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Saturday, September 21, 2002

War on Women

The Brutes of Wisconsin Justice Continue to Badger
a Nursing Mother. Once Again They Refuse Her
The Breast Pump She Needs

>"More people sending packages with letters to the governor enclosed would
put all the sadists in the hot seat, so GET WRITING!"i>


From: Katherine Albrecht
To: "friends"
Subject: Kay Henson denied the breast pump we sent (!)
Date sent: Fri, 20 Sep 2002 18:39:52 -0400

I just got off the phone with Kay Henson, who called me collect from the
jail. (At the highway robbery rate of $5 for the first minute and 0.61
for each additional minute). She said the Seargent himself came to talk
to her about the package we express mailed to her. The package (which
cost us $21.00 to overnight express) contained the following items:

(1) a hand-held, non-electric breast pump, with its contents clearly
illustrated in full-color photographs on the box, in unopened plastic
shrink wrap and with a $44.49 price sticker affixed (2) a glossy color
brochure of promotional literature for the breast pump (Aveda brand, Isis
model) (3) a sealed, plastic shrink-wrapped box of greeting cards and
envelopes from the Boston Museum of Art (4) an open envelope containing
five $1 bills (5) a Bic ball point pen (6) a handwritten letter addressed
to Kay (7) a copy of my e-mailed letter to (Winsconsin) Governor McCallum
(8) a set of instructions printed from the web for expressing breast milk
(9) a copy of an article I wrote on an unrelated topic (10) a post card
with a photograph of me and my family on the back and the word "Courage"
handwritten in bold

Of these items, Kay was only given #6 - #10 -- only the printed
materials. She said they told her the breast pump "was against
regulations" and would be added to her personal property for when she is
released. This was very surprising to me, to say the least! No further
explanation was given.

Kay is currently managing to express breast milk by hand in the shower
enough to relieve the engorgement, but her milk supply is quite
diminished. She seems to be giving up on seeing her 9-month-old daughter
again any time soon, and is extremely sad about it. It broke my heart.

As for the other items, Kay was also denied the greeting cards and the
ball point pen (which I half expected). The $5 was added to her commissary
(?) account, which has a negative balance, and so was sucked up
immediately. She asked that no one send her money as it will also be
"wasted" in this way. She is currently unable to write to anyone because
she does not have money in her account to buy the pre-printed envelopes
that must be supplied by the prison. Outside envelopes and/or stamps sent
to her will be confiscated and added to her personal property. So she has
no way to write.

Oddly, the prison officials read all of her mail before giving it to her.
Apparently standard procedure is that the inmate open all letters in the
presence of guards and, if nothing contraband is found, prisoners are
allowed to read their letters in privacy.

In the case of the papers I sent, they were read, because the Sergeant
himself came in holding my letter to the governor and asked if the
allegations I make in my letter were true. Kay answered that I was
correct in all except for the fact that she had spanked her son on his
bare bottom, not clothed as I repeated (based on what I had heard). The
sergeant seemed genuinely surprised, asking, "is it true what it says here
that a nurse told you to dry up, your baby is already nine months old"?
She answered that yes, it was true.

When all was said and done, despite denying her the breast pump, the
Sergeant offered to try and find a way for her to send mail. Kay said
everybody made a very big deal that someone (me) had written to the
governor, and the fact that the Sergeant himself came in to speak to her
is apparently highly unusual and could only have resulted from my letter.

Since Kay had no idea who I am (and me, her!), she was a little surprised
at all the ruckus.

More people sending packages with letters to the governor enclosed would
put all the sadists in the hot seat, so GET WRITING!

I have more to report here, so please stay tuned for part #2 when I get
time later.

In freedom,
Katherine Albrecht

posted by Vetzine


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