FCI Big Spring Correspondence

Sep, 18 11 Post by: admin | No Comments


In most cases, you are permitted to correspond with the public, family members and others without prior approval. The outgoing envelope must have your name, register number and the full institution name and address in the upper left hand corner. Inmate outgoing mail which does not contain a return address will be opened and returned to the sending inmate. For example:

Inmate Name
Reg. No.
Federal Correctional Institution
1900 Simler Avenue
Big Spring, TX 79720

You must assume responsibility for the contents of all of your letters. Correspondence containing threats, extortion, etc., may result in prosecution for violation of federal laws. You may be placed on restricted correspondence status based on misconduct or as a matter of classification. You will be notified of this placement and given an opportunity to respond.

There is no mail service on weekends and holidays.

Incoming Correspondence

First class mail is distributed Monday through Friday (except holidays). The mail room will distribute legal and special mail within 24 hours of its receipt. You should advise those writing you to put your name, register number and unit on the envelope to aid the prompt delivery of mail.

Incoming Publications

You may subscribe to and receive publications without prior approval, but are limited in total to five, in combination, of books, newspapers and/or magazines. The term “publication” means a book, single issue of a magazine or newspaper, or materials addressed to a specific inmate, such as advertising brochures, flyers, and catalogs.

You may receive soft cover publications (paperback books, etc.) from any source. Newspapers and hardcover publications may be received only from a publisher, a bookstore or a book club.

Because of sanitation and fire safety reasons, you may not retain, more than eight (8), in combination, books, newspapers, magazines, and/or other publications at any one time, including books from the Institution Library. However, this limitation does not apply to educational material needed for current courses being taken or for legal material needed for ongoing court cases.

The Unit Manager may allow more space for legal publications upon request. Questions regarding proper procedures and regulations concerning incoming publications (brochures, flyers, catalogues, books, single issues of a magazine, newspapers) may be answered by referring to the BOP Program Statement and Institution Supplement on Publications.

The Warden will reject a publication if it is determined to be detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution, or if it might facilitate criminal activity. Publications which can be rejected by the Warden include, but are not limited to, publications which meet one of the following criteria:

  1. It depicts or describes procedures for the construction or use of weapons, ammunition, bombs, or incendiary devices.
  2. It depicts, encourages, or describes methods of escape from correctional facilities, or contains blueprints, drawings, or similar descriptions of Bureau of Prisons’ institutions.
  3. It depicts or describes procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages or the manufacture of drugs.
  4. It is written in code.
  5. It depicts, describes, or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption.
  6. It encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity.
  7. Any magazine containing nudity as established by the Ensign Amendment.

Should any publication be rejected you will receive a “Rejected Publication Memo” from the Warden, then you will have 20 days to file an Administrative Remedy Form (BP-9).

Special Mail

“Special Mail” is a category of correspondence which may be sent out of the institution unopened and unread by staff, which includes correspondence to: President and Vice-President of the United States; U.S. Department of Justice (including Bureau of Prisons); U.S. Attorneys’ Offices; Surgeon General; U.S. Public Health Service; Secretary of the Army, Navy, or Air Force; U.S. Courts; U.S. Probation Officer; Governors; State Attorneys; General Prosecuting Attorneys; Directors of State Departments of Corrections; State Parole Commissioners; State Legislators; State Courts; State Probation Officers; other Federal and State law enforcement officers; attorneys and representatives of the news media.

In order for correspondence to be processed under “Special Mail” procedures, the inmate must indicate on the correspondence “Legal Mail” and hand deliver it to Mail Room staff between 7:00a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Furthermore, the inmate must possess and present his inmate account card for positive visual identification.

Special Mail also includes mail received from the following: President and Vice-President of the United States, Attorneys, Members of U.S. Congress, Embassies and Consulates, the U.S. Department of Justice (including the Bureau of Prisons), other Federal law enforcement officers, U.S. Attorneys, State Attorney General, Prosecuting Attorneys, Governors, and U.S. Judges. Incoming Special Mail will be opened in the presence of the inmate.

