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Indiana Doc Offender Correspondence Policy and Procedure 2008

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Case 1:06-cv-01047-LJM-DML

Document 79-2

State of Indiana
Indiana Department of Correction

Filed 01/29/2009

Effective Date

09/01/08

Page 1 of

23

Page 1 of 24

Number

02-01-103

POLICY AND ADMINISTRATIVE
PROCEDURES
Manual of Policies and Procedures
Title

OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE
Legal References
(includes but is not limited to)

Related Policies/Procedures
(includes but is not limited to)

IC 11-8-2-5(a)(8)
IC 11-11-3-2
IC 11-11-3-4 thru 7
IC 11-11-5-4(4)
IC 11-11-7-2

00-01-102
00-02-301
02-01-101
02-03-101
02-04-101

I.

03-02-101
04-01-104

Other References
(includes but is not limited to)

ACA:
ACI: 4-4266, 4-4279, 4-4285,
4-4446, 4-4487, 4-4488, 44489, 4-4490, 4-4491, 4-4492,
4-4493, 4-4494, 4-4495, 44496
JTS: 3A-19, 5H-01 to 5H-10
CO: 3C-01, 5D-01

PURPOSE:
The purpose of this policy and administrative procedure is to establish a
mechanism for offenders to maintain contact with persons in the community
through correspondence, printed material and packages in a manner that ensures
the safety and security of the persons involved and the facilities.

II.

POLICY:
It is the policy of the Department of Correction that offenders shall be permitted
to maintain contact with the community and persons in the community through
the use of correspondence, printed materials and packages. The Department
encourages the maintenance of community ties and relationships through
correspondence as a means to enhance the offender’s re-integration into the
community upon release.
In order to ensure this continued contact the Department shall establish
administrative procedures for the sending, receiving, distributing and
forwarding of correspondence both to and from offenders in Department
facilities. An offender’s correspondence shall not be censored, copied,
delayed or denied solely on the basis of the sender’s or receiver’s apparent
moral, political, ethical, ethnic or religious values or attitudes, veracity or
choice of words.

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OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE

III.

DEFINITIONS:
For the purpose of these procedures, the following definitions are presented;
A.

CENSORSHIP: Any action taken by departmental staff which results in
the restricting, deleting or withholding, beyond that time necessary for
normal delivery, of an item of correspondence or a publication, or a part of
an item of correspondence.

B.

CONTRABAND: Any property the possession of which is in violation of
Indiana or federal statute.

C.

CORRESPONDENCE: Any letter, package or printed matter written,
initiated, forwarded, sent, received or transmitted through the U.S. Postal
Service, or other private commercial carrier, to or from a confined
offender.

D.

INCOMING FUNDS: Funds mailed to the offender which shall be either
domestic government checks, U. S. Postal Money Orders, cashiers or
certified checks, or other checks, approved by the Facility Head on a case
by case basis (e.g., retirement checks, payroll checks, refunds, etc.).

E.

INTAKE UNIT: Any facility or unit within a facility designated by the
Commissioner to receive offenders from a court.

F.

INDIGENT OFFENDER: An offender who has a Trust Fund account
balance of less than fifteen dollars ($15.00)on the day of request and has
not had a total of more than fifteen dollars ($15.00) credited to the trust
fund account in the preceding thirty (30) days.

G.

LEGAL CORRESPONDENCE: Correspondence mailed directly from or
to a court, a judge or an attorney, whether it is the attorney in a criminal or
civil action involving the offender, including opposing counsel, and which
has been identified as legal mail. (This correspondence includes mail to
the embassies/consulates of foreign nations by foreign nationals, legal
organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU],
Indiana Civil Liberties Union [ICLU], Legal Services Organization [LSO]
or the Public Defender Council or Notices of Tort Claim sent to the
Commissioner)

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IV.

H.

MAIL CLERK: The staff member(s) designated by the Facility Head to
initially process and, when appropriate, inspect correspondence.

I.

PRINTED MATTER: Books, magazines, newspapers and other
periodicals.

J.

PRIVILEGED CORRESPONDENCE: Correspondence mailed directly to
or from any of the following persons in their respective official capacities:
local, state and federal officials, including but not limited to: Governor, all
federal, state or local officials having responsibility for the offender’s
present, prior or anticipated future custody or supervision; the
Commissioner or other officials of the Department; members of the
Indiana Parole Board; the Indiana Inspector General; and the Indiana
Ombudsman. Additionally, grievances and disciplinary appeals mailed to
Central Office shall be considered privileged correspondence.

J.

PROPERTY: Any item which the department permits an offender to
possess.

K.

PROHIBITED PROPERTY: Any item that is not specifically permitted
either in the administrative procedures for Policy 02-01-101, "Offender
Personal Property," or by the Facility Head; property item amounts that
exceed established limits; property items that are misused or altered; or,
property items that are in the possession of an unauthorized person.

L.

RESTRICTED CORRESPONDENCE: Correspondence between
offenders which requires administrative approval.

M.

SOLICITATION: The act of begging, canvassing, or specifically
requesting funds or other items of value; however, requests to an
offender’s immediate family (as defined in the administrative procedures
for Policy 02-01-102) or friends on the offender’s visitor list shall not be
considered solicitation unless the offender is engaging in illegal or
prohibited activities.

GENERAL PRINCIPLE OF CORRESPONDENCE:
An offender may send and receive, in any language, an unlimited amount of
correspondence to or from any person, consistent with the guidelines presented in
these procedures. However, such correspondence shall not be written in code or
include symbols which may disrupt the operation of the facility.

