Michigan prisons sending photocopies of mail to inmates -- not actual documents

Michigan Department of Corrections
Michigan Department of Corrections(WNDU)
Published: Oct. 16, 2020 at 11:57 AM EDT
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LANSING, Mich. (WJRT) - Michigan prison inmates won’t receive actual copies of mail addressed to them as the Department of Corrections tries to cut down on contraband entering facilities.

Instead, prison officials will send a black and white photocopy of any photographs, artwork, paper mail, greeting cards and envelopes to inmates. The original copies and envelopes will remain with prison officials and get shredded after 14 days.

Corrections officials say the policy, which began this week, is aimed at stopping an uptick in attempts to hide prohibited items and drugs in mail for inmates this year. The attempts increased after in-person visiting ended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“The safety and well-being of all those at our correctional facilities is of critical importance, that is why we are taking these steps to help combat the introduction of dangerous contraband,” said Michigan Department of Corrections Director Heidi Washington.

She said prisons in 10 other states, including Indiana and Ohio, have similar procedures in place to photocopy incoming mail.

The Corrections Department says anyone sending mail to Michigan prison inmates should write in black or blue into to ensure the best quality photocopy reproduction. Pencil and light-colored ink may be difficult to read after photocopies are made.

Prison officials will review mailed content when it comes in to make sure it follows department policies.

Prison inmates can continue receiving original color copies of greeting cards, photographs, drawings and artwork on JPay tablets. The photocopy policy also doesn’t apply to publications used for correspondence courses.

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