The mail room staff usually does this. These items will be checked for physical contraband and for qualification as special mail; the correspondence will not be read or copied if the sender has accurately identified himself on the envelope and the front of the envelope clearly indicates that the correspondence is special mail only to be opened in the presence of the inmate. Without adequate identification as Special Mail, the staff may treat the mail as general correspondence. In this case, the mail may be opened, read, and inspected.

Inmate Correspondence with Representatives of the News Media

An inmate may write through “Special Mail” procedures to representatives of the news media if specified by name or title. The inmate may not receive compensation or anything of value for correspondence with the news media. The inmate may not act as a reporter, publish under a byline, or conduct a business or profession while in Bureau custody.

Representatives of the news media may initiate correspondence with an inmate. Correspondence from a representative of the news media will be opened, inspected for contraband, for qualification as media correspondence, and for content which is likely to promote either illegal activity or conduct contrary to regulations.

Correspondence Between Confined Inmates

You must obtain permission to correspond with an inmate confined in another penal or correctional institution. You should make your request to your Unit Team, adequately explaining why you wish to correspond with the other inmate. Your Unit Team will investigate the circumstances and make a recommendation. In general, inmate-to-inmate correspondence is usually approved when it is between immediate family members or when both inmates are involved in a common legal action (such as a pending court case).

Unit Managers of BOTH Federal institutions must approve the correspondence request.

Correspondence with other inmates in custody other than in Federal Institutions requires approval by both Wardens. Such correspondence may always be inspected and read by staff at the sending and receiving institutions.

Rejection of Correspondence

The Warden may reject correspondence sent by or to an inmate if it is determined to be detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution, to the protection of the public, or if it might facilitate criminal activity. Examples Include:

  1. Matter which may not be mailed under law or postal regulations.
  2. Information of escape plots, or plans to commit illegal activities or to violate institution rules.
  3. Direction of an inmate’s business (prohibited act 408).
  4. An inmate may not direct a business while confined. This does not, however, prohibit correspondence necessary to enable the inmate to protect property or funds that were legitimately his at the time of his commitment. Thus, for example, an inmate may correspond about refinancing a mortgage for his home or sign insurance papers; however, the inmate may not operate (for example) a mortgage or insurance business while confined in the institution.

Mail Rejection

The Warden or designee will give written notice to the sender of mail being rejected concerning the reasons for rejection. The sender of the rejected correspondence may appeal the rejection. The inmate will also be notified of the rejection of correspondence and the reasons for it. The inmate also has the right to appeal the rejection. The Warden shall refer the appeal to a designated officer other than the one who originally disapproved the correspondence. Rejected correspondence ordinarily will be returned to the sender.

Receiving Packages

Only release clothing and medical devices may be received via a package authorization. The mail room officer will not accept any item or package for delivery unless this approval form is on file or the package is adequately marked describing pre-approved items such as magazines or books.

Change of Address/Forwarding of Mail

The Mail Room will provide inmates, which are being released or transferred, with change of address cards so they may notify correspondents of their new location upon request. Inmates can request these cards during Mail Room “Open House”. “Open House” is conducted on Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.. Upon inmate release or transfer, general correspondence will be forwarded for a period of 30 days. After the 30 day period, general correspondence will be returned to sender. NOTE: Special/Legal mail will still be forwarded after the 30 day period.

Certified/Registered Mail

Certified, registered, or insured mail can be arranged through the Mail room during “Open House” hours. Services such as express mail, private carrier services, or COD are not provided.

Funds Received from Family, Friends, Etc.

The Federal Bureau of Prisons centralized the processing of all incoming inmate funds. This required the establishment of a National Lock-Box location. All funds being sent to inmates must be sent to the National Lock-Box location at the following address:

Federal Bureau of Prisons
Insert Inmate Name
Insert Inmate Register Number
Post Office Box 474701
Des Moines, Iowa 50947-0001

Funds received from self-commitments, U.S. Marshals Service, U.S. Treasury or state and local governments, will be forwarded to the National Lock-Box by Mail Room Staff and/or the Cashier. The institution mail room will no longer accept funds received from outside the institution. Any funds received at this institution will be returned to the sender with specific directions on how to send the funds to the national Lock-Box.