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V.

RESTRICTED CORRESPONDENCE:
An offender must obtain prior approval from the Department to receive or send
correspondence to another person if the other person is on parole or:
A. Held in a correctional facility;
B. Sentenced to a community corrections program;
C. Held in a county jail; or,
D. Participating in a work release program.
The facility or program indicated in A-D may be operated by, or provided through
contractual services to, a county, state, province, or federal unit of government.
The burden of obtaining permission for such correspondence is with the offender.
The offender must establish that the exchange of correspondence is in the best
interests of both the confined persons and the facilities involved. This request
shall be made on State Form 11985, REQUEST TO CORRESPOND WITH
ANOTHER CONFINED PERSON, and shall be directed to the Facility Head or
designee for approval or denial. Approval of the request shall indicate that both
offenders may correspond with each other.
The Facility Head of the facility housing the requesting offender shall review the
request and make a recommendation. If the Facility Head’s recommendation is to
deny the request, the Facility Head shall indicate the denial and return the request
to the offender. If the Facility Head recommends approval, the request shall be
sent to the Facility Head of the facility/program housing the other offender. If the
receiving facility/program is not under the jurisdiction of the department, the
Facility Head shall include a cover letter explaining the request. The Facility
Head shall ask that the receiving Facility Head or designee review the request,
make a recommendation and return it. The Facility Head or designee of the
receiving facility shall contact the offender at that facility to determine whether
the request to correspond is mutual.
If the request involves facilities within the department and the two (2) Facility
Heads disagree, the originating Facility Head shall forward the request, with all
comments, to the appropriate Regional Director/Operations for review and a

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decision. If the request is between a department facility and a facility or program
outside the department's jurisdiction, a denial by either Facility Head shall be
considered the final decision.
Any offender placed in segregation for disciplinary or investigative reasons shall
not be allowed to correspond with other offenders during the segregation period,
regardless of any prior approvals. Upon release from segregation, any prior
approval normally will be reinstated; however, the Facility Head or designee may
rescind the prior approval if it is felt that continued correspondence would be
detrimental to the safety and security of the facility, staff or offenders.
Denials of correspondence with other offenders shall not be used as a disciplinary
measure, unless the denial is based upon a demonstrated abuse of this privilege by
the offender.
An offender who is denied authorization to correspond with a person identified in
Procedure V. A. - D. may challenge the decision in accordance with Policy 00-02301, "Offender Grievance Process." If the request involves an agency outside the
jurisdiction of the department and the request is denied by the Facility Head of the
outside agency, the decision of the Facility Head shall be final.
VI.

PRIVILEGED CORRESPONDENCE:
An offender shall be permitted to mail privileged correspondence to government
officials. Only correspondence sent to or received from the government officials
in their official capacities as designated in these procedures shall be considered
privileged correspondence. Privileged correspondence does not include
correspondence mailed to the courts, attorneys, and legal organizations as this
correspondence is considered legal mail. Offenders shall be required to designate
on the envelope that the correspondence is “privileged.” The offender may seal
the envelope of privileged correspondence prior to submitting it for mailing.
Outgoing privileged correspondence shall not be opened, read, censored, copied
or otherwise interfered with. Staff shall not open privileged correspondence
unless the facility has reason to believe that this correspondence contains
prohibited property, contraband, material that could jeopardize the health and
safety of others or otherwise is in violation of these administrative procedures. In
cases where there is reason to believe that correspondence designated as
privileged contains prohibited property, contraband or is not for official
government business, the facility may open the correspondence and inspect it.
When privileged correspondence is opened, staff shall complete State Form
11984, NOTICE AND REPORT OF ACTION TAKEN ON
CORRESPONDENCE, and provide the offender with a copy of this form,

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including the reason the correspondence was opened or delayed. If the
Department has been advised that a criminal investigation is being conducted in
accordance with Procedure VIII D or Procedure IX D and notification to the
offender would compromise the integrity of the investigation this mail may be
opened and read without notification to the offender at that time. In such cases,
State Form 11984 shall be completed; however, it will be filed in the offender’s
facility packet (the confidential section) and the offender not provided a copy
until the criminal investigation is completed.
Offenders shall be responsible for the cost of mailing privileged correspondence.
Offenders may use any free postage and stationary provided by the facility to mail
privileged correspondence; however, the facility shall not otherwise assume the
cost for privileged correspondence.
Privileged correspondence sent to an offender shall be opened and inspected for
prohibited property or contraband only in the presence of the offender. The
facilities shall handle incoming privileged mail in a manner similar to legal mail.
Staff shall not read incoming privileged correspondence unless there is a
reasonable belief that the correspondence is not privileged correspondence or that
it contains information that presents a clear and present threat to the safety and
security of the facility.
VII.

