Monday, December 5, 2011


The wages prisoners receive for our labours are pathetically meagre and yet must bear the weight of many demands. One of these is maintaining contact with the outside world through letters and phone calls.
This situation prompts us to save pennies wherever we can and one way is to steam off stamp? from mail received and to re-use them. This is a fraud on our inept pos­tal system that I have no great justification for save necessity.
The prison service, intent on maintaining our poverty, sinks so low as to actually scribble with a biro across stamps on incoming nail, preventing this recycling.
Is this the most menial job being done by a public servant known to Man???


  1. Its not a menial job. When the staff scribbles across your stamps, they are indeed doing a cheap interpretation of a bigger crime they do.. scribbling scars of injustice on the stamp of your personal identities as free-thinking individuals.

  2. Isn't it an offence to deface images of the Queen?

    Or does that apply only to coins..

  3. I have no great ethical concerns over your recycling - as you say, it's a matter of necessity. If the prisons were really interested in preparing people to be released into the outside world, it would make sense to facilitate connections between them and the outside world wherever possible, but your posts have not led me to expect any such sense. That said, I find it hard to work up much annoyance at defacing the stamp to prevent reuse, as stamping (with ink) across the stamp to prevent exactly that trick is standard practise for Canada Post*. I'm less surprised the prison is doing it, and more surprised the postal service isn't.

    * I'm not sure how well this works, as the ink is often a little faint, and could probably pass a cursory inspection, but they do make a token effort. I suppose it's possible that a similar system is in place there, but is not effective (whereas scribbling across it is a bit more obvious).

  4. I take your point Ben - but remember you must not do ANYTHING that can be construed as 'dishonest' or 'wrong' as that could be used against you to put you back in closed or court. You are going to have to be whiter than white - I know this from experience , the authorities will do anything to prove you should not have been sent to open and/or released. So take care - will send you some stamps to save you 'steaming'. This is a bit tongue in cheek but remember the principle. Keep writing. xx

  5. 'Steaming' stamps off - oh how that takes me back to childhood and philately! Trouble is we haven't been licking stamps for quite some time as they come in 'peelable' form with non water based adhesive. If your lucky they just peel off, but require a bit of glue to re-attach. I think Ben is indulging us in some nostalgia here.

  6. Gareth: So, can you set fire to a postage stamp?

    David Brent: No. In fact, a postage stamp is legal tender. A busdriver would have to accept that as currency.

    Gareth: Yeah, that would happen.

    David Brent: Well if he doesn't, report him.

    Gareth: Yeah, I'll report him when I'm walking home.

    Gareth: You can taxi, if you've got enough stamps.

  7. Be careful, someone i know, ended up in jail, as they got her dna from the back of a stamp, just before they introduced the self stick one's. Rather than be cross about the fact you can't recycle the odd stamp, i would be up in arms about the cost of phone credit. It really irks me that my partner goes through loads of credit to call me. If i could call him back, (which i can't) we could chat for an hour for free. GGGGrrrrr.

  8. Are you sure it's the prison staff doing this? I've had quite a few letters arrive with the same thing, think the machines that are supposed to mark them don't always hit the target so someone (presumably within Royal Mail) scribbles over the stamps to achieve the same effect. Might not be a prison-based conspiracy this time!

  9. I have set up a website to email a prisoner in the UK. We will also be offering discount stamps to send to Prisoners.

  10. I have checked it out and it seems similar to e-mail a prisoner, which we have a link to. It's a good idea but is one way. It would be nice if the prisoner could reply!


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