How Is Mail Processed in a Prison?

Have you ever wondered about the process your mail goes through before making it to your incarcerated loved one? There may be more to it than you think. The general process is that the mail is shipped, sorted, scanned for contraband, and then given to the inmate. However, it is not always that simple, as correctional facilities can face many roadblocks in the mailroom. In today’s post, we break down the things you probably don’t know about mail processing in a prison.

How Is Mail Processed in a Prison?

Sometimes Mail Arrives Unsorted

Prisons use the U.S. Postal Service to handle their mail, however, not all use it to their advantage. Some facilities only use one mailbox to receive regular inmate mail, legal mail, and administrative mail — which all arrives at once, unsorted. This means that the prison has to use extra time and bandwidth of their employees to sort through these types of mail before they can be processed. 

Some Prisons Use Correctional Officers to Sort Through Mail

Most correctional facilities are overwhelmed with the amount of mail they receive and therefore have to process. Due to this, the mailroom workers are sometimes assisted by correctional officers with a light workload, or on the night shift while inmates are sleeping. They can assist with the separating of types of mail as well as search mail for contraband. For more information on what prisoners are allowed to receive, click here

Standard Mail Processing is Often Delayed

If it seems like your standard mail sent to your incarcerated loved one takes longer to arrive, that is due to the processing delays many prisons face. Legal and certified mail is processed immediately, while regular mail is set aside to be searched to identify items requiring more inspection. This includes mail with enclosures such as stamps, photos, money orders, or contraband. When something with contraband is found, the mail process for all mail comes to a halt while the contraband is addressed. This can cause long delays, as many facilities have their workers hand-write the forms about why the piece of mail is not accepted. 

Duplicate Logs Take Extra Time

The Prison Legal News found that prisons spend significant amounts of time creating duplicate logs when processing legal mail. Legal mail often gets priority over other mail in these facilities, but the double processing can take up a lot of time, creating delays for other types of mail. Many prisons require three types of logging for this mail: first on a hand-written form, then in a logbook used to record legal letters processed by date, and third, into an Excel database spreadsheet. Mailroom employees said this logging takes approximately an hour a day to complete, taking their time away from other types of mail, like personal photos.

Although it may face roadblocks and delays, sending mail to your incarcerated loved one is a great way to stay connected, which will benefit them in the long run. Pelipost is here to help you with this process and assure that your mail will be received by your incarcerated loved one. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

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