LEGAL MAIL:
Offenders shall be allowed unrestricted access to legal representatives and courts
through the mail. Only that mail to or from an offender which is clearly identified
as legal mail shall be treated such. It is the responsibility of the sender to indicate
that the correspondence is legal mail. Mail from a court, an attorney or legal
organization (such as LSO, ACLU, ICLU, etc.) shall be treated as legal mail.
Also, mail identified as a Tort Claim sent to the Commissioner shall be treated as
legal mail.
Offenders who are foreign nationals shall be permitted to correspond with the
embassy or consulate of their home nation. This mail shall be considered legal
correspondence and shall be subject to the same requirements as other
correspondence designated as legal mail. Staff shall not interfere with a foreign
national offender attempting to correspond with his/her embassy or consulate.
The facility shall not read, censor, copy or unreasonably delay any legal mail sent
to or from an offender. If the facility determines after opening the mail in the
presence of the offender that it is not legal mail, in whole or in part, then the mail
may be read and that portion which is not legal mail may be withheld, censored,
copied, delayed or otherwise interfered with. When mail of this sort is withheld,

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read, censored, copied, delayed or otherwise interfered with, State Form 11984,
NOTICE AND REPORT OF ACTION TAKEN ON CORRESPONDENCE, shall
be completed and a copy given to the offender.
Offender legal mail shall not be delayed simply due to the fact that the offender
does not have sufficient funds in the Inmate Trust Fund account to pay for the
postage. If an offender is indigent, the facility shall mail legal correspondence
at the first class postage rate without charge to the offender. In cases where an
offender is not indigent but does not have sufficient funds to pay for first class
postage for legal mail, the facility shall determine the amount of funds available
in the offender’s Inmate Trust Fund (i.e., funds not already dedicated to paying
court filing fees, medical co-payments, restitution/court orders). Any available
funds in the offender’s account shall be applied towards the cost of the first class
postage. The offender shall sign an Inmate Trust Fund transaction form (e.g.,
“Request for Remittance”) for the balance of the cost of the postage. The
facility shall deduct the amount indicated on the transaction form as soon as any
available funds are applied to the offender’s account. The offender must show
that he/she is either initiating litigation or has pending litigation and that the
mailing of the legal correspondence is necessary for this litigation. In these
cases, the same procedures as indicated above shall be followed. Mail sent by
an offender to numerous attorneys in an attempt to find an attorney to represent
the offender shall be at the offender’s expense. If postage costs for legal mail
cannot be recovered from an offender, the facility may take funds from the
Inmate Recreation Fund to recoup the loss, if such funds are available. The
amount of postage provided will be the amount necessary to mail the
correspondence at the current rate for first class postage. It will be the
responsibility of the offender to pay, at the time of mailing, for any mail that is
sent certified or insured.
VIII.

OPENING OF CORRESPONDENCE:
All correspondence sent to an offender is to be opened by a staff person in order
to permit removal of funds for crediting to the offender's account; verify and
record receipt of property; and, inspect for and remove contraband or prohibited
property.
Incoming Correspondence is not to be censored, copied, withheld, disclosed to
another person or otherwise interfered with in regard to its prompt delivery
unless:
A.

The Department has reasonable grounds to believe that the
correspondence:

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1.

Poses an immediate danger to the safety of an individual or a
serious threat to the security of the facility or program; or,

2.

Is restricted correspondence as defined under Procedure V;

B.

The correspondence contains contraband or prohibited property;

C.

The offender has been:

D.

1.

Convicted of a crime that involved the use of correspondence to
engage in an illegal activity; or,

2.

Found guilty in a disciplinary hearing of using correspondence to
commit a violation of the disciplinary code; or,

The Department receives a written request from a supervising authority of
any federal or state law enforcement agency stating that the agency has
reasonable grounds to believe that a crime is being committed or has been
committed by the offender and requesting the department monitor the
offender's correspondence.

Each facility shall notify all offenders that incoming correspondence may be
monitored based upon the above-cited grounds. The facilities shall ensure that
this information is posted in all offender housing units and included in the new
offender orientation program.
IX.

INSPECTION OF OUTGOING CORRESPONDENCE:
With the exception of legal and privileged correspondence, correspondence sent
from an offender shall be submitted unsealed to allow staff to monitor and inspect
for prohibited property or contraband.
If staff of the facility has reason to believe that outgoing legal or privileged
correspondence contains contraband or prohibited property, staff may open the
outgoing legal or privileged correspondence in the presence of the offender for
inspection. Once this correspondence is inspected, it will be resealed and placed
in the mail. Once inspected, this correspondence shall not be returned to the
offender.

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During the inspection of outgoing correspondence, staff shall look into the
envelope to determine whether contraband or prohibited property is present. All
outgoing general correspondence shall be read by staff designated by the Facility
Head. Staff working between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. should be
designated to inspect and read all outgoing offender correspondence. These staff
persons shall be authorized to remove the correspondence from the envelope,
inspect for prohibited property or contraband and review the correspondence to
ensure that there is nothing in the correspondence that may present a threat to the
safety and security of the facility, staff, other offenders or the public. Staff
designated to read and inspect shall take all necessary precautions to ensure that
an offender’s correspondence is not lost or damaged during the inspection
process. Staff shall not disclose to another person the contents of any
correspondence which is read unless:
A.

There are reasonable grounds to believe that the correspondence:
1.

Poses an immediate danger to the safety of an individual or a
serious threat to the security of the facility or program; or

2.

Is prohibited under Procedure V above;

B.

The correspondence contains contraband or prohibited property;

C.

The confined person has been:
1.

Convicted of a crime that involved the use of correspondence to
engage in an illegal activity; or,

2.

Found guilty after a hearing conducted by the department of using
correspondence to commit misconduct;

D.

The Department or facility receives a written request from a supervising
authority of any federal or state law enforcement agency stating that the
agency has reasonable grounds to believe that a crime is being committed
or has been committed by the confined person and that the department
should monitor the confined person's correspondence; or,

E.

The Department or facility has reasonable grounds to believe that the
correspondence may pose a threat to national security.

