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Bop Change Notice Inmate Mail 1998

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U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Prisons


DATE: 8/19/98

1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE. To provide instructions for using the
United Parcel Service in all Bureau institutions, clarify
responsibility for processing and storing inmate funds, and
revise procedures for processing inmate mail addressed to the
Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Additionally, it clarifies the
use of metered mail strips and explains the use of the Bureau
security stamp.


a. Program Statement, Page 2: Section 5 makes reference to
Pretrial/Holdover procedures. Section 6 specifies that
Institution Supplements must be submitted for approval to the
appropriate Regional Inmate Systems Administrator.
b. Chapter 1, Page 4 & 5: Section 108 C redefines the term
“package” and requires that packages mailed from one Bureau
institution to another must bear the security stamp.
c. Chapter 2, Page 1: Section 202 A deletes the word
“Pre-metering” and replaces it with “prohibited metering.”
d. Chapter 2, Page 2: Section 204 adds UNICOR’s address and
FAX number for requesting/ordering stock.
e. Chapter 2, Page 4: Section 208 B specifies the authorized
use of the metered mail strip.
f. Chapter 3, Page 4: Section 305 deletes paragraphs “A” and
“B” and makes reference to “special mail” procedures in the
Correspondence Program Statement.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Page 2
g. Chapter 3, Page 8 & 9: Section 309 is expanded to describe
the manner in which unreceipted inmate funds received in the mail
shall be placed in a night depository. It also outlines
procedures for handling unsolicited funds.
h. Chapter 3, Page 9: Section 310 clarifies procedures when
packages authorized under other Bureau policies do not need a
BP-331 (BP-S331) or BP-383 (BP-S383).
i. Chapter 3, Page 10 & 11: Section 310 specifies that all
incoming inmate packages, excluding release clothing, will be
processed and inventoried on a BP-383 (BP-S383) form and that all
packages must be inventoried within 48 hours excluding weekends
and holidays.
j. Chapter 3, Page 13 & 14: Section 313 specifies that all
outgoing inmate mail will be handled in accordance with the
Correspondence Program Statement. This section also adds the
requirement for inmates to address all Internal Revenue Service
correspondence directly to the Chief, Criminal Investigation
k. Chapter 3, Page 15 & 16: Section 314 B and 315 specifies
the use of United Parcel Service (UPS) for forwarding inmate
packages at government expense.
l. Chapter 4, Page 2: Section 405 adds the requirement that
all incoming and outgoing registered inmate mail shall be logged
in a log book separate from staff mail.
m. Chapter 4, Pages 5 through 7: Section 412 outlines
procedures for using the United Parcel Service.

Program Statement
Table of Contents
Chapter 1, Pages 3
Chapter 2, Pages 1
Chapter 3, Pages 3
Chapter 4, Pages 1




Program Statement
Table of Contents
Chapter 1, Pages 3
Chapter 2, Pages 1
Chapter 3, Pages 3
Chapter 4, Pages 1



PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Page 3
4. ACTION. File this Change Notice in front of the Mail
Management Manual.

Kathleen Hawk Sawyer

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Prisons

DATE: March 5, 1997

1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE. To incorporate changes into PS 5800.10,
the Mail Management Manual.


a. A check or money order missing the inmate's name or
register number shall be posted to the inmate's account if his or
her name and register number are on the envelope and staff can
verify the inmate's identity (Review of Function initiative
b. Negotiable instruments incorrectly prepared (missing
committed name or register number) and when the inmate cannot be
identified on the envelope shall be returned to the sender, with
a letter of explanation, by first class mail.

Chapter 3, Pages 7 and 8

Chapter 3, Pages 7 and 8

4. ACTION. File this Change Notice in front of P.S. 5800.10,
the Mail Management Manual.

Kathleen M. Hawk

U.S. Department of Justice
Federal Bureau of Prisons



November 3, 1995
Mail Management Manual

1. PURPOSE AND SCOPE. To implement procedures for processing
all official and inmate mail as expeditiously and economically as
possible in accordance with this Manual.
Effective January 1, 1995, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS)
mandated that all government agencies use "Direct Accountability"
methods which require direct payment of postage through the use
of postage meters, business reply mail, or stamps, and eliminates
the "penalty indicia" currently used for official mail.

The expected results of this program

a. All official and inmate mail will be processed
expeditiously and efficiently.
b. All outgoing official mail will be processed using Direct
Accountability methods.


Directives Rescinded
PS 5800.06


Mail Management Manual (6/1/91)

Directives Referenced
PS 1320.03


Claims Under the Federal Tort Claims Act
Accounting Management Manual (10/15/86)
Correspondence (12/18/97)
Publications, Incoming (11/1/96)
Inmate Personal Property (9/30/96)
Inmate Systems Management Manual (12/24/91)
Receiving and Discharge Manual (6/15/93)

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Page 2


a. American Correctional Association 2nd Edition Standards for
Administration of Correctional Agencies: 2-CO-5D-01
b. American Correctional Association 3rd Edition Standards for
Adult Correctional Institutions: 3-4429, 3-4432, 3-4433, 3-4434,
3-4435, 3-4436, 3-4437 and 3-4438.
c. American Correctional Association 3rd Edition Standards for
Adult Local Detention Facilities: 3-ALDF-5D-01, 3-ALDF-5D-04,
3-ALDF-5D-05, 3-ALDF-5D06, 3-ALDF-5D-07, 3-ALDF-5D-08.
d. American Correctional Association Standards for Adult
Correctional Boot Camp Programs: 1-ABC-5D-01, 1-ABC-5D-05,
1-ABC-5D-06, 1-ABC-5D-07, 1-ABC-5D-08, 1-ABC-5D-09, 1-ABC-5D-10.


5. PRETRIAL/HOLDOVER PROCEDURES. The procedures required in
this Program Statement are applicable to pretrial and holdover
inmates, with exceptions for pretrial inmates noted in Chapter 3,
Section 313. Specific procedures for pretrial and holdover
inmates are included in Chapter 3, Section 307.
6. INSTITUTION SUPPLEMENT. Many requirements of this Manual are
security level related and are affected by local requirements.
The Institution Supplement must be submitted for approval to the
appropriate Regional Inmate Systems Administrator. It must
address, but is not limited, to the following topics:
a. Delivery and collection of mail (including special mail)
for inmates who do not have ready access to these services.

Distribution of official mail.


Delivery of inmate mail to housing units.


Allowance for receipt of publications.

e. Procedures for processing legal and special mail, to
include packages.
f. Processing mail into and out of special units (e.g.,
protective custody units).

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Page 3
7. DISTRIBUTION. Each institution may also provide a courtesy
copy to its local servicing post office.

Kathleen Hawk Sawyer

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Page i

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Supervisory Staff . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mail Room Security . . . . . . . . . . . .
Schedule of Operations . . . . . . . . . .
Publications and Requests for Guidance . .
Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Protective Clothing . . . . . . . . . . . .
Types of Mail . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Staff Personal Mail . . . . . . . . . . . .
Occupant or Current Addressee Mail . . . .
Authority for Disposal of Mail . . . . . .
Private Carriers . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Opening and Inspecting of Mail and Packages







Payment for Mailings . . . . . .
Use and Postage Meters . . . . .
Business Reply Mail . . . . . . .
Obtaining Official Mail Supplies
Official Mail Stations . . . . .
Forwarding Official Mail . . . .
Inmate Packages as Official Mail
Official Mail Processing . . . .











General . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Acknowledgments of Inmate (BP-407) . . .
Inmate Services Available . . . . . . . .
Processing Incoming Inmate Mail . . . . .
Special Mail . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
In/Out Processing for Special/Legal Mail
Incoming Depository at FDC/MCC/MDC's . .
Incoming Publications . . . . . . . . . .
Negotiable Instruments . . . . . . . . .
Inmate Package Mail - Incoming . . . . .
Unauthorized Material and Contraband . .
Rejected Correspondence . . . . . . . . .
Outgoing Inmate Letter Mail . . . . . . .
Inmate Packages - Outgoing . . . . . . .
Forwarding Inmate General Mail . . . . .








PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Page ii



COD Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Postage Due Mail . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Express Mail Service - Staff Official Mail
Registered Mail - Staff Official Mail. . .
Registered Mail - Inmate Use . . . . . . .
Insured Mail - Incoming. . . . . . . . . .
Insured Mail - Outgoing. . . . . . . . . .
Certified Mail - Staff Official. . . . . .
Certified Mail - Inmate Use. . . . . . . .
Box Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Mail Imprints. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
United Parcel Service. . . . . . . . . . .







Sensitive Units . . . . . . . .
Records . . . . . . . . . . . .
Forms . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Tort Claims by Inmates for Mail
Inmate Claims to the USPS . . .

. . . .
. . . .
. . . .
. . . .








