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 for USP inmates is to be placed in mailboxes located in an inmate’s assigned housing unit. Outgoing mail at the USP, with the exception of legal mail, must be left unsealed when deposited in the unit mailbox. The mail will be inspected by staff. Outgoing mail for inmates at the SCP may be sealed, in accordance with the Bureau’s open correspondence privileges. The outgoing envelope must have the inmate’s name, register number, and the return address in the upper left hand corner.
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 a 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. There is no mail service on weekends and holidays. Inmates cannot correspond with another inmate without prior written approval of both the receiving and sending Warden.
Inmates are responsible for ensuring they fill out their complete return address on their outgoing personal envelopes to reflect the information as follows:
United States Penitentiary Hazelton
P.O. Box 2000
Bruceton Mills, WV 26525
In the event an inmate has failed to do so, Mail Room staff returns the correspondence to the Unit Manager for further return to the inmate for a proper/complete address.
First class mail is distributed Monday through Friday (except holidays), ordinarily, by the evening watch officer in each living unit. Newspapers and magazines may also be delivered at this time. Legal and special mail distribution will be discussed by the Inmate System Manager in the A&O Lecture. The number of incoming letters an inmate may receive will not be limited unless the number received places an unreasonable burden on the institution. Inmates are asked to advise those writing to them to put the inmate’s register number, unit, and USP/SCP Hazelton on the envelope to aid the prompt delivery of mail. All inmate packages received at the institution must have prior authorization. Ordinarily, authorizations for inmates to receive incoming packages will be limited to release clothing only.
The Bureau permits inmates to subscribe to and receive publications without prior approval. The term “publication” means book, single issue of a magazine or newspaper, or materials addressed to a specific inmate, such as advertising brochures, flyers, and catalogs. An inmate may receive soft-cover publications (paperback books, etc.) or magazines, hardcover publications and newspapers only from a publisher book club. Accumulation of publications will be limited to five (5) magazines (not to be more than three (3) months old) and to the amount that can be neatly stored in the locker provided in each room, due to sanitation and fire safety concerns. 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 may be rejected by the Warden include, but are not limited to, publications which meet 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 Bureau of Prisons’ institutions; it depicts or describes procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages or the manufacturing 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.
Is a category of correspondence which may be sent out of the institution unopened and unread by staff, which includes correspondence to: the 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 Services, 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 Attorney General, Prosecuting Attorneys, Directors of State Departments of Corrections, State Parole Commissioners, State Legislators, State Courts, State Probations Officers, other Federal and State law enforcement officers, attorneys, and representatives of the news media. 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’s General, Prosecuting Attorneys, Governors, U.S. Courts, and State Courts. Staff are available each morning during the breakfast meal to collect Special Mail. Inmates must bring their ID card to the Mail Room for verification to mail the Special Mail.
A designated staff member will open incoming Special Mail in the presence of the inmate. This mail will be checked for physical contraband and for qualifications as Special Mail. The correspondence will not be read or copied if the sender has accurately identified himself or herself on the envelope and it clearly indicates that the correspondence is “Special Mail opened only in the presence of the inmate.” Without adequate identification as Special Mail, staff will treat the mail as general correspondence. In this case, the mail will be opened, read, and inspected.
Correspondence between Confined Inmates
An inmate may be permitted to correspond with an inmate confined in another correctional institution. This is permitted if the other inmate is either a member of the immediate family, or a party in an active legal action (or witnesses) in which both parties are involved. The following additional limitations apply: Such correspondence may always be inspected and read by staff at the sending and receiving institutions (it may not be sealed by the inmate); Unit Managers at both institutions must approve the correspondence for Bureau confined inmates. If the other inmate resides in a state facility, both respective Wardens must approve the correspondence.
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, of discipline of the institution; to the protection of the public; or if it might facilitate criminal activity. Examples include: Matter which is non-mailable under law or postal regulations; information of escape plots, of plans to commit illegal activities, or to violate institution rules; direction of an inmate’s business (Prohibited Act 408). An inmate may not direct a business while confined. This does not prohibit correspondence necessary to enable an inmate to protect property or funds that were legitimately his at the time of his commitment. 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.
