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Computerless in Alaska

It was with intense interest that I read your editorial in the February, 1994, issue in which you described the end of your 5 year struggle to get your computers back for in-cell use. I am sorry to tell you, our struggle has only recently begun.

I am a prisoner at the Spring Creek Correctional center in Seward, Alaska. We have a population of about 450 prisoners here, maximum security. At one point we were allowed computers and printers for in-cell use. However, in January, 1992, we were blessed with a new warden, you guessed it, Larry Kincheloe, and his first action here was to take away our computers and printers. Of course, he had a little help from the Alaska Attorney General's office in this scheme to hinder our access to the courts and deny our rehabilitative efforts. We now have approximately four cases pending in federal district court in Alaska on this issue and are only near or at the discovery stage of the litigation.

We are currently experiencing the most blatant forms of harassment and retaliatory measures by this prison administration (headed by Larry Kincheloe) due to our exercising our right of access to the courts. The state and federal courts in Alaska have recently been flooded with prisoner civil rights actions, mainly due to actions by Larry Kincheloe.

W.C. Seward, AK.

[Editor's Note: Larry Kincheloe was formerly the warden of the Washington State Penitentiary at Walla Walla, where he banned prisoners from possessing hand held calculators, among many other things. As soon as he was promoted to Director of the Division of Prisons in 1989, one of his first actions was to initiate a statewide ban on in-cell computer use, limit memory typewriters, etc. The computer ban was only overturned by a new Director after Mr. Kincheloe left for the warden job in Alaska.]

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