P.S. 5800.10
November 3, 1995
Chapter 1, Page 1


Mail is the primary means of communication between inmates and
the community. As such, it is vital that mail be well-managed
and that services be provided professionally and expeditiously.
Management of mail in the correctional environment is an
especially demanding proposition. Staff must be familiar not
only with the processing of personal and official mail, but also
must be primarily aware of situations that can lead to breaches
of security and order in the institution.
Every contingency that arises cannot, as a practical matter, be
addressed in a program statement. Staff, therefore, must
exercise good judgement and common sense when questions arise for
which answers are not specifically provided.
Mail staff shall have daily contact with personnel of the United
States Postal Service (USPS) and the local Postmaster. Good
relationships shall be fostered so that mail problems can be
resolved to benefit both the USPS and the Bureau.


The Inmate Systems Manager shall be accountable for all functions
of the department including the processing of inmate and official
mail. Some institutions have an Assistant Inmate Systems
Manager, who shall assist the Inmate Systems Manager with
providing direct supervision to Inmate Systems Supervisors and
monitoring the mail room operations. The Inmate Systems
Supervisor shall monitor mail procedures to ensure the timely
processing, accountability and processing of funds, and proper
handling of special mail. Special care shall be given to the
detection of contraband and other prohibited acts.


Although extraordinary protection measures are not required, the
mail room shall be secure from immediate and casual entrance. A
window or half-door should be provided in order to conduct
business while excluding access. The mailroom should generally
be situated in a single room, without outside windows. Where
outside windows exist, they should be secured (e.g. security
screens) to prevent easy access.
The entrance to the mail room will be secure at all times.
Unauthorized personnel may not be permitted access to money or to
the forms and equipment used to process money.

P.S. 5800.10
November 3, 1995
Chapter 1, Page 2
Staff shall open all incoming mail, newspapers, magazines, books,
and packages and inspect the material for contraband prior to
Only one inmate at a time may be allowed to work in the mail
room. Inmates who are allowed to work in the mail room shall be
under constant and direct supervision and shall not have access
to mail, (including newspapers and magazines), certified or
special mail, packages, receipts, log books, or forms. Inmates
shall not be permitted, under any circumstances, to process or
deliver any class or type of inmate mail. Inmate work shall be
limited to janitorial and loading/unloading services. Addresses
shall be protected when inmates are loading/unloading bags and
boxes. When inmates assist in loading/unloading of packages,
mailroom staff shall ensure the packages are sealed prior to the
inmates access to the package. Inmates shall not be permitted
access to the mail room while first class or package mail is
All mailing labels, envelopes and other official preprinted
mailing supplies of the Bureau shall be secured and may not be
made available or accessible to inmates, under any circumstances.
The inmate clerk may deliver institution (e.g., official) mail
provided staff deposit this material in a locked container.
Inmates shall not be allowed to distribute inmate files, money,
medication, or any other sensitive material to which an inmate
should not have access.


The Bureau provides mail service to inmates on a five-day
schedule, Monday through Friday. Usually, weekend mail services
are not provided. Mail room staff shall hold "open-house" for
the general population at least twice a week and make regular
visits to administrative and special housing units. To ensure
inmates have the opportunity to address mail concerns, local
procedures must be developed in institutions where the general
inmate population does not have access to the mailroom.
Each Warden shall determine if local procedures are needed to
handle holiday mail. For example, weekend mail service may be
provided during the Christmas season and at other times when a
holiday occurs during the Monday through Friday period.


Each Inmate Systems Manager shall insure that a copy of the
following is current and in the mail room:

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 1, Page 3

Mail Management Manual


United States Postal Service (USPS) Domestic Mail Manual


Inmate Systems Management Manual and the Program Statements
on Correspondence, Inmate Personal Property, and Incoming
Publications (with related institution supplements)


USPS International Mail Manual, if warranted by local need.

The mail room staff shall notify the Inmate Systems Manager when
mail handling problems arise which are not clearly defined. The
Inmate Systems Manager shall then forward a written request for
guidance to the local servicing postmaster. Copies of the
correspondence and replies shall be retained in the mail room for
review. The Regional Inmate Systems Administrator and Central
Office Inmate Systems Administrator shall also be provided
Mail room staff shall obtain postage rate charts through the
local servicing post office. These charts shall be kept current
and placed in areas where inmates have access (e.g., Commissary,
Mail Room, Units, etc.).
Reference documents, USPS guidance, and approved variances shall
be retained and filed for future review. The Inmate Systems
Manager shall insure that this file and these documents are
maintained and current.


Inmate Systems Managers may consult with the local servicing post
office to determine the type of equipment to be used in the mail
Institutions are required to use a postage meter or stamps to pay
for official mail being processed through the USPS. Equipment
for use in metering official mail shall consist of an electronic
scale interfaced with a postage meter capable of being "reset" by
telephone. This equipment shall be obtained under contract with
a maintenance agreement. When new meters are to be ordered, the
Central Office, Inmate Systems Branch must be contacted for
guidance and to obtain the agency code used on the application
for a meter license. The application for meter license is
obtained from the local servicing post office. Those UNICOR
locations that have significant mail volume warranting a meter
separate from the institution, shall request approval via
memorandum from the Federal Prison Industries Controller.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 1, Page 4
If used, letter openers, box openers with razor blades, etc,
shall be carefully accounted for and kept secured when not in
use. Inmates shall not have unsupervised access to this
equipment under any circumstances.
Appropriate ink-pad type rubber stamps containing endorsements
required in either the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) or this Manual
shall be obtained and used.
A secure depository shall be used to secure funds until the
cashier has issued a receipt for the funds. The secure
depository may be a locked box bolted to a desk or wall. Monies
will be placed in the locked box or depository when no staff are
present in the mail room.


Smocks or aprons
processing mail,
apron may not be
issue protective

may be worn, at the Warden's discretion, while
to protect the official uniform. The smock or
worn outside the institution. Institutions may
clothing to Mail Room staff.


A. Official Mail. Official mail is mail whose cost is borne
by the Government of the United States and relates exclusively to
the business of the Government. Official mail services relate to
staff official mail and to inmate packages officially forwarded
as a result of institution administration.
B. Inmate Correspondence. "General correspondence" is
incoming or outgoing correspondence other than special mail.
Whether sealed, unsealed, stamped or unstamped, inmate
correspondence is forwarded according to the procedures of
Chapter 3, Paragraph 313 of this manual and the Program Statement
on Correspondence.

C. Packages. A package is a bundle, usually of small or
medium size, that is packed, padded, wrapped, or boxed.
Additionally, an article weighing 16 ounces or more containing
other than paper material or excessive paper materials shall be
considered a package and will require approval in accordance with
Section 310 of this Manual. While packages are encompassed
within the broad term ?general correspondence?, they receive
distinct processing and ordinarily require approval prior to

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 1, Page 5

All inmate personal property packages must be authorized via the
Authorization to Receive Package (BP-331) form. The package shall
have prior approval, verified by the initiating department, and
be signed by the department head concerned. Each package
received from another institution shall contain an Inmate
Personal Property Record (BP-383), or Authorization to Mail
Package (BP-329). When a package is received from another
institution with a BP-329, the box must also bear a Bureau
security stamp in accordance with the Receiving and Discharge
Receiving staff are to apply the inspections and security
precautions with respect to inmate packages.
Packages received, which fall under the authorization of the
Program Statements on Correspondence or Publications, Incoming
shall be opened for inspection, but shall not need prior
approval. Regular publication mailings, for example, a monthly
"Book of the Month Club," do not require prior approval each
month (see Chapter 3 for further details).


Staff may not receive personal mail at the institution through
the institution mail room (this does not apply to mail USPS
delivers to staff quarters), nor use the institution mail room
for processing or forwarding personal mail. In order to provide
a location address for staff in transfer, the institution may be
used as a forwarding address, provided arrangements have been
made for home delivery of personal mail within 45 days after
arrival at the new location. Staff personal mail shall not be
dispatched from institutions.


Mail addressed to "Occupant" or "Current Addressee" shall be
considered delivered when received at the institution; it shall
become the Warden's property; and shall be disposed of as the
Warden stipulates. (Note: Mail addressed to "a personal name
and occupant," for example: "Tom Williams or current occupant,"
is considered addressed to the person named and processed as mail
to that person. If the named person is not at the institution,
the mail shall be considered as belonging to the "current
occupant" and shall be disposed of as the Warden stipulates).


Authority to dispose of or destroy mail addressed to a specific
person rests solely with the USPS. Bureau staff have no such
authority and shall return undelivered mail to the local USPS.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 1, Page 6


Private carriers, such as UPS, etc., may ship and carry weapons
and ammunition or other potentially dangerous materials.
Therefore, they shall not be permitted inside an institution's
secure perimeter without going through the proper security
checks. Material these carriers deliver shall be received
outside the institution and thoroughly inspected prior to
delivery into the institution. This provision covers package
delivery and is not to be construed to prevent access to the
institution by shipping companies requiring access with full
loads. When there is doubt, the Captain must be contacted.
Private carriers shall not be confused with the USPS. When using
private carriers for forwarding, post office boxes shall not be
used as any portion of the address. Private carriers do not have
access to, nor can they use, USPS post office boxes. When
addressing correspondence or packages to be sent via a private
carrier, be sure to use a street and number, route or road
designation, in addition to the city, state, and zip code.