Outgoing mail that is read in accordance with these administrative procedures
shall not require that a State Form 11984, NOTICE AND REPORT OF ACTION

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TAKEN ON CORRESPONDENCE, be completed unless other action is taken in
regards to the correspondence.
Mail that has been submitted by an offender shall not be returned to the offender
for sealing after it has been inspected and monitored. The facility mailroom shall
seal all outgoing correspondence after it has been inspected and reviewed and
prior to it being delivered to the designated mail carrier. Each facility shall
ensure that the offender population is advised that correspondence shall be
inspected and monitored. Each facility shall develop operational procedures that
indicate the manner in which outgoing general offender correspondence is
submitted, inspected and reviewed by staff.
It is the responsibility of the Facility or Program Head or designee to authorize
correspondence to be censored, copied or otherwise interfered with, based upon
the guidelines presented in this procedure.
In cases where correspondence is delayed, copied, censored, withheld or
otherwise interfered with, State Form 11984, NOTICE AND REPORT OF
ACTION TAKEN ON CORRESPONDENCE, shall be completed and a copy
given to the affected offender pursuant to Procedure XII. In cases where
correspondence is delayed, copied, censored or withheld pursuant to Procedure
VIII. D or Procedure IX D, State Form 11984 shall be completed; however, the
offender shall not be notified of this action. The staff person taking this action
shall ensure that the reason for the action is indicated on the State Form 11984.
The facility's and the offender's copy of this action shall be filed in the
"Confidential" section of the offender's facility packet. The offender shall be
given the offender's copy of State Form 11984 when it is determined that the need
to withhold this information from the offender is no longer appropriate.
The facility shall develop operational procedures to ensure that the delaying,
reading, copying, censoring or withholding of any correspondence is in
accordance with these administrative procedures. Additionally, the operational
procedures shall ensure that the contents of any monitored correspondence shall
be shared only as indicated above or in the case where there is reason to believe
that the correspondence contains evidence of criminal activity or a possible threat
to national security it is shared with the appropriate state or federal law
enforcement officials. The operational procedures shall specify the manner in
which the facility shall notify the appropriate federal or state law enforcement
agency and the staff person responsible for ensuring that this notification is done
in accordance with these administrative procedures.
X.

RETURN ADDRESS AND MARKING OF OUTGOING
CORRESPONDENCE:

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OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE
Offenders are responsible for ensuring that all outgoing correspondence bears the
following information in the upper left-hand corner of the envelope:
A.

Indiana Department of Correction;

B.

Title of facility or program;

C.

Address of facility or program; and,

D.

Name, identification number and housing assignment of the offender
sending the correspondence.

Offenders shall not use a mail forwarding service, other individuals to forward
their mail or other third party mailings in an attempt to circumvent the
requirements of incoming and outgoing correspondence. Correspondence sent via
mail forwarding services shall be intercepted by staff and shall be returned to the
offender or shall be submitted as evidence with a conduct report. State Form
11984 shall be completed and a copy given to the offender explaining the reason
for the return of the correspondence.
Offenders who fail to use a return address on outgoing correspondence or who
attempt to use a mail forwarding service or a third party shall be subject to
discipline in accordance with Policy 02-04-101, "The Disciplinary Code
Department of Correction Offenders.”
Additionally, each facility or program shall ensure that all outgoing
correspondence is identified in a conspicuous manner indicating that the
correspondence is being sent by an offender in a correctional facility or program.
This identification shall include the name and address of the facility or program
sending the correspondence. Additionally, this identification shall include the
following disclaimer:
"This stamp identifies this correspondence as having been mailed
by an offender incarcerated at the above correctional facility.
WARNING: Not responsible for contents. Any enclosed money
orders should be referred to your local Post Master before
cashing."
XI.

INMATE TRUST FUND:
Offenders may received or request to mail funds from their Inmate Trust Fund
outside the facility. The receiving or sending of funds from the Inmate Trust

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Fund shall be in accordance with the administrative procedures for Policy 04-01104, "Inmate Trust Fund."
XII.

DISPOSITION OF INCOMING CORRESPONDENCE:
Incoming correspondence shall be delivered to offenders without unnecessary
delay. With the exception of weekends, holidays and emergencies declared by the
Facility Head in accordance with Policy 02-03-102, “Emergency Response
Operations,” incoming and outgoing offender correspondence is to be held no
more than 24 hours for letters and 48 hours for packages. Once correspondence
has been given to an offender, the correspondence becomes personal property
subject to procedures established in Policy 02-01-101, "Offender Personal
Property." Postage due mail shall not be accepted.
In order to ensure the prompt delivery of correspondence, the facilities shall
advise offenders that incoming correspondence should have the offender's name,
as it appears on the offender's commitment and the offender's identification
number, as well as the facility's name and address, as a part of the address.
Offenders are to be encouraged to request that persons sending them
correspondence include the housing assignment; however, correspondence shall
not be delayed in its delivery simply because the housing unit is not included in
the address. It shall be the offender's responsibility to ensure that all persons
writing to the offender include this information in the address of all incoming
correspondence. If the offender's name, identification number or housing unit is
not included in the address on incoming correspondence, the facility shall make a
reasonable attempt to deliver the correspondence in as timely a manner as
possible. However, the offender shall be made aware that in such cases there will
most likely be a delay in the delivery of the correspondence and, if the facility
cannot adequately determine the identity of the offender, the correspondence shall
be returned to the sender. In those cases where the delivery of an identified
offender's correspondence is delayed, State Form 11984 shall be completed and a
copy given to the offender in accordance with Procedure XIII.
Any incoming correspondence that is received that appears suspicious (e.g., no
return address, incomplete address/identification of the intended recipient,
excessive taping, etc.) or which does not identify the intended recipient
sufficiently to allow staff to identify the offender may not be delivered. Staff
shall return any such correspondence that cannot be delivered to the offender to
the sender, if known. If the sender and the recipient cannot be identified, staff
shall return the correspondence to the Post Office as undeliverable.
If staff has a reason to believe that the correspondence is suspicious for reasons
other than due to an incomplete address, the staff person shall attempt to isolate

