RULE 004.00.88-002 - Inmate Correspondence

RULE 004.00.88-002. Inmate Correspondence

860 Inmate Correspondence

I. POLICY: To establish guidelines for correspondence between inmates and certain persons and organizations for the purpose of retaining community ties, stimulating intellectual pursuits, assisting in attainment of vocational or educational goals, resolving grievances and problems, and facilitating the flow of information in areas of legal concern.


Correspondence, at a wholesome and constructive level, with family members, close friends, associates and organizations is essential to the morale of all confined persons. It may form a positive basis for both present and future adjustment in the unit/center and in the community.

A. There are generally three classes of correspondence: privileged, general, and inter-unit.

1. Privileged Correspondence

Incoming and outgoing correspondence with the persons or organizations specified below shall be considered privileged correspondence as long as the designated individuals are acting in their official capacities and correspondence is properly marked as such.

a. Officers of Federal, State, and local courts.

b. Any Federal or State Official

c. Any administrator of the Department of Correction

d. Any member of the Board of Pardons and Paroles

e. Any member of the Board of Correction

f. Inmate's Attorney

g. Any member of the Commission on Community Based Rehabilitation

h. Any member of the media, including print, radio, and television

Mail from the above will be opened only in the presence of the inmate concerned to inspect for contraband. Mail opened and inspected under these circumstances will not be read or censored, but may be rejected in its entirety if it is found to contain contraband. There will be no records kept of incoming or outgoing privileged correspondence. Outgoing privileged correspondence shall have the words "Privileged Correspondence" or "Legal Mail" marked on the envelope or it will be considered general correspondence. All incoming mail should be in official letterhead envelopes and clearly identified as "Privileged Correspondence". Media mail should be clearly marked "Media Mail".

2. General Correspondence

Correspondence, other than privileged or inter-unit correspondence, shall be considered general correspondence. Inmates do not need to submit a list of the people with whom they wish to correspond, nor will any approval be needed from the administration prior to correspondence. There will be no limitation placed oh the number of letters mailed or received. All general correspondence, both incoming and outgoing, may be opened, inspected, read and records may be kept of all incoming and outgoing general correspondence to see that the family contact is maintained. Such contact is essential for rehabilitation and arrangements may be made, in the absence of family contact, for correspondence with a volunteer.

The full name under which the inmate was committed and the ADC number of the inmate shall be shown in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope on the outgoing mail. Any violation of the rules and regulations which also constitutes a violation of Federal Postal Laws shall be reported to the Federal Postal authorities or appropriate personnel responsible for the processing and inspection of such mail. Inmates in punitive isolation may send and receive mail that is classified as "Privileged Correspondence". An inmate on punitive status will have his mail withheld, but will receive written notice of the identity of the correspondent, the reason the mail is being withheld, and the name of the withholding officer. A review of action by the warden should be made available to an inmate whose mail has been withheld. Withholding of mail will be in accordance with AR 839.

3. Inter-Unit Correspondence

Inter-unit correspondence is that mail between inmates of the Arkansas Department of Correction. Inter-unit correspondence will be restricted to members of the inmate's immediate family. It will be subjected to the usual rules under general correspondence. Inter-unit correspondence must have the approval of both the sending and receiving unit/center Warden/Center Supervisor.

B. Packages

Inmates who are authorized hobby craft cards may order and receive items previously approved by the Warden/Center Supervisor or his/her designee. No other packages will be allowed except with the approval of the Warden/Center Supervisor and the appropriate Assistant Director.

Items needed may be purchased through the commissary.

C. Definitions

1. Inspections: Mail or hobby craft packages can be opened in order to determine if any contraband items are contained therein and to remove any such contraband items.

2. Contraband: Any item that is not permitted under the usual rules of the unit/center.

3. Rejection: Subject to review and rejection of such material which the officials sincerely believe presents a clear and present danger to institutional security.

D. The administration reserves the right to inspect, read, or stop any mail or hobby craft packages where there is reason to believe a clear and present danger to the security of the unit/center exists.

E. The Department will not accept postage due mail or hobby craft packages.

F. All letters will be written in the English language unless there is approval by the Warden/Center Supervisor to do otherwise.

G. Violators of correspondence regulations will be subject to disciplinary action.

Board of Correction Approval Date: 1/26/88

Attorney General Review Date: 1/26/88

Date Filed Secy, of State:

Supersedes: AR 860

Dated: 8/12/85


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