Staff are required to open and inspect all mail prior to
distribution (including mail being returned to an inmate).
Except at minimum security institutions, all packages for inmates
and staff shall be opened outside the secure perimeter (fences or
walls). Opening of packages in an outside storeroom or warehouse
is the recommended method. At institutions where the secure
perimeter is the building itself, local procedures must be
developed to ensure inspection procedures are performed.
Inspections and searches are encouraged using modern techniques
for searching packages such as a fluoroscope machine,
transfrisker, metal detector, etc.
To increase security and preclude attempts to introduce
contraband, packaging material (whether for inmate or staff)
shall be removed, treated as "hot trash," and properly disposed
of as required by local policy. It may not be used to forward
packages within the institution.
Unit staff shall open special mail (see the Program Statement on
Correspondence) in the inmate's presence. (See Chapter 3
relative to a package received as special mail.)

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 1, Page 7
Packages addressed to inmates shall be opened and inspected
before inmates are given access to the package or its contents.
Once a package is opened, it comes under the purview of the
institution. If a package is to be forwarded or returned, it
will be resealed and mailed at government expense. To preclude
having to open a package and then forward it because it was not
authorized, mail room staff shall take approved BP-331 forms to
the servicing postal facility. A package for which there is no
approved BP-331 can be immediately refused as unauthorized and
returned to the sender. A notation to this effect shall be made
on the package at that time. (See Chapter 3 for further
Packages addressed to staff shall be opened and inspected in an
area not accessible to inmates. While packages for staff do not
require pre-approval, packages addressed to staff containing
items for inmates that were not pre-approved shall be returned
(see Chapter 3 for further details). Certain packages addressed
to the Warden shall not be opened. The Inmate Systems Manager
shall consult with institution Executive Staff to receive
direction on desired handling.
(Note: At administrative institutions, mail for minimum security
level inmates may be treated as minimum security level mail if
the Warden determines that this mail may be processed as such.)
In minimum security level institutions, packages shall be opened
prior to distribution; however, more latitude is allowed. For
example, prior to being opened, packages may be brought into the
institution and locked in the mail room or in a secure area not
accessible to inmates.
Controlled narcotics, x-ray film, and other sensitive and
controlled substances may be delivered in packages addressed to
the institution hospital. Therefore, extra caution shall be
exercised when opening them because the use of a fluoroscope
machine or exposing x-ray film to light may ruin them. Packages
are to be held in a secure area such as the rear gate, etc.,
depending on the institution security level, and inspected only
in the presence of a hospital staff member and the staff member
holding or delivering the package.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 2, Page 1



January 1, 1995, official mail shall no longer be
via the Official Mailing Indicia. All official mail
through the USPS by any Bureau activity shall be
using some method of pre-payment (metering and postage


The postage meter shall be placed in an area with a telephone
line in the immediate vicinity and in an area not accessible to
inmates. The postage meter shall be reset by telephone (money
placed on the meter) and the amount allowed for reset will depend
upon the type of facility in which the meter is located.
Meters shall be reset with enough funds to allow approximately
one month of mail to be processed. A log of resets shall be
kept, and entries into the log shall include the date and amount
of the reset, and the signature of the staff member requesting
the reset. The reset statement subsequently sent from the
contractor shall be placed with the log.

A. Prohibited Metering. Metering of envelopes for use at a
later date or for use as a "reply envelope" is prohibited. Once
a piece of mail has been metered, this serves as the postmark. *
B. UNICOR Postage. Where UNICOR uses the institution's
postage meter to mail their official mail, the following
procedures are to be followed:
(1) A separate account code must be established for UNICOR
on the meter.
(2) The UNICOR account on the meter shall be read on the
25th of each month, and this reading shall be reported via
memorandum to the institution Controller. UNICOR shall be billed
for usage through the institutional billing process.
(3) This reading shall also be entered in the log created
to record funds being placed on the meter.
(4) If the 25th falls on a weekend or holiday, the meter
shall be read on the previous workday.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 2, Page 2
C. Payment of Postage by Government. If a question arises
concerning payment of postage at the government's expense, a
request for clarification shall be made to the Inmate Systems,
Operations Section, Central Office.


Staff shall provide the Business Reply Mail (BRM) envelope to
respondents when a reply to official business is necessary.
Inmates may not have access to official business reply envelopes.
Questions on use of this service shall be coordinated with the
Central Office, Inmate Systems Management. Business reply
licenses have been issued to the Bureau, which includes Community
Corrections Offices (#14045) and UNICOR (#99035).
The USPS requires that agencies determine the method of payment
for BRM with one of several methods. The Central Office has
elected to fund a "site" fee for each institution and regional
office. Site fees for Community Corrections Offices will be
established on an as-needed-basis. The site fee permits the USPS
to process all BRM to a given site, regardless of the quantity of
BRM processed. The ISM, RISA, or CCM at newly established
institutions, regional offices, or CCM Offices (or any other
newly established Bureau mailing site) must go to their local
servicing USPS facility and apply for a site BRM permit. The
application shall show the appropriate license number--Bureau
(#14045) and UNICOR (#99035)--and indicate that the initial and
annual billing for the site fee is charged to the Central Office.


Envelopes, labels, and other items for use with official Bureau
mail shall only be obtained from UNICOR. Requests for stock
shall be forwarded to UNICOR, Customer Service Center, PO Box
11670, Lexington KY 40577-1670, or orders may be faxed to
(606)254-9048. When ordering this material from UNICOR, the
correct return address for the institution shall be provided
either by sample or photocopy prior to sending the FAX. The
Business Office shall be responsible for funding, issue, and
control of stock on behalf of all offices. However, the Business
Office shall consult with the ISM when ordering to assure that
orders are correct as to design, return address, etc.
A Bureau site may not obtain pre-printed envelopes which include
a department, office, section, etc., identification in the return
address. Official envelopes shall contain only the site's
general return address. Department or office identification may
be stamped, typewritten, or handwritten immediately below the
site return address, if necessary.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 2, Page 3


Official mail shall be dispatched only from official mail
stations of the Bureau, the official mail room at the Central
Office, each institution, Regional Office, Staff Training Centers
and Community Corrections Offices.
Official mail may not be placed in street boxes or delivered by
unauthorized staff directly to Post Offices. Authorized mail
room staff shall process all official mail through the official
mail station and then to the USPS.


Official mail, received at Bureau locations, which has been
opened shall only be forwarded by re-covering the mail in another
envelope and preparing the piece for re-sending as a new mailing.
Official mail received which has not been opened does not need
re-covering, but will be returned to the Post Office with
endorsement for forwarding or other appropriate disposal.
To economize, "batch" mail should be used for forwarding all
official mail whenever possible.


Except when otherwise specified in policy (for example, Program
Statements on Inmate Recreation Programs and Inmate Personal
Property), inmate packages shall be considered "official mail"
when required to be mailed from the Bureau or required by the
Government to be mailed as a result of its administration.


A. Incoming Mail. Staff pickup of departmental mail at the
mail room is encouraged, provided the layout of the mail room
allows security and easy staff access to the mail.
Official mail shall be separated from inmate mail and handled
separately. Envelope mail shall be sorted by department for
pickup. If an inmate is used to deliver official mail, the
procedures addressed in Chapter 1 regarding mail room security
shall be followed.
(1) Negotiable Instruments. Mail room staff shall secure
all negotiable instruments (such as government pay checks) until
delivery can be arranged with the appropriate department head.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 2, Page 4
Negotiable instruments retained overnight shall be secured in the
night depository (not the mail room depository).
(2) Official Mail Packages. Official mail packages
addressed to staff shall be opened and inspected. All security
procedures related to packages shall be followed. A log shall be
maintained for all incoming registered, certified, or insured
letters and packages. A separate log may be used for each type
of mail and appropriate receipts are to be obtained.
B. Outgoing Mail. To every extent practicable, staff shall
address outgoing official mail to an office or official title as
opposed to an individual by name. Addressing official mail to a
named individual frequently causes mail to be misdirected. Also,
if using personal names, Mail Room staff with a large volume of
mail to process, may confuse a staff name with an inmate name and
inadvertently provide official mail to an inmate. An error of
this sort can have an extremely negative impact, but can be
avoided by using only official titles as opposed to personal
All outgoing official mail shall be sealed in the office of
origin. The initials and office of the sender shall be entered
in the upper left corner of each piece. Other locations, such as
Community Corrections Offices, Regional Offices, and staff
offices in the Central Office may wish to place the mailer's name
and office identification in the same manner to assist in
controlling mail forwarded to, or returned from, institutions.
Staff shall deposit outgoing official mail in depositories
located in the Warden's office and/or mail room. The "blue
pouch" is used primarily for transferring inmate files. The
pouch must be sealed prior to transmission. Staff shall assure
that these pouches are continually circulated to other
institutions. If pouches are not available, ordinary padded
envelopes may be used.
Envelopes specially provided for handling files in the movement
of inmates via bus/airlift are not to be used for mailing

Institution metered mail strips are only to be used for
official mail. Inmates shall not be provided or sold metered
mail strips.


