Mail

Definitions

  1. Mail: Any written, typed, or printed communication of information, including envelopes, letters, cards, photographs, periodicals and publications.

  2. General Correspondence: General Correspondence is mail from the general public, organizations and agencies not included in the definitions of Legal Correspondence and Special Correspondence.

  3. Legal and Special Correspondence Definitions: Legal Correspondence is mail that is addressed to or from an attorney, a judge who serves in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania or any of the 50 states and any judge who serves on the Federal Bench or any administrative agency including all Appellate Court judges, the Attorney General of the United States and the Attorney General of Pennsylvania, the District Attorney of any county in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, any Court from any jurisdiction in the United States.

Special Correspondence is mail from embassies; consulates; the President and Vice President of the United States; members of Congress; Department of Justice; The Department of Homeland Security and departments falling under that title; U.S. Public Health Service including the Immigration Health Service Corps; health care practitioners and offices; administrators of grievance systems; and representatives of the news media.

         a.  Correspondence shall only be treated as Legal and Special if the title and office of the sender (for incoming correspondence) or addressee (for outgoing correspondence) are unambiguously identified as a court or consular office or official on the envelope, and the envelope is labeled as “Legal Mail or Special Correspondence”.

  4. Indigent Individuals: An indigent individual is defined as a person with an account balance of less than $15.00 for a period of three consecutive weeks or longer or has their account frozen.

  5. Homemade Artwork: Homemade artwork includes original drawings, pictures or writings that are heavily covered with crayon, ink, marker, paint or pencil.

  6. Nudity: Exposure of any male or female genitals and/or pubic area and/or female breast (nipple, areola) area including “see through” material with a purpose to excite and /or sexually stimulate the reader is considered nudity for purposes of this definition. (Exception-Periodicals and publications containing nudity may be permitted if the material has educational or medical value).

  7. Sexually Explicit Conduct: Sexually explicit conduct is a written or pictorial depiction of actual or simulated sexual acts, in including, but not limited to, intercourse, sodomy (oral or anal) or masturbation.

  8. Obscene: Offensive to accepted standards of decency. Inciting lust; lewd.

  9. Courier Mail: Mail which can be sent within York County without using a stamp.

  10. Photographs: A photograph is defined as an image printed on photo paper either by a company or an individual. Images printed on copy paper by an individual shall not be defined as a photograph.

  11. TDY and FTY: Inmates currently active in the database but currently being held at another location.

General Mail Information

    1. An inmate is permitted to correspond with the public, his/her attorney, and public officials. (Exception, see #8, a,b).

    2. There is no limit to the number of correspondents to whom an inmate may send or from whom an inmate may receive mail.

    3. Every effort shall be made to deliver incoming mail to the inmate within twenty-four (24) hours (excluding weekends and holidays), unless the mail contains content requiring review.

    4. The prison doesn’t hold mail for inmates that are not currently housed at the prison (this includes TDY and FTY inmates. All such mail is automatically returned to the sender and is not forward to the inmate.

    5. All inmates who are defined as Indigent will be permitted to mail out, free of charge, the following per week:

      a.  Three (3) standard first class, pieces of general correspondence and;

      b.  Five (5) pieces of legal/special correspondence. Inmates who have mailed their five (5) pieces of legal/special mail for the week may request additional free legal mailings. Inmates shall submit a request slip to the mailroom explaining/justifying why they need additional free legal mailings. The mailroom shall grant the additional free mailings if the inmate has justified a need.

Indigent inmates must place the initials NF (no funds) in the upper right hand corner of the envelope where a stamp would be placed. Certified mail may not be sent out as NF (no funds).

  6. In the event incoming mail contains any contraband, the entire mailing shall be denied. Denied mail will not be separated unless authorized by prison administration and shall be reviewed in accordance with section IX of this policy.

  7. Suspension of Mail Privilege: An inmate’s mail privilege may only be suspended as a result of the following actions:

     a.  Abuse: When an inmate is found to have abused mail privileges as outlined in the mail policy and/or by committing an infraction as described in the “Disciplinary Charges” section of the inmate handbook;

     b.  Termination Request: When an individual requests termination of correspondence with the inmate;

     c.  Security: On a case-by-case basis, the Warden or designee determines that it is detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the facility, protection of the general public, or if it might facilitate criminal activity;

     d.  Court order: As directed by the court

  8. Inmate(s) may not:

     a.  Correspond with any other York County inmate, co-defendant, witness or victim(s) of the inmate’s criminal acts or the victim’s immediate family without prior written approval of the Warden/designee;

           i.  If an inmate wishes to correspond with another inmate in the prison, the inmate must submit a request slip to their counselor. The request slip must include the name of the other inmate, the relationship between them, and the reason for the correspondence. The request will be forwarded to management for review and approval/denial. Normally, correspondence is only approved when the inmates have legitimate legal concerns to discuss and/or are legally married. However, communication between inmates may be granted when a legitimate need is shown.

     b.  Correspond with a current/former employee, volunteer, or contract employee without prior written approval of the Warden/designee;

     c.  Send or receive mail containing threatening or obscene material, criminal solicitations, plans for furthering a criminal activity, or mail containing personal information about an employee and/or his or her family, unless it is approved by the Prison Administration.

     d.  Write to an individual who has informed the Prison that he/she does not wish to receive correspondence from the inmate;

     e.  Receive packages through the mail (excluding approved publications and periodicals);

     f.  Use the facility address to fraudulently identify himself/herself as an employee, agent or representative of the facility.

