I Support Prison Literacy Programs

Because it’s just embarrassing when prisons are run by illiterate people. This is a screenshot from the Oklahoma County Prison’s Mail Policy webpage:


The random space before the period in the second line is weird but hardly important. The lack of a period on the third line doesn’t bother me much either. But only five photos in each letter is “excepted”? How did they even make that mistake? They used the word “accepted” before the list began!

And what’s with this line anyway? This line tells us only five photos will be accepted. Why does it need to tell us that when the next line tells us “Five 5”x 7” or smaller photographs” will be accepted? Do we really need two lines to tell us the same thing?

Even if we do, does the second line need to tell us “limit 5 photographs per inmate per booking” right after telling us they’ll accept “[f]ive 5”x 7” or smaller photographs”? Do we really need to be told the same thing three times in two consecutive lines?


I don’t normally harp on typos, but “contrabnd”? Did nobody bother to use spellcheck? It’s not like there are a bunch of proper nouns or acronyms on the page to make using spellcheck difficult.


What exactly does it mean for something to be “rejected sent to”? I think the phrase “determined detrimental” sounds funny, but even if it were wrong (it is, isn’t it?), I’d forgive that. At least you can understand what it means.


It’s confusing to know some correspondence “is” rejected because it “are in excess of allowable property.” I’m not sure if I’m more confused by the inability to keep singular/plural straight or the phrase “are in excess of allowable property” itself.


I’m trying not to harp on typos and the like, but come on. Underlining the sentence means you think it is important. How do you not notice you typed “and or”?


Where to begin? I wouldn’t point out correspondence should be paired with “includes” rather than “include” except this sentence is completely wrong in the first place. Where is the verb? How does something “include but not limited to”? Did they forget an “is” somewhere?

And how do you say correspondence may be rejected because it is “Extortion”? Are you saying extortion will be allowed so long as it is in the correspondence but is not the correspondence itself? (And why is there no period for Extortion or the next line?)

I’m not sure how I am supposed to read line 6. I thought it’d be easy to rewrite until I saw the last item on its list is:


So we have a list of things which, if present, can get correspondence rejected. One of the items on that list is, “Publications will be prohibited that….” How do you put a list within a list of noun clauses? Why isn’t that just item 7? It’s a different list. The other list was for what “may be” rejected. This list is for what “will be prohibited” at some future, unspecified point.

I’m not trying to be overly harsh here. That’s not a complete list of the problems I found on one page of this website. There are plenty of problems on other pages. Even when they get basic grammar and spelling right, some of these pages have me wondering if they ever completed a freshman English class.

On a final note, one page has an absolutely wonderful typo. It tells us about a guy who was once the president of “the Oklahoma Sherif¬f and Peace Officers Association.” I wonder how someone gets elected “Sherif¬f.”



  1. Brandon

    I don’t want to go off topic here so will you please note I have asked a question in the ‘dishonest’ tread


  2. It looks like a mish-mash of OCR and cut and paste, with just a tantalizing hint of original work thrown in.

  3. Throgmorton., it’s interesting you say that. I found a .pdf file discussing prison regulations, I believe for the same prison, which has much of the same material. It doesn’t have the same mistakes though. It’s possible someone used an OCR program on it to create the text for that page.

    That could definitely explain where some of these strange mistakes come from (especially things like the missing periods).

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