Self-Education/Rehabilitation, Does it Really Exist?


©2000 www.nebraskapen.org Last Updated: 11/15/00

Not in the Nebraska State Penitentiary; Point at Hand

During Comdata's 1999, "18 Wheels of Hope Drive," in conjunction with the "Great American Trucking Show" in Dallas, Texas, 1002 "Truckloads of Meals for America's Hungry Kids" rolled into town. At 30,000 pounds per truckload, that's over 30 million pounds of food.

This is the Trucking Industry

At daybreak, the police escorts, TV crews and helicopters were there to watch and film this extraordinary event. Over a thousand trucks stretched out with 100 feet between each 60 foot-long truck made up a convoy that would cover over 30 miles of interstate highway. Just think of a line of trucks over halfway from Lincoln to Omaha, all loaded with food for America's hungry children from the generous donations of American men and women. The drive, which culminated on Sept. 8, 1999, surpassed its goal of 999 truckloads of food. This is the Trucking Industry. See, "Delivering Hope," p.40-41, Dec. 1999 issue of Roadstar magazine; "Drive Collects More than 1,000 Truckloads of Food," p.13, Nov. 1999 issue of Truckers News magazine.

Trucking and Inmate Mail

What does this have to do with inmates at the Nebraska State Penitentiary? A lot in some cases and in others, it has everything to do with being in prison and unjustly being denied simple things that you would never dream would be taken away from you on somebody's whim. Take for example the case of one current inmate who in the middle 1970's started a small long-haul trucking company, which he is still a part-owner of and a consultant for.

This company was well established and running long before this man was incarcerated and has nothing to do with why he was sent to the penitentiary. Over the years he has been incarcerated he has been receiving publications, like the ones mentioned above, pertaining to the trucking industry. Many of these publications are sent to this man with both his name, inmate number, and the trucking company's name on the address label, and have been coming in through the U.S. Mail in this manner for years without there being a single problem.

Stopping Self-Education

But now, with a recent unwritten change in policy by the authorities at NSP, inmates receiving mail or publications with a company name on the mailing label (even though the inmate's name and inmate number also are on that label) will no longer be allowed to receive such mail. The decision to eliminate the above incoming mail can only be construed as an effort to stop self-education by inmates. What kind of corrections professional would prefer inmates to sit around watching TV all day long, rather than reading publications of an educational nature that might help them get or keep a job when they get out of prison? Apparently, those officials in charge of mail procedures at the state penitentiary are just such correctional professionals.

New Policy

This new policy decision comes from Associate Warden Mario Peart, with the approval of Warden Michael Kenney and some other staff. This is being done even though no rule exists to permit this within the Dept. of Correction's Incoming Mail Procedures. Their justification for denying these magazines started out as, inmates "shall not be allowed to establish credit with sellers of merchandise, or to establish business enterprises, without the approval of the chief executive officer." When it was pointed out to mailroom staff that this inmate had not established this business while in prison and that he had not established credit with anyone, their justification changed. Now they argued that "unsolicited bulk rate mail" caused too much work for the mailroom staff. When it was pointed out to them that these magazines were neither "unsolicited" nor were they "bulk rate mail" the justification changed once again. Now all magazines addressed to an inmate with a company name were being withheld because such mail "has a tendency to generate unsolicited bulk rate mail." None of the staff's justifications are supported by the Dept. of Corrections rules and regulations or the U.S. Supreme Court's decision regarding inmate's rights to receive mail. Who makes up these policies and rules?

A Hierarchy of Rules and Rulemakers

It helps to see what rules Nebraska inmates have to follow and who makes up those rules. The Nebraska Dept. of Corrections makes an Inmate Rule Book which is considered a part of the state statutes; Title 68, the Nebraska Administrative Code. Inmate mail is covered in Chapter 3 of the rule book. The mailroom staff's argument about inmates not being allowed to establish credit or businesses comes from Chapter 3, Section 005.01. However, this is a rule about outgoing mail not incoming mail; there is a big legal difference.

The Dept. of Corrections also creates Administrative Regulations (AR's) which apply to all the Department's facilities. AR 205.1 deals with Inmate Mail. AR 205.1 plainly states that one of the purposes of the inmate mail policy is "to provide opportunities for inmate self/career development." This AR recites to Title 68 Chapter 3 and refers to it as "Rule 3."

From the AR'S, each Warden (the Chief Executive of that facility) creates and maintains Operational Memorandums (OM's) for their facility which must comply with the AR's. NSP has its own set of OM's. LCC, York, and every other DCS facility has their own set of OM's. Sound confusing?

NSP's Mail Room Procedures are written up as OM 205.001.111. You can see that the OM has separate sections for Outgoing Mail and Incoming Mail. In compliance with the Rule Book and the AR it is the Outgoing Mail section that contains the restriction against establishing credit or a business.

Incoming versus Outgoing

The difference between incoming and outgoing mail from prisons comes from the 1st Amendment's freedoms of speech and the press. The U.S. Supreme Court has decided that prisons can censor some mail but the purpose of that censorship is different when the mail is incoming or outgoing.

Generally, mail sent to a prisoner may be screened or censored pursuant to regulations and practices "reasonably related to penological interests." Turner v. Safley,482 U.S. at 89, 107 S.Ct. at 2262. Outgoing mail, on the other hand, may be regulated according to regulations or practices that "further an important or substantial governmental interest unrelated to the suppression of expression," and that extend no further "than is necessary or essential to the protection of the particular governmental interest involved." Procunier v. Martinez, 416 U.S. at 413, 94 S.Ct. at 1811. Hence a different standard applies to the evaluation of regulations governing outgoing mail (Procunier) and incoming mail (Turner v.Safley). See, Thornburgh v. Abbot, 490 U.S. 401, 109 S.Ct. 1874, 1881 (1989). See, Martucci v. Johnson, 944 F.2d 291 (6th Cir. 1991).

The First Excuse

You can see that the Outgoing Mail regulation that prevents inmates from establishing credit or businesses serves the "governmental interest" of preventing fraud, and that is fine for outgoing mail. To prevent this kind of fraud the AR requires that all outgoing mail be stamped with a notice identifying it as coming from an inmate confined in the Dept. of Corrections. The AR's outgoing mail rules also provide that if the warden has reason to believe that an inmate is using the mail to defraud the public, then they should document their facts and order the inmate to cease the activity. The warden can then discipline the inmate if they do not cease. In this inmate's case, all the documented facts show that he hadn't established credit or a business.