P.S. 5800.10
November 3, 1995
Chapter 3, Page 1


All mail room staff shall be thoroughly familiar with the
provisions of the Program Statements on Correspondence, which
contains criteria for sending and receiving inmate
correspondence; Inmate Personal Property, which provides guidance
as to what constitutes inmate contraband and the processing of
this material; and Incoming Publications, which provides guidance
related to the treatment of incoming newspapers, magazines,
books, etc.
Size and complexity of an institution, the degree of
sophistication of the inmates confined, and many other variables
(e.g. physical plant) require flexibility in correspondence
procedures. The Warden may establish controls to protect inmates
and maintain the institution's security, discipline, and good
order. For example, if an inmate attempts to solicit funds or
items (e.g., samples) or subscribes to a publication without
paying for the subscription, staff may consider limiting the
inmate's correspondence as specified in the Program Statement on
It is important that mail room staff conduct a continuous
dialogue with other staff, particularly Unit Managers and the
Captain, so that potential inmate management problems can be
mutually identified and resolved. Also, Inmate Systems Managers
and mail room staff must insure that inmates who do not have
ready access to mail services can participate, as appropriate, in
the correspondence program.
If a piece of incoming controlled mail (registered, certified,
etc.) is lost or misplaced or a problem occurs with a money
order, etc., the sender (not the inmate) must initiate the traces
and follow-up action with the USPS or private carrier. The
sender is in the best position to initiate tracing activities
because it was the sender who paid the fees, completed the forms,
and knew the mailing circumstances. In the case of outgoing
controlled mail, staff shall assist the inmate to file tracer
documents with the servicing facility.


Upon admission to the institution, inmates complete a BP-407,
Acknowledgments of Inmate. A current listing of inmates who have
elected not to receive their general correspondence (by executing
Part 1-I of the BP-407) shall be on file in the mail room.
General correspondence for these inmates shall be returned to the
sender, unopened, with the endorsement "refused."

P.S. 5800.10
November 3, 1995
Chapter 3, Page 2
An inmate who refuses to sign the BP-407 shall receive general
correspondence under the same conditions as if Part 1-II had been
completed and signed. That is, staff shall complete the bottom
portion of part 1-II and inmates shall receive their general
correspondence after it is opened and all inspections are
All special mail shall continue to be processed to the inmate as
provided in the Program Statement on Correspondence.
Note: It is generally recognized that the Bureau has the
authority to open, read, and inspect general correspondence prior
to inmate access. The procedures prescribed here specifically
allow an inmate to elect not to have mail opened and read. If
this option is elected, mail (other than special mail) shall be
returned. If the inmate elects to receive general correspondence
and signs the appropriate portion of the form, correspondence is
inspected and sent through. If the inmate does not make a
choice, by refusing to sign the form, the inmate shall receive
general correspondence after staff open and inspect it.


The Warden shall establish one or more depositories, which shall
be centrally located, to ensure ready accessibility to the inmate
population. Staff shall pick up and deliver the contents to the
mail room daily. A separate depository shall be maintained for
outgoing "Special Mail." Inmates shall be provided mail service
for correspondence as outlined in the Program Statement on
Correspondence. Other services such as stamp collecting, express
mail, USPS box service, UPS (and other private carriers) are not
provided. Express mail, UPS, telegrams, etc., when received as
material coming into the institution, shall be routinely
processed. When received on weekends, they are usually received
and signed for by other than mail room staff and are secured
until normal duty hours.
Staff shall develop and implement local procedures for delivery
and collection of mail for inmates who do not have ready access
to these services (e.g., segregation, hospital). Such procedures
shall insure the receipt and delivery of correspondence and mail
commensurate with the rest of the population. Of particular
importance is that these procedures must insure the usual receipt
and delivery of special mail. For example, local procedures must
insure receipt and marking of special outgoing mail in a manner
that shall accomplish this as if the inmate had ready access to
the special mail depository.


PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 3
After receipt, inmate mail must be immediately separated from
official and staff mail. Do not open inmate mail at this time.
Determine those inmates currently at the institution, using a
SENTRY roster. Remove mail for inmates no longer at the
institution and forward appropriately, later in the day. This
list shall be kept current by adding the names of all new
admissions, deleting the names of those inmates who have been
released, and noting all correspondence restrictions in effect.
It is important that each piece of mail be matched against
various directories prior to opening to assure that ONLY MAIL FOR
not presently at the institution shall be returned, unopened, to
the local servicing post office with endorsement for forwarding
or other appropriate disposal.
A. Random Reading. Consistent with the provisions of Bureau
regulations codified at 28 CFR 540.14, as contained in the
Program Statement on Correspondence, all incoming general
correspondence, and all outgoing mail (except "special mail") is
subject to random reading by staff. The objectives to be
accomplished in reading incoming or outgoing mail differ from the
objectives of inspection. In the case of inspection (to which
all incoming general correspondence is subjected), the objective
is primarily to detect contraband. The random reading of mail is
intended to reveal, for example, plans to commit criminal acts or
to monitor a particular problem confronting an inmate. Care
shall be taken when opening correspondence to avoid cutting or
otherwise damaging the contents.
While reading correspondence, a staff member may incidentally
learn of information concerning the private lives of inmates or
their correspondents. Bureau staff must be sensitive to the fact
that most information in correspondence is of a private nature
and must be handled discreetly. Unless there is a legitimate
correctional concern relating to the institution's security,
safety, or orderly running, the contents of reviewed
correspondence are not to be revealed to any other person.
Inmate correspondence that is opened and rejected or that is to
be returned or forwarded for other reasons, must be re-covered,
sealed, and forwarded at government expense.
B. Special Mail. Separate "Special Mail" from general inmate
mail. Special Mail shall be logged and picked-up by unit staff,
for staff to open in the inmate's presence.
C. Mail Returned to Inmate. Mail being returned to an inmate
shall be processed as general or special correspondence, as
appropriate. Returned mail may not be provided to inmates until

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 4
appropriate examinations are completed. Returned special mail
shall be processed as special mail (open in inmate's presence,
check for contraband only, etc.).
D. Examination. Examine each letter carefully for contraband,
unauthorized material, negotiable instruments, money, etc. An
item received that cannot be searched or examined without
destruction or alteration (e.g., electronic greeting cards,
padded cards, double faced photograph), shall be returned to
sender. The material to be returned, along with the
correspondent's copy of the BP-328 (BP-S328), shall be re-covered
and sent to the correspondent. An appropriately completed BP-328
(BP-S328)shall also be provided to the inmate.
Return addresses shall be closely reviewed. Correspondence
between confined inmates must be approved in accordance with the
Program Statement on Correspondence. Correspondence not properly
approved shall be rejected, using a BP-327 (BP-S327).
E. Delivery. After all inspections are accomplished, re-close
each letter (staple, tape, etc.), finish the final sort, and
prepare for delivery as directed by local procedures. Caution
shall be taken when re-closing letters with a stapler to ensure
contents are not stapled. Incoming correspondence shall be
delivered daily Monday through Friday. Delivery of letters may
not be delayed and shall ordinarily be accomplished within 24
hours of receipt, excluding weekends and holidays.



The Bureau policy on inmate correspondence identifies certain
types of incoming correspondence as "special mail," to be opened
only in the inmate's presence. For this special handling to
occur, Bureau policy requires that the sender be adequately
identified on the envelope and that the envelope be marked
"Special Mail-Open Only in the Presence of the Inmate” or with
similar language. Refer to the Correspondence Program Statement
for those offices which are not required to use the "Special
Mail" statement.
Staff shall use professional judgement in determining whether
correspondence is from either the Chambers of a Judge or a Member
of the U.S. Congress, Senate, or Executive Office. Other
Congressional and judicial correspondence shall be afforded
special mail handling provided the sender is adequately
identified on the envelope and the envelope has the special mail
marking in accordance with the Program Statement on
Correspondence, Section 13.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 5
The Bureau has prepared an instruction sheet, BP-493 (BP-S493)
for an inmate to include with correspondence sent by the inmate
to the attorney representing that inmate. This instruction sheet
advises the attorney of the required procedures for incoming
attorney-client correspondence to be afforded special mail
privileges. Specifically, the attorney must be adequately
identified on the envelope as an attorney and the envelope must
be marked "Special Mail - Open Only in the Presence of the
Inmate," or with similar language clearly indicating that
particular item of correspondence qualifies as special mail and
the attorney is requesting the correspondence be opened only in
the inmate's presence. Inmate Systems Managers shall ensure that
copies of the instruction sheet for special mail handling of
incoming attorney-client correspondence are provided as admission
and orientation hand-outs and are placed in inmate housing areas,
attorney visiting rooms, and other locations accessible to
The use of the title "Esquire" without additional indication of
the sender's occupation does not establish the bearer as an
attorney or legal aid supervisor. Mail from individuals using
the title "Esquire" as the exclusive identification of their
status shall not be handled as special mail, even if the envelope
contains some special mail markings. However, use of the title
"Esquire" after the sender's name, in addition to the same name
being included in the return address of the law office, does
sufficiently identify the sender as an attorney. Alternatively,
the use of the term "Esquire" after the sender's name, in
addition to some notation on the envelope that the sender is an
attorney, i.e., Attorney-Client Communication, is also sufficient
Other Mail. The Warden may treat incoming mail that does not
meet all of the requirements for special mail handling in the
same fashion as special mail, including opening it in the
inmate's presence and inspecting it only for contraband. It is
recommended the institution supplement outline local criteria
used to identify incoming special mail.


