Below is the email I wrote in response to my ban notice. As you may imagine, the many early versions of it were not nearly so neutral. I have edited out the typos I made. It’s unusual for me to make typos but I was shaking with anger and frustration as I wrote and re-wrote it.
Dear Mr. Lott:
I spoke with you on the phone February 3 about an incident in which I was denied a visit with my son, Vince. I thought that you and I had a respectful conversation in which I came to understand some of the changes to the clothing restrictions at Moose Lake. You seemed to listen to my perception that I was disrespected by Mr. Volk and bullied by the gang of guards who yelled at me to leave the parking lot immediately when I was crying in my car after leaving the building.
I suggested that the DOC might collect visitor emails and send mass notices about changes in visiting rules, so that people like me, who have to take a day off work and drive two hours to get to Moose Lake, aren’t caught by surprise. You said you thought that was a great idea and you gave me your email address so I could send it to you in writing. I told you I was leaving town the next day and would be out of the country for almost a month, so that I might not be able to follow up for a while. Again, I thought it was a respectful, constructive conversation.
You didn’t mention anything about the possibility of me being banned from seeing my son.
So I was very surprised to find a BAN NOTICE, signed by you, upon my return home, postmarked the day after we spoke. It says I can appeal this within 15 days. Since I was in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (meeting with human rights attorneys about violations in prisons, ironically) until this past Monday night, I was unable to check my mail. I would like to appeal this ban, and I would be happy to show you my flight stubs to prove I was out of the country.
Will you please let me know the name of the warden and how to contact him/her for appeal? Or, just be honest and tell me that it doesn’t matter that I was out of the country, I missed the 15-day window and there’s no use appealing. If that is the case, then I would like to know how to file a formal complaint.
I have attached a photo of myself that day, wearing the “low cut” (quote) top that Mr. Volk found so provocative, that made him so concerned I might “bend over” (quote).