But for the incoming magazines addressed to the inmate with a company name this outgoing mail regulation does not apply. Under the incoming mail regulations these magazines would have to violate some "penological interest" to be stopped; that is, something going on inside the prison. Prisons certainly have an interest in stopping escapes, riots, and other kinds of violence in the prison. The kinds of magazines being stopped are not harming any penological interests. Trucker's News, Roadstar, PC Week, and Network Magazine are hardly presenting escape plans or promoting riots or violence in prisons.

The Second Excuse

The mailroom staff's second excuse was that these magazines were "unsolicited bulk rate mail." Late in 1999, the Dept. of Corrections officially changed their incoming mail regulations to stop having to deliver unsolicited bulk rate mail. That makes some sense, after all how do you deliver mail in prison addressed to "Occupant" or "Resident."

However, this second excuse was an even greater stretch of the rules because most magazines, including the ones the inmate in question was receiving, are mailed by Periodicals Rate, not Bulk Rate. Periodicals Rate used to be known as Second Class Mail. Even more obvious was the fact that these magazines had been subscribed to for years. Obviously they were not "unsolicited."

The Latest Excuse

The latest excuse, that these magazines tend to generate unsolicited bulk rate mail, is just plain silly. The Dept.'s new rule says they can simply throw away unsolicited bulk rate mail. In effect the Dept. is saying they can censor these magazines because it tends to make them do their job of throwing away unsolicited bulk rate mail. If these magazines came addressed without a company name on the label they would still tend to generate unsolicited bulk rate mail that would still be thrown away. Remember, the Dept.'s first excuse was that there was a company name on the address label.

Undoubtedly this will end up in court because the Dept. officials are still refusing to change their decision, even after being shown that the U.S. Supreme Court case law is against them. They stubbornly make up new excuses after you show that their last excuse doesn't meet the constitutional requirements. In court the question will become: Does avoiding the labor of throwing away any extra unsolicited bulk rate mail amount to a "legitimate penological purpose" sufficient to override an inmate's 1st Amendment right to receive magazines he has subscribed to? And that assumes the Dept. of Corrections can prove that company names on address labels creates more unsolicited bulk rate mail than an address label without one. Of course, you, the public will only hear the Attorney General's office tell the press that it is the inmates who caused this "frivolous" lawsuit. You just can't teach some people common sense.

What Does the Public Want?

Naturally the public would like to avoid the expense and the use of judicial resources for a court trial over whether inmates can receive magazines or not; but there is a bigger issue here. Does the public want educated or non-educated inmates to return to the streets after paying their debt to society? Things are changing so fast outside of prisons that without access to these kinds of publications people returning to freedom will be at a loss to catch up. Inmates need the opportunity to subscribe to publications pertaining to their career field or future profession, regardless of whether it arrives with an old company name on the label. These publications are not being denied because of their content, but only because of the way the address label is printed.

If It Ain't Broke

An address label having a company name along with the inmate's name and number creates no security threat or extra work for staff when those magazines are processed. Why change the prison's policies when they aren't broken and worked fine for years. Why make up excuses to harm everyone's interests? Inmates having access to more educational opportunities would promote less recidivism, but then again the Dept.'s interests may actually lie in building a new prison or increasing their budget by claiming understaffing in the mailroom rather than rehabilitating inmates for their return to society.

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Resources for Self-Education/Rehabilitation Article

Inmate Rule Book July 7, 1998
Title 68-DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONAL SERVICES

Chapter 3- MAIL PRIVILEGES


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Department of Correctional Services
ADMINISTRATIVE REGULATION 205.1

PURPOSE

Regulations governing inmate mail are necessary to attain the Department's objectives to provide opportunities for inmate self/career development and maintain a safe, secure, and humane environment for inmates, staff and the public.

GENERAL

General Statutory Power for elements within this regulation may be found in Section 83-173, R.R.S. 1994 and Section 83-186, R.R.S. 1994. Legal Citations: Wolff vs. McDonnell, 418 U.S. 539 (1974); Procunier vs. Martinez, 416 U.S. 396 (1974); Turner vs. Safley, 107 S. Ct. 2254 (1987).

Each institution, consistent with its function and the nature of its inmate population and programs, shall develop its own version of this regulation within the limits and guidelines which follow.

There shall be no restrictions on the number of letters, length, language, content or source of mail or publications, except when there is a reasonable belief that the limitation is necessary to protect public safety or institutional order and security.

As used herein, the term "mail" shall include packages.

The current version of Title 68 Chapter 3-MAIL PRIVILEGES of the Rules and Regulations of the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services promulgated under the Administrative Procedures Act is herewith incorporated into this Administrative Regulation. This document will be referred to as "Rule 3" below.

This Administrative Regulation and Rule 3 shall be reviewed annually and updated as needed.

