In most cases, inmates are permitted to correspond with the public, family members, and others without prior approval. Outgoing mail is placed in mailboxes located in the housing units. At the Medium, outgoing mail for inmates may be inspected and must remain unsealed. The outgoing envelope must have the inmate’s name, register number, and 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 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 is distributed Monday through Friday (except holidays) and ordinarily by the evening watch officer in each living unit. There is no mail service at this institution on weekends and holidays. Newspapers and magazines may also be delivered at this time. Legal and special mail will be delivered by the Unit Team 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 the institution.
The 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.
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 may receive hardcover publications only from a publisher, a book club, or book stores. Accumulation of publications will be limited to five magazines (not to be more than three months old) and to the amount that can be neatly stored in the locker and/or shelf 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 will reject a publication if it is determined to be detrimental to the security, good order, 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 manufacture of drugs.
It is written in code.
It describes, descries, 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 the President and Vice-President of the United States, United States Department of Justice (including Bureau of Prisons), United States Attorney’s Offices, Surgeon General, United States Public Health Service, Secretary of the Army, Navy, or Air Force, United States Courts, United States Probation Officers, Members of the United States Congress, Embassies, and Consulates, Governors, States 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.
Special Mail also includes mail received from the following: President and Vice-President of the United States, Attorneys, Members of United States Congress, Embassies and Consulates the United States Department of Justice (excluding the Bureau of Prisons), other Federal law enforcement officers, United States Attorney’s General, Prosecuting Attorneys, Governors, United States 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 him/herself 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
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
An inmate may be permitted to correspond with an inmate confined in another penal or correctional institution. This is permitted if the other inmate is either a member of the immediate family or a party in a legal action (or a witness) 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).
The Superintendent/Warden at both institutions 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, or 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, or 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, however, prohibit correspondence necessary to enable an 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.
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 item as follows:
Correctional Counselor – release clothing.
Hospital Administrative Officer – orthopedic shoes, arch supports, prescription eyeglasses, prosthetic devices, and hearing aids.
Chaplain – wedding bands – married inmates may be permitted to have their wedding bands as long as it is a plain band containing no stones. Religious medallions may be permitted providing they do not contain a stone.
Associate Warden – questionable items not covered in the other categories will be submitted to the appropriate Associate Warden for a decision.
The department head will inform the inmate of the decision. If the request is approved, the department head will complete the appropriate authorization form. The Mail Room Officer will not approve any item or package delivery unless this approval form is on file.
CHANGE OF ADDRESS/FORWARDING OF MAIL
The Records Office will provide inmates with change of address cards required by the United States Post Office. These cards are given to inmates who are being released or transferred, to notify correspondents of a change in address. A Bureau change of address form will also be completed by the inmate upon his departure, and forwarded to the institution Mail Room. This form will be maintained there for a period of 30 days for the purpose of forwarding all general mail (except Special Mail, which will still be forwarded after 30 days). Any general mail received after 30 days will be returned to the sender.
Inmates desiring to use certified, registered, or insured mail may do so, subject to handling methods established at each institution. An inmate may not be provided services such as express mail, private carrier services, COD, or stamp collecting while confined. An inmate may receive pre-approved packages from private carriers; however, it must be authorized in advance by the Associate Warden Programs.
In order to preserve the security and orderly running of the facility and protect the public, the Bureau of Prisons monitors conversations on all inmate telephones located within the institution. 300 minutes of telephone calls per month is the maximum an inmate may use. All phone calls will be only fifteen minutes long as the system will disconnect the call. Phones will not be used during your work hours. Additionally, it is considered an infraction of the rules to use another inmate’s telephone access code, place a call to an individual and be connected to another number or engage in 3-way telephone calls.
At an inmate’s Initial Classification, he will be able to submit up to 30 names with telephone numbers for activation in the Inmate Telephone System (ITS). These names should include family members, friends, attorneys, etc. In essence, the inmates’ 30 most important phone numbers. Verify the number before it is submitted through the unit team to the Financial Management Office. Numbers may only be changed once per month. Inmates must buy telephone credits through the telephone system itself using their PCU number. When the announcement is posted, inmates may submit a new or revised list of telephone numbers through the Correctional Counselor to the Trust Fund Supervisor who is responsible for the operation of the ITS. Any other request regarding the ITS should be directed by Cop-Out, to the Trust Fund Supervisor. Requests for unmonitored attorney calls may be made to Unit Staff via Cop-Out and approved by the Unit Manager, only if a documented and compelling legal need exists, such as an imminent court deadline.