Starting on March 1, 2012, you will be seeing “Return to sender” on letters you send to inmates in our county jail. Beginning on March 1, our Detention Center inmates will only be allowed to receive postcards from the outside world. This is only for incoming mail and will not apply to legal or outgoing mail. All inmates will still be able to receive legal mail and will be able to mail regular letters to their family and friends.
There are two reasons for implementing this change. First, this will assist detention center staff in the reduction of contraband into the facility, such as tobacco, illegal drugs, and inappropriate photos and drawings. Second, the change will allow detention staff to put their focus on more important issues, such as inmate safety. Under the current mail policy, we have to open approximately 100 letters a day and inspect for contraband before passing mail out to detainees, which is staff intensive. Relieving staff members of the need to check incoming mail for contraband will allow them to attend to other matters, such as inmate medical needs, inmate movements, update inmate records, and so forth.
Several other facilities in the state, such as Garland County in Hot Springs, have instituted a similar policy regarding incoming mail. Their policy changes have met with great success in allowing officers to concentrate on more critical matters in detention center operation and inmate safety. With the number of inmates housed at the Union County jail versus the limited staff, the benefits of this policy change become clear.
We thank you for your patience during this transition in inmate mail policies.
Money Orders may still be mailed to be placed on the inmate’s commissary account. Money orders should continue to be made out in the inmate’s name. However, the envelope should be addressed to the Sheriff’s Office. If the envelope is addressed to the inmate, it will be returned to sender, unopened.