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the correspondence and contact the immediate supervisor. If it appears that the
correspondence poses a potential threat to the safety, security or health of staff or
offenders, the staff person or supervisor shall contact the Facility Head or
designee to determine whether an outside law enforcement agency is to be
notified. Staff shall take the utmost caution to ensure the health and safety of
him/herself, other staff and offenders. If the offender who is the intended
recipient of the correspondence is known, staff shall provide the offender with a
State Form 11984 delay or action taken regarding the correspondence.
XIII.

REPORT OF ACTION TAKEN ON CORRESPONDENCE:
Whenever a decision is made to delay, censor, copy or withhold any
correspondence, the offender is to be informed within two (2) working days of the
action, except as indicated in Procedure VIII. D or Procedure IX D State Form
11984, NOTICE AND REPORT OF ACTION TAKEN ON
CORRESPONDENCE, shall be used for this purpose. The staff person
completing this form shall ensure that the following information is contained in
the notice:
A.

A complete description of the article being withheld;

B.

The specific reason for the action;

C.

The name of the sender;

D.

The date of any postmark;

E.

The date the correspondence was received or deposited at the facility or
program;

F.

The proposed disposition to be made of the correspondence;

G.

The name of the person who made the decision; and,

H.

The fact that the action may be challenged through the grievance
procedure.

If a determination is made that the correspondence shall not be given to the
offender, the facility or program shall ensure that State Form 21682,
DISPOSITION OF OFFENDER PERSONAL
PROPERTY/CORRESPONDENCE, is completed prior to the final disposition
being made. The offender shall be given the opportunity to designate the desired

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disposition in accordance with the procedures established for Policy 02-01-101,
"Offender Personal Property," and Procedure XX below.
Correspondence sent to an offender in an envelope or package that is made of or
contains materials that are considered to be a potential threat to the safety,
security or orderly operation of the facility (e.g., plastic “bubble wrap” or
“peanuts”, plastic wrap, insulation, cardboard boxes, hard cardboard envelopes or
Priority or Express Mail envelopes), may be withheld from the offender. If the
packaging or packing materials are determined to be a security threat, the facility
shall remove the packaging or packing materials and place or replace the
correspondence or items in a suitable envelope or container. The facility shall
ensure that the offender is notified as to the name and address of the sender, the
postmark and the date the correspondence was received at the facility. This
notification may be by use of State Form 11984 or other suitable means. The staff
person taking this action shall sign indicating the action taken. The facility shall
ensure that the offender population is aware of the types of prohibited
envelopes/packages and the procedures for processing these types of
correspondence. Packaging or packing materials withheld pursuant to these
procedures may be disposed of as soon as the offender receives the contents of the
correspondence and the notification. Operational procedures shall be developed
indicating the appropriate procedures for notifying the offender of any action
taken on correspondence and that the correspondence shall not be delayed any
more than absolutely necessary.
XIV. INTERFERENCE WITH AN OFFENDER'S CORRESPONDENCE:
An offender's correspondence may not be censored, copied, delayed or disallowed
for delivery solely on the basis of the sender's or receiver's apparent moral,
political, ethical, ethnic or religious values or attitudes, veracity or choice of
words.
XV.

STATIONERY, ENVELOPES AND POSTAGE:
Each facility shall ensure that postage stamps, stationary and envelopes are sold
through the facility’s commissary or through another means if the facility does not
operate a commissary. Offenders shall be permitted to purchase sufficient
postage stamps, stationary and envelopes to meet their correspondence needs.
Facilities may limit the amount of postage stamps purchased at one time in order
to reduce the use of postage stamps as currency in the facilities; however,
offenders shall be permitted to purchase up to five (5) books of first class stamps
(total of 50 stamps) each week (Five [5] books per commissary order if the
offenders can order commissary weekly or ten [10] books per commissary order if
commissary is ordered every two [2] weeks). Offenders shall be allowed to

