(Associated Press) Prison officials destroyed computer files containing inmates’ personal writing days after a prisoner won a national writing award, best-selling author Wally Lamb said. Lamb, who teaches a creative writing workshop at the York Correctional Facility in East Lyme, said Wednesday that 15 women inmates lost up to five years of work when officials at the prison’s school ordered all hard drives used for the class erased and its computer disks turned over.
“It flies in the face of the First Amendment,” Lamb said.
Department of Correction Commissioner Theresa Lantz halted the writing program March 29 after learning that inmate Barbara Parsons Lane had won a $25,000 PEN American Center prize for her work on the 2003 book “Couldn’t Keep It To Myself: Testimonies from our Imprisoned Sisters.”
Lantz said miscommunication between Lamb and herself about the award led to the shutdown, but the rehabilitative program will continue after it is reorganized.
The commissioner is investigating the writings being deleted, said Correction Department spokesman Brian Garnett.
“She is aware and obviously concerned about what Mr. Lamb as told her, and she has pledged to look into it further,” he said.