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New mail procedures?

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ImmortanJane
ImmortanJane's picture
New mail procedures?

Hey everyone,

My Virginia penpal wrote to me on Wednesday to tell me there are going to be new mail procedures and restrictions put in place from next month. He's not sure if it's just his facility or state-wide but I thought I'd drop an update here for others to be aware of.

He says all incoming mail, letters, photos, cards etc will be photocopied and shredded, and the inmate provided with just the copy. There will also be a limit on the size of incoming items to 5 pages/items. A photo on it's own would count as 1 'item'. There isn't really a limit on outgoing correspondence, just incoming.

I guess it's going to be a bit of a pain because my last letter to him was much longer than 5 pages! I don't know if the '5' means 5 pieces of paper or 5 sides, so I made sure my letter back was only 5 sides and have asked him for more specifics.

Anyone else heard of this from Virginia pals?

Edited by: ImmortanJane on Apr 20 2017 - 1:51pm Reason: Imported from old database.
Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I was on the fence on writing someone new. That really is a bummer if you wanted to send someone something in color. Does anyone think it would be beneficial to include the return address in the letter since it doesn't come out and say that envelopes will be included with the correspondence?

I think you're still going to have to include the address regardless.

As to these changes: I don't think I have come across anything - or much if I take recent events across the entire country - which equals such labour intensive stupidity. I assume that these changes are meant to prevent people from soaking paper in drugs which prisoners can then sell or chew on themselves, because the only other 'security' reason I can come up with, aside from secret writing which can only be read by smearing the letter in lemon juice, is that inmates could attack guards and hurt them with paper cuts. It has a feeling of vindictiveness to me, nothing to do with security whatsoever: giving an inmate a photocopy of a colour photograph of his wife and children? Or a photocopy of that piece of art his two year old just completed?

And who is going to pay for all the copying? The costs are not going to be small, even if they do limit the number of pages or items allowed for each inmate.

Anonymous
Anonymous's picture

I heard that they still accept Jpay and that you can send pictures and letters from there. There are no restrictions in Jpay (as far as lettersize and stuff goes).

Which would make some sense, if they're really trying to stop contraband, since the sender has no direct access to the material being sent...

Moonlampje
Moonlampje's picture

I heard that they still accept Jpay and that you can send pictures and letters from there. There are no restrictions in Jpay (as far as lettersize and stuff goes).

Deckard
Deckard's picture

I was on the fence on writing someone new. That really is a bummer if you wanted to send someone something in color. Does anyone think it would be beneficial to include the return address in the letter since it doesn't come out and say that envelopes will be included with the correspondence?

ImmortanJane
ImmortanJane's picture

My pal said it was to combat contraband, apparently there are some synthetics that can be soaked into paper and smoked.

It's a real shame, previously I've coloured him some pictures in nice pencils and fineliner pens, but I have no idea what the quality of the copies are going to be so there's not much point sending those anymore.

Andi
Andi's picture

Yes, this is true but it's only 3 pages front and back. It doesn't say anything about photos but if it were me I'd send them separate and only three at a time, making sure you put the inmate name and doc# on the back. Practice with a few pictures you wont care to lose.

Inmate Mail
The Department of Corrections encourages inmate correspondence that is directed to socially useful goals. Inmates shall be allowed to correspond with families, friends, attorneys, courts and other public officials and organizations so long as such correspondence is in compliance with the Department of Corrections procedures and does not pose a threat to the security of the facility, violate any state or federal law, or violate any U.S. Postal Service regulation.

In accordance with United States Postal Regulations, all incoming inmate general correspondence may be opened, searched and may be read by authorized staff.

On April 17, 2017, the Virginia Department of Corrections will implement additional mailroom security measures aimed at detecting and eliminating contraband in DOC facilities. In institutions classified as Security Level 2 and above, all incoming general offender correspondence items will be photocopied, and only the photocopies will be delivered to the offender.

The original envelope and all enclosed contents will be shredded in the institutional mailroom once they are photocopied. In addition, for each mailing, a maximum of three 8 1/2 X 11 inch photocopy pages, front and back, will be delivered to the offender.

Inmates may not receive cash, personal checks, postage stamps or prepaid postage envelopes/postcards through incoming mail. The Department will assume no responsibility for these items mailed to inmates. Approved checks (certified/cashier?s checks; Government checks; refund checks from businesses) and money orders shall be removed from incoming mail and credited to the inmate?s account.

Incoming Priority or Express general correspondence is discouraged, however if urgency of a circumstance requires this, the inmate must receive prior written approval from the Warden/Superintendent or designee.

Unauthorized incoming correspondence shall be returned to the post office unopened. If opened, the unauthorized correspondence will be returned directly to the sender if known, with a written explanation for disapproval.

Incoming inmate general mail should be addressed as follows:
Inmate's full name
Inmate's state identification number (7 digits)
Name of Facility or Institution
Address and Zip Code

https://vadoc.virginia.gov/offenders/prison-life/mail.shtm

Andi
Andi's picture

If it wasn't done to combat contraband I doubt they would make such a huge change. It could be that it due to something we have no idea about. If my loved one was in there I'd appreciate them trying to keep everyone safe. I don't think the prison is doing this just because they have hatred for the inmates.

@nderson
@nderson's picture

The colour photograph of his wife and children, and the piece of art of this two year old can't be delivered by hands, when visiting, instead of mail?