PROCEDURE

  1. MAIL PRIVILEGES
    1. In addition to contraband specified in Rule 3, contraband includes any items which are not acquired by inmates through authorized institutional channels or sources.
    2. The Chief Executive Officer may allow certain published materials to be stored by the institution and viewed privately but not retained by the inmate.
    3. Outgoing Mail Procedures
      1. Inmates may send mail to any person or organization they choose, except as prohibited by Rule 3 or this regulation.
      2. If the Chief Executive Officer of a facility has reasonable cause to believe that an inmate is using the mails to engage in an unauthorized business enterprise or to defraud the public, the Chief Executive Officer should document the facts that led to that conclusion and a direct order should be given to the inmate to discontinue the practice. With the approval of the Chief Executive Officer of a facility, an inmate may be required to include the name of his or her institution on return addresses on all outgoing mail, to ensure compliance with the direct order. Evidence that the inmate has not complied with the direct order may cause the inmate to be subject to disciplinary action.
        Outgoing inmate mail will be stamped with the following disclaimer: NOTICE! This correspondence was mailed by an inmate confined in an institution operated by the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services. Its contents are uncensored.
      3. All institutional correspondence must in all cases contain the commitment name and the number of the inmate. An inmate may also sign the communication with a recognized alias, such as a Muslim name. If inmates have legally changed their names, both the committed name and the legal name will be shown, and the legal name must be signed. (Shakur Abdullah v. Gunter, CV88-L-651). Inmates may use only their legally changed name and number on the envelope of outgoing mail.
      4. If an inmate attempts to send mail to an inmate in another institution or in the same institution, the Chief Executive Officer at the sending institution shall have the authority to intercept the mail and return it to the sender under the same standards as provided for incoming mail in paragraph 0.2, below.
      5. Inmates will not be permitted to use the state's inter-office mail system to send mail to Departmental staff, except when such mail involves appeals to the Appeals Board, Accounting requests, good-time restoration appeals, Step 2 grievance procedures, and appeals of classification actions. Employees should riot assume responsibility for mailing these materials for inmates through interoffice mail. This mail must either be folded or stapled with the proper return address. On the return address, the inmate must use his/her number, committed name and legal name if the name change was made following the inmate's commitment. Inmates must use the U.S. Mail Service for all other correspondence.
      6. Contraband which is removed and confiscated from outgoing inmate correspondence, other than money, will be disposed of, usually by incineration, unless it is needed as evidence for prosecution. The method, of disposition will be decided by the Chief Executive Officer. Money instruments will be disposed of in accordance with AR 113.2, Adult Inmate Accounting.
      7. Mail shall leave the facility no later than twenty-four (24) hours after the sender has deposited it for mailing, with the exception of weekends and holidays, or when mail contains suspected contraband.
      8. Inmates may not possess postage stamps. Pre-stamped envelopes will be available for purchase in the institutional canteens. Inmates will be allowed to possess up to forty (40) pre-stamped envelopes. A 10" pre-stamped envelope will be sold. Inmates will not be allowed to receive pre-stamped envelopes through the U. S. Mail. All such envelopes must be purchased from the facility canteen. A supply of stamps will be maintained in each canteen for use by inmates who purchase special events cards, such as birthdays, anniversaries, and holidays. When an inmate purchases a special event card and necessary postage, the Canteen Staff will affix the necessary postage on the envelope after the card and postage are purchased by the inmate. The inmate will not be given the loose stamp for the inmate to place on the envelope. Since CCC-O has no canteen, inmates there may possess up to forty (40) stamps.
      9. Disclaimer stamping of inmate mail as described in l.C.2. above and search of outgoing mail as described in l.C.6. above will not be done at community corrections facilities.
    4. Incoming Mail Procedures
      1. Letters, Publications, Commercial Items
        1. All publications, including but not limited to, newspapers, magazines, soft-back books, paperbacks and hard bound books, must be ordered through the institution, prepaid by the inmate, and sent to the inmate directly from the publisher. Prepaid items received from bookstores (including used books) will also be permitted. An invoice/shipping document showing items have been pre-paid must be included. Publications not received in this manner will be returned to the sender.
        2. Religious publications and tapes may be received directly from churches or other religious bodies.
        3. If an inmate is denied a publication and subsequently files a grievance, the content of the publication will be reviewed by the Chief Executive Officer or designee. The reviewer shall not have participated in the original decision to deny the publication. The grievance response must cite the specific reasons for denial of the publication.
        4. If institutional staff can determine the inmate for whom the mail is intended, such mail must be delivered. Mail must be delivered if it contains only the inmate's legally changed name and institutional number.
      2. Inmate-to-Inmate Mail
        1. Mail from inmates in other correctional facilities or the same facility is presumed to constitute a threat to the safety, security or good order of the institution where the addressee resides. Such mail can be used to communicate escape plans, to arrange assaults and other violent acts, and to facilitate the development of informal organizations that threaten the security of correctional institutions.
        2. The Chief Executive Officer at the institution where the addressee resides shall issue written permission for inmate to inmate correspondence to be delivered. Such permission may be granted when the inmates are immediate family or the inmates have a common interest in a legal matter and the Chief Executive Officer determines that the addressee's receipt of such correspondence will neither threaten the safety, security or good order of the facility nor jeopardize the rehabilitative process of the addressee. Inmates who are not immediate family and who desire to correspond regarding a parental interest in a child must show evidence of financial support of that child.
        3. When incoming mail from another inmate is denied, the mail will be returned to the sending institution along with a general statement of the reason for denial. A similar written statement will be given to the inmate to whom the mail was addressed. If either the sender or the addressee wishes to challenge the Chief Executive Officer's decision to return the mail, the inmate may use the Department's grievance mechanism set forth in DCS Rule 2.
        4. Mail from inmates in other correctional facilities or the same facility may not be sealed by the sender and may be inspected and read by staff at the sending and receiving institutions. The Chief Executive Officer at the sending institution shall also have the right to intercept mail and return it to the sender under the same standards set out above.
        5. Inmates may be allowed to correspond through the mail with other inmates "out on bond." However, if there is a safety or security concern, such mail may be read by authorized staff. An inmate out on bond may not send money to incarcerated inmates. When mail is received from an inmate out on bond, any letter will be given to the addressee, however, any enclosed money order, check, or stamps will be returned to the sender.
      3. Contraband
        Contraband which is removed from incoming inmate mail which is not returned to the sender may be turned over to law enforcement authorities for possible prosecution. Contraband not returned to the sender or given to law enforcement will be disposed of according to institutional procedures.
      4. Funds Received
        1. If any money orders or checks are found to be contained in any incoming mail, such will be credited to the inmate's institutional account. Notification of such credit shall be provided to the inmate by the business manager/designee of the appropriate facility.
        2. Cash/coin (official U.S. government money) or travelers checks found in any incoming mail will not be accepted by the institution. Inmates shall, be instructed to so inform family and friends. However, if cash/coin is found in incoming mail, it will be accounted for, as determined by each facility, and then returned to the sender. The inmate will be notified of this action. If there is no return address, the money will be credited to the inmate's confiscated account until the inmate's release from the custody of the Department. A receipt will be issued to the inmate by the business officer/designee of the appropriate facility. These provisions also apply to checks and money orders received for inmates in this manner.
    5. Privileged Mail
      1. In addition to those individuals specified in DCS Rule 3, inmates may send sealed letters to local (city or county) Chief Executive Officers and administrators of grievance systems. Mail from these individuals will be treated as confidential and opened and inspected only in the presence of the inmate, unless waived in writing. The Chief Executive Officer of the facility from which such mail originates may choose to attach to any such outgoing mail a letter disclaiming any administrative responsibility for the nature or contents of such mail.
      2. Any incoming mail marked "Attorney-Client," or which in some other fashion is clearly indicated to be attorney-client communication, shall be opened only in the presence of the inmate-addressee.
      3. In any case, the name or official status of any sender must appear in commercial printing on the envelope before such mail shall be accorded privileged status. Any sender using envelopes which do not contain commercially printed names or official status who desires to have his or her mail to an inmate treated as privileged mail, must acquire the approval of the Chief Executive Officer of the facility. Without approval, such mail marked "Privileged" will be handled as standard, incoming mail.
    6. Mail Constituting Threats to the Facility
      With respect to the reading of incoming or outgoing mail, the Chief Executive Officer of each facility shall issue guidelines defining the types of mail which could constitute a threat to the safety, security, or good order of that facility. Whenever such mail is read, the reader shall record the name and institutional number of the sender/addressee, the name and address of the sender/addressee, the date of the reading, and the reasons why the mail was read. After an item is read, it may be copied only if the Chief Executive Officer of the facility or designee determines that the mail does in fact contain statements or information which could threaten the safety or security of persons or property outside the facility. Copies of any such mail shall be retained only so long as they are needed to complete an investigation of the apparent threat, or so long as they are needed as evidence in a disciplinary proceeding or criminal action.
    7. Indigent Inmates
      Indigent inmates shall receive five, first class, U.S. postage embossed envelopes per month or the equivalent in metered mail to send letters in order to maintain community ties. Indigent inmates are those who have not had an institutional job assignment for thirty (30) days or more or who have not had a balance of $10.00 or more on their trust account during the past thirty (30) days. Inmates shall have access to the courts for the sending of correspondence and pleadings regardless of their ability to pay postage. See A.R. 116.1 -Inmate Rights.

