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Monday, January 20, 2014

Dear United States Bureau of Prisons and USPS


Dear US Bureau of Prisons and your buddies at the United States Postal Service,

As you may know, you are one of the most well funded incarceration bureaucracies in the history of the world.  Some might say over-funded.  So, it pains me to ask:  Why you can't you find your own inmates or return mail in less than a month?

You certainly have a spiffy website, the Healthcare.Gov folk would have done well to take a peek at yours before making theirs.  On the two occasions, both related to a True Crime book project of mine, I've had to try to track down guests, or former guests, of yours.  I can say you batted 1.000 in determining if they were ever located in your fine facilities.

However, recently a little flaw in your system cropped up.  While searching for one of your guests, a former FBI agent who has been occupying various suites of yours since around September, 2013, you had him listed as "in-transit" in December, 2013.  Just between us, I understand the concept of diesel therapy, and if that is what was going on, while I do not condone it, I do understand completely that you might not be able to get a letter onto a moving bus.

What I do not understand is how I can mail a letter, addressed to your headquarters at 320 First St. NW, Washington, DC, care of "Inmates" with the man's name and register number and you folks cannot manage to get it to him.  That is supposed to be the procedure for in-transit guests.

The letter was postmarked 10 DEC 2013, and I know he did not receive it because I received it on 18 JAN 2014, with a "Not at this address" message scrawled across the front.  Yes, I noticed you opened it too and thank you for not keeping the SASE contained for your guest.

To make matters more interesting, I did a new search and found your guest in Ohio.  Apparently everybody on the internet knows where he is now, except you.  Hopefully, your friends at the USPS will have to handle the next mailing just once.

Now, for the folks at the USPS, I hope you had a fine day off for the MLK holiday, but it seems like every day is a holiday for you people.  The letter mentioned above, that you poor people had to handle twice, had $1.12 cents worth of postage.  That amount was calculated by your crack staff, using the finest scales of the realm, and affixed in a timespan that a Subway employee could have made foot-long sandwiches for three customers and checked them all out too.

Since I've been in contact with several former Weather Underground terrorists, along with performing additional terrorist bombing research, it seems to me that sending letters to prisons with excessive postage might be a tag I could do without.  Especially since I did not select or affix double the needed postage to the letter.

I returned to the post office with my newly repackaged and addressed envelope during the Martin Luther King holiday, used your state-of-the-art self-serve machinery, and discovered that my envelope only required $0.66 worth of postage.  An interesting multiple of what I was charged for the round trip through Washington, DC.  I also discovered that you would not issue postage through your machine because the transaction was less than $1.00.

Please, spare me any discussion containing the statement "underfunded."  If you people can't properly calculate postage, or keep tabs on your prisoners, then you don't need to be funded at all.

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

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