Mail Call

By J Kevin Foster | Prison Life

Jun 05

Monday, January 23rd, 2012 |

I got a package from Christine tonight at mail call. The envelope was a mess! I have a tip for mailing to an inmate: You should probably use the Tyvek envelopes (like FedEx uses) for large packages of paper.  Mail is opened by COs in the Medium’s mail room (remember – the camp is a satellite of the Medium).  The COs inspect each envelope and package for contraband and adherence to BOP mail policies.  These guys can be very tough and unreasonable in what they let through.

There was a note in my package that the mail room returned a “vinyl envelope” to Christine that was in the package. I assume she sent a blank envelope for me to mail to her. Family and friends can’t mail in anything but paper and cards. They also return musical cards and those multi-layer cards that are possible to hide something between the layers of the paper.  Although, one of my friends got such a card last night. We were surprised it went through.

The COs normally have mail call right before or after 4 pm count. The CO crew we have for this quarter don’t normally have mail call until far after dinner (7 pm or so) which is very frustrating. Mail call other than right before or after 4 pm count is not predictable.  Many guys have classes or are exercising when the COs are passing out mail in these off-times. It is BOP policy that the mail be handed directly to the inmate that mail is addressed to.  If an inmate is not there during mail call, he must go to the front officer’s station to pick it up.

We didn’t get our mail tonight until after the 9 pm count. This was real frustrating! It gave me no time to read my mail before going to bed.  The Low did mail call the best – immediately after the 4 pm count every day. The guys take mail call very seriously so all the unpredictability of mail call is frustrating. I’m sure the COs don’t care though.

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