Inmate correspondence shall ordinarily be processed and delivered
within 24 hours. Special and legal mail is afforded priority and
every reasonable effort shall be made to assure delivery of
special mail within 24 hours. Delivery time is essential in the
filing of court documents or other legal papers, therefore, mail
room staff, as well as staff making the actual delivery to the

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 6
inmate (usually unit staff), must adhere to delivery time frames
for special mail.
Staff shall open inmate special mail in the inmate's presence.
Staff are to check for contraband and funds at this time. A
receipt shall be issued for funds and delivered to mail room
staff or the night depository, as appropriate, usually by unit
Mail room staff shall maintain a log detailing receipt and
delivery of special mail. Additionally, special/legal mail shall
be time-stamped, or a handwritten note shall be made on the
envelope, to show date and time received in the mail room.
Although inmates may be asked to sign for this mail, they are not
required to do so.
Correspondence that meets the conditions of outgoing special mail
that is subsequently returned by the USPS, shall be processed to
the inmate (open only in presence, etc.) as incoming special
mail. Unit staff should consider logging this mail in their unit
log book.
Inmate Systems Managers shall periodically review the special/
legal mail delivery process to ensure that policy requirements
are met. ISM's shall specifically consult with unit staff and
review requisite record keeping to ensure that delivery time
frames are being met.
When an inmate is not at the institution, the special mail
remains sealed and is forwarded to the inmate regardless of the
30-day forwarding period of general mail. Staff shall use all
means practicable to locate inmates for the purposes of
forwarding special mail (e.g., SENTRY, card files, telephone
calls). If the inmate has been transferred, the mail will be
forwarded to the inmate at the final transfer destination.
If the inmate is out on writ, staff shall use all means
practicable to forward special mail. When forwarding special
mail, mail room staff shall note forwarding details in the log.
If an address is not available at the end of 30 days, each piece
of mail shall be returned to the sender with an explicit letter
of explanation from the Inmate Systems Manager of the attempts to
forward the mail along with an offer of additional assistance.
If the inmate has been released to the community, forward the
mail to the forwarding address provided by the inmate. If a
forwarding address is not available, forward the mail to the U.S.
Probation Office in the release district, provided the inmate is,
or was, under supervision.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 7
If the inmate was released by expiration of sentence and a
forwarding address is not available, return the correspondence to
the sender with a notation of the date and type of release and a
statement that no forwarding address is available.


FDC/MCC/MDC's shall provide a depository for attorney/client
correspondence in an area which is readily accessible to
attorneys. Facilities which house pretrial inmates may also
provide this service. This depository shall provide the means
for an attorney to "hand deliver" legal material to an
institution for delivery to a client.
A notice shall be placed on the depository, "A return address
shall be provided for each item deposited in this box." A return
address is needed in case the inmate has left the institution and
cannot be located. Since postage presumably shall not have been
placed on this material, the material requiring return shall be
covered for mailing at government expense.
The procedure established for handling of incoming "Special Mail"
shall be followed for processing this correspondence (must
contain the special markings). Correspondence placed in this
depository not qualifying as "Special Mail" shall be treated as
incoming "General Correspondence."


All incoming newspapers, magazines, and books shall be handled in
accordance with the Program Statement on Incoming Publications.
For inmates not at the institution, this type of material,
provided it was received through the mail, shall be endorsed with
a forwarding address (or other appropriate endorsement) and
returned to the USPS for forwarding or disposal, as appropriate.
Under no circumstances shall this material be retained at the
institution for general use, as for example, in the library or
another department.
Some publications have characteristics of both newspapers and
magazines. Whether a publication is permitted from any source or
only from a publisher (e.g., newspaper) shall be determined by
common definitions of those terms, as well as in the
characteristics referred to in the Program Statements on
Correspondence and Incoming Publications. A publication is
determined to be a newspaper, if it is printed on pulp-like paper
stock and is folded and/or divided into sections.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 8



A receipt shall be prepared for all money received via mail. The
mail room copy of the Federal Prison Point of Sale (FPPOS)
receipt is to be retained for one year. All money and receipts
shall be secured in the mail room secure depository pending
processing by the cashier. The cashier shall collect all money
and receipts daily, except Saturday, Sunday, and holidays. If,
for some reason, they are not picked up on the day they are
received, all money and receipts shall be removed from the mail
room secured depository and placed in the night depository. All
negotiable instruments not collected by the cashier will be
placed in an envelope. The envelope must be sealed, signed
across the seal, taped shut, and a notation such as "Mail Room
Unprocessed Funds" shall be placed on the front of the envelope.
Note: When funds are collected from the night depository the
next business day, Business Office staff are not responsible for
counting unreceipted funds which mail room staff placed in the
depository. No other funds shall be placed in the night
depository unreceipted.
Sealed "Special Mail" already delivered to the unit staff may
contain inmate funds. If so, unit staff shall prepare receipts
and deliver the receipts and money to mail room staff or night
depository, as appropriate. See Chapter 10967, Accounting
Management Manual, for deposit fund accounting requirements,
particularly as provided for foreign money orders.
If the committed name and register number are on the envelope and
staff can verify the inmate's identity, then the check or money
order may be posted to the inmate's account even if it is missing
the name or register number. These instruments shall be checked
very closely to ensure that inmates are correctly identified and
to ensure that the money is deposited to the correct account.
When a negotiable instrument is made out to joint payees, see
Chapter 10967, Accounting Management Manual, for processing
Negotiable instruments not accepted because they are incorrectly
prepared (missing name or register number on both the check and
envelope) and the inmate cannot be correctly identified shall be
returned to sender with a properly completed BP-328 (BP-S328)via
first class mail. A copy shall be retained on file for one year.
Retained copies of negotiable instruments shall be distinctly
marked "file copy" to avoid potential problems involved in
copying negotiable instruments.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 9


Each payee shall be identified by name and number. A FPPOS
receipt shall be prepared for all monies received. Both the
cashier and the inmate shall receive a signed copy of that
receipt. An inmate may receive more than one letter a day
containing money. The money in each letter shall be receipted
and processed separately. However, "Unsolicited Funds" such as
funds received in a mail survey, contest, book or record clubs,
etc. will be considered unsolicited and must be rejected.


All incoming inmate property packages must be authorized in
advance unless otherwise approved under another Bureau policy.
An Authorization to Receive Package or Property ,BP-331 (BP-S331)
shall be used for this purpose. A BP-331 (BP-S331) shall remain
valid for no longer than 60 calendar days from the date of

Use of a BP-331 (BP-S331)or BP-383 (BP-S383) is not needed for
items approved under other Bureau policies.


Note: Some packages are authorized under other Bureau policies
(for example, magazines, special mail, paperback books,
educational or legal materials). Inmates should be advised that
they are not required to have these packages pre-approved. These
packages must be marked with words such as "Authorized by Bureau
Policy." They are intended to alert mail room staff that
enclosed materials contain matter which does not require prior
approval. These markings assist mail room staff to identify and
process the material and avoid erroneous return(s). The Inmate
Systems Manager shall assure this subject is covered in A&O
A package received without an appropriately completed BP-331, or
without markings indicating authorized materials enclosed, is
considered unauthorized and shall be returned to the sender. A
package containing an expired BP-331 (BP-S331) shall also be
returned to the sender. If necessary, a return address shall be
obtained from the inmate.
If upon inspection, a package marked with the special mail
markings or marked as material otherwise approved under Bureau
policy, contains property or other than approved material, the
entire contents shall be resealed and returned at government
expense. An appropriately completed BP-328 (BP-S328) shall be
executed and distributed.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 10
If a package contains materials approved under Bureau policy, the
material must still be inspected to assure it meets the specific
requirements of policy. For example, the package may be marked
as magazines and contain only magazines, but each magazine must
be reviewed to assure it meets the criteria of the Program
Statement on Incoming Publications. If one or more were
questionable, the procedures of the Program Statement on Incoming
Publications shall be followed while the remaining magazines
will be accepted.
To facilitate package processing, the BP-331 (BP-S331) shall be
taken to the servicing postal facility. If there is a package
for an inmate with no corresponding BP-331 (BP-S331), and the
package does not contain markings as stated above, the package
shall be annotated "Refused Return to Sender - Authorization for
Receipt Not Obtained." If a package is at the post office
addressed to an inmate in care of a staff member, there is no BP331 on file, and/or the package is not marked as stated above,
the package shall be refused and returned.
Local arrangements shall be developed to permit receipt of
regular publications, such as "Book of the Month Club." For
example, a BP-331 (BP-S331) may be executed annually for these
approved cases.
Local procedures shall be developed to receive and process
appropriately marked legal materials or special mail, received as
a package, inside the institution. This material shall be opened
in the inmate's presence. Unopened packages shall not be
permitted inside the institution's secure perimeter. However,
special mail packages may be brought into the secure perimeter if
they are immediately segregated and placed in secured "hot"
storage inside the institution. Most packages shall be opened
prior to admission inside the secure perimeter of the
institution. Whether opened or unopened, this material is under
the institution's control. Packages shall be opened and
inspected in accordance with procedures stated above and may be
inspected at any other time as necessary for security reasons.


