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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Prison Glossary- Mailroom

Mailroom is where all incoming and outgoing mail is processed. Usually the mailroom is staffed by two or three people whose sole job is processing the mail, which can be a task. Depending on the facility, incoming packages are fluoroscoped like at an airport. Letters to prisoners are opened and checked for contraband or suspicious material relating to criminal activity. Unless the prisoner is on some form of censorship because of a criminal investigation, incoming and outgoing regular mail is not scrutinized or logged. Incoming legal mail is not opened outside of the prisoner's presence and must be signed for and logged in. Also, some books and magazines must be signed for and a log kept. With letters there is not a limit on how many a prisoner can receive or how long a letter can be here in the MDOC system. To be on the safe side, don't include anything with a letter until you have checked with the prisoner to see if they can receive it. Be sure to include your full name and address on outside of the envelope, plainly visible, and the prisoner's full name, DOC number and address. Don't put any stickers or things like that on the outside of the envelope unless you know it is okay. Some books and magazines are not allowed, so check before ordering. All books and magazines must come from a bookstore, publisher or vendor like Amazon.com. If it is about weapons, martial arts or tattoos, then the prisoner won't be allowed to receive it. Pornographic magazines depicting penetration are not allowed. The amount of books/magazines a prisoner can receive varies from facility to facility. Outgoing mail is not sealed before it is inspected for contraband and is not scrutinized and logged unless the prisoner is under investigation. Depending on the prisoner's housing, mail is either deposited in a designated place or is picked up by a C.O. when they make their rounds. Mail is passed out Monday through Friday, usually during the evening shift by the C.O. working the floor, but the policy for delivering books varies from facility to facility. Legal mail (mail to attorneys, judges, or public officials) must go through the law library, and that process is initiated by the prisoner by completing an Inmate Legal Assistance Program request form stating that the prisoner has legal mail to be posted.


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Steven Farris is a prisoner who has been incarcerated since a month after his 16th birthday in 1998. Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility for parole, he is seeking to educate the public about the true nature of prison and the widespread and negative effects of the prison industrial complex. Steven has worked with both the National Prison Project of the ACLU, as well as the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in furthering this effort.

You can contact him directly at:
Steven Farris #R5580
WCCC
P.O. Box 1889
Woodville, MS 39669-1889

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