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Inmate Mail and Publication policy

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Attention
All Visitors or Family Members of Inmates at the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office Detention Center. 

Effective July 1, 2016, The Coweta County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Mail and Publication policy will change. Publications (books/magazines) will no longer be accepted from the public or family members. To receive books inmates will have to have books mailed directly from a publisher or a bookstore. The books will have to be shipped PREPAID directly to the Detention Center by a publisher or bookstore addressed in the inmate's name. Magazines will no longer be accepted.
All incoming mail, with the exception of legal mail or other specifically approved items must be in metered or pre-stamped, postcard form. See full policy below.

I. Purpose
To establish guidelines to provide an efficient, lawful, safe, and supervised mail operation for inmates within the Coweta County Sheriff’s Office, detention facility.

II. Rationale
It is reasonable to believe that criminal enterprises operate within detention facilities and prison systems. Allowing inmate to inmate correspondence increases the likelihood of concerted criminal activity between the housing units within a specific institution or between other penal and detention facilities. Examples of this can be described as but not limited to simultaneous riot efforts, escape plans, criminal networking, drug trafficking, retribution plans and criminal street gang activity. (Turner v. Safely, 482 US 78)

Allowing stamps, multi-layered, greeting cards, hardback books, or photographs (Polaroid), adhesives, crayon, marker ink, lipstick, envelopes and /or objects with other unidentified substances or stains within the secure detention environment increases the ability for inmates and persons outside of the secure environment to smuggle contraband into or hide contraband within the facility. The prohibition of the said objects or substances is necessary in the preservation of order, discipline and security of the detention facility. (Bell v Wolfish, 441 US 520)

III. Definitions

Contraband
An item whose introduction or possession is prohibited within the detention facility or its guard line. Contraband may be items that are either illegal or legal, but prohibited by this facility. All items of contraband will be handled in the appropriate manner and will be either destroyed, placed in the inmate's personal property, or turned over to the evidence room for prosecution.

Non-Privileged Mail
Mail that inmates send to and/or receive from family, friends, and private organizations.

Legal or Privileged Mail
Mail that inmates send to or receive from their attorneys of record or with whom an attorney-client relationship has been established, the courts, or other court officials, as well as probation officers. Whenever an inmate receives mail from an attorney it shall be automatically presumed that an attorney-client relationship exists.

IV. Procedures

A. Incoming Mail
All incoming mail, except legal mail and other specifically approved items, must be in metered or pre-stamped postcard form.
All postcards shall contain the inmate's name and return address as follows:
Inmate's Full Name
Coweta County Jail
Pod, Section, and Cell Number
560 Greison Trail
Newnan, GA 30263

Acceptable Postcard Forms:
• Postcard minimum size requirements are 3.5 inches by 4.25 inches
• Postcard maximum allowable size is 4.25 inches by 6 inches
• Must be written in blue or black ink only
• Must be white in color and be either metered or contain a preprinted stamp

Unacceptable Postcard Forms:
• Defaced or altered postcards
• Plastic or wrappings on postcards
• Postcards marked with paint, crayons, or markers
• Postcards with labels or stickers
• Postcards with watermarks or stains
• Postcards with any biohazards, including perfume or lipstick
• Postcards depicting nudity, weapons, or gang references
• Postcards containing an affixed stamp

Legal mail and money orders are the only incoming inmate mail items that will be accepted in an envelope. Money Orders received in the mail will be applied to the specified inmate’s commissary account.

Publications (Books)
Publications will no longer be accepted from the public or family members.
To receive books in the mail inmates shall have books sent directly from a publisher or a bookstore.
Books will be shipped prepaid directly to the facility by the publisher or book store and shall be addressed in the inmate's name.
Inmate funds will not be used to pay for books or subscriptions.

The following criteria must be met:
• Books must be soft back or paperback and no larger than 9 1/2" x 6 1/2".
• Only new books shall be accepted - No magazines.
• Inmates may receive the “Newnan Times Herald” provided that the advertisements and inserts have been removed. If the newspaper contains additional writings or stains on the publication it will not be accepted.
• Inmates may have only four (4) books in their possession (One Bible or religious manual not included).
• All books shall be bound without the use of metal in any format.
• The “Newnan Times Herald” will be considered one of the four (4) total publications allowed. Inmates must discard their current newspaper in order to receive a new one. Any remaining newspapers shall be discarded/destroyed to prevent fire hazards within the cell blocks. Newspapers will not be stored within the inmate’s property or returned for pick-up. Any newspaper used for purposes other than reading will be considered contraband.
• Inmates may also receive “Prison Legal News”. Family or friends may subscribe to this publication online at www.prisonlegalnews.org. This publication may also be obtained by calling 561-360-2523 between the hours of 9:00AM and 6:00PM EST or email at info@prisonlegalnews.org
• Prison Legal News will be considered one of the four (4) total publications and is subject to the same regulations as an incoming book.
• Incoming publications will be documented on an Inmate Publication Form. The inmate and the Detention Officer delivering the publication will print and sign their names acknowledging the receipt off the publication(s).

Censorship
Books shall not contain the following, but not limited to:
• Pornography
• Sexual activity content
• Material that would encourage deviant sexual behavior
• Self-defense tactics related content
• Explosive related content
• Weapon related content
• Drug related content
• Gang related content
• Information that describes the killing of law enforcement
• Plans of violence or escape, blackmail, or extortion
• Material that depicts disorder or general safety of the facility in any way

The Jail Administrator or his designee reserves the right to refuse any book.
• When incoming books are rejected the inmate will be notified in writing by the rejecting officer and the books will be sent back to the publisher or bookstore.
• It is the responsibility of the inmate to contact the publisher or sender for reimbursement for rejected books.
• The detention facility is not responsible for lost or misplaced books, nor will the facility be responsible for any books received after the inmate is released from the facility.
• It will be the responsibility of the inmate to cancel any subscriptions.
• Books will not be held for later pickup. They will be returned to the sender.
• All accepted books shall have the first and last name of the inmate written on the leading page opposite the spine of the book.
• If an inmate is found in possession of a book addressed to another inmate the book will be confiscated, a report written, and the book will be destroyed.

