Temporary Changes to Mail Delivery Process: The Minnesota Department of Corrections (MN DOC) has seen an increase in contraband coming into correctional facilities. Some of this contraband includes harmful material such as drugs that are mailed within or even on mailed items. The health and safety of the department’s staff, incarcerated people, and community members are the top priority of the agency. The MN DOC continually evaluates and introduces new ways to improve the safety of everyone at our facilities. As part of this effort, the department will conduct a pilot program of the mail delivery process within several of our facilities over a six-month period, beginning October 12, 2022.
During this temporary program, there may be differences in mail delivery methods, including copying of mail, restricting items coming in, and providing copies of mailed items to incarcerated people, among other methods to study the reduction of contraband coming into a facility. Mail is a vitally important connection point for people with their family and friends, so this pilot program intends to continue mail procedures with an enhanced focus on safety.
The department’s Policy 302.020 Mail is still applicable. The only changes an incarcerated person may encounter during this temporary pilot program is in the delivery method of their mail. If an incarcerated person receives a copy of incoming mail, the MN DOC will retain the original mail for 30 calendar days, however, there will be no option to appeal to receive the original. This timeframe will be used to investigate any questions, discrepancies, or appeals of non-deliveries that arise. The original items may be returned to the sender within the 30-day retention period at the recipient’s expense. If no action is taken within the 30-day retention period, the item(s) will be disposed of.
The safety of everyone and the reduction of dangerous contraband into our facilities is the biggest goal of these changes to the mail delivery process. The findings of this pilot program will be used to inform any future changes in mail delivery, policies, and other agency procedures. To anyone sending mail during this study period, thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
How to send mail to incarcerated individuals:
Incoming Mail: With the exception of special/legal mail, incoming mail is opened and reviewed for the presence of contraband (i.e. drugs, tobacco, weapons, pornography). Incoming mail must include the incarcerated individuals commitment or department recognized legal name and Identification (OID) number.
Incoming mail may include: paper with words/drawings; photographs (Polaroid photos must have the backing removed); periodicals and published materials shipped from the publisher; and clippings or photocopies of published materials that meet criteria. Signed, commercial greeting cards and post cards are allowed, however cards that play music or have electronically recorded material on them are prohibited.
Incoming mail is limited to 16 ounces per item. A maximum of 20 photographs are allowed per envelope or mailing. A mailing is defined a two or more mailed items from the same sender received on the same day. Polaroid photographs must have the backing removed.
Send mail (not money) to:
Name and OID# (Identification Number)
MCF- (facility name where inmate is housed)
Special/Legal Mail: Special and legal mail may be sent or received in a sealed envelope. Incoming special/legal mail will be opened only in the presence of the incarcerated person. Staff may check the contents to ensure that the mail is legal or official in nature. Legal mail is logged. Legal mail includes correspondence to or from courts, court staff and attorneys.
Special mail includes correspondence to or from state and federal elected/appointed/regulatory agencies and officials.
Envelopes addressed to PO Box 1000 with a return address indicating "special" or "legal will be opened by corrections staff in the incarcerated person's presence. Please address all legal/special mail to their home facility address.
Un-allowed Mail: For safety and security purposes, the content of mail is regulated. Mail is denied that involves criminal activity; is identified as security threat group related; requests gifts or money from unrelated individuals, contain photos of staff, is coded material, contains unsanitary items such as hair, saliva, body secretions; certain sexually explicit situations including sexual intercourse, bodily excretory functions, sadism or bondage; personal photos displaying nudity by definition; and material advocating inferiority of an ethnic, racial or religious group.
Correspondence Review Authority: Each facility has a Correspondence Review Authority to review denied mail. Within a specified time frame, incarcerated individuals may request a review of their denied mail by the Correspondence Review Authority.
Forwarding Mail: First class mail and subscriptions will be forwarded for 60 days. After 60 days, or if a forwarding address is unavailable, the item will be returned to the sender.