FCI Mail Crack Down Hits Inmates Where It Hurts
For federal prison inmates, mail matters. Receiving mail helps keep a prisoner connected with loved ones and the outside world. For many prison inmates, hearing their name at mail call may the best part of their day.
FCI La Tuna Inmates Should Prepare For Changes
FCI La Tuna released a memo announcing multiple regulations regarding inmate mail, effective August 20, 2018. Under the new regulations, the child of an FCI La Tuna inmate is prohibited from sending a picture drawn in crayon. Greeting cards are also prohibited, and if an envelope smells of perfume, it is to be returned to sender.
Inmate and Personnel Safety
The memo expressed an intent to increase worker and inmate safety by attempting to reduce hard contraband via institutional mail. Where does one draw the line between safety measures and dehumanizing the inmates within the prison system?
Times Are Changing
In 2014, Huff Post reported on items to send inmates to ease the impact of a prison’s stark environment. In 2018, some of these items may be prohibited, depending on the prison in which the inmate is housed. Under FCI La Tuna’s upcoming regulations, inmates there would not be permitted to have the magazines or cards on the 2014 Huff Post list.
This Is Not A First
Other institutions employ similar inmate mail restrictions policies. In 2013, the Utah Department of Corrections prohibited inmates in Utah State Prison (Draper) and Central Utah Correctional Facility (Gunnison) from receiving pictures made with crayons and markers, and envelopes displaying decorative stickers. In 2018, FCI Coleman, in Florida, banned prisoners from receiving books, greeting cards and letters written in crayon or marker.
Don’t Stop Sending Mail
If you have a loved one serving federal prison time, check for restrictions and policy changes regarding what you can send your inmate. If magazines and newspapers are prohibited, consider scanning them on plain white paper. Scan children’s artwork and send the scanned version, if needed. While jumping through hoops can feel exhausting, keep in mind that your inmate needs connection to positivity and encouragement. Inmate mail creates such a connection, don’t give up.