Saturday, December 5, 2009

Outgoing prisoner mail

When mail is sent out by an inmate of the McHenry County Jail, is it read by jail personnel?

Recently an inmate sent mail to me. I expected it because he had called first to tell me it would be on the way.

The flat 9x12 mailing envelope, which he had probably purchased from the commissary, had obviously been opened. The self-sealing flap had been separated and, when it was re-closed, it did not seal smoothly and evenly, although it did seal sufficiently to make it through the postal service mailing machine.

It didn't surprise me that the envelope had been opened, but what was impossible to discern was whether anything had been removed or whether the contents had been thoroughly read.

Prisoners sending out mail should number the pages and indicate the number of pages being sent somewhere in an enclosed cover letter or on the outside of the envelope.

There is probably a jail policy that informs the inmate that his outgoing mail will be read. I don't have any particular problem with that, and it probably keeps an inmate from planning a jail break by mail.

If an envelope is opened at the jail so that the contents can be read before mailing, there should be a rubber-stamp message across the flap of the re-sealed envelope with a message like this: "Opened for inspection in accordance with Jail policy." The date and the jailer's initials or employee number should be written by that message, as a record of who handled the out-going mail and when it was inspected.

1 comment:

Franker said...

And the baggage handlers for the airlines should state which bags they moved so they are responsible for the damage. Great in theory....let me know how it works out for you when you become Sheriff.