More on Prison Mail

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012 |

I recently discussed prison mail, but I wanted to provide some more tips on sending mail to inmates.

Stamps are currency is prison so inmates can’t receive stamps in the mail.  The sender must include the inmate’s “committed” name (i.e.; not their nickname or an abbreviation of their name) and register number on the envelope and any legal documents enclosed in the package.

Senders can’t send body hair, plant shavings, sexually-explicit photos, musical greeting cards and double-faced polaroid photos.  Newspapers must come from the distributor.  Magazines must have inmate name and registration number, like other packages but no more than five magazines at a time.

Sometimes mail is cheaper using First Class and at other times it is better using Media Mail class. Don’t assume which is better, ask the postmaster when you mail it. Mark anything over 1 lb., “Authorized by BOP Policy”.  I’ve never understand why this is necessary, but some mailroom COs are picky.  The mailroom will mail back to the sender any items that are not allowed.

I was talking to one of my friends today about legal mail. He told me that a counselor opened his legal mail and read it. The camp staff is required to call the inmate to the office when they receive legal mail.  They are supposed to open it in front of the inmate and verify that there is no contraband in the envelope. In this case, she read the confidential mail from the inmate’s attorney. The camp staff makes up rules as they go depending on who it is. She made the comment that the return envelope address should specify the specific attorney name as opposed to just the “law offices of”.

Mail Call

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.

No Communication from the SHU

Written by Christine

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011 |

We can’t communicate while Kevin is in the SHU, and he can no longer call us.  This is very frustrating since I will not be able to visit him for at least the next three weeks.  I have found that the easiest way to keep him updated is with snail mail! There is a wonderful system called Send Out Cards.  Someone can send real cards from an online portal for very little money.

I packed all of Kevin’s clothes…couldn’t be brutal. Every time I thought about giving something away, I would see Kevin wearing it. Too many memories. I got space bags at Costco and vacuum sealed all his clothes in the bags. They have a chance of keeping without mildewing due to lack of oxygen!

As I get closer on finalizing the house sale, I am looking for a place to live.  This is so hard without Kevin, especially since I can’t talk to him about the possibilities.  The reality is that I am on my own.  The families truly have it bad.