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Writing/Prison/Network

A paper and presentation for the GEO Conference, University of Maryland
by

Christopher Hazlett

on 8 March 2014

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Transcript of Writing/Prison/Network

Entry Forms
Personal History Data Reports
Violent/Non-violent Status Assessment Forms
Transfer Order Forms
Incident Reports
Search for Contraband Forms
Medical Intake Screening Forms
Inmate Personal Property Records
Inmate Activiy Records
Administrative Detention Orders
Inmates write a lot more than we know. And, they produce many types of writing for a variety of purposes.
Novels
Poems
Short Stories
Memoirs
Essays
Plays

But also:
Legal Writing
Personal Letters
"Kites"
Prisoner Journals
Pamphlets
Newsletters
Magazines
Scholarly Articles
Web Designs
Grant Proposals
Inmates produce and circulate this writing to communicate, negotiate, to get things done. This often violates rules.
Internal Memos
Injury Report
Volunteer Application
Entry Log
In-Transit Data Form
Transfer Inquiry
Notice to Visitor
Formal Grievance Form
Confiscation and Disposition of Contraband
Supervision Release Form
Request for Dental Privileges
Sex Offender Registration and Treatment
NCIC Check
Notice of Obligation to Adhere to Installment Schedule to Pay Court-Ordered Fines
Receiving Report
Postage Stamp Logs
Inmate Request to Staff Form
Release of Information Consent
Job Efficiency Training Report
Special Purpose Order Request
Notice of Discipline Committee Hearing
Inmate Rights at Discipline Committee Hearing Notification
Arms and Defensive Equipment Inventory
Tool Inventory
Lost or Missing Tool Report Form
Report of Weapons Discharge
News Interview Authorization
Notice of Rights and Waiver Form
Certificate of Inmate Status
Application to Enter Institution as Representative
Vehicle Log
Food Preference Survey
Furlough Application
Special Housing Review
Discipline Hearing Officer Report
Authorization to Receive Package or Property
Inmate Load and Security Designation
Dental Daily Worksheet
Medical/Psychological Pre-Release Evaluation
Intake Medical Screening
Tuberculosis Contact Follow-Up
Medical Treatment Refusal
Noise Level Survey
Inmate Good Time Record
Prisoner Remand Form
Response to Record Request
Statutory Good Time Action Notice
Extra Good Time Recommendation
Notice of Ensuing Releases
Release Authorization
Notice of Escaped Prisoner
Panel Interview Assessment
Detention/Segregation 30-day Review
Volunteer Agreement
HIV Pretesting Counseling
HIV Test Counseling (Positive)
HIV Test Counseling (Negative)
Special Mail Notice
Abandoned Inmate Property Form
Admission and Orientation Checklist
Referral of Incident Summary Form
Release of Confidential Information
Treatment Summary and Referral for Drug-Abuse Treatment
Untimely Release Notification
Sentence Computation Checklist
Program Review Report
Volunteer Checklist
Arms/Equipment Issue Form
Polygraph Authorization
Researcher Statement
Research Proposal Processing Application
Notification of Authorized Relocation
Procurement Integrity Certification for Procurement Officials
Request for Inmate Telephone Transaction Data
Inmate Telephone Monitoring Tape Access Log
Inmate Telephone Call Monitoring Report
Infectious Disease Outbreak Report
Diabetes Flow Sheet
Consent to Use Benzodiazepines
Consent to Use MAOI Antidepressants
Consent to Use Lithium
Notification of Religious Diet Authorization
Prisoner Release Notification
Summary of Investigation for Classification No. 3 Cases (Internal Affairs)
Duty Officer Incident Report
Employee Injury Report
Request for Educational Records
New or Unfamiliar Religious Components Questionnaire
Prison is a more than a collection of buildings, walls, halls, and people.
Prison is a network, an assemblage of interrelated, self-organizing, semi-stable relationships between multiple kinds of agents.
Within and around prisons, writing and texts circulate, infiltrate, direct, permeate, and penetrate the prison's larger network of people, places, activities, policies, and identities.
This writing in and around prisons, produced and circulated by inmates and correctional staff, is wider and more integral than acknowledged.

Two main groups of writing in prison: inmate-produced and prison official-produced.

This writing and its associated writers form a network.
Networks
An assemblage of human and non-human actor that act and interact in parallel with one another.

Networked actors construct and reconstruct their environment by forming semi-stable relationships between people, artifacts, technologies, and knowledges.

These interactive actors are sometimes called "nodes." Nodes form the contact points for the links between people, information, tasks, and goals. By linking nodes, networks produce temporary, locally predictable results called "work." As these associations function, people, activities, information and goals transform and adapt.


A 100 node network
Example of the Prison Writing Network in action

My experiences as a volunteer in prison have always included multiple forms of writing, all of which participated in the prison (writing) network.

Volunteer application forms
NCIC (National Crime Information Center) Background check consent forms
Letters to and from the inmates participating
Emails to the Volunteer and Program Coordinators
My NCIC background check result forms
Approval memo to the Chaplaincy, myself
Report to the DOC Secretary office
Call-out rosters
Memo to security
Memo to gate staff
"Syllabus"/program description

All of this happens prior, during, and continues long after my volunteer work.

But interwoven, and spliced into it as well,
there is a writing network.
MCI-J in Jessup, Maryland houses 1042 prisoners on average, and employs 344 Officers and staff, totaling 1386 human "actors".

Maryland DPSCS has a similar corpus of official documents that may be produced and circulated, thus becoming actors, totaling 88 non-human textual types.

If only one of each textual types exists (unlikely, given writings' replicability), MCI-J has 467,784 links in its prison writing network, between humans and writing alone.

Here's what that network would look like if we could see its links.
Common Forms of "Official" Writing
Official Writing
Full paper that goes with this presentation is here:
Full transcript