illnesses reported by corrections officers in the summer of 2018. Their symptoms were attributed to contact with synthetic cannabis, also known as K2 or spice, and the opioid fentanyl, which they asserted had taken place largely via contaminated mail.

    In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, Jeanmarie Perrone suggested that what was happening in Pennsylvania prisons could be an instance of “mass psychogenic illness.” “We see it all the time with law enforcement,” she said. “Police pull someone over and find an unknown substance. Suddenly their heart’s racing, they’re nauseated and sweaty. They say, ‘I’m sick. I’m gonna pass out.’ That is your normal physiological response to potential danger.”

    American College of Medical Toxicology, said of the corrections officers’ symptoms, “In a word, it’s implausible. One thing we know about [synthetic cannabinoids] is that they don’t cause the effects these folks are having, and certainly not by the route that they’re being exposed… The symptoms are much more consistent with anxiety.”

    Even legal mail—which might identify prison staff accused of abuse or corruption, and should by law be kept private—is now opened, copied and retained by staff. This change has spurred lawsuits, including one federal case that began trial this week, by the ACLU of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Institutional Law Project, Abolitionist Law Center and Amistad Law Project.

    Incarcerated people have also pointed to what they say is another under-reported aspect of the story. “As for how drugs get into prison, it’s common knowledge—and sense—that the lion’s share is brought in by staff. For every crumb smuggled in via herculean efforts by residents, a pound strolls in through the front gate. Yet, the punishment comes down on us.”

    There you have the reasoning behind the mail regulations.

  2. Hi Tom
    You wrote “My friend Alan sent me parts of his manuscript that I didn’t get & my webmaster, who sends me my emails, didn’t get a notice, so I can’t appeal, which I would b/c whatever he wrote about time N YA as a kid hasn’t anything 2 do w/ “security” 50 yrs later. But that doesn’t matter.”

    It seems that the webmaster only just received the reason on 1/23/2019. This is 2/1/19

    The reason given was that communication between “convicts” is not allowed!

    Of course I was never a convict, juveniles are wards of the state, and that was over 50 years ago.

    Since then I have had my record sealed and served 6 years in the Air Force in the 70″s making me a Vietnam era veteran Honorably discharged.

    I went on to work for the Department of Defense for several years then opened my own business which I still have 32 years later.

    During all that time I’ve never been arrested or spent time in prison.

    I did visit Folsom, Vacaville, San Quentin, (ate lunch in the dinning room), Solidad, California Men’s Colony, Atascadero while being transported to court on a DOD bus which I also write about in my memoir. It was impressive road trip.

    As I’ve mentioned before I’ve written articles on Solitary Watch after my half brother died in Solitary under suspicious circumstances (we believe he was killed by staff possibly during a cell extraction) but they disposed of his body before I learned about his death so I felt compelled to contribute to the education of the public as best I could to honor my brother.

    Another half brother wrote me a letter about DVI (Tracy) it was super enlightening about the violence that took place there in the 60’s.

    Some of the players were leaders in the violence you must have seen while in Quentin.

    With these first hand accounts and reading Edward Bunker’s “War Behind Bars” and other pieces like The Rise and Fall of California’s Radical Prison Movement as well as a lot of other research I was able to write a memoir filled with facts beyond my own experience but related to the hostile environment I entered and narrowly escaped (released from for the censors reading this) “physically” unharmed from. (My wife believes it has scared me emotionally but I think I’m ok.)

    Anyway enough about me I’m sorry to read about the added issues with your mail but it may have more to do with a likely new arrival in the coming months than just the changing of the guard. If you get the news you likely know of whom I speak but dare not mention least this too get rejected. LOL

    Well my friend your strength continues to inspire many to carry on so remain strong.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s