  2. ELECTRONIC COMMUNICATION
    Inmates may not receive communication by facsimile machine, electronic mail or telegram.

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Department of Correctional Services
NEBRASKA STATE PENITENTIARY

OPERATIONAL MEMORANDUM 205.001.111

Subject: Mail Room Procedures Date: November 8, 1999

  1. Purpose. To establish and refine mail handling procedures and mail processing standards for use at the Penitentiary.
  2. Policy. It is the policy of the Nebraska State Penitentiary that inmates committed to its custody be allowed general access to the mails as long as State and Federal laws and regulations governing the use of the mails are not violated and the security, safety, or good order of the institution are not threatened.
  3. Applicability. This Memorandum is applicable to all divisions/departments/offices and will be maintained by the Associate Warden/Administrative Services.
  4. Procedures.
    1. Contraband in the Mails. All mail will be processed by employees designated by the Warden or designee as Mail Room Personnel who are responsible for examining all inmate mail, both incoming and outgoing, for contraband. Unit staff shall examine all privileged inmate mail for contraband in the presence of the inmate recipient. The listed materials shall be considered contraband, and may be confiscated under the provisions of this Section. However any other items which in the opinion of the Warden constitute a threat to the security, safety or good order of the institution may also be considered as contraband and treated as such.
      1. The following items are considered to be contraband:
        1. Narcotic, hallucinogenic or other illegally or invalidly possessed drugs
        2. Plans for the manufacture of weapons, incendiary devices, drugs or alcohol, or for escape routes
        3. Alcoholic beverages
        4. Weapons of any type
        5. Perishable goods, except designated foodstuffs approved by the Warden for the annual gift package
        6. Maps of any type, unless approved by the Warden
        7. Any item(s) which would cause a violation of the Code of Offenses if possessed by an inmate
        8. Gummed stickers included in mail or affixed to the letter or envelope
        9. Documents which may be used as identification (e.g. driver's license, birth certificate, social security card or military discharge papers). Inmates may receive a membership card identifying membership in a professional organization as long as said card is not plastic or laminated and can not be used as a piece of identification.
        10. Musical and talking greeting cards
        11. Photographs of any type (published or unpublished) of nude or partially nude males or females. Unpublished photograph subjects appearing in panties, bras, sheer negligees or nightgowns (clothing which would be deemed unacceptable for open public appearance) will be rejected and returned to the sender. Published, commercial nude photographs may be received only if received directly from the publisher and are clearly marked as being published photographs.
        12. Photographs of any type that depict street or prison gang affiliation. Unpublished photograph subjects appearing in a manner of dress dictated by a gang common dress code including colors, insignia, or specific clothing items worn in such a way as to denote group identity or status; gang hand signs; graffiti depicting gang members names, initials, logos, monikers or slogans containing mention of gang membership, affiliation, activity or territory. If found in the mail these items will be returned to the sender with an explanation for their return. The inmate will be given a written explanation with respect to the action taken. Any correspondence containing gang-related drawings or miscellaneous writings (graffiti) will be considered contraband and returned.
        13. Items that are laminated or glued together.
        14. Any items such as greeting cards, birthday cards, postcards, or others larger than 8 inches by 5 inches.
        15. Any items which are not included on a list of authorized possessions posted by the facility and approved by the Department.
        2. The following publications are considered to be contraband.
        1. Materials that advocate or are likely to incite violent or illegal activity, including materials that advocate or depict violent or illegal sexual activity such as:
          1. Rape or other violent sexual acts
          2. Sexual abuse of children
          3. Drug induced sexual stimulation
          4. Bestiality
        2. Materials that advocate gang-related activities.
        3. Materials that concern the "martial arts". These publications are not allowed because of the explicit nature of some of the instructional information and because development of the martial arts can only occur as a result of practices, i.e., with staff or inmates.
        4. Any other printed, published or photographed materials that are deemed by the Warden to constitute a threat to the safety, security, or good order of the facility.
    2. Contraband Control. If contraband is found to be included in any incoming mail it will be seized by Mail Room Personnel and handled in one of three ways.
      1. If the contraband violates State or Federal law, it will be referred to proper law enforcement authorities for appropriate action. In the event that seizure of the mail containing contraband is necessary for prosecution purposes, the sender and the inmate will be notified in writing using a modified Notice of Returned Mail. (Attachment 1).
      2. If the mail contains identification materials such as drivers' licenses, social security cards, car titles, military discharge cards, etc. these materials will be placed in the inmate's personal file in the Inmate Records Office. The mail itself will be forwarded to the inmate by the Mail Room with a Notice of Returned Mail (Attachment 1) attached indicating what item(s) were removed.
      3. All other incoming contraband will be returned to the sender. Any approved items will be forwarded to the inmate, who will be notified in writing (Attachment 1) as to items removed.
      4. If an inmate desires to challenge a seizure of contraband, he may do so by utilizing the Department's grievance mechanism as set forth in Rule 2.
      5. If a sender desires to challenge a seizure of contraband, he or she may do so by contacting the Warden in writing.
    3. Incoming Mail Procedure
      1. Inmates may be allowed to receive mail from any person or persons and/or organizations they so choose, except as prohibited herein. There shall be no restriction on the number of letters that may be received, the length of any letter, or the language in which a letter may be written, except in the case of verified violations of the Rules and Regulations of the Department or State and Federal laws and regulations relating to mail.
      2. All publications, including but not limited to, newspapers, magazines, soft-back books, paperbacks and hard bound books, must be ordered through the institution, prepaid by the inmate, and sent to the inmate directly from the publisher. Prepaid items received from bookstores (including used books) will also be permitted. An invoice/shipping document showing items have been prepaid must be included. Publications not received in this manner will be returned to the sender, and written notification (Attachment 1) of such action sent to the inmate within 24 hours of receipt, weekends and holidays excepted.