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possess up to ten (10) books of stamps at any one time, unless the offender is
found to be using the postage stamps inappropriately. Additionally, with the
approval of the Facility Head, offenders may be permitted to request additional
postage stamps or postage by using a “Request for Remittance” or similar form.
Offenders may be required to justify the need for additional postage beyond what
is available weekly from the commissary. The purchase of postage stamps from
the commissary shall not interfere with an offender’s ability to purchase hygiene
or over-the-counter medications.
If possible, facilities are to sell various denominations of postage stamps through
the commissary so that offenders will be able to put the correct postage on their
correspondence. If the facility determines that it is feasible, the facility may allow
the offenders to submit outgoing correspondence along with a “Request for
Remittance” or similar form so that the correct postage may be affixed to the
correspondence by the facility. If the facility does not allow this procedure, the
facility shall provide the offenders access to a postage scale so that the correct
amount of postage may be determined and placed on the correspondence.
Facilities, other than Work Release Centers, shall make available free postage,
stationary (two [2] sheets per request) and an envelope for two (2) letters per
month to all offenders. The postage provided will be the equivalent of that
necessary to send a first class letter. Offenders shall be required to submit a
request for these free items to the unit counselor or other designated staff in
accordance with facility operational procedures. Failure of an offender to request
these free items each month in accordance with the facility’s operational
procedures shall not require the facilities to provide these items at a later date.
The facilities shall ensure that a procedure is in place to allow offenders who
cannot request these items in the designated manner due to the offender being
away from the facility or for other legitimate reasons to be able to request the
items at an alternative time. Offenders may use these free pieces of
correspondence to send legal and privileged correspondence. Paper provided to
offenders either as free materials or sold through the commissary shall be 8 ½” x
11”.
Due to the offender's access to the community, Work Release Centers shall ensure
that adequate stationery, envelopes, and postage, equivalent to the current first
class postage rate, for the transmission of one (1) piece of correspondence per
month is available to all offenders at no cost. The Center Facility Head shall
ensure that a notice is posted prominently advising offenders that these items are
available upon request. Indigent offenders in the Work Release Program shall be
provided with free stationery, envelopes, postage and notary services for legal
correspondence.

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The envelopes provided to offenders for the above purpose shall be # 10 business
envelopes or its equivalent. These envelopes may or may not be pre-stamped.
The facilities shall ensure that the following information is contained in the return
address:
•
•
•
•

Offender’s Name
Offender’s DOC Number
Offender’s housing location
Name and address of the facility

Additionally, the disclaimer indicated in Procedure X shall be printed on the
envelope directly below the return address. Envelopes sold on commissary shall
be of a similar size and include the same information.
This procedure shall not be applicable to offenders who are not housed in a
department facility, unless specifically authorized in an agreement between the
Department and the non-departmental facility.
XVI. CERTIFIED/INSURED CORRESPONDENCE:
An offender shall be permitted to send mail either certified or insured. The
additional cost for these services shall be the responsibility of the offender. The
facilities shall ensure that the offenders are made aware of the availability of these
services.
Offenders shall be permitted to receive certified mail. In cases where certified
mail is received at a facility for an offender housed at the facility, the facility shall
sign for the mail. The facility shall maintain a log for all certified mail received.
This log shall include the name of the staff person who signed for the mail, the
date the mail was received, the name of the offender, the date the mail was
processed and disposition of the mail (i.e. whether it was delivered to the
offender, forwarded to the offender at another address or returned to sender). An
offender cannot refuse to accept certified mail.
Operational procedures shall be developed to process requests for sending mail
certified or insured and for the delivery of certified/insured mail received at the
facility.
XVII. FORWARDING OF CORRESPONDENCE FOLLOWING OFFENDER'S
RELEASE:
Correspondence received for an offender who has been transferred or released
shall be forwarded to the offender's last known address. Such correspondence

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OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE
shall be forwarded to the offender in the most cost effective and expeditious
manner. When possible and appropriate, the correspondence shall be forwarded
using the same carrier by which it was delivered. A reasonable delay may exist
between the time the correspondence is received and its subsequent forwarding to
an offender who is in the legal custody of the department but is housed at a
different location or who has been released. When forwarding correspondence,
staff shall follow the standards of the carrier delivering the correspondence. Staff
shall not place correspondence being forwarded in another envelope or box or
attach additional postage for forwarding, unless such is required by the carrier
delivering the item.
In those cases where an offender has been transferred to another department
facility, the facility previously holding the offender may hold correspondence and
transfer it with staff going to or from the facility currently holding the offender.
This method of forwarding correspondence may be used only if there are routine
trips between the facilities. In such cases, the forwarding of the correspondence
should not be delayed any longer than would be necessary if the correspondence
was forwarded using a mail carrier.
Facilities shall not be required to forward types of mail sent to offenders that
would not routinely be accepted for forwarding by the selected carrier. For
example, it is not necessary for a facility or program to forward bulk rate mail
sent to an offender who has been transferred or released. The facility shall mark
these items "Moved, Return to sender" and then return the item to the appropriate
carrier. Additionally, certain third class mail, i.e. advertisements and flyers, may
be disposed of rather than forwarded.
If an offender's forwarding address is not known any incoming correspondence
shall be returned to the sender as quickly as possible. There shall be no
unreasonable delay.
XVIII. SOLICITATION:
An offender shall not use the mail service to attempt to solicit funds or other
items of value. Offenders shall not use correspondence privileges to solicit or
otherwise commercially advertise for money, goods or services. For the
purpose of these administrative procedures, this prohibition includes advertising
for pen-pals. Offenders shall not be prohibited from corresponding with penpals; but, shall not place advertisements soliciting pen-pals. Offenders are
prohibited from receiving correspondence or materials from persons or groups
marketing advertising services or from subscribing to advertising services.
Offenders who post advertisements or have advertisements posted with the
assistance of another person shall be subject to disciplinary action. These

