A Brian Garnett, director of internal affairs at the York Correctional Facility in Connecticut, responded to my e-mail about the women's writing program situation.
It looks like a form letter, but hopefully it's accurate. The upshot is, the inmate writing workshop will continue, and Mr. Garnett claims that there was no order to delete the women's work off of hard drives as the AP had reported. Mr. Garnett writes:
The program was temporarily on hold for about a month, as concerns were addressed about the dissemination of news within the prison, of the $25,000 PEN America prize, awarded to one of the inmate authors. The Department of Correction had been given no prior notice of the nomination or the awarding of the prize. There is a very real concern regarding safety and security for the inmate and the prison, with her being identified as having access to that amount of money.
Media reports also charged that writing materials were destroyed. There was never any malicious intent on the part of the Department, nor was any destruction ordered at any time. Our only intention was requiring that the writings be committed to computer disks to fully preserve those materials and ensure they would be in place when the program started up again. We have now learned those initial reports of destruction were erroneous and little if any material was lost.
For PEN's take on the situation, a friend pointed me toward PEN Welcomes Developments Regarding Prison Writing Suit, Workshop Suspension.
It's nice to have good news to blog about.