Current through Register Vol. 44, No. 38, September 21, 2022
Inspection of incoming correspondence.
Before opening, incoming mail should be checked to make sure that the addressee
can be accurately identified and is currently at the facility. If the addressee
is no longer at the facility, the mail shall be forwarded in accordance with
Part 722 of this Title. All incoming general correspondence must have a clearly
identifiable name of sender and return address. A letter which does not have a
return address will not be delivered to the inmate. It will be considered
contraband and handled in accordance with departmental directive.
(2) All incoming general correspondence will
be opened and inspected for cash, checks, money orders, printed or photocopied
materials or contraband. The inmate's presence is not required during the
inspection of incoming general correspondence. See Part 721 of this Title for
the procedure to be followed for the opening of privileged correspondence and
Part 712 of this Title for publications deemed to be unacceptable.
(b) Monies received. When, in the
course of inspection, cash, checks, or money orders from a clearly identifiable
source are found, they shall be removed and credited to the inmate's account,
as appropriate. A copy of a check or money order made out to an inmate may be
given to that inmate if the word "CANCELED," "COPY" or "VOID" is stamped or
written across its face. If this has not been done, the copy will be returned
to the sender. All anonymously received monies will be considered contraband
and handled accordingly.
Printed or photocopied materials.
(1) When, in
the course of inspection, printed or photocopied materials are found, the
entire contents of such correspondence may be delayed through the
correspondence unit for up to six days while the materials are subject to media
review guidelines (see Part 712 of this Title).
(2) A limit of five pages of printed or
photocopied materials (an individual newspaper clipping will be considered one
page) may be received within a piece of regular correspondence (except as
provided in paragraphs  and  of this subdivision). In order to facilitate
media review, pages or clippings must not be taped, glued, or pasted together
or to other papers.
(3) Not to
exceed once every four months, an inmate may make a written request to the
superintendent to receive in excess of five pages of printed or photocopied
legal papers specifically related to the inmate's current legal matter (e.g.,
legal brief or trial transcript relating to the inmate's active case) within a
piece of regular correspondence. The inmate shall make the request in advance,
specifically identifying the legal papers, including the approximate number of
pages, and state why they cannot be obtained via the facility law library or
privileged correspondence (e.g., from a court, attorney, or the New York State
Law Library). If approved, the piece of correspondence must be received within
30 days thereafter. Upon timely receipt, it shall be processed in accordance
with this section and shall not be deemed privileged correspondence.
(4) The five page limit on printed or
photocopied materials shall not apply to incoming mail from the entities listed
(6) of this Title.
(d) Contraband. When, in the course of
inspection, contraband is found, it shall be removed and given special handling
according to type:
(1) Third party mail.
Defined as correspondence from a party who is not identified as the sender in
the return address. The facility shall return the entire correspondence to the
sender with a letter explaining that third-party mail is considered contraband,
is against department rules and, therefore, will not be delivered to the
(2) Unauthorized items.
Such items shall be either returned to the sender at the expense of the inmate,
or otherwise disposed of. Such will be the choice of the inmate and
accomplished at the inmate's expense. An inmate should be allowed 30 days to
obtain funds to pay the cost of disposing of the contraband. If, after 30 days,
the inmate is unable to pay for disposal of the contraband, it will be donated
identifying information. Any material which appears to contain personal
identifying information (e.g., social security number, home address, private
e-mail address or home telephone number) belonging to any person who is not a
member of the inmate's immediate family shall be examined. If the information
identifies a present or former employee of the department or a person presently
or formerly employed in a department facility, or a member of such person's
household, it shall be withheld for investigation unless it is determined that
the inmate has authorization from the superintendent to receive such
correspondence, or the personal identifying information pertains to a member of
the inmate's immediate family.
Crime and sentence information on other inmates. Any material which contains
crime and sentence information on any other inmate shall be confiscated and
delivered to the superintendent.
(5) Illegal items. Illegal items, e.g.,
drugs, weapons, etc., shall be forwarded to the security office, with
appropriate chain-of-custody documentation. When appropriate, the State Police
or other police agency shall be notified.
(6) Items received anonymously. Such items
(e.g., cash, checks, money orders, etc.) will be confiscated, labeled, and
forwarded to the fiscal office for safekeeping. An investigation will be
conducted in an attempt to verify the source. If, after proper investigation,
no source is identified, the monies will be turned over to the State
Comptroller as miscellaneous receipts.
(7) Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) financing
statements. Any UCC article 9 form, including but not limited to any financing
statement (UCC1, UCC1Ad, UCC1AP, UCC3, UCC3Ad, UCC3AP, UCC1CAd), correction
statement (UCC5) or information request (UCC11), whether printed, copied, typed
or hand written, or any document concerning a scheme involving an inmate's
"strawman," "House Joint Resolution 192 of 1933," the "Redemptive Process,"
"Acceptance for Value," or document indicating copyright of an inmate's name is
prohibited absent prior written authorization from the superintendent. All such
material and any other material contained within the correspondence shall be
examined by the superintendent in consultation with counsel's office and may be
withheld for investigation. An inmate may request authorization from the
superintendent to receive specific materials by providing the superintendent
with specific, legitimate legal reasons why such materials are
(e) Reading of
incoming correspondence. Incoming general correspondence, other than
inmate-to-inmate letters and inmate business mail, will not be read unless
there is evidence that the correspondence may contain one or more of the
(1) plans for sending contraband in
or out of the facility;
for criminal activity, including escape; or
(3) information which, if communicated, would
create a clear and present danger to the safety of persons and/or the security
and good order of the facility.
(f) Authorization to read incoming
correspondence. Written authorization from the facility superintendent to read
incoming correspondence must be placed in the inmate's file specifying the
reasons such action is considered necessary, and whether all mail or certain
correspondence shall be read.
authorization shall be for a 60-day period, subject to renewal by the
superintendent shall request documentation from the person recommending
inspection to determine that there are sufficient grounds for reading the mail,
that the reasons for reading the mail are related to the legitimate interests
of safety, security, and order, and that the reading is no more extensive than
is necessary to further these interests.
(g) Withholding of correspondence.
(1) When incoming general correspondence is
withheld by the designated staff member for any of the above listed reasons,
notification shall be sent to the sender and the intended correspondent of the
action taken and the reasons therefore, unless doing so would interfere with an
sender and inmate may appeal this action by writing the
with a particular person may be withheld, by the disposition of a
superintendent's hearing, where the inmate has been involved in improper
conduct in connection with correspondence with such person.
(h) Mail received for inmates no
longer at the facility. Mail received at a facility from which an inmate has
been transferred or released shall be handled in accordance with the procedures
set forth in Part 722 of this Title, Forwarding Inmate Mail.
(i) Inmates are authorized to retain all of
their personal correspondence, subject only to the limitations expressed in
Directive #4913, "Inmate Property," and any other applicable rule or
(j) Incoming mail that
is deemed to constitute a form of gambling, lottery, sweepstakes, or chain
letter operation is prohibited from coming into a facility. Such mail shall be
stamped " RETURN TO SENDER" upon entering the facility.
(k) When an inmate's incoming correspondence
is stamped "RETURN TO SENDER" or something similar, the correspondence unit
should take precautions to ensure that the letter is not an attempt to
circumvent the department's inmate-to-inmate correspondence procedures. When
such mail is opened to check for contraband, it shall be inspected to determine
if it was written by the inmate to whom it is being "returned." If it was not
written by that inmate, it shall be withheld.