Posts tagged: postcards
Spokane County will pay $230,000 to settle a lawsuit over restrictions on jail inmates’ mail.
County commissioners and Sheriff’s Office officials also agreed Tuesday to abandon a policy of requiring messages from friends and families of prisoners to be written on postcards.
A consent decree negotiated with Prison Legal News also will prohibit other mail policies that county officials dropped less than a month after PLN filed suit Jan. 21.
Restrictions on inmate mail have loosened at the Spokane County Jail in response to a federal lawsuit filed on behalf of a prisoner rights publishing group.
While mail sent to inmates from friends and family remains limited to postcards, with jail staff citing security precautions as a primary reason, the restriction no longer applies to outgoing mail.
Also, the jail will make exceptions to the postcard-only rule for businesses and nonprofit organizations.
The changes were triggered by a lawsuit filed by lawyers for Prison Legal News, part of the nonprofit Human Rights Defense Center. The organization’s publications were being blocked from delivery to inmates because they weren’t postcards.
Past coverage: Aug. 14: Tight rein on jail mail
Mail to and from Spokane County Jail inmates will be restricted to postcards beginning Sept. 1.
The change will reduce the amount of time spent inspecting mail, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s office.
“Potentially hazardous substances can be secreted into envelopes which corrections officers have to open,” Sgt. Dave Reagan said in a news release.
Legal correspondence in envelopes still will be accepted, and inmates still are allowed to receive approved magazines, book and newspapers.
Incoming and outgoing mail will be restricted to 5.5” x 8.5” postcards.
Senders must include their full names and address, as well as the inmate’s first name, middle initial, last name and inmate identification number.
Postcards that don’t fit the requirements beginning Sept. 1 will be returned to sender. Mail without a return address will be returned to the post office.