Please notify all persons who send you funds that they must send all funds to the national Lock-Box mailing address (above) and adhere to the following instructions: Instruct them NOT to enclose personal checks, letters, pictures or any other items in the envelope. Enclose only the allowable negotiable instrument. The national Lock-Box can not forward any items enclosed with the negotiable instrument to the inmate.

Items personal in nature must be mailed directly to FCI Big Spring. Instruct them that they must have the inmate’s committed name (no nicknames) and register number printed on all money orders, U.S. Treasury, state, and local government checks, any foreign negotiable instrument payable in U.S. currency, and envelope. Instruct them that their name and return address must appear in the upper left hand corner of the envelope to ensure that their funds can be returned to them in the event that they can not be posted to your account.

Mail Room Information

The following information will allow you to understand some of the institution’s mail room procedures. It is recommended that you notify family members and friends that may be sending you correspondence of the following information. Any questions may be addressed to the mail room staff during open hours on Wednesdays and Fridays, excluding holidays, from 7:00 a.m. to 7:30 a.m.

  1. Magazines and soft cover books may be sent from home or an outside source. No more than five magazines or soft cover books or a combination totaling five may be sent at one time. Any magazines received from an outside source may not be older than six months from the date of issue. Hard cover books must come from a book club or book store. All packages containing magazines or soft cover books that come from a source other than a book club or book store must contain written notice on the outside of the package in wording similar to: “Magazines”, “Books”, “Approved Reading Materials”, etc. or the package will be rejected at the post office. All books and publications are subject to review and may be rejected because of content.
  2. Self developing photographs may be received provided the bottom is cut open or the backing is removed. Self developing photographs that do not meet this requirement will be returned to the sender. All personal nudity photographs are unauthorized and will be returned to sender. You are authorized 25 photographs.
  3. Electronic or “Musical” greeting cards are unauthorized and will be returned to the sender.
  4. All packages containing material other than magazines, books, or legal material must have prior approval or the package will be returned to the sender (see your unit team concerning package authorizations).
  5. Stamps or pre-stamped envelopes are not authorized to be mailed in.
  6. Newspapers must come from the publisher or book store. They cannot come from home.
  7. C.O.D. mail (collect on delivery) will not be accepted.
  8. Generally, all items other than money or photographs contained with your correspondence will be considered contraband and returned to the sender.


Telephones for inmate use are located on all floors of the units. Inmates are limited to 300 minutes per calendar month for TRUFONE monitored telephone calls. This limitation applies to all inmates with a TRUFONE account in Bureau of Prisons’ institutions, and may be used for any combination of collect or direct-dial calls at the inmate’s discretion. The telephone limit per month is validated by the 5th digit of the inmate register number, according to the following schedule:

5th Digit of Inmate Registration Number Validation Date
0 1st
1 4th
2 7th
3 10th
4 13th
5 16th
6 19th
7 22nd
8 25th
9 28th

Telephone credits are purchased by accessing the 118 functions on the inmate telephones. Credits may be purchased anytime the telephones are operational (not during count). Credits are available immediately.

No third party or credit card calls can be made on these lines.

It is expected that each inmate will handle his calls in such a manner that will allow equal use of the phones by all inmates. Calls are limited to 15 minutes, and there is a 15-minute delay between calls.

Inmates in Disciplinary Segregation and Administrative Detention are allowed one call per calendar month, up to 15 minutes. Inmates will make calls according to policies regarding Disciplinary Segregation and Administrative Detention.

Institutional telephones may not be used by inmates at any time.

Emergency calls in the event of death or serious illness of family of inmates, will be made by Religious Services after verification of emergency. Calls will be placed on the ITS system and will be monitored. Legal calls or attorney calls will be allowed only when an inmate demonstrates that communication with his attorney by other means is not adequate. For example, when the inmate or the inmate’s attorney can demonstrate an imminent court deadline. Unit staff will schedule the appointment for a call with the legal representative. The inmate is required to pay for the legal calls or the legal representative can accept collect calls. Third-party calling; third-party billing, using credit card numbers to place telephone calls; conference calling and talking in code are all prohibited acts and will be subject to disciplinary action.

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