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OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE
prohibitions do not prohibit an offender from requesting funds from immediate
family members (as defined in the administrative procedures for Policy 04-01104, “Inmate Trust Funds”) or friends on the offender’s visitor list. However,
these requests may be prohibited if the offender is engaging or attempting to
engage in illegal or prohibited acts in connection with these requests for funds.
An offender may request, in writing, permission from the Facility Head or
designee to ask other persons to send funds or contributions. A Facility Head
who suspects that an offender is soliciting funds or contributions may delay and
inspect or read the offender’s correspondence to determine whether the offender
is soliciting. If a decision is made to delay, censor or copy an offender’s
correspondence, the facility shall follow the procedures indicated in Procedure
XII.
An offender may be suspected of solicitation if the offender receives frequent or
large amounts of money from persons not approved. The single or random
receipt of small amounts of money (such as $ 25.00 or less), from persons who
have not been approved, shall not be considered solicitation nor shall the monies
be considered prohibited property. If an offender receives large amounts of
funds or receives funds frequently from a person not approved or if the facility
has other reasons to believe that an offender is soliciting funds, the Facility
Head may authorize the delay of the offender's correspondence, incoming and
outgoing, to inspect for evidence of solicitation. The Facility Head must
authorize in writing whenever an offender's mail is delayed and/or copied. If
evidence is present that an offender is soliciting or attempting to solicit, the
correspondence may be copied as evidence for a conduct report. In all cases
where an offender's mail is delayed and/or copied, the offender shall be given a
completed State Form 11984, "Notice and Report of Action Taken on
Correspondence." The original correspondence shall be given to the offender
after the appropriate action has been taken.
An offender suspected of soliciting may be charged with a violation of Code
234, Code 361, or Code 465, of the disciplinary procedures. The alleged
violation shall depend upon the perceived severity of the violation and/or
whether disciplinary action for this type of violation has been taken previously.
Use of a Code 234 will be reserved for the most serious instances of solicitation,
such as those where a criminal intent can readily be established. If found guilty,
the sanctions imposed shall be in accordance with the appropriate disciplinary
procedure.
An offender who with the intent of obtaining money or property from a person
who is not an offender, knowingly or intentionally:

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(1) makes a misrepresentation to the other person to obtain or attempt to obtain
money or other property from the other person; or
(2) obtains or attempts to obtain money or other property from the other person
through a misrepresentation made by another person
Commits “Inmate Fraud,” a Class C felony.
The Department is authorized to disclose or receive information to a person who
is or may be the victim of inmate fraud in order to determine whether the offender
has committed “Inmate Fraud.”
Any funds that are received and are suspected to be improperly solicited or
received as part of an “Inmate Fraud” shall be held until a determination of
guilt. If the offender is found guilty, the funds shall be returned to the sender.
If the sender is unknown, the funds shall be placed in the Inmate Recreation
Fund as confiscated monies. Funds in the offender's Inmate Trust Fund account
shall not be frozen or confiscated. The only exception to this condition is if a
suspected victim contacts the facility and indicates that he/she has been a victim
of the offender and requests restitution. In such cases, the alleged victim must
provide sufficient evidence that the offender has been soliciting to allow a
Conduct Report to be written. The Disciplinary Hearing Body may order the
offender to pay restitution upon a finding of guilt. If restitution is ordered and
the offender does not have sufficient funds in the Inmate Trust Fund, the
Disciplinary Hearing Body may authorize the Business Office to place a hold on
the offender's account until the solicited funds are repaid to the victim. Only
court orders, previously imposed sanctions of restitution, medical co-payments
and commissary purchases of basic hygiene/over-the-counter medications shall
take precedence over this restitution.
XIX. PRINTED MATTER:
An offender may acquire or possess printed matter on any subject. However,
printed matter shall be inspected and may be excluded if the matter is contraband
or prohibited property. An offender must receive printed matter mailed directly
from the publisher, the distributor or an accredited institution of higher learning,
unless the offender or the sender receives prior approval from the Facility Head to
receive the printed matter from another source.
Printed matter which threatens the security of the facility or program, contains
multiple copies or has an invoice indicating an amount due shall be considered
prohibited property. Examples of the types of publications or materials that are

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considered prohibited property and shall be excluded include, but are not limited
to, those:
A.

Depicting or describing procedures for the construction or use of weapons,
ammunition, bombs or incendiary devices;

B.

Depicting, describing or encouraging methods of escape from correctional
facilities, or contains blueprints, drawings or similar descriptions of
correctional facilities;

C.

Depicting or describing procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages
or the manufacture of drugs;

D.

Written in code;

E.

Depicting, describing or encouraging activities which may lead to the use
of physical violence or group disruption;

F.

Encouraging or instructing in the commission of criminal activity; or,

G.

Any publication that features nudity or any other material depicting
nudity.
The term “nudity” means a pictorial depiction where genitalia or female
breasts are exposed.
The term “features” means the publication contains depictions of nudity or
sexually explicit conduct on a routine or regular basis or
promotes itself based upon such depictions in the case of individual onetime issues. The following are examples of commercial publications
which, based on current practices of the publisher, may be distributed to
inmates even though they may contain nudity because the publication does
not feature nudity as defined above:
•
•
•
•

National Geographic
Our Body, Our Selves
Sports magazine swimsuit issues
Lingerie catalogues

Any publication may change a single issue or its general policies and
practices at any time which would make it acceptable or unacceptable for
distribution. The above examples are guidelines only and are subject to
change.

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Title

OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE
For purposes of this section, written text in the publication does not
qualify a publication as containing nudity.
This prohibition includes personal photographs of nude persons, as well as
photographs of nude persons taken from books, magazines, electronic
media, or other sources, that are sent to offenders in or with letters or other
mailings. Printed materials that contain nudity for educational, medical or
anthropological purposes are not included in this prohibition; however,
they shall be reviewed on a case by case basis to ensure that they are in
compliance with these administrative procedures.
H.