Incoming Correspondence

  1. Incoming Correspondence May Contain:

         a.  Post cards, letters, documents, commercially manufactured greeting cards and money orders, etc.

                  i.  Mail must contain only correspondence for the addressed inmate. Correspondence for a third party is prohibited.

         b.  Internet pages, news clippings/articles, etc.

                  i.  The content of these items shall be reviewed by mailroom staff to ensure that the content is acceptable in accordance with this policy.

         c.  Identity documents such as passports, driver’s license, birth certificates, social security card, etc.) are considered contraband in an inmate’s possession. These items shall be sent to the following locations:

                  i.  Items pertaining to ICE detainees will be sent to Immigration and/or the ICE property room or safes;

                 ii.  Items pertaining to county and state inmates will be sent to the YCP records department property room.

An Immigration detainee can request a copy of each document, by submitting a request slip to an ICE/DRO officer.

         d.  Money orders must list the inmate’s name as it appears on his/her inmate armband and must be issued in U.S. dollars.

                 i.  It may take up to one (1) business day for the money order to be processed into the inmate’s account.

          e.  Photographs -Ten (10) photos only, no larger than 5”x7” (no Polaroids).

Outgoing Correspondence

  1. Outgoing mail may be opened and inspected if obscene material, commissary items or contraband are attached to or scribed on the mail or suspected to be contained therein.

          a.  Such mail will be opened, the contraband shall be confiscated.

          b.  Confiscated contraband that is altered will be destroyed and the mail may be returned to sender.

          c.  Confiscated contraband that is not altered will be reviewed by the assigned Supervisor who will make a determination on the disposition

  2. Outgoing mail must list the inmate’s name as it appears on his/her inmate armband and it must be printed in a legible, undisguised manner along with the inmate’s ID

  3. The inmate shall seal and place all outgoing correspondence in the wicket of his/her door or in the collection box in his/her housing unit by the specified time.

  4. All outgoing mail shall be recorded in the housing unit mail logbook by the assigned officer who shall:

        a.  Cross check the inmate names with the housing unit roster for proper housing location.

        b.  Document the inmate’s name, date the mail is being sent, prison identification number and the address and name to which the piece of mail is being sent.

  5. The Warden/designee may authorize a review outgoing non-legal/special mail when there is reason to believe that the mail mentions or discusses illegal or unauthorized activity/materials.

  6. Inmates who have funds on their finance account must purchase stamps from commissary for outgoing mail. Any attempt to send mail without postage will be returned to sender. Inmates may request funds be deducted from their finance account for the following reasons:

        a.  The inmate is on a restrictive status and cannot purchase commissary or depletes their supply of stamps;

        b.  The postage amount is unknown for such as foreign mailing, large envelopes;

        c.  The inmate wishes to send certified mail. This must be stated on the request slip. Certified paperwork may be obtained from the housing unit’s counselor.

                 i.  Indigent inmates cannot send mail certified unless approved by the Warden/designee.

Mail must be accompanied by a request slip authorizing the mailroom to deduct postage and must be verified by a staff member.

  7. Courier mail may be sent to the following locations without using a stamp: Public Defenders Office; Clerk of Courts; Sheriff’s Office; Probation/Parole, Domestic Relations; Children and Youth Services; District Attorney and York Adams MHIDD/Drug & Alcohol.

         a.  To use this service, inmates must place the initials CM (Courier Mail) in the upper right hand corner of the envelope in place of the stamp.

                i.  Mail addressed to a Judge will not be delivered via courier mail.

Incoming and Outgoing Legal/Special Correspondence

  1. Mail meeting the definition for legal/special correspondence will be opened for the first time in the presence of the inmate and inspected for contraband, but not read.

       a.  Inmates shall sign a receipt for legal/special correspondence to verify that the mail was opened in their presence. The receipt shall be returned to the mailroom for archiving.

       b.  If upon opening the legal/special correspondence the staff member notices that the contents contain no legal material, the staff member shall not issue the contents to inmate. The staff member must complete a Daily report and forward it along with the mail to the shift supervisor.

  2. Mail not meeting the definitions for legal/special correspondence may be opened and inspected for contraband.

  3. Outgoing legal/special correspondence will be treated as such only if the name, title, and office of the recipient meet the legal/special definition and are clearly identified on the envelope.

Incoming Periodicals and Publications

  1. All incoming books, magazines, and newspapers must be mailed from the original source.

       a.  New periodicals/publications that are sent directly from a publisher, bookstore, book club or distributor and are accompanied by a packing slip with the source’s name shall usually be deemed to have come from the original source.

       b.  Newspapers must be delivered by the United States Postal Service.

