Corrections - Administration - Inmate Mail Procedures

Published: 2012-04-09

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R251. Corrections, Administration.

R251-705. Inmate Mail Procedures.

R251-705-1. Authority and Purpose.

(1) This rule is authorized by Sections 63G-3-201, 64-13-10 and 64-13-17(4), of the Utah Code, which allows the Department to adopt standards and rules in accordance with its responsibilities.

(2) The purpose of this section is to establish the UDC's policies and procedures for processing mail received in the DPO Mail Unit.

R251-705-2. Definitions.

(1) "Catalog" means a systematized list whose sole purpose is to feature descriptions of items for sale.

(2) "Department" means the Department of Corrections.

(3) "DPO" means Division of Prison Operations.

(4) "Inspect" means open and examine a letter, correspondence or other material with the primary objective to detect false labeling, contraband, currency, or negotiable instruments.

(5) "Inter-department mail" means mail sent between departments within the state.

(6) "Inter-department mail" mean mail sent from office to office within a department.

(7) "Mail" means written material sent or received by inmates through the United States Postal Service.

(8) "Money instruments" means currency, coin, personal checks, money orders and cashier's or non-personal checks.

(9) "Nuisance contraband" means items that may include, but are not limited to, paper fasteners, hair, ribbons, pins, rubber bands, pressed leaves and/or flowers, promotional gimmicks, gum, stickers, computer disks, maps, calendars, balloons, and other such items having no intrinsic value or not approved by the department administration to be in the possession of the inmates.

(10) "Privileged mail" means correspondence with a person identified by this chapter relating to the official capacity of that person, which has been properly labeled to claim privileged status.

(11) "Publisher-only rule" means a rule limiting books, audio media, magazines, newspapers, etc. to those sent directly from the publisher, a book or tape club or a licensed book store. All media shall be new and audio shall be factory sealed and the return address should be commercially printed or stamped.

(12) "Reasonable cause" means information that could prompt a reasonable person to believe or suspect that there is or might be a threat to the safety, security or management of the UDC facility or that could be harmful to persons.

(13) "UDC" means Utah Department of Corrections.

(14) "USP" means either Utah State Prison or Central Utah Correctional Facility.

R251-705-3. Standards and Procedures.

It is the policy of the Department that:

(1) inmate mail shall comply with the Constitution and Laws of the United States, the Constitution and Laws of the State of Utah, and the authorized written policies and procedures of the UDC.

(2) inmates shall be permitted to send and receive mail while in custody of the UDC in the manner defined by this rule.

(3) nothing in this rule should be interpreted as creating a greater entitlement for inmates or those with whom they correspond than that currently required by law.

(4) inmate mail regulations shall:

(a) further the legitimate interests of the UDC; while

(b) balancing the UDC's interests with those of the general public and inmates.

(5) mail received for inmates at the USP shall be delivered to the USP Mail Unit for processing and:

(a) shall be opened and inspected;

(b) may be read at the discretion of the Department;

(c) may be photocopied when such copying is reasonably related to the furtherance of a legitimate Department interest;

(d) may be refused, denied or confiscated where reasonable cause exists to believe the contents may adversely impact the safety, security, order or treatment goals of the Department;

(e) may be used as evidence in criminal, civil or administrative trials or hearings;

(f) is entitled to no expectation of privacy;

(g) all forms of nuisance contraband shall be confiscated and disposed of without notice or opportunity for appeal; and

(h) shall be delivered to inmates without unreasonable delay;

(6) catalog purchases other than through the DPO Commissary catalog are not authorized and catalogs shall not be accepted through the mail, except when sent 1st or 2nd class or from a legal, school, religious or government printing office.

(7) staff-to-inmate mail shall not be sent in "Inter/Intra-department Delivery" envelopes, but in regular mailing envelopes;

(8) outgoing inmate mail and inmate inter/intra-department mail shall be deposited in the housing units' outgoing mail depository, picked up by USP Mail Unit staff, and delivered to the USP Mail Unit for processing;

(9) an inmate shall not direct nor establish a new business through the mail unless authorized by the Warden of the facility;

(10) an inmate who corresponds concerning a legitimately held business, shall correspond through his attorney or a party holding a power of attorney;

(11) an inmate is not authorized to establish credit transactions through the mail while confined unless authorized by the Warden of the facility;

(12) fund raising by inmates for personal gain is prohibited;

(13) envelopes received by the USP Mail Unit displaying threatening, negative gestures or comments, extraneous materials, or grossly offensive sexual comments, shall be confiscated, declared contraband, placed into evidence, and the inmate shall receive disciplinary action;

(14) the publisher-only rule shall govern the receipt of all incoming books, audio media, magazines, and newspapers;

(15) certain types of mail are entitled to constitutionally protected confidentiality (or privilege); accordingly, this privilege prohibits qualifying correspondence material from being read without cause by staff;

(16) incoming privileged mail:

(a) shall be inspected, but only in the presence of the inmate addressee;

(b) shall not be perused;

(c) shall not be photocopied; and

(d) may be denied only for reasonable cause and upon instruction of the DPO Director/designee;

(17) outgoing privileged mail:

(a) shall be inspected only when there is reasonable cause to believe that the correspondence:

(i) contains material which would significantly endanger the security or safety of the Institution; or

(ii) is misrepresented as legal material;

(b) shall only be inspected in the presence of the inmate sender;

(c) shall not be perused;

(d) shall not be photocopied;

(e) may only be denied for a reasonable cause, and upon instruction of the DPO Director/designee; and

(f) from an inmate that cannot be identified, shall be forwarded to the deputy warden who supervises the mail unit, or his or her designee, who will make a determination of the disposition.

(18) all inmate inter/intra-departmental mail shall be processed through the USP Mail Unit;

(19) inmate-to-inmate correspondence shall not be permitted, unless:

(a) there is a compelling justification for an exception;

(b) there is no alternate means of accomplishing that compelling need; and

(c) the inmates present a minimal risk, according to UDC standards, to security, order and/or safety;

(20) inmates have no entitlement to inmate-to-inmate correspondence created by the constitutions of the United States or the State of Utah;

(21) personal mail written in a language other than English may be delayed for purposes of translation;

(22) the USP Mail Unit shall not accept postage-due mail unless payment is waived by the deliverer;

(23) the USP Mail Unit shall not accept letters, cards, money instruments, or property items for which there is reasonable cause to believe the items are contaminated, defaced or handled in such a way as to be offensive.

(24) items received that cannot be searched without destruction or alteration (e.g., electronic greeting cards, multilayered cards, polaroid photographs, etc.) shall be denied and returned to the sender;

(25) inmates are prohibited from receiving currency or personal checks; and

(26) to be identified as incoming privileged mail, the correspondence shall be from an attorney or other sender qualified for privileged correspondence, be properly labeled as claiming privileged status, and have a return address clearly indicating a judicial agency, law firm, individual attorney, or other approved agency or person.

KEY: corrections, prisons

Date of Enactment or Last Substantive Amendment: April 9, 2012

Notice of Continuation: April 5, 2017

Authorizing, and Implemented or Interpreted Law: 64-13-10; 64-13-17(3)