      3. Post Office
        1. Incoming mail will be picked up by a designated facility employee each morning, Monday through Saturday, by 7:30 am. from the Station B Post Office, and processed by Mail Room Personnel.
      4. Mail Box
        1. Incoming mail for the Penitentiary that is not addressed to P.O. Box 2500 will be delivered to the Penitentiary mail box located in the front of the Administration Building. Mail room staff will collect this mail Monday through Saturday and process same. This mail is scheduled for delivery by 10:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday.
      5. Incoming mail shall be sorted and date stamped to separate administrative mail, inmate privileged mail, and inmate regular mail.
      6. Administrative mail will be distributed in the Inmate Records Office mail boxes by Mail Room Personnel.
      7. Incoming inmate regular mail will be alphabetized and the current living location noted on the outside of the envelope. Mail will then be opened and inspected for items of contraband and unauthorized enclosures. The sender's name and address MUST appear on each piece of mail, and any mail which does not contain such is subject to being read by the Warden's designee. All other mail will not be read unless there is clear and convincing evidence that such mail constitutes a threat to the security, safety, or good order of the facility. Measures will be taken to ensure that mail is handled carefully and that enclosures are not lost or separated from the letter or envelope. Following visual inspection of each envelope, all allowed contents will be returned therein and the envelope stapled shut. Envelopes containing greeting/specialty cards and photographs will be taped to ensure against defacement. Mail then will be put into designated mail bags, which will be picked up no later than 1:45 p.m. by Second Shift Officers and taken to the respective living locations for distribution.
      8. Inmates will not be allowed to receive incoming mail containing pre-stamped envelopes (except as outlined in 9. below), nor will inmates be permitted to receive musical greeting cards. Any correspondence containing pre-stamped envelopes or a musical greeting card will be returned to the sender with an explanation for the return. The inmate will be given a written explanation with respect to the action taken.
      9. Inmates may receive self-addressed stamped envelopes when these come from an attorney, a publisher, vendor, religious headquarters, or educational institution (so long as the envelopes are enclosed as a part of a bona fide approved correspondence course). The Associate Warden/Administrative Services must approve all correspondence courses. Self-addressed stamped envelopes may also be received in legal mail. Self-addressed stamped envelopes may not be mailed in from any other source and for any purpose other than as stated herein.
      10. Inmates may receive money instruments (certified checks, money orders, bank drafts, cashier's checks) and other legitimate sources of income such as income tax and insurance refunds, hobby sales receipts, veteran's compensation, etc. in the mail. Cash may NOT be sent to inmates in the mail, and all mail sent to an inmate must include the name and address of the sender. If cash is found in incoming mail, the cash will be returned to the sender and any allowed items forwarded to the inmate. If cash, checks, or money orders are found in incoming mail and there is no indication of the name and address of the sender, the funds will be placed in the inmate's confiscated cash account and held for him pending his release from the jurisdiction of the Department. Non-wage funds (checks or money orders) will be posted to an inmate's institutional account if receipt of such funds does not otherwise violate a Department Rule or Regulation. Non-wage funds placed in an inmate's institutional account may be spent only for those purposes which state law and/or Agency policy allows inmate wages to be spent.
      11. A list of money instruments and cash received at the Penitentiary each business day will be prepared by Mail Room personnel using the Monies Log (DCS-A-472 - Attachment 2). The Mail Room will retain a copy of each said log. Mail Room personnel will complete and insert a Monies Removed From Mail Form (DCS-A-474 - Attachment 7) into each envelope from which a money instrument is removed. Mail Room personnel will stamp each money instrument with the "State Treasurer" endorsement stamp. Mail Room personnel will deliver the money instruments to the Accounting Clerk I who will (1) verify the money instruments and cash received against the list prepared by Mail Room personnel to make certain all funds are accounted for, (2) receipt each money instrument and return same to the Mail Room. Money instruments received on Saturdays or holidays will be delivered to the Accounting Clerk I on the next normal business day. All money instruments will be separated by housing unit, and the applicable unit staff will obtain the necessary endorsements and return the money instrument to the Mail Room. Mail Room personnel will return the money instruments to the Accounting Clerk I who will ensure all the money instruments are accounted for and forward the money instruments and receipts to Central Accounting. Mail Room personnel will advise the Accounting Clerk I (who in turn will advise Central Accounting) if the funds are to be designated as confiscated cash.
      12. All incoming certified, registered, or insured mail will be entered on a log maintained in the Mail Room (Certified, Insured, Registered Log - Attachment 3). All such mail will have two copies of the Certified, Registered, Insured Mail Receipt (DCS-C-254- Attachment 4) attached to each letter. After the inmate/addressee has signed the receipt, the original will be returned to the Mail Room where it will be filed. All authorized mail generally will be delivered to the addressee no later than 24 hours after its receipt at the facility, with the exception of weekends and holidays.
      13. No funds or documents of any kind may be left for inmates with the Front Entrance Officers. Visitors, including professional visitors such as attorneys, etc., may not leave money instruments, cash, legal documents, or legal mail for delivery or deposit for inmates. ALL FUNDS AND LEGAL DOCUMENTS FOR AN INMATE MUST BE MAILED INTO THE PENITENTIARY FOR OFFICIAL RECEIPTING.
      14. Incoming packages addressed to an inmate will be opened and checked for contraband by Mail Room Personnel. Those packages found to contain contraband such as items of identification, car titles, birth certificates, etc. will be processed with the contraband items being forwarded to the addressee's central file in the Inmate Records Office. The package, if otherwise authorized, will be forwarded to the inmate. The affected inmate will also be notified, via Attachment 1, of the specific items removed from the package. All other types of contraband found in any incoming packages will be processed as described in paragraph B. above. Absent a law enforcement interest, the package and related contraband will be returned to the sender. Incoming packages containing canteen ordered goods or hobby goods will be picked up and inspected by the Canteen or Hobby Staff as applicable. Packages addressed to the inmate "in care of" Hobby Canteen, Religion Department Head, etc. will be picked up and inspected by the appropriate Supervisor.