If there is an authorization to receive personal property on
file, the inmate may receive the package, which may be re-opened
and inspected in the inmate's presence. Local procedures shall
delegate the responsibility for issuance. All authorized
packages which enter the institution must be inventoried on a BP383 (BP-S383)or BP-331 (BP-S331) in the inmate's presence within
48 hours, excluding week-ends and holidays. This provision
excludes packages containing release clothing (these packages
shall be stored in R&D until the inmate is released).

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 11
If the package is cleared for issuance, the inmate shall
acknowledge receipt on the original of the Package Authorization
BP-331 (BP-S331), or the BP-383 (BP-S383), Inmate Personal
Property Record, as appropriate.
If the package is to be issued from another department, that
department shall be called to arrange pick-up of the package.
The employee to whom the package is issued shall acknowledge
receipt on the original of the package authorization form, which
shall then be forwarded to and filed in the inmate central file.
The inmate shall sign the shipping copy of the package
authorization form at the time of receipt. The issuing
department shall retain this copy for its own record.
Originals of package authorization forms (or the appropriate copy
of the BP-383), fully executed to signify delivery, shall be
filed in the inmate central file.


Mail room staff must be thoroughly familiar with, and have
readily available, the current Program Statement on Inmate
Personal Property. Mail room staff must be familiar with the
definition(s) and processing requirements related to contraband,
as outlined in this directive.
Contraband is any unauthorized material in the inmate's
possession. Any physical things sent to an inmate that
constitute contraband are considered unauthorized material.
Mail room staff shall ensure that inmates do not receive
contraband. Serious contraband (such as illegal drugs, firearms,
weapons, etc.), shall not be returned to the sender but must be
retained with any correspondence and referred to the Special
Investigative Supervisor (SIS) as evidence for investigation and
appropriate disposition. A correspondence rejection shall not be
prepared. However, mail room staff shall prepare a memorandum
detailing the circumstances and general description of the
physical item(s). This memorandum, along with the correspondence
shall be given to the Inmate Systems Manager for signature.
The item(s) shall be given to the SIS, who will document receipt
of the items on the memorandum. The memorandum shall be placed
in the FOIA exempt section of the inmate's central file.
Minor or nuisance physical things (such as body hair, plant
shavings, small artifacts and items, sexually explicit personal
photographs, etc.) are not authorized and shall be returned to
the sender. A BP-328 (BP-S328)shall be completed. The

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 12
correspondence and a copy of the BP-328 (BP-S328)shall be
provided to the inmate. The material to be returned and a copy of
the BP-328 (BP-S328)shall be covered and returned to the sender.
A copy of the BP-328 (BP-S328) shall be filed in the inmate
central file.
Section 9.d.(7) of the Program Statement on Correspondence,
provides circumstances for rejection of correspondence.
Subsection (7) directs rejection of "Sexually explicit material
(for example, personal photographs) ......" The authority to
return sexually explicit personal photographs, as further
described in the implementing information of subsection (7), is
specifically delegated to ISM staff when completing mail
inspections. Written correspondence shall continue to be
rejected only by the Warden (or appropriate Associate Warden, if
so designated). Note: This permits the return of unauthorized
material, as opposed to a rejection of correspondence because of
content. It also provides a method to process serious contraband
and the related correspondence for retention as evidence for
prosecution of either the sender or the inmate, if appropriate.
Ordinarily, mail shall not be delayed because of investigatory
processes. During an investigation of incoming mail, the
investigating office shall perform reviews in a manner that shall
not delay delivery. The Inmate Systems Manager shall establish a
procedure that mutually meets the needs of the investigators and
the requirement to generally deliver mail within 24 hours and
packages within 48 hours.
An inmate may not receive through the mail, stamps or stamped
items such as envelopes embossed with stamps or postal cards with
postage affixed. If such items are received, they shall be
returned, at government expense, with a BP-328 (BP-S328)
explaining that such items may not be sent to an inmate. A copy
of the form shall be placed with the inmate correspondence for
delivery to the inmate.
If private sector business reply envelopes or cards are contained
in otherwise authorized mail, there is no prohibition from
leaving it with the authorized mail. If an inmate uses business
reply mailers to order subscriptions or other materials with no
intention of paying for material ordered, confer with the
appropriate Unit Manager and refer to the procedures specified in
the Program Statement on Correspondence.
An inmate may receive mail from other government agencies (e.g.,
Veterans Administration, Selective Service, Social Security,
etc.), with an enclosed BRM indicia for the inmate's use in
replying to that agency without charge.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 13
This would also apply to indicia provided for absentee balloting
(Eligibility to vote is determined by each voting locality).


When correspondence is to be rejected, mail room staff shall
refer to the potential reasons for rejection and related
procedures contained in the Program Statement on Correspondence.
A BP-327 (BP-S327), Returned Correspondence, shall be completed.
The correspondence shall be copied and the entire packet
presented to the Warden, or the appropriate Associate Warden
designated by the Warden, for signature and return to sender.
See Paragraph 311 in this Manual and the Program Statement on
Correspondence for further details.


Staff assigned to work in the mail room must be thoroughly
familiar with the Program Statement on Correspondence. Of
special concern are the instructions related to sealing outgoing
letters, restricted correspondence, special mail, correspondence
between confined inmates, and payment of postage.
All outgoing letter mail shall ordinarily be processed within 24
hours, excluding weekends and holidays. In any event, inmate
correspondence and mail is under the purview of institution
authorities. Staff shall assure that special mail, correctly
deposited in the special mail depository, shall not be opened,
but shall be processed (remain sealed, stamped or labeled on
reverse, dated, institution name noted, and dispatched within 24
hours) as provided in the Program Statement on Correspondence.
Correspondence placed in the special mail depository is not
ordinarily picked up over weekends. Therefore, mail picked up
from the special mail depository on Monday shall be marked as
having been received on the immediate preceding Saturday (since
the depository would have been emptied on Friday but not have
been opened over the weekend).

All outgoing inmate mail shall be handled in accordance with the
Program Statement on Correspondence. Inmates are informed
during A&O that the Bureau retains the right to open an inmate's
outgoing mail (except special mail) under the conditions
specified in the correspondence policy. To receive special mail
treatment, the inmate must deposit mail in the special mail

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 14
Inmate correspondence may be mailed using envelopes supplied by
the institution or purchased from the Commissary. Envelopes
supplied by the institution shall be standard business size,
ordered only from UNICOR, and contain a PRINTED return address of
the institution (specified at the time of ordering) in accordance
with the Program Statement on Correspondence, section 7. If an
inmate fails to place correct identifications in the return
address, the material shall be opened to identify the inmate. If
the inmate can be identified from the contents, the mail shall be
returned for correct preparation. If the sender cannot be
identified from either the envelope or the contents, the
correspondence shall be annotated as to circumstances and filed
for a period of two years, and then destroyed.

The Bureau of Prisons has received a request from the Internal
Revenue Service that inmates in Bureau institutions send any
Internal Revenue Service correspondence directly to the
attention of the Chief, Criminal Investigation Branch at the
service center to which the letter is addressed. Staff may
place the notation directly on the envelope prepared by the
inmate. Staff are only adding the attention line to assure the
envelope is directed to the Criminal Investigation Branch of the
IRS Center.
Special attention shall be given to all inmate correspondence
addressed to state tax centers and shall include the following
notation below the inmate's return address: "This correspondence
is from an inmate in custody of the Bureau of Prisons." Locally
produced SENTRY labels are suggested for this purpose.
Stamps may not be used as negotiable instruments or legal tender
as payment for materials ordered from private vendors. If stamps
are enclosed as payment, the stamps, envelope, and contents shall
be returned to the inmate. The inmate shall be directed to use
the authorized method of payment through Trust Fund withdrawals.