  2. All periodical and publication subscriptions must be paid in advance.

Rejected Incoming Mail (Envelopes, Periodicals, Publications and Photographs)

Mail that is unopened and rejected for reasons listed below shall be returned to the United States Postal Service (USPS) or turned over to Law Enforcement if the content violates law. The inmate shall receive notice why the mail was rejected and returned to the USPS unopened, unless the notification will compromise the security of the prison or an ongoing investigation.

  1. Mail falling into the categories below shall be rejected and returned to the USPS:

        a.  Postage due;

        b.  Mail that does not pass the metal detector;

        c.  Mail that does not have the inmates approved name printed in a legible or undisguised manner.

        d.  Mail with no return address or mail with an unverifiable return address.

Denied Incoming Mail (Envelopes, Periodicals, Publications and Photographs)

Inmates are prohibited from receiving mail that may pose a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution that facilitates or encourages criminal activity.

  1. Mail falling into the categories below shall be denied and the inmate will receive a denial form:

        a.  Mail that contains or has contraband affixed to it with glue or other types of adhesives (including tape and stickers);

        b.  Mail depicting or describing procedures for the construction or use of weapons, ammunition, bombs or incendiary devices;

        c.  Mail that depicts encourages or describes methods of escape from correctional facilities or contains blue prints, drawings or similar descriptions of any jail or prison;

        d.  Mail that depicts, displays or is drawn to promote or represent gang graffiti, illicit activities or recruit members or advocating racial supremacy or ethnic purity or attacking a racial or ethnic group;

        e.  Mail containing books larger than 11”x13” and/or weighing more than 4 lbs. unless approved by the Warden/designee.

        f.  Mail providing instructions or methods of tattooing to include tattoo templates, etc. ;

        g.  Mail providing detailed instruction in the martial arts such as judo, karate, aikido, kung fu, and similar techniques;

        h.  Mail that is written in code, or in foreign language that cannot be interpreted by institutional staff to the extent necessary to conduct an effective search.

        i.  Mail that depicts, describes or encourages activities, which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption;

        j.  Mail that encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity;

        k.  Mail that advocates violence of any kind or literature that promotes hatred towards any group;

        l.  Mail that has instruction regarding ingredients or manufacture of poisons, drugs or intoxicating beverages;

      m.  Mail containing more than ten (10) photographs or larger than 5”x7” (inmates are only allowed to have ten (10) photos in their possession);

       n.  Mail that contains laminated or plastic covered/sealed items (Exceptions, see Incoming Correspondence, # 1 c);

       o.  Mail that smells of cologne, perfume and/or other odors;

       p.  Mail containing any contraband as defined in the contraband policy;

       q.  Mail containing postage stamps, cash, personal checks, blank envelopes, stationary paper, card stock and or correspondence from a third party;

       r.  Mail containing homemade artwork;

       s.  Mail containing discolorations or unknown substances on envelopes, photographs, periodicals, publications or other materials contained within;

       t.  Mail containing greeting cards that are padded, glitter covered, battery-operated, and/or larger than 8 ½” x 11”;

       u.  Mail containing used periodicals/publications or from Internet sources that allow individuals to sell, package, and send materials directly to an inmate;

       v.  Mail containing more than five (5) books (inmates are only allowed to have five (5) books in their possession;

      w.  Mail containing catalogs, “bill-me-later” or free gift transactions;

       x.  Mail containing nudity or sexually explicit conduct. This includes publications or photographs.

Denied Mail Review Process

  1. All original mail denial forms shall be returned to the Mailroom. A copy of the denial form shall be maintained with the mail and/or grievance when an inmate chooses to appeal the mail denial.

  2. Inmates shall be given the following options when the mail is denied due to contraband or deemed inappropriate:

      a.  Destroy the mail;

      b.  Return the mail to the sender (at the inmates expense);

      c.  Challenge the denial through the Inmate Complaint Review System.

               i.  In the event the inmate challenges the confiscation, the mail shall be maintained in a safe, secure location until resolution of the complaint or until exhaustion of appeals.

      d.  The mail will be destroyed if the inmate fails to respond or complete the mail denial form within ten (10) business days.

  3. Denied mail shall be logged by the mailroom documenting the date denied, date the denial form was returned and resolution.

  4. Mailroom staff will have the mail destroyed when applicable.

Denied Mail Pick-up Request: If your mail gets denied and you were authorized to have someone pick the material up, then you must submit a request slip to the mailroom informing them of the following:

  1. Who the individual is that will be picking up the material;

  2. Date and approximate time the individual will be picking up the material.

The mailroom will forward the material to the business office with the request slip, so the individual will sign for the material when it is picked up. The prison’s business office hours are 7:00am-4:30pm. If the material is not picked up on the date specified it will go back to the mail room for ten (10) days. After the ten (10) days the mail will be destroyed.