Return to Sender: Postcard-Only Mail Policies in Jail
Jun. 24, 2013
This report is required reading for policy makers and anyone working with individuals in jail custody. Postcard-only mail policies result in “deterring written communication between incarcerated people and their communities, straining connections that are essential for both successful reintegration and for preventing reoffending. Social science research has repeatedly documented the significant social and economic value of preserving the community and family support systems that keep formerly incarcerated people from returning to jail. Postcard-only policies run contrary to prevailing correctional standards and best practices, and the vast majority of jail facilities around the country, as well as all other kinds of detention facilities, successfully implement mail security measures without imposing dramatic postcard-only restrictions” (p. 2). Sections of this report include: introduction; letter correspondence is essential for incarcerated people; postcard policies burden the families and communities of incarcerated people; postcard-only policies hinder reentry and promote recidivism; postcard-only policies run contrary to correctional best practices; post-card only policies are overbroad and have unintended consequences; rejecting postcard-only policies; and concluding remarks and recommendations.