Exchange of Books
• When an inmate has reached the maximum number of books (4), the inmate must provide the mail officer a book marked with the inmate's name to receive a new book. At that time the inmate may submit the book for pick-up or have the book discarded.
• The Detention Officer and the inmate will print and inmate sign a Publication Disposition Form that will be scanned into the inmate's digital record.
• Returned books from inmates must be picked up within two weeks or they will be donated to a local charity.
• No books will be placed into an inmate's property.

Altered or Damaged Books
All books with their covers removed, pages missing, or altered in any way will be considered contraband and discarded.

Photographs
• Up to five (5) photographs may be mailed to the Jail. The envelope must be clearly marked as "Photographs". Inmates may possess no more than ten (10) photographs.
• The photographs must not exceed 4 inches by 6 inches in size, must be unaltered, and may not contain any adhesives, such as stickers or labels or foreign substances.
• The inmate's name must be written on the back of each photograph in blue or black ink.
• All accepted photographs must be developed prints. No Polaroid pictures are authorized.
• No additional correspondence will be accepted with incoming photographs.
• All envelopes marked as "Photographs" will be opened and inspected. If additional contents are located in the envelope the entire package will be returned to sender.
• All envelopes will be discarded/destroyed.

Inappropriate Photographs
Photographs deemed to be inappropriate shall be returned to the sender. Inappropriate photographs are, but are not limited to, the following:
• If the picture depicts sexual activity or visibly exposes the breast, pubic area, or buttocks
• Pictures promoting or showing illegal activity
• Pictures containing gang signs or codes

B. Outgoing Mail
• All outgoing non-privileged mail shall be on pre-metered postcards.
• All outgoing legal mail will be clearly marked as such on the outside of the envelope.
• Outgoing legal mail will be verified by a shift supervisor to be such prior to leaving the facility.
• Outgoing legal mail will only be opened in the presence of the inmate when clear and convincing evidence of a security breach establishes good cause.
• There are no limitations on the amount of legal mail that can be sent or received by an inmate in this facility.
C. Restrictions on Non-Privileged Mail Quantity
• Inmates are only allowed to have twenty (20) postcards in their possession at any time. Any additional postcards are considered a fire hazard/contraband, they will be confiscated, and may be destroyed.
• Only upon the approval of a supervisor will postcards or photographs be stored in an inmate’s personal property.
• There are no restrictions on the number of letters inmates can mail out providing they have sufficient materials to do so.

D. Restrictions on the Addressee
The Jail Administrator or his designee in special circumstances may impose additional restrictions for situations such as intimidation of witnesses, harassment of any individual or family, court ordered restrictions, or correspondence with a minor whose parents or legal guardian may object.

E. Inspections for Contraband
All incoming or outgoing mail is subject to being opened and inspected for contraband, cash, checks, security threats, or pornography.
• Staff shall not read incoming or outgoing mail unless circumstances present a legitimate security interest. Street Gang or Hate Group references are considered a security interest and will be declared contraband.
• Mail originating from or intended for an attorney, court, or any elected official may only be opened in the inmate's presence, and then only inspected for contraband, cash, checks, security threats or pornography.
• The inmates will not be provided with the envelope from the incoming legal mail. The incoming envelopes will be discarded/destroyed.
• This inspection shall be completed by a shift supervisor and is for the strict purpose of ensuring contraband is not being sent from or received into this facility.
• This inspection shall be done in such a manner as not to violate the confidentiality of the communication.
• Legal mail must be marked and readily identifiable as legal mail before staff treat it as such.
• Inmates wishing to send out legal mail shall request a “Legal Mail Request” form. Upon receipt of the form, Detention Officers will provide an envelope to the inmate. The inmate will place the legal mail into the envelope in an unsealed condition. The legal mail will then inspected by a supervisor for contraband, sealed, and delivered to the Inmate Accounts representative for postage and mailing. Envelopes provided to an inmate for legal correspondence shall not be considered contraband.

F. Processing
• Incoming or outgoing mail shall be processed for regular distribution daily except for holidays and Mondays.
• Jail personnel will not retain an inmate's incoming or outgoing mail for more than 24 hours, excluding Sunday and holidays.
• All incoming mail will be inspected for contraband and scanned for security threats.
• Legal mail will only be opened in the presence of the inmate.
• If an officer mistakenly opens legal mail it should immediately notify a supervisor and write an Incident Report.
• Incoming mail addressed to an inmate that is no longer in the facility will be returned to the sender.
• Personnel will distribute mail only to the inmate who is to receive the postcard or legal mail.
• Mail will not be handled or distributed by another inmate.
• Hand delivered mail will not be accepted.
• Personnel shall collect outgoing mail daily.
• All mail must have a return address and correct postage before being delivered to the USPS.
• All outgoing mail will be stamped:
Coweta County Sheriff’s Jail, This letter is being mailed by an inmate of this facility. The administration has not reviewed the contents.
• If mail is rejected during processing the inmate will be notified in writing by the Inmate Accounts clerk or a detention supervisor.
• The inmate will have the right to appeal to the Jail Administrator.
• The sender of the mail may also appeal the rejection in person or in writing to the Jail Administrator.

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