First-class mail is distributed Monday through Friday (except holidays) and ordinarily by the evening watch unit officer. Newspapers and magazines will also be delivered at this time. Mail Room staff will deliver legal and special mail as soon as possible after it is received. The number of incoming letters an inmate may receive will not be limited unless the number received places an unreasonable burden on Mail Room staff. Incoming inmate mail must have an inmate’s full name and full register number. Nicknames and/or religious names will not be recognized by the Mail Room staff. This will aid prompt delivery and accuracy. All
inmate packages received at the institution must have prior authorization. Note: Some packages are authorized under BOP policies (i.e., magazines, special mail, paperback books, educational or legal materials). These packages do not require pre-approval. However, these packages must be marked with words such as “Authorized by BOP Policy.” This will alert Mail Room staff that the enclosed materials contain items not requiring prior approval. This will help avoid the erroneous return of packages. If upon inspection, a package marked with the special mail markings or marked as material otherwise approved under BOP policy, contains property or other than approved material, the entire contents will be returned at government expense.
The BOP permits inmates to subscribe to and or to receive publications without prior approval. The term “publication” means a book, booklet, pamphlet, or similar document, newsletter, newspaper, or other materials addressed to a specific inmate. You may receive hardcover publications only from a publisher, book club, or bookstore. See section on Correctional Systems Management, Incoming Publications. Accumulation of publications will be limited to five magazines and to the amount that can be neatly stored in the locker provided in each room, due to sanitation and fire safety reasons. The unit manager may allow more space for legal publications upon request.
The Warden may reject a publication only 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 may be rejected by the Warden include, but are limited to, publications which meet any one of the following criteria:
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 BOP 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;
7. It is sexually explicit material that by its nature or content poses a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution, or facilitates criminal activity. “Special Mail” is a category of correspondence which may be sent out of the institution unopened and unread by staff, which includes correspondence sent to the following: President and Vice-President of the United States; United States Department of Justice (including BOP); U.S. Attorneys Offices; Surgeon General; U.S. Public Health Service; Secretary of the Army, Navy, or Air Force;
S.S. courts (including U.S. probation officers); members of the U.S. Congress; embassies and consulates; governors; state attorney generals; 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.
You are expected to use the special mail privilege responsibly.
Questions concerning alleged abuses of the special mail privilege should be referred to the Office of the General Counsel.
Special mail also includes correspondence 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 BOP, but including U.S. Attorneys), other Federal law enforcement officers, state attorney generals, prosecuting attorneys, governors, U.S. courts (including U.S. probation officers), and state courts.
For incoming correspondence to be processed under the Special mail procedures (see 28 C.F.R. 540.18-540.19), the sender must be adequately identified on the envelope and the front of the envelope must be marked, “Special mail – Open Only in the Presence of the Inmate.”
A designated staff member will open incoming special mail in the presence of the inmate. This is usually done by the Mail Room staff. This type of correspondence will be checked for physical contraband and for qualification of any enclosure as special mail.
Inmate Correspondence with Representatives of the News Media
The correspondence will not be read or copied these procedures are followed. Without adequate identification as special mail, staff may treat the mail as general correspondence and the mail may be opened, inspected, and read. An inmate may write through special mail procedures to qualifying 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 BOP custody.
Representatives of the news media may initiate correspondence.