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Federal Prison Visitation, Phones, Packages & Mail Use this forum to discuss Federal prison Visitation info & issues, Phones, Packages & Mail issues & topics.

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  #1  
Old 08-01-2017, 10:59 PM
Dissonance Dissonance is offline
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Question Self-surrender soon, a few questions: Visits, phones & mail limits?

I have read a lot on this board so far and am very close to my surrender date. There are a few technicalities that I would appreciate some clarification on as I get ready and compile things like my list of contacts. I'm asking several questions at once so if someone does not know everything I would be grateful if you can help by answering what you do know.

I will be pretty far from my family and friends and my goal is to do my best to keep in touch with everyone via phones, corrlinks, the mail, and any allowed method. I am going to a camp, so if rules are different between security levels I am looking for answers applicable to my situation. To that effect:

1. Phones

a) Limit to number of phone numbers - It was unclear to me if there's a limit on the number of friends/family members one can get approved to call.

b) Temporary authorization for family members - I read somewhere that, at least for visits, people in your PSR or immediate family members can get temporary approval pending official visitation forms. Is the same true for phone calls? ie: would I have to get formal approval before talking to my parents or would I have a grace period if they are in my PSR?

c) Multiple phone numbers for the same person - Is it allowed to have multiple phone numbers for a specific individual? Are there any disadvantages that would mean I should only get a single number for a person approved even if I have more than one way to contact them?

d) Attorney phone calls - I have read that calling attorneys requires a special request out to staff so the call isn't monitored. Do attorneys have to be approved ahead of time and put on a list?

2. Corrlinks/email

a) Does staff have to approve who you want to email - It seems like this isn't the case and that what happens is the person you are trying to reach has to agree to correspond. I just want to double check.

b) Is there a limit to email contacts - Are we allowed to add as many email addresses as agree to approve us, or is there a limit on the contacts we can maintain?

c) Attorney emails - Is there a separate section to add a lawyer to corrlinks, or is all email monitored regardless of whether you are emailing someone with whom communication would be privileged?

3. Good ol' fashioned snail mail

Are inmates pretty much allowed to send letters to whomever (unless legally barred such as by court order, restraining order, etc. if applicable)? Or is there an approval process to create an approved recipient just like with phones or visitation?

4. Books and magazines

Censorship? - I'm basically looking for what amount of censorship is enforced on what can be received and read. There seems to be a standard disclaimer such as one can't receive something that disturbs the good order and safety of the institution (or something like that). However, that doesn't seem to be well defined. I understand that getting publications about guns or breaking out are prohibited but I don't know what else.

For example, if someone sent me a few of the books that the series Game of Thrones is based on (which includes plenty of fantasy violence, foul language, and explicit sexuality) is that allowed or not allowed? Is there any general restriction on the type of fiction or non-fiction?

In terms of magazines, do they allow men's magazines such as Maxim? (also, Playboy also recently stopped being a nude magazine) Are these allowed? Or do they not care and one can basically get Penthouse without any issues? I don't mean to be crude, but if I know the limits of the rules I will know how to not get in trouble. And, I would make sure someone doesn't inadvertently send me something that would cause problems.

Those are my questions at the moment. I again appreciate any help or advice.
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  #2  
Old 08-02-2017, 06:53 AM
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1a, yes there is a limit, ask your bop counselor what it is in that prison
1b. If they are listed as immediate family in your PSI, they may not have to file a visitor's application. As with 1a (and lots of other issues) it may be prison/counselor specific.
1c, yes, and cellphones are OK, so the same person may have more than one number.
1d, your counselor and your lawyer will know.

2, I don't know except that you will have to send an "invitation" to each person, and they must reply to that email to be added to your Corrlinks list.

3. You can write anyone, and anyone (except another federal inmate) can write to you.

4. Magazines that show complete nudity are not allowed. Maxim is usually OK. Censorship doesn't happen, if they don't like the content of a letter, or a book/magazine, It will be rejected and returned to the sender (or the inmate if they initiated the issue). Congress passed laws forbidding nudity, movies above a PG 13 rating, and books about guns, escapes, jury nulification, etc.