Containing sexually explicit material which by its nature or content poses
a threat to the security, good order or discipline of the facility or facilitates
criminal activity.
The term “sexually explicit” means a pictorial depiction of actual or
simulated sex acts including sexual intercourse, oral sex, or
masturbation.
For purposes of this section, written text in the publication does
not qualify a publication as sexually explicit.
However,
publications with a sexual content will be reviewed on a case by
case basis and are subject to exclusion if they pose a threat to the
security or good order of the facility or facilitate criminal activity.
Such publications may include those that contain printed or
written depictions of:
•
•
•
•
•
•

Deviate sexual conduct (as defined in IC 35-42-4-2);
Exhibition of the uncovered genitals in the context of
masturbation of other sexual activity;
Exhibition of the uncovered genitals of a person who appears
to be under sixteen (16) years of age;
Sado-masochistic abuse (as defined in IC 35-49-1-8); or,
Sexual intercourse or deviate sexual conduct with an animal;
Sexual conduct or sexual acts that are in violation of state or
federal statutes (e.g. rape, child molesting or exploitation,
vicarious sexual gratification, sexual battery, incest).

Printed matter that has been edited by the publisher, distributor or another
person in an attempt to circumvent the prohibition of sexually explicit
materials may not meet the requirements of these administrative
procedures. If the edited printed material still depicts sexual conduct that

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OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE
is not approved by these administrative procedures, the printed matter
shall be withheld from the offender.
Printed matter may not be excluded from an adult facility solely on the
grounds that it is obscene or pornographic, unless it is obscene under
Indiana law.
Printed matter that does not meet the Department’s standards may be
excluded only on an issue by issue basis. Printed matter obtained at a cost
for an offender must be pre-paid.
If it is determined that a portion of a publication is to be excluded from a
facility in accordance with the previous procedure, the entire publication
shall be excluded. Staff shall not attempt to remove the offending portions
of the publication and give the remainder to the offender. The offender
shall be advised that the publication is to be excluded. The offender shall
be provided with a State Form 21682 and allowed to determine a
disposition for the excluded publication.
Printed matter that is received at a facility that contains unsolicited items
that are considered prohibited property (such as computer disks, stickers,
music compact disks, etc.) or unsolicited advertisements that are not
appropriate shall be confiscated and not delivered to the offender. Staff
shall notify the offender of the inappropriate items. If the item can be
removed from the printed matter without damaging or destroying the
printed matter, the offender shall be given the option to accept the printed
matter without the objectionable item or sending the entire printed matter
out of the facility. If the offender decides to accept the printed matter
without the objectionable item, the offender shall be required to authorize
the facility to dispose of the item in the most appropriate manner.
An offender may file a grievance regarding the exclusion of printed
matter. If the offender files a grievance, the facility shall hold the
confiscated printed matter pending the resolution of the grievance. If the
offender grieves to the Regional Director/Operations level, the facility
shall ensure that an adequate description of the printed matter is sent to the
reviewing authority so that a decision may be rendered. If the reviewing
authority does not believe that the description is adequate to make a
decision, the reviewing authority may request that the confiscated printed
matter be sent to Central Office for review. If the decision of the Regional
Director/Operations is to uphold the decision of the facility, in addition to
notifying the offender and facility in accordance with the Offender
Grievance Process, the Deputy Commissioner/Operations, if not the

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person making the decision, shall be notified. Upon notification, the
Deputy Commissioner or designee shall notify all facilities that the printed
matter has been excluded so that there will be consistency in regards to the
printed matter that is permitted in the facilities.
XX.

DISPOSITION OF EXCLUDED OR CONFISCATED CORRESPONDENCE:
The disposition of excluded or confiscated correspondence may be challenged by
an offender in accordance with policy 00-02-301, "The Offender Grievance
Process," unless otherwise directed by an order of a court.
Correspondence that is excluded or confiscated shall be retained pending
exhaustion of the grievance process. If the correspondence is found to be
legitimately confiscated or excluded, it shall be disposed of in accordance with:
A.

Safety and security of the facility or program;

B.

Any applicable statute or promulgated rule; and,

C.

Convenience of the department.

Prior to the disposition of the correspondence, or property that has been removed
from correspondence, the facility shall ensure the offender has the opportunity to
indicate the preferred disposition. State Form 21682, DISPOSITION OF
OFFENDER PERSONAL PROPERTY/CORRESPONDENCE, shall be
completed and signed by the offender, in the presence of staff, prior to the
disposition. In those cases where the offender refuses to complete State Form
21682, staff shall indicate this refusal on the form. The completed State Form
21682 shall be filed in the offender's facility packet. Should the confiscated or
excluded property be determined to be contraband, the facility shall not be
required to follow this procedure.
If it is determined that the correspondence shall not be permitted, the department
shall contact the offender and request that the offender advise as to what
arrangements are to be made concerning the disposition of the correspondence.
Any costs for forwarding correspondence shall be the responsibility of the
offender.
Confiscated or excluded correspondence shall be disposed of within 15 days from
the date of the final decision. If the offender does not provide the necessary
information to dispose of the correspondence within the 15 days time period, the
facility may dispose of the correspondence in an appropriate manner.

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POLICY AND ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEDURES
Indiana Department of Correction

Manual of Policies and Procedures
Number

Effective Date

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Page

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Title

OFFENDER CORRESPONDENCE
Operational procedures shall be developed to indicate how censored, excluded or
confiscated correspondence or property will be handled.
XXI. APPLICABILITY:
These administrative procedures are applicable to all Department facilities and to
all offenders committed or sentenced to the department.

___Signature on File ___________
Edwin G. Buss
Commissioner

_____8/14/08__________________
Date

 

 

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