      15. All magazines, books, newspapers, and calendars must be mailed directly from the publisher or bookstore. The Penitentiary will not accept such items if they are sent to inmates from home, friends, "Quick Shop" type businesses, or private individuals. However, grocery stores/department stores that have a book department will be allowed to send publications to inmates. Inmates will not be allowed to receive telephone books or directories. This policy is based on the "publisher only rule" as upheld by the Courts. If a publication considered to be contraband (as defined in par. A. above) is found in an inmate's incoming mail, the inmate will be given written notice that the publication has been removed and why it is considered to be contraband. The publication will be held by the Administration for 60 days in order to enable the inmate to exhaust the grievance procedure before the publication is destroyed or returned to the sender at the inmate's expense. If the inmate asks that the publication be returned to the sender immediately, it will be returned to the sender, at the inmate's expense. All books and magazines will be marked with the inmates name, number, and living location. Magazines will be marked on the outside cover and books will be marked on the inside cover. Books, magazines, and materials from Books Inc., P.O. Box 20230, Chicago, IL 60620 are not allowed.
      16. Items such as cassettes, which are received for the blind or reading impaired, will be accepted only through prior written permission of the Associate Warden/Administrative Services. All religious materials will be inspected by the Religion Department Head for disposition if there is a question about whether such materials are from a publisher or bookstore. No multiple copies of any printed materials will be allowed without the prior written approval of the Associate Warden/Administrative Services, or the Religion Department Head in the case of religious materials. If multiple copies are received without prior approval, the inmate will receive one copy of each item and the remainder will be handled as contraband.
      17. With the exception of weekends and holidays, all packages will generally be delivered to the inmate within 48 hours of receipt by the facility.
      18. When mail is received for an inmate confined in a local hospital the Mail Room will notify the Shift Supervisor. The Shift Supervisor will make arrangements to have the mail delivered to the inmate. If it is not legal mail it will be opened and inspected by the Mail Room Clerk. If it is legal mail it will be processed as other legal mail is processed. Mail sent directly to an inmate in the hospital will be opened and inspected by the officer on duty if it is not legal mail. If it is legal mail the officer shall have the inmate open the mail in his/her presence. In either case, the officer on duty will file an Incident Report indicating who sent the mail, the address of the sender and whether it was regular mail or legal mail. A copy of this Incident Report should be sent to the Mail Room for filing. The officer on duty at the hospital shall contact the Shift Supervisor prior to delivering mail if there is any question about the same.
      19. If any mail is rejected, it will be returned to the sender with an explanation. The inmate will also be notified of same by use of the Notice of Returned Mail (Attachment 1). Any decision to return or hold mail will be the responsibility of Mail Room personnel, or in his/her absence, the Associate Warden/Administrative Services.
      20. Inmates will not be allowed to receive stationary through the mail from any source (businesses, organizations, family/friend). All stationary must be purchased through the Canteen.
    4. Outgoing Mail Procedure
      1. Inmates will be allowed to send mail to any person or persons and/or organizations they so choose, except as otherwise limited. There will be no restriction on the number of letters that may be written, the length of any letter, or the language in which a letter is written, except in the case of a verified violation of the Rules and Regulations of the Department pertaining to the mail. Inmates shall not be allowed to establish credit with sellers of merchandise or establish business enterprises without the approval of the Warden. Merchandise ordered on credit terms will be returned to the sender with appropriate notification provided to the inmate and to the sender (Attachment 1). If the Warden has reasonable cause to believe that an inmate is using "the mails to engage in an unauthorized business enterprise or to defraud the public, the he/she should document the facts that led to that conclusion and a direct order should be given to the inmate to discontinue the practice. With the permission of the chief executive officer, an inmate may be required to include the name of the institution on return addresses on all outgoing mail, to ensure compliance with the direct order. Evidence that the inmate has not complied with the direct order may cause the inmate to be subject to disciplinary action.
      2. All outgoing mail will be processed by personnel designated by the Warden or designee. Such mail shall be examined for enclosures and contraband. If contraband is found to be contained in any outgoing mail, such contraband shall be seized and a receipt given to the inmate. In the event that seizure of the letter containing contraband is necessary for disciplinary purposes, the inmate shall be notified in writing. Official government money confiscated from an inmate's outgoing mail shall be placed in the inmate's confiscated account and shall be returned to him upon release from the custody of the Department. At the conclusion of any disciplinary action, seized contraband shall be destroyed, retained, or referred to a law enforcement agency, as appropriate. If an inmate desires to challenge a seizure of contraband, he may do so by employing the Department's grievance procedure.
      3. Outgoing mail may be read only when there is clear and convincing evidence that such mail could constitute a threat to the security, safety, or good order of the institution. No sealed envelopes shall be mailed unless the mail is "privileged" as described in paragraph E below. All other sealed envelopes shall be returned to the sender along with a written explanation for the return (Attachment 1). Each outgoing piece of mail shall bear the name, number and institutional address of the writer in a prominent place on the piece of mail. The piece of mail must include the committed name and/or legal name if the name change was made following the inmate's commitment. Outgoing mail without this complete information will be returned to the inmate if that inmate is identifiable. Any outgoing letter which cannot be returned to the sender because his name or number is not indicated will be retained by the facility for one year. If such letter is not claimed by the sender within that time, it will be destroyed.
      4. Club letterhead stationery may NOT be used for any outgoing mail except for official club authorized mail. Club authorized mail will be delivered to the Mail Room by the Club Sponsor and initialed by him/her. Any mail written on club stationery which is not authorized by the Club Sponsor is to be returned to the Club Sponsor. Club letterhead stationery shall NOT be used for any privileged mail.
      5. If any outgoing mail is forbidden to leave the institution, Mail Room Personnel will return it to the sender along with an explanation of the reasons for the action (Attachment 1).
