In most cases, inmates are permitted to correspond with the public, family members and others without prior approval or the maintenance of a correspondence list. Outgoing mail is placed in mailboxes located in the housing units. Outgoing mail for inmates in the Low institution and the Camp may be sealed. Inmates housed in the Medium institution, including the Special Housing Unit, may not seal their outgoing general correspondence. This mail is sealed by the Unit officer when the mail is collected. The outgoing envelope must have the inmate’s name, registration number, and the return address in the upper left-hand corner.
There is no mail service on weekends and holidays.
Inmates must assume responsibility for the contents of all their letters. Correspondence containing threats, extortion, etc., may result in prosecution for violation of federal laws.
Inmates may be placed on restricted correspondence status based on misconduct or as a matter of classification. The inmate is notified of this placement and has the opportunity to respond.
First class mail, newspapers, and magazines are ordinarily distributed Monday through Friday, except holidays, by the evening watch officer in each living unit. Unit staff will deliver legal and special mail to inmates as soon as possible after it is received. Inmates are instructed to notify those writing to them to put the inmate’s committed name (no nicknames or aliases), registration number, and the living unit on the envelope for prompt delivery of their mail.
All inmate packages received at the institution must have prior authorization or they will be rejected.
The Bureau permits inmates to subscribe to and receive publications without prior approval. 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. An inmate housed at the Low institution or the Camp may receive soft-cover publications (paper-back books etc.) from any source. An inmate housed at the Medium institution, including the Special Housing Unit, may only receive soft-cover publications (paper-back books, magazines, etc.) from an identifiable book store, book club, or distributor.
An inmate either at the Low, Camp or Medium facilities, may receive newspapers and hardcover publications only from the publisher, bookstore or book club. The Unit Manager may allow more space for legal publications upon request.
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 meet one of the following criteria may be rejected:
It depicts or describes procedures for the construction or use of weapons, ammunition,
bombs, or incendiary devices.
It depicts, encourages, or describes methods of escape from correctional facilities or
contains blueprints, drawings, or similar descriptions of Bureau of Prisons institutions.
It depicts or describes procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages or the manufacture of drugs.
It is written in code.
It depicts, describes, or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption.
It encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity.
It is sexually explicit material that by its nature or content poses a threat to the security,
good order, or discipline of the institution.
“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 Officers, members of the U. S. Congress, Embassies and Consulates, 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.
A “Special Mail” open house will be conducted each day, Monday through Friday, from 11:00
a.m. to 11:30 a.m. A “Special Mail” announcement will be made each day at 11:00 a.m. Inmates needing to mail “Special Mail” should show the unit officer the sealed envelope. The unit officer will release the inmate from the unit so the inmate can report to the records office. The inmate should report to the Records Office and provide staff with their inmate identification card, and the “Special Mail” being mailed. The return address must match that of the inmate, and inmate identification card. Any mail weighing 16 ounces or more must be accompanied by a signed “Authorization to Mail a Package.”
“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 (excluding the Bureau of Prisons), other federal law enforcement officers, U. S. Attorneys, State Attorney Generals, Prosecuting Attorneys, Governors, U. S. Courts and State Courts.
A designated staff member opens incoming “special mail” in the presence of the inmate. This is usually done by the Correctional Counselor or Case Manager. 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/herself on the envelope and 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. (See PS 5265.08, correspondence, for detailed instructions).