Inmate mail shall be handled according to applicable federal law, court rule and in accordance with correctional standards and jail rules.
- An inmate shall be allowed to send mail to any person or organization unless there are reasonable grounds to believe one or more of the following exists:
- The correspondence violates law or postal regulations
- The inmate is a suicidal risk
- There appears to be a plot against the security of the facility
- The correspondence concerns plans or schemes for criminal activity
- Sending correspondence violates a court order or bond condition
- All incoming mail, other than privileged mail, shall be in the form of a 4 inch by 6 inch pre-paid postcard. Photographs used as postcards are prohibited. This does not apply to legal mail.
- Incoming mail will be inspected for contraband and will not be read by staff unless there is a valid reason to suspect a security or criminal violation.
- Properly identified incoming attorney and court mail for an inmate shall be opened only in the presence of the inmate and its confidentiality shall be maintained.
- Mail will be considered legal mail if it is properly identified with a law firm or legal services provider name, address, attorney name, valid P number and designated as confidential legal mail. Mail meeting these criteria will be considered legal mail and will be delivered unless otherwise restricted.
- Incoming legal mail shall not be read by staff without a search warrant or probable cause that the communicative content of the mail poses an imminent threat to jail security.
- An inmate shall be allowed to send un-opened correspondence to representing counsel.
- Outgoing mail may be opened and inspected for contraband in instances where the validity of the protected correspondence cannot be verified.
- There shall be no correspondence between inmates lodged in the Newaygo County Jail.
- Any mail or publication that could potentially affect the safety, security or good order of the jail shall not be delivered to the inmate and shall be returned to the sender or placed in the inmate’s property.
- Any mail that contains information regarding the manufacturing of weapons, explosives, incendiary devices, poisons, drugs or advocates disorder, riots or institutional disruption.
- Any mail/publications containing any of the following shall not be delivered:
- picture postcards
- sexually explicit drawings or images
- drawings, icons, symbols that may be considered gang related
- stickers, glitter, perfume
- drawings written in crayon, gel pen, glue or other similar substance
- depicting procedures for manufacturing alcoholic beverages
- local news papers
- Drawings written in pencil or regular pen ink will be permitted with the above exceptions.
- Third class mail shall not be delivered.
- Personal checks are not accepted.
- Stamps, envelopes or paper (available thru the commissary)
- Any mail deemed undeliverable by jail staff shall be stamped “Return to Sender” and the reason indicated. This shall constitute notice to the addresser of the decision not to deliver the mail.
- If mail is RTS the inmate addressee will be notified via the “Mail Return to Sender Notice” form that will be completed by staff and delivered to the inmate.
- Addressers of mail that is returned may appeal the decision to the Lieutenant. This must be done in writing and must contain recipient information and sender’s contact information.
- Addressee inmates who wish to file an appeal may do so via an inmate request form (kite) to the jail lieutenant.
- All appeals must state “Mail Appeal” and include the reasons the person filing the appeal feels the decision was incorrect. The filer of the appeal will be notified of the decision.
- The jail lieutenant receiving the appeal will consider the appeal and render a decision. This decision is final and cannot be appealed. If the lieutenant is unable to make a decision, two other administration members will be consulted and a majority decision rendered. This majority decision is final and cannot be appealed further.
- Factors that will be considered during the appeal include whether the mail meets jail policy requirements. Also whether it contains contraband or adversely affects safety, security or the good order of the jail.
- For non-inmate addressers, details of how to file an appeal are posted in the jail lobby and on the sheriff’s website under INMATE MAIL.
- For inmates, the details of how to file an appeal are posted in housing units and in the inmate rulebook.
- The quantity of mail that an inmate may keep will be limited so as to not create a safety or fire hazard. If, in the opinion of the jail command staff, the amount of mail is excessive, then an inmate must dispose of the excess mail or store it in his/her property locker.
No inmate mail, whether incoming or outgoing, will be held for more than (24) twenty four hours, excluding weekends or holidays.