Notification of Rejection
The Warden will give written notice to the sender concerning the rejection of mail and 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.
Mailing of Inmate Property
Inmates wishing to have personal items mailed into the institution will send an inmate request to the Department Head responsible for the requested items as follows:
Unit Manager – release clothing, 30 days prior to the inmate’s release. The clothing will be secured in the property room until the time of the inmate’s release.
Hospital Administrative Officer – arch supports, prescription eyeglasses, prosthetic devices and hearing aids.
Chaplain – Married inmates may be permitted to wear a plain band metal band containing no stones and having a value of $100 or less.
Once approved, the Department Head will complete an appropriate authorization form and forward the form to the Inmate Systems Manager for final approval. The Mail Room Officer will not accept any item or package for delivery unless this approval form is on file.
Change of Address/Forwarding of Mail
Inmates may obtain change of address cards from the institution mail room. These cards should be completed by inmates who are being released or transferred, to notify correspondents of a change in an address. Any general mail received after 30 days will be returned to the sender. Special Mail will continue to be forwarded after 30 days.
Inmates desiring to use certified, registered, or insured mail may do so, by receiving necessary postal slips from mail room staff. An inmate may not be provided services such as express mail, private carrier services, COD, or stamp collecting while confined. Scales and certified materials will be available in the law library.
Telephones at USP Hazelton are located in each housing unit and are available for inmate use. It is expected each inmate will handle his calls in such a manner that will allow the equal use of the phones by all inmates. At USP Hazelton, inmates will be allowed to talk on the telephone for up to 300 minutes per validation cycle. Calls will be limited to 15 minutes. After the call is completed, there will be a 30 minute waiting period until the next call can be made. Telephones will not be used to conduct a business or during your normal working hours (time you are normally scheduled to work). Telephone procedures are posted in each side of the units. Telephones are to be used for lawful purposes only. Threats, extortion, etc. may result in prosecution. All inmate telephones are subject to monitoring and recording. Unmonitored legal calls may be requested through your unit team.
USP/SCP Hazelton has the Inmate Telephone System (ITS) and collect call capabilities. This system uses a Personal Access Code (PAC). It allows you to call up to thirty approved numbers. In order to use the system, you will have to transfer funds from your commissary account to your individual telephone account. No third party or credit card calls can be made on these lines. Any inmate performing three-way calls will be subject to disciplinary action. A three-way call is defined as, but not limited to, any call which includes more than two callers communicating over the phone, speaker phone, cellular phone, or passing messages from or through the inmate to a third person or forwarding a call to another phone or conference calling. This includes passing messages and having calls transferred from one person to another. Collect calls can also be made to approved telephone numbers. Inmate Telephone Services (ITS) credits can be transferred from your commissary account after 4:30 p.m. daily. Forms for updating telephone numbers may be obtained from the Unit Counselor and will be updated one time per month.
Secret PAC’s are a nine (9) digit number. This will allow you to place a call by first entering the telephone number followed by your nine (9) digit PAC number. All calls are automatically terminated after fifteen (15) minutes. PAC numbers are not to be shared with anyone. Sharing your PAC number can result in disciplinary action. Inmates requesting a new PAC number will be charged $5.00.
Inmates are permitted to have up to 30 telephone numbers on their phone list. Inmates will receive and turn in a phone list through their unit team. Changes to your phone list may be made one time per month. Additional changes will be permitted when staff determines that the inmate has demonstrated need for prompt communication, i.e., a family emergency, etc. Financial Management has five working days after receiving the phone lists to place the numbers on the inmates telephone account.
Inmates on commissary restriction will still be permitted to place money on their ITS accounts. After an ITS credit has been established, it can only be used for placing telephone calls and will not be transferred back to the inmate’s commissary account with the exception of the following circumstances:
Inmate is released;
Inmate is on telephone restriction for more than 10 days and requests in writing that his/her ITS-II funds be returned to his/her commissary account. This is a one-time transaction for the entire balance of his/her ITS-II account.
Special Housing Unit (SHU) inmate with no telephone restrictions and whose status is Administrative Detention or Disciplinary Segregation are allowed one (1) 15-minute call every 30 days.