      6. With the exception of weekends and holidays, all properly stamped and addressed letters will generally leave the facility no later than 24 hours after the sender has deposited them, and packages will leave the facility no later than 48 hours after deposit. Locked outgoing mail drops (boxes) supplied through the U.S. Postal Service are located in Housing Units 1 through 5 near the Control Centers. Outgoing mail from the Control Unit is placed by Unit Staff in the designated outgoing mail box located in the South office. A locked outgoing mail box is located near the front northeast administrative office at the Medium Security Unit/HU #6. Outgoing mail from inmate patients in the Hospital is deposited with the Hospital Security Officer and processed through second shift hospital mail bags. All inmate outgoing mail except that which is oversized or must be weighed shall be deposited in the drop boxes in HU 1-5 and the MSU/HU #6. Inmates confined in the hospital and the Control Unit will follow the procedure described above. Mail that must be weighed or is oversized will be given to Correctional Staff and immediately placed in the mail bag. Following the 9 p.m. count, all mail will be removed from the drop boxes and placed in the mail bags for delivery to the Master Control Center. All mail will be handled in this manner. Correctional staff will not hand-carry individual inmate outgoing mail across the yard.
      7. All inmate outgoing mail will be delivered to the Master Control Center by Second Shift Correctional Personnel. At the completion of the Second Shift, officers assigned by the Control Unit, Hospital, "inside" housing units and MSU/HU #6 will deliver their respective mail to the Master Control Center as they depart at shift relief.
      8. All other procedures for handling outgoing mail will be done by Third Shift Personnel. The Third Shift Supervisor will designate an officer in the Master Control Center to separate the mail into normal/routine stamped inmate mail, inmate legal mail, indigent mail, inmate mail requesting a billing statement or credit, mail with inmate checks, and misdirected mail. Mail as divided will be further separated into out-of-town and in-town mail. Mail will be counted, sealed, batched and banded and placed in a box in the Master Control Center. Mail Room Personnel will pick up the mail, record the total number of letters on the daily log, check any free stamp credits off the applicable inmate's card, record legal mail, redirect any misdirected mail, and return any "bill me later" items to the inmates.
      9. Outgoing administrative mail will be picked up by Mail Room Personnel once in the morning at 7 a.m. and once in the afternoon before 1:30 p.m. The mail will be picked up from the Inmate Records Office. All outgoing mail, including legal and certified mail, must be in the Mail Room by 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, if it is to be sent that day. Only letters and packages with U.S. Postage stamps affixed will be sent out on Saturday, as there will be NO metered mail service. Saturday's only outgoing mail is taken to the Post Office at about 7 am. There is no outgoing mail service on Sundays or legal holidays.
      10. The only inter-office mail an inmate may send out of the institution is: A Step Two Grievance; a disciplinary appeal; correspondence pertaining to classification; a good time appeal; or an inquiry to Inmate Accounting. Correspondence sent through inter-office mail may either be folded, stapled or placed in an envelope. In any case it will be clearly marked with the proper return address and must include the committed name and/or legal name, if the name change was made following the inmate's commitment. Employees shall not assume responsibility for mailing grievances for inmates through interoffice mail.
      11. Inmate checks (DCS-A-acc-010) will be accepted for legal mail and for packages and envelopes which obviously require more than regular first class postage. Inmate checks will not be accepted for conventional letters requiring only one first class postage stamp unless they are from inmates confined in segregation who have not yet had the opportunity to order canteen items.
        1. No inmate check may be written in excess of the amount in the inmate's trust fund balance without the approval of the Warden or designee. Indigents are authorized to originate inmate checks to cover the cost of mailing legal documents. The amount by which the inmate check exceeds the inmate's existing balance will be carried until such time as sufficient funds become available in the inmate's account.
        2. Inmate checks must be filled out correctly, endorsed by the inmate, witnessed by a staff member and approved by the Unit Manager or designee. Staff signatures should be legible. The amount must be left blank, as this will be completed by Mail Room Personnel. If the inmate check is not filled out correctly, it, along with the letter(s) or package(s), will be returned to the inmate sender.
      12. Any correspondence from an inmate which is classified as a "bill me later" item will be returned to the inmate by Mail Room Personnel with an explanation (Attachment 1) that it must be prepaid. No items will be ordered on credit by an inmate.
    5. Privileged Mail
      1. Any incoming mail marked "attorney-client" or which in some other fashion is indicated clearly as being correspondence from a court, a member of a local, state or national bar association, or a bona fide law firm, or the State Ombudsman's Office, will be opened only in the presence of the inmate addressee and will require special record-keeping procedures applicable to items of privileged mail. The name of the court or law firm must appear in commercial printing on the envelope, clearly identifying the sender as one entitled to send privileged mail.
        Any incoming mail from a Federal or State official, including officials of the Department of Correctional Services, paroling or pardoning authorities, administrators of grievance systems, and similar bodies, must include the specific name as well as the official status of the sender in commercial printing on the envelope to be accorded privileged status. If the commercial printing on the envelope does not include the name of the sender, it may be typed above or below the printed return address. Any official sender using envelopes which do not include a commercially printed name or official status, who desires to have his or her mail treated as privileged, must acquire prior written approval from the Warden. Without such written approval, such mail, even if marked privileged, will be handled as standard incoming mail.
        Any mass mailings marked "bulk mail" or "non-profit mail" pursuant to U.S. Postal Service Domestic Mail Manual, Chapter Six, and sent for less than First Class postage rates, will not be considered privileged.
      2. All mail determined to be privileged will be logged on the applicable housing unit's Confidential Mail Receipt Log (DCS-A-adm-055- - Attachment 5) in duplicate by Mail Room Personnel. Unit Managers or their designees will pick up all privileged mail in the Mail Room by 2 p.m. and sign the duplicate log sheet. The duplicate copy will be left in the Mail Room. On delivery of all privileged mail and subsequent completion of the original Confidential Mail Receipt Form, unit staff will sign and return the original to the Mail Room where it will be retained on file. The duplicate copy will be destroyed.

