Unauthorized Mail

Corrections Officers/Clerical personnel are authorized to open and inspect incoming mail to prevent receiving contraband or any materials that could secrete contraband and other materials that could threaten the security and order of the facility through the mail, and to prevent criminal activity.  Mail to or from inmates will be rejected based on specific and articulated legitimate facility interests of order and security and/or for any reason identified in policy.


Incoming mail that contains contraband will be returned to sender.


Packages are not allowed except for those that contain publications or legal mail.


Inmates may receive publications as follows, provided they meet the requirements of policy if:
  • There is assurance that the sender did not have the ability to tamper with the mailing prior to receipt.
  • Publications have not been altered after publication (e.g., pages or portions of pages removed, extraneous markings, etc.).
  • Publications and catalogs are sent directly from the publisher or bona fide bookstore/retailer.  (e.g. Amazon.com):
    • Publications (i.e., reproduced handwritten, typed/printed, or pictorial materials including paperback books, periodicals, newspapers, magazines, and pamphlets).
    • Catalogs (i.e., a publication predominantly or substantially focused on offering items for sale)
  • Items such as product samples, CDs, DVDs, etc. will be removed from publications and placed in the inmate’s property.  Items such as perfume samples will be discarded.
  • Any ribbon or bookmarks attached or included with any publication will be cut away and discarded.

Incoming mail will not be allowed for any of the following reasons:

  1. Illegal items, hazardous materials, explosives, deadly weapons, alcoholic beverages, drugs, tobacco products, controlled substances, food, and any item that is controlled, limited, or prohibited on the grounds or within the secure perimeter of a correctional facility.
  2. Items such as correction tape, fluids, crayon, marker, drawings, metal clasps, staples, lipstick, glitter, stains, perfume, glue, adhesives, rubber inked stamps, or stickers/labels.
  3. The inmate is not in custody.
  4. A photo wherein the non-photo side is, or can be, separated from the photo side of the picture.
  5. Multiple copies of the same photo.
  6. Stamps or other envelopes.
  7. Mail containing another inmate's correspondence.
  8. Blank greeting cards or postcards.
  9. Cards, posters, and calendars that are padded, laminated/layered
  10. Musical cards.
  11. Cash or personal check(s).
  12. Non-paperback book.
  13. Mail purported to be legal mail, but upon visual scanning for contraband is determined to be general correspondence.
  14. Mail to or from an individual with whom contact is restricted by a court.
  15. Mail containing threats of physical harm against any persons or any other threats of criminal activity.
  16. Mail containing blackmail or extortion threats.
  17. Mail that is contraband or could secrete contraband, or relates to sending contraband in or out of the facility.
  18. Mail depicting or describing the procedures for constructing or using weapons, ammunition, bombs, or incendiary devices.
  19. Mail containing plans to escape, or mail depicting or describing blueprints or operational detail of an existing facility's security devices (e.g., locks, electronics, facility grounds/ buildings, etc.).
  20. Mail containing plans for activities in violation of facility rules or for criminal activity.
  21. Mail that violates facility rules.
  22. Mail that appears to be in code.
  23. Maps, charts (e.g., topographical, nautical), or aerial photographs of any kind, with the exception of those received by the facility libraries.
  24. Mail containing information that, if communicated, could create a risk of violence and/or physical harm to any person.
  25. Mail that is not addressed to a specific inmate.
  26. Hand delivered mail, except from process servers or attorneys.  All other correspondence must come through the U.S. Mail.
  27. Mail that is sexually explicit or obscene:
    • The term sexually explicit or obscene refers to any pictorial representation that is intended for sexual gratification and shows male or female genitalia, full frontal nudity, partial nudity, dressed provocatively or depicts any of the following sexual behaviors:
    • One or more of the participants appears to be:
      • Non-consenting,
      • A minor, or a minor alone is depicted in a sexually suggestive way,
      • Acting in a forceful, threatening, or violent manner,
      • Dominating one or more of the other participants,
      • In a submissive role, or
      • Degraded or humiliated, or appears to willingly engage in behavior that is degrading or humiliating,
        1. Bodily excretory behavior that appears to be sexual in nature,
        2. Bestiality, sadomasochistic behavior, and/or bondage, or
        3. Sexual acts including, but not limited to, intercourse/penetration, sodomy, fellatio, cunnilingus, analingus, or masturbation.
  28. Mail that is deemed a threat to specific and articulated legitimate penological objectives.
  29. Mail advocating that any group is inferior based on national origin, race, color, religion, age, gender, marital status or status as a state registered domestic partner, sexual orientation, status as a Vietnam Era Veteran, Wartime Veteran, or Disabled Veteran, or the presence of a physical, mental, or sensory impairment and makes such group the object of ridicule and scorn, and may reasonably be thought to precipitate a violent confrontation between the recipient and a member(s) of the target group.
  30. Cassette tape(s) or CD(s).
  31. Mail without an identifiable author/sender.
  32. The outside of the envelope or package does not contain a return address as defined in policy.
  33. Mail containing markings of gang symbols or symbols of other groups that may reasonably be thought to precipitate violence.
  34. Other items that threaten the security and order of the facility or the inmate's treatment as identified by the Corrections Department Captain/designee such as Security Threat Group (STG) related mail, drawings, pictures as identified by an STG Officer.

    Benton County    620 Market Street    Prosser, Washington 99350
    Phone: (509) 786-5710 or (509) 783-1310
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