All phone calls are recorded and kept forever.
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Old 08-04-2017, 10:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbopnomore View Post
Censorship doesn't happen, if they don't like the content of a letter, or a book/magazine, It will be rejected and returned to the sender (or the inmate if they initiated the issue). Congress passed laws forbidding nudity, movies above a PG 13 rating, and books about guns, escapes, jury nulification, etc.
I guess I should define that what I meant by censorship is they'd send back the material and not let it get to me. I wasn't implying that they'd take the time to black out lines/passes or rip out offending pages. If they don't want something, they'd just not let it in the facility.

So, the example of the Game of Thrones books. They're pretty much at the extreme of what I would read while containing gore and sexuality and it is popular mass-market. Would they let that in or is that too extreme for them due to any rules or policies?

If there's a link to what was itemized in Congress's law or BOP policy listing specific prohibited content I'd appreciate seeing it if possible. Maybe it's just my mentality, but even if I wasn't planning on it I'd like to know what goes before the "etc." so I know what is to be avoided at all costs. And then just what they do with the "etc." part as that's up to their individual discretion.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:40 AM
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Here's a link to a findlaw article about a lawsuit filed by a bop inmate who objected to the law restricting what the mail they can receive can contain. It goes beyond mail, movies that are rated above PG 13 are forbidden too.

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-11th-circuit/1274666.html
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Old 08-05-2017, 01:27 PM
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Thank you for the link. The case basically focuses on appeal rights in PLRA cases, so it is not really a discussion of publications per se. However, it does reference BOP Program Statement 5266.07 which talks about mail and publications. For propriety, this has since been supplanted with Program Statement 5266.11 (It seems that the digits after the period are the date of publication). I would link to it, but I don't yet have a post count on this board that would allow me to do so.

The program statement seems to answer my questions as to books. If anyone is curious as to the topic, here are a few things that I got from it:

Section 2 - Only the Warden may reject an incoming publication. In the Warden's absence, only the Acting Warden may perform this function.

This mostly alleviates my fear that incoming mail/book screening and rejection would be at the discretion of an individual guard.

Under Sexually Explicit - Section 3 For purposes of this section, written text does not qualify a publication as sexually explicit.

So, I would interpret this to mean most mass-market books are safe. (unless they are judged to be "detrimental to the security and good order of the institution")

There is also a bullet list in the first section talking about how things that come from the news, are of informative nature, or opinions on health or reproductive issues should generally be admitted. Further, they should try to allow literary publications or material that has "scholarly value, or general social or literary value".

To me, this basically means that most books are okay as long as you use common sense and don't ask someone to send you a book on escaping federal prison. I was worried that they'd start interpreting books to see if it was the literary equivalent of PG-13.
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Old 08-05-2017, 04:42 PM
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I can't say who compiles the list of inappropriate publications, it may be the warden, the region or the bop's national office, but I guarantee that one exists. If a banned publication is received, it is rejected in the mail room. It's not only nudity, but also includes National Rifle Assn. and any other "gun"/military magazines too.

By the way, the bop also closed all Chapel libraries for a time, until the courts intervened, because of the "subversive literature" contained in the Holy books. Not images, but text the bop disliked. You can predict which religions they were most worried about since the prisons that restrict all outside communications are full of those "domestic terrorists".

The program statement almost sounds like the warden reviews a pile of magazines provided by the mail room, but that is obviously misleading. You will learn that bop program statements are used to control inmates, and they are regularly ignored by the bop employees. Knowing how they will be enforced, or ignored is often the question of the day.
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Old 08-05-2017, 06:58 PM
Dissonance Dissonance is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fbopnomore View Post
The program statement almost sounds like the warden reviews a pile of magazines provided by the mail room, but that is obviously misleading. You will learn that bop program statements are used to control inmates, and they are regularly ignored by the bop employees. Knowing how they will be enforced, or ignored is often the question of the day.
I was speaking about books in my few latest posts. It seems pretty clear that the facility will already know (for the most part) which magazines they want and don't want. At least from the program statement, they will go easier on books such as fiction unless they're pretty extreme or "out there". Not planning on doing anything out of the ordinary, just making sure I can read some George RR Martin.
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Old 08-06-2017, 06:01 AM
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I read over 150 books during my sentence, and none of them was ever questioned by anyone on the staff, even after unit/locker shakedowns. Also property limits (number of books or photos allowed) were almost always ignored, except when they were looking for a reason to mess with a particular inmate.
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