        Privileged mail will be delivered directly to the inmate in his living location by the Unit Manager or designee. It will be opened only in the presence of the inmate/addressee and the contents checked for contraband and money. If money, is discovered the Unit Manager or designee will return it to the Mail Room for logging prior to delivery to the Accounting Clerk I. A notation of contraband discovery will be made by the Unit Manager or designee on the Confidential Mail Receipt Form under the "comments" section. Comments will include time of delivery and money amounts discovered. The inmate/addressee will sign the form indicating receipt of the letter. At the time privileged mail is opened it shall not be read unless there is clear and convincing evidence that such mail could constitute a threat to the security, safety, or good order of the institution. If such mail or enclosures are deemed to pose such a threat, the Unit Manager will promptly contact the Unit Administrator or designee and receive instructions on how to dispose of the mail. Treatment materials, inmate file extracts, and official policy statements are examples of items which may be classified as contraband. A notation of the problem will be made by the Unit Manager or designee on the Confidential Mail Receipt Form under the "comments" section.

        The delivery of privileged mail shall be carried out by Housing Unit Staff each day mail is delivered to the facility.

        Inmates may send sealed letters to all classes of individuals as enumerated in subparagraph F. 1. above. The Warden may choose to attach to any such outgoing mail a statement disclaiming any administrative responsibility for the nature or contents of the same. It should be noted that legal correspondence or court filings in preparation are not privileged in the context of this usage, for they will need to be accessible to staff for notarizing, copying, etc.
    6. Inmate to Inmate Mail
      1. Mail from inmates housed at the Penitentiary or at other Nebraska or out of state correctional institutions will generally not be permitted since such mail is presumed to constitute a threat to the security, safety or good order of the facility and may jeopardize the rehabilitative progress of the addressee. Such correspondence can be used to communicate escape plans, to arrange assaults and other violent acts, and to facilitate the development of informal or gang affiliated organizations. Exceptions to this policy may be made by the Warden on a case by case basis. For example: such mail may be permitted when the inmates are related by blood or marriage or have a common interest in a legal matter and the correspondence does not otherwise pose a security risk. Inmates who are not immediate family and who desire to correspond regarding a parental interest in a child must show evidence of financial support of that child. If incoming inmate to inmate arrangements are approved, the Warden's Office will notify Mail Room Personnel in writing. When such mail is denied, it will be returned to the sending institution along with a general statement of the reason for the denial. A similar written statement will be given to the inmate to whom the mail was addressed (Attachment 1).
      2. Mail to inmates in other correctional institutions is not allowed without the written approval of the Warden.

        Authorized inmate to inmate mail may not be sealed by the sender and may be inspected and read by staff as designated by the Warden. Mail Room Personnel will maintain a log identifying those inmates who are authorized to send mail to and receive mail from other inmates, as well as identifying all inmate to inmate correspondence authorized for review. All inmate-to-inmate mail will be reviewed by any of the three (3) assigned Captains (Administrative, Operational, or Investigative) who will inspect and read same and report any concerns regarding content of such mail to the Warden.

        If the Warden believes that such mail could constitute a threat to the safety, security, or good order of the facility, he/she may return it to the sender. If the inmate sender wishes to challenge the Warden's decision to return the mail, he may use the Department's grievance mechanism as set forth in Rule 2.

      3. If an inmate attempts to send mail to an inmate in another institution or in the same institution, the chief executive officer at the sending institution shall have the authority to interrupt the mail and return it to the sender under the same standards as provided for incoming mail.
      4. When incoming mail from another inmate is denied, the mail will be returned to the sending institution along with a general statement of the reason for denial. A similar written statement will be given to the inmate to whom the mail was addressed. If either the sender or the addressee wishes to challenge the thief executive officer's decision to return the mail, the inmate may use the department's grievance mechanism.
      5. Mail from inmates in other correctional facilities or the same facility may not be sealed by the sender and may be inspected and read by staff at the sending and receiving institutions. The chief executive officer at the sending institution shall also have the right to interrupt mail and return it to the sender under the same standards set out above.

    7. Stamps for Indigent inmates
      1. Indigent inmates may receive five (5) postage stamp credits per month or the equivalent in metered mail to send legal letters and to maintain community ties. An "indigent inmate" is one who is unassigned for 30 days or more and who has not had a balance of $10 or more in his trust fund account during the past 30 days (see O/M 204.001.102- "State Issue Procedure for Indigent Inmates"). Stamps not used during a given month will not be carried forward to the next month. If an indigent inmate exceeds his five stamp postal allowance allocation during a given month, he may be advanced credit by Central Accounting so that his mail may be posted to the courts. The inmate must attach a completed inmate check to his mail to receive this credit allowance. Mail Room Personnel are responsible for maintaining accurate stamp accounts on the Indigent Inmate Stamp Record (DCS-A-adm-084- -Attachment 6) pertaining to state issue stamp credits. Unit staff are responsible for notifying the mailroom of which inmates should be on indigent status. When the inmate is no longer on indigent status, the unit staff will so notify the mailroom in writing.

    8. Forwarding of Mail
      1. Upon an inmate's release, Mail Room Personnel will identify his forwarding address on the computer quick check information screen. First class mail will be forwarded by the Mail Room for up to one year. Subscriptions will be forwarded for a period of 60 days. In instances where a forwarding address is not available, mail will be returned to the sender. Third class ("Bulk") mail will normally be destroyed.

        All first class mail and legal mail received for inmates who are out to court will be forwarded to the inmate unopened.

        If an inmate on remand to the courts is discharged/released from the jurisdiction of the state by court action, it will be that inmate's responsibility to provide a forwarding address on his return to the institution for out-processing.

    9. State and Federal Laws and Agency Rules and Regulations
      1. Inmates shall be made aware that they are subject to all Federal/State laws governing the use of the mails and that any complaints from recipients of their mail will be referred to proper authority for appropriate action. Information governing mail regulations and procedures shall be disseminated through the orientation program and the Department's Inmate Rule Book. Each inmate will inform his correspondents of these regulations.


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