News-hungry Inmate Takes Prison to Court

By E.B. Solomont

Published September 16, 2005, issue of September 16, 2005.
  • Print
  • Share Share

In the world of news, last week’s headlines are old hat — as anyone who has received a late paper can attest. But some can handle the aggravation better than others. One newspaper reader, a former inmate of the federal prison at Fort Dix, N.J., was so frustrated by his papers’ consistent lateness, he was moved to file suit against the prison system that once housed him.

Former Allegheny County, Pa., Judge Joseph Jaffe — who recently served 27 months in jail for extortion — is claiming that his copies of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and the Pittsburgh Jewish Chronicle, which should have taken just days reach him, consistently arrived about two weeks late. Jaffe, who now works as a law clerk, filed his suit on behalf of all Fort Dix inmates.

Attempts by the Forward to reach the former judge were unsuccessful.

“We’ve always known that there are people… who anxiously await their Chronicle every week,” Barbara Befferman, CEO at the Jewish Chronicle, told the Forward. “And this was another such person.”

Mike Truman, a public information specialist at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, said that mail delivery is “not usually a problem,” and that prisons have internal grievance procedures in place to handle complaints. But delivery time also “depends on the volume” of mail being handled at a particular institution, Truman said. “I am not trying to make excuses, but Fort Dix” — which houses more than 4,000 inmates — “is one of the largest federal prisons in the United States.”

A spokesperson for the Post-Gazette couldn’t be reached for comment, but according to the paper’s Web site, the paper offers the following mail delivery policy to its subscribers: “Our target time for delivery is 6:00 a.m. Monday through Friday and 7:00 a.m. Saturday and Sunday. Among the factors effecting [sic] delivery times are late breaking news, weather, and the size of the paper.” And, it would seem, whether or not the reader is housed in a penal institution.

Find us on Facebook!
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach!
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.