A. Outgoing as Personal Mail. Packages mailed as a matter not
resulting from institution administration are personal and shall
be forwarded at the inmate's expense. These packages shall
ordinarily be forwarded within 48 hours.
Such packages shall be forwarded using stamps the inmate
supplied. The inmate may obtain additional services (insurance,
return receipt, etc.). The inmate shall provide stamps for basic
postage and the cost of each additional service. The stamps
shall be placed on the package at the time of mailing. A BP-329
is to be completed noting all details related to the mailing.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 15
The USPS Firm Mailing Log, if used, shall clearly show the
package is "Personal" including the inmate's name and a notation
as to the amount of postage (in stamps) the inmate provided. In
the event of a loss or damage, any claims made relative to these
mailings may be made either by the inmate (with staff assistance)
or by the recipient, to the USPS.
(1) Contraband. Nuisance contraband that is to be mailed
out, or personal property that must be sent out as a result of
excessive accumulation, shall be forwarded at the inmate's
expense in accordance with the Program Statement on Inmate
Personal Property.
(2) International Mailing of Packages at Inmate's Expense.
Inmates who desire to mail packages internationally must comply
with the rules of the USPS and the rules of the recipient
country. Mail room staff shall assist to determine these rules.
If the material cannot meet the specifications of the receiving
country, mail room staff should consult with the Unit Manager and
the inmate to obtain a domestic mailing address. If unable to
obtain the address, and the inmate is not permitted to retain the
property, it shall be considered contraband and disposed of in
accordance with the procedures contained in the Program Statement
on Inmate Personal Property. These procedures do not apply to
property temporarily stored for pretrial inmates.


B. Outgoing as Official Mail. Inmate packages forwarded as a
matter of institution administration shall be forwarded at
government expense. If the package is to be forwarded to another
institution, a BP-383 (BP-S383) shall also be completed.
Packages forwarded between institutions shall not be insured and
shall be forwarded via UPS. Inmate personal property mailed home
at government expense shall also be sent via UPS. Packages for *
transferred inmates shall be shipped within 72 hours.
The logbook, or certified labels when used, shall clearly reflect
the package is "Official."
International Mailing of Property Packages. Every attempt
shall be made to have the inmate provide a domestic mailing
address for forwarding packages of property. When a package must
be forwarded as international mail, mail room staff shall consult
with the servicing postal facility to determine the rules
required of the country to which the package is to be forwarded.
If the package cannot meet the requisite rules because it is
official mail, the inmate shall be given the opportunity to have
the material forwarded at his or her own expense. (See Paragraph
314.A.(2) above regarding international mailings).

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 3, Page 16


As stated previously, letter mail may not be opened until staff
verify that an inmate is at the institution. Unopened mail may
be returned to the USPS in the original cover. Regardless of
class of mail, if an inmate is not at the institution, an
endorsement shall be made on the envelope which provides a
forwarding address or a notation of "Addressee Unknown - Return
to Sender," and the mail returned to the post office.
Only the post office can determine whether a piece of mail will
be forwarded. Therefore, under its authority, the post office
will forward or dispose of mail.


If it is required to forward a package, it will be resealed and
forwarded at government expense. If it is being returned to the
sender because a forwarding address is not available, this shall
be noted on the package, sealed and returned via UPS. Receipts
or other identifications attached to the original package shall
be retained with the documentation used to return the package.
A USPS "Change of Address" kit(s) shall be available to each
inmate being transferred so the inmate may notify correspondents
of a change in address. The kits shall be obtained from the
local servicing USPS facility. (Note: The "kit" is a USPS form
notice to publishers, business, correspondents, etc., NOT the
USPS "TO: Postmaster (of old address)."
Although the kit is provided free, the inmate shall place postage
on each notice used. Although it is the Bureau's responsibility
to have the kits available, it is the inmate's responsibility to
use these kits. Inmates shall be informed that the Bureau
forwards mail for only 30 days and using the kits assures that
mail is directed to the correct, new location after the 30-day
forwarding period expires.
Inmate general mail (as opposed to special mail) shall be
forwarded to the new address for a period of 30 days. General
mail shall be forwarded to the address in the SENTRY database.
After the 30-day period, general mail received shall be returned
to the sender with the notation "Not at this Address - Return to
Sender." After 30 days, the SENTRY address shall be used to
forward special mail.
General mail for inmates released on writ shall be processed as
directed by the inmate on the BP-398 (BP-S398).

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 4, Page 1



COD services are not available for staff or inmate mail. The
mail officer shall refuse call slips or mail provided by USPS for
COD materials in writing or as required by the local servicing
USPS facility.


Postage due mail service is not available for staff or inmates.
It is the mailer's responsibility to provide correct postage.
The mail officer shall refuse postage due mail. However, if
postage due mail is tendered to the mail officer without
collection of postage due, the mail shall be processed without
further collection action.


Staff at institutions and Regional offices may use USPS Express
Mail Service, if available, for official matters. Contact your
local USPS facility about availability. The least expensive
service that meets our needs shall be used. When used, the
account number "137" - Bureau of Prisons or "132" - UNICOR, shall
be inserted in the "Customer Account" box. (The Mail and
Reproduction Supervisor in the Central Office shall place account
numbers on receipts for the Central Office). The receipt shall
have the name of the mailer, the mailer's initials, and the
initials of the department head authorizing the service. After
delivery of the material to the post office, the mail officer
shall forward the original receipt to the Central Office Mail and
Reproduction Supervisor. The receipts may be collected and
forwarded quarterly.
The USPS Express Mail Service shall only be processed through the
official institution mail room to the postal facility servicing
the institution. For example, staff may not take USPS express
mail to a postal facility near their home for convenience.
The Central Office funds Express Mail, system-wide, and the
receipts are used at the Central Office to verify the USPS
billing. A photo-copy of the receipt may be retained locally, as
desired. Copies could be helpful when the Express Mail bill is
challenged or further information is sought, particularly when

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 4, Page 2
Express Mail charges result from locations other than the postal
facility servicing the institution.
Use of private overnight carriers, such as Airborne Express, DHL,
Federal Express, etc., is the responsibility of each institution
and shall be controlled and funded locally. Use of private
overnight carriers shall be used when less expensive than the
U.S. Postal Service.


Any mail item forwarded at government expense shall not be
forwarded as registered mail. Receipts, when needed, shall be
obtained by certifying the item.
When a piece of official registered mail is incoming, the mail
room officer shall receipt for the item at the post office.
Prior to delivery, the mail officer shall enter the registry
information on a log and obtain a receipt from the recipient.


Inmates may use registered mail services only at their expense
and only if sufficient postage stamps are placed on the
registered piece to cover the expense of all registered mail

All incoming and outgoing registered mail shall be logged in a
log book separate from staff mail.



Insured mail shall be received and processed as previously stated
for package items, or as special or general inmate mail.
However, the mail staff shall make and maintain a log and
receipts shall be obtained from inmates. The inmate shall note
the condition of insured material and the inmate shall be advised
that the mailer is to file the claim, if a claim is necessary.


Staff mail is not forwarded as insured mail since the Government
is self-indemnifying. If receipts are necessary, use certified

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 4, Page 3
Inmate may insure personal packages (e.g. hobby craft) provided
the inmate completes an appropriate BP-329 (BP-S329) and provides
correct postage. Payment is made by applying stamps (see Chapter
A. When completing the BP-329 (BP-S329), the inmate shall make
a declaration of item value and may request postal insurance
which shall be made in increments stated in the DMM. The BP-329
(BP-S329) advises the inmate that the USPS shall only indemnify a
package for the actual value of an item, regardless of declared
B. When the inmate is making a personal insured mailing,
paying with stamps, and a "Return Receipt" is requested, the
return receipt shall clearly show the inmate's name. When
received, the receipt shall be provided to the inmate.
C. Inmate personal packages must be securely prepared to
preclude, inasmuch as possible, breakage or damage to the item(s)
being mailed.


A. Incoming Mail. Official certified staff mail shall not be
intermingled with inmate certified mail. The mail officer shall
maintain a log to record delivery to staff, obtaining the
signature of staff at the time of delivery. If a "Return
Receipt" (green card) has been attached, the mail room officer
shall sign the card as recipient.
B. Outgoing Mail. Certified mail shall usually be restricted
to those items requiring evidence of mailing (such as inmate case
files, etc.). Stub type receipts are employed to certify mail.
Stub receipts shall be returned to the originating office for
filing and retention, and the originating office shall be
required to produce the receipt if tracing action is necessary.
Staff must clearly show the sending department on the receipt so
that delivery of the receipt, back to that department, can be
made when it arrives. (See Chapter 3, Inmate Packages.)


