Generally, correspondence is allowed and encouraged. The sending and receiving of mail by inmates will be restricted only to the extent necessary to prevent a threat to the safety and security of the facility, or the safety or well-being of any person, and to prevent unsolicited and unwanted mail. No inmate may correspond with any person who is on his/her negative correspondence list. No inmate may correspond with any person who is listed on a court Order of Protection which prohibits such correspondence.
People sending mail into the correctional facility are personally responsible for the contents of their mail. Inmates and all correspondents are advised that sending obscene, threatening, or fraudulent materials through the mail may be a crime under state and federal laws. The Department will urge prosecution whenever such mail is brought to its attention. Unauthorized items shall either be returned to the sender at the expense of the inmate, or otherwise disposed of. Such will be the choice of the inmate and accomplished at the inmate’s expense. Dangerous contraband will not be returned.
All mail sent to the inmate must be clearly marked with the inmate’s name and DIN. Envelopes may include your personal letters and photographs. Do not send postage stamps or letters from other people, except children. A limit of 5 pages of printed or photocopied materials (an individual newspaper clipping will be considered one page) may be received within a piece of regular correspondence. (Note the following exception in the next paragraph). In order to facilitate media review, pages or clippings must not be taped, glued, or pasted together or to other papers. Not to exceed once every four months, an inmate may make a written request to the Superintendent to receive in excess of 5 pages of printed or photocopied legal papers specifically related to his or her current legal matter (e.g., legal brief or trial transcript relating to the inmate’s active case) within a piece of regular correspondence. If approved, the piece of correspondence must be received within 30 days thereafter. All incoming mail will be opened and inspected for cash, checks, money orders, printed or photocopied materials, or contraband. Monies are credited to the inmate’s account.
Please note that printed or photocopied materials may delay the inmate receiving the letter due to Media Review procedures. Again, postage stamps are not allowed. All mail that you receive from an inmate should be well-marked with the inmate’s DIN and correctional facility address and other clear indications that the letter is from a correctional facility.
Each facility is different. For specific information, contact the facility in question. Generally speaking, inmates may receive a package through the mail or at a visit from anyone who is not on a negative correspondence or negative vendor list. At most correctional facilities, inmates are allowed two food packages per month, and the combined weight can not exceed 35 pounds. Food packages received from both visitors, and through the mail, shall be included in the two-package limit. Food items must be commercially or hermetically sealed and contain no alcohol.
Additional packages containing non-food items such as clothing, tobacco, etc. may be received by an inmate and shall not be counted against the food package limit.
Be advised, there are limits on the amount of personal property an inmate may accumulate based on physical and/or programmatic considerations. There are also restrictions on color of clothing. Exceptions to the above package rules exist for inmates in Special Housing Units (SHU), inmates on “loss of package” sanctions, “reception”, or “in-transit” status, Shock, Drug Treatment Centers, CASAT, and Work Release Centers. For example, no packages may be received at any time by an inmate in SHU except books, periodicals, and legal materials.
For specific information about these special populations, contact the facility in question. Additionally, all inmate who is located in a “TV Facility” may only receive 2 food packages per calendar year from family, friends, or other personal sources, as well as items ordered directly by the inmate from approved vendors. These packages may only contain food items and may not exceed 20 pounds.
Inmate Locator finds these guidelines fairly common.
Some things you should never do when sending a letter, as it will result in the letter being rejected:
- Don’t use staples or paper clips
- Never use marker, crayon, glitter, glue, stickers or lipstick on the letter or envelope
- Don’t use perfume or any other fragrance
- Any drawings or markings that can be misconstrued as secret code etc. will result in refusal
- Never write anything in the letters that you wouldn’t want a third party to read (all mail is inspected and read by staff)