Eric King, imprisoned since 2016, recently received a notice stating that his mail privileges have been restricted for the upcoming six months: stripping him of his ability to communicate with anyone outside of his immediate family. Restricted communication, however, is not new for Eric: “I’ve been denied phone calls for 2 years after a website posted about me, and my wife was denied visiting access due to her ‘ideology,” Eric wrote in a snail mail interview conducted by the Seattle-Tacoma chapter of Black and Pink.
The warden’s reasoning was broad and weak: “Your continued access to unfettered general correspondence privileges might pose a threat to the security and good order of the institution and the protection of the public.”
There was no explanation of what kind of threat Eric imposed, neither was there further discussion of what Eric had done to provoke this message. The restriction was simply stated. The ease at which the warden could enforce this restriction, revoking the right of a person on the inside to communicate for six months, speaks measures about the brutality and dehumanization process of the prison industrial complex.
Eric, a vegan anarchist political prisoner, is constantly targeted by guards and thrown into the hole for his outspoken belief and determined fight against oppression. This mail restriction was no different: as a retaliation to a noise demonstration hosted outside of FCI Englewood on New Year’s Eve, Eric’s mail was restricted. Eric had nothing to do with organizing this demonstration, a fact that the BOP admitted, but did nothing to change the stated constraint on communication.
Eric understands that these tactics of psychological and psychical torture are not accidental. “I’m not sure people realize or care about the amount of psych games these people play. It is violent. Withholding mail for weeks or months claiming you don’t have any, searching your cell and vandalizing your family photos. Placing you intentionally around people who wish to harm you,” Eric wrote.
The prison-industrial complex is designed to limit any and all human connection, leaving letter writing as one of the few avenues for people who are incarcerated to connect with the free world. Restricting this is a clear expression of power and a grave form of oppression.
Prison Radio stands with Eric King. We demand the prison end this six month restriction ban, and release Eric immediately. To further support Eric, check out his support page, his commissary and E-book wishlist, and never stop listening, learning, and acting on his words.
When We Fight, We Win!
Prison Radio Staff