A. Incoming Mail. Inmate certified mail shall be rated either
as general correspondence (opened and inspected) or special mail
(opened in the presence of inmate) as previously stated. If a
"Return Receipt" has been attached, mail room staff shall sign
the receipt, which shall be dispatched in the next regular mail.
A log shall be maintained which the inmate shall be required to
sign prior to delivery, thus completing the chain of receipts.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 4, Page 4
At institutions which elect to have unit staff sign for all
receipt mail (certified, etc.), unit staff shall have the inmate
sign a receipt log prior to delivering the receipt-type mail.
Certified mail shall be considered to have been delivered when
the mail officer signs a receipt at the post office. A piece of
mail obtained for an inmate who is not at the institution shall
either be forwarded or returned to sender if a forwarding
location is not available. In either case, the piece shall be
re-covered and re-certified. It shall be logged into the inmate
certified mail log to show final disposal (i.e. new certified
number and address to which forwarded). When returning the piece
to the originator, an appropriate notation shall be made on the
original envelope to inform the sender why the mail was not
B. Outgoing Mail. Certified mail shall be sent first class at
inmate expense. Inmates may request certified mail service
provided they bear the full expense of basic postage, the cost of
certification, and the cost of return receipts, if requested.
All costs are paid with postage stamps. Inmates may determine
the costs by reviewing the postal cost chart(s).
The piece of correspondence to be certified shall be brought to
the mail officer fully prepared for dispatch with the appropriate
postage stamps affixed. Return receipts, if requested, may be
obtained at this time from the mail officer and shall be
completed, clearly showing the inmate's name. (When the receipt
is returned, it shall then be given to the inmate, not filed by
the mail officer.)
The certified mail number shall be entered both on the receipts
and the mailing piece at this time. The receipt stub (if this is
the type used) shall be returned to the inmate after receipt by
the USPS, and if tracing is necessary, the inmate must provide
the receipt stub. If a stub-type receipt is not used, the piece
shall be entered on the institution's copy of the USPS Firm
Mailing Log and receipted for at the post office. The inmate
shall not receive a receipt in this case, but shall rely on the
firm mailing log retained in the mail room if tracing is


Establishment of additional boxes at the local servicing post
office with specific intra-institution addresses (e.g., units,
etc.) can greatly facilitate the sorting process and are
encouraged. Inmate Systems Managers shall consider overall

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 4, Page 5
volume and additional costs at the postal facility when
establishing extra box services.


An imprint, when used, requires the payment of postage when
material is entered into the USPS. The mail imprint authority
for the Bureau is G-231 and for UNICOR G-175. Only the Central
Office shall obtain and use the imprint.



The Tender Agreement requires the UPS to ensure all Bureau sites
have access to UPS service, and that they establish mutually
convenient pickup and delivery schedules (ordinarily Monday
through Friday, excluding weekends and holidays). Each Bureau
location shall initiate contact with its local UPS office to
establish daily service.
Each Bureau location shall use UPS ground service to transport
all official inmate personal property and small packages. The
maximum package weight and size limitations are specified in the
"Guide to UPS Services," available from the local UPS
UPS shall provide training to Bureau staff at each location
regarding UPS procedures and package tracking capabilities.
Each institution shall contact their local UPS office to
establish a date for training.
Under normal circumstances, delivery of packages within the
contiguous U.S. will occur within approximately five days or
less. The Bureau reserves the right to decline acceptance of a
package without cost to the government when the package is not
authorized in accordance with Bureau policy.
A. Tracking and Logging. Due to cost considerations, the
Bureau will not use the UPS computerized tracking system for
packages. However, as the Bureau is required to comply with the
Federal Tort Claims Act, UPS will assist the Bureau with
processing any such claims for packages transported by UPS and
provide tracking and/or delivery information. Should it be
necessary to trace a package, telephonic contact is to be made
with the UPS Tracking Hotline at (800) 457-4022. When
confirmation of delivery documentation is necessary, a hard copy
receipt may be requested.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 4, Page 6
For inmate packages shipped at government expense to locations
other than Bureau institutions, the sending institution must
annotate the UPS Shipping Record to request a Delivery
Confirmation Response and Signature Required. The RequestSpecific Reply Address service (the sending institution address)
shall also be used for these mailings. When these services are
used, the UPS Delivery TRAC label shall be placed on the package.
The local UPS representative must be advised during initial
activation of the account that the Request-Specific Reply Address
service shall only be used when inmate packages are mailed at
government expense to locations other than Bureau institutions.
All confirmation response documentation listed in this paragraph
shall be filed and retained in the Receiving and Discharge file.
A UPS daily shipping record shall be maintained to track all
incoming and outgoing inmate personal property and other official
outgoing packages. ISM staff must request from the local UPS
office the "UPS Daily Pickup Shipping Record" for all outgoing
packages and inmate personal property. Inmate property shall be
logged into this record, annotating the following:

inmate name and number
zip code

This record shall be maintained on file for two years.
B. Use Limitations. UPS shall not be used for overnight
delivery. Overnight services for staff official business small
packages must be restricted to urgent and exceptional
circumstances, as governed by a separate contract.
Pitney Bowes meter strips shall not be used when using UPS.
The Bureau reserves the right to use other carriers when more
cost effective.
C. International and Territorial Shipment. The Bureau shall
not use UPS to ship small packages and inmate personal property
internationally or to U.S. territories. All international and
territorial shipments of small packages and inmate personal
property should be shipped via the U.S. Postal Service.
D. Contractor. The following information is provided for
procurement purposes:
Tender Agreement UPS 232 has been negotiated between the
Bureau and UPS for the shipment of small packages and inmate
personal property.

PS 5800.10
CN-02 8/19/98
Chapter 4, Page 7
United Parcel Service (UPS)
316 Pennsylvania Ave. SE #500
Washington DC 20003
(202) 675-4225
E. Ordering. Recognizing that individual institutions may
have different local operating requirements, no specific ordering
instructions are provided. Each institution shall develop local
procedures for ordering that fully meet all applicable policy,
procedures, terms, and conditions of the agreement.
F. Reporting. Orders placed against this agreement shall not
be reported in the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS)
reports, regardless of dollar value. The Central Office shall
collect and report expenditures against this contract, using
project code 21L.
G. Payment. UPS will bill each ordering site directly weekly.
Billings will consist of a weekly service charge assessed by UPS
for pickup and delivery at each site each business day, plus
charges for actual packages shipped. Payment shall be made
within 30 days in accordance with the Prompt Payment Act.
Payments are to be made via Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT), (UPS
banking information to accomplish EFT payment will be distributed
separately). Business Offices should ensure each payment is
identified with the site's UPS "Shipper" account code, the
invoice number, and UPS "Period Ending" date supplied on each
invoice. All packages mailed via UPS shall be annotated in a
firm "UPS Pickup Record." ISM shall maintain this log and
provide it to the Business Office each week for verifying the
weekly billings. Institutions must code the payments to cost
center F329, Project 21L. Regional Offices must code the
payments to cost center F229, Project 21L.

P.S. 5800.10
November 3, 1995
Chapter 5, Page 1


Local procedures shall be developed to handle mail for special
units (e.g., protective custody units). The general principles
for processing mail into and out of the USPS shall be followed;
however, within the institution, mail for these units shall be
handled in a manner that shall not disclose names, register
numbers, or locations related to these inmates. These procedures
may be entirely independent of the procedures outlined herein.


Postal related records shall be retained in accordance with the
General Records Schedules, Schedule 12. The disposal periods
provided are mandatory. Postal related records may not be
retained beyond the period specified. Collateral records and
forms filed in the inmate case files are not considered postal
records, but are records to be retained until the inmate case
file is destroyed.


All forms prescribed in this manual are available through regular
forms ordering procedures. All forms except BP-329 and BP-331
are also available on BOPDOCS.





Returned Correspondence
Stamps, Negotiable Instrument or Other Items
Returned to Sender
Authorization to Mail Package
Authorization to Receive Package
Inmate Personal Property Record
Disposal of Mail for Inmate Released on Writ
Acknowledgements of Inmate
Acknowledgements of Inmate (Continuation)
Special Mail Notice


The Bureau does not insure inmate property when forwarded as
matters of institution administration because these articles are
forwarded as official mail (see Chapter 3). If property is
damaged while in the control of the Bureau, the inmate shall be
instructed to file a tort claim. (See the Program Statement on
Claims Under the Federal Tort Claims Act.) If documentation

P.S. 5800.10
November 3, 1995
Chapter 5, Page 2
clearly indicates that a package left Bureau control and the item
was thereafter lost or damaged by the USPS in the mail process,
the inmate shall be instructed to file a claim with the USPS. It
is permissible for an inmate to insure an official mailing,
provided the inmate pays for all costs associated with the
mailing (postage and insurance fees). This shall be an entirely
voluntary option and the inmate would have to be informed that
the nature of the mailing changes from one of Government
responsibility to one of personal responsibility, including
follow-up and filing of claims against the USPS.


Paragraph 504 does
postage stamps and
certification. In
the claim with the

not apply when inmates forward mail using
pay for special services, such as insurance or
these cases, the inmate or the recipient files

If an inmate files a claim with the USPS, the mail officer shall
contact the local USPS facility, obtain appropriate USPS forms
for the inmate, and verify dispatch and receipt from available
mail room records.