14B NCAC 12B .0102       CORRESPONDENCE

(a)  Legal Mail.

(1)           Definition:  Mail to or from attorneys, state and federal courts, the Attorney General of the United States or the Attorney General of North Carolina, the judiciary, the Industrial Commission, or legal aid services and paralegals.

(2)           Legal mail from inmates shall not be opened for inspection or impeded in its transmission. If there is any question as to whether an addressee is one of these persons, the mail can be held for not more than 24 hours to resolve the question.

(3)           Postage for legal mail from inmates will be paid from the Operating Fund provided the inmate is indigent.  No other eligibility requirements apply to postage for legal mail.  The 10 letter limitation on personal mail does not apply to legal mail.

(b)  Department of Correction Officials.

(1)           Definition:  The Secretary of Correction, the Director of Prisons, any member of the Grievance Resolution Board or its staff, any member of the Board of Correction, the Parole Commission or its staff, or any official of the Department of Correction in the chain of command above the superintendent/warden of the facility to which the inmate is assigned, are defined as DOC officials.

(2)           Mail to DOC officials will be accepted within our system without postage.

(3)           Mail to DOC officials shall not be opened for inspection or impeded in its transmission. If there is any question as to whether an addressee is one of these persons, the mail can be held for not more than 24 hours to resolve the question.

(c)  Other Government Officials.

(1)           Definition:  Any member of the Congress of the United States or any member of the General Assembly of North Carolina; the President of the United States or the Governor of North Carolina; the Director or any agent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation are defined as other government officials.

(2)           Mail to other government officials will be considered as personal mail for the purpose of postage.

(3)           Mail to other government officials shall not be opened for inspection or impeded in its transmission. If there is any question as to whether an addressee is one of these persons, the mail can be held for not more than 24 hours to resolve the question.

(d)  Personal Mail.

(1)           Definition:  Any mail to or from an inmate that is not defined in Paragraphs (a), (b), or (c) of this Rule.

(2)           Postage for personal mail from inmates without funds will be paid from the Operating Fund provided the inmate is indigent.

(3)           Postage for personal mail from indigent inmates shall be limited to the cost of 10 first-class one ounce letters per month per indigent inmate.

(e)  Other Outgoing Mail.  Personal mail from inmates may be sealed when placed in the outgoing mail and shall not be opened and censored unless the superintendent/warden or his designee has good cause to believe that:

(1)           The mail contains threats of physical harm against any person or threats of criminal activity.

(2)           The mail threatens blackmail or extortion.

(3)           The mail concerns sending contraband in and out of the correctional facility.

(4)           The mail concerns plans to escape.

(5)           The mail concerns plans to violate departmental rules and policies necessary to maintain security and control.

(6)           The mail concerns plans for criminal activity or violation of state or federal laws.

(7)           The mail concerns information which if communicated would create a clear and present danger of violence and physical harm.

(f)  Incoming Mail.

(1)           Inspection:  The superintendent/warden shall provide for the inspection of all incoming mail by qualified members of the correctional facility.  The inspection shall serve to prevent inmates from receiving through the mail contraband or any other material that threatens to undermine the security and order of the facility or which cannot be lawfully sent through the mail.  Mail to inmates which appears to be from one of the persons listed in Paragraph (a) of this Rule, shall be opened by correctional staff in the presence of the inmate.  Correctional staff will insure that the contents of letters from persons listed in Paragraph (a), (b), or (c) of this Rule are free of contraband and are in fact official or legal correspondence from the person whose name and return address appears on the outside of the envelope or package.  The correspondence shall not be read beyond what is necessary to make this determination.

(2)           Censorship:  Incoming personal mail may be opened and read by the superintendent/warden or his designee only if he has reason to believe that the contents of the letter fall into one of the categories listed in Paragraph (e) of this Rule.  This Paragraph and Paragraph (e) of this Rule allow for inspection and censorship of mail only when necessary to protect the security of the facility and prevent criminal activity.  No letter is to be opened or censored in order to eliminate critical opinions of Departmental policy or the Department's employees.  All incoming personal mail is to be inspected but not read unless it falls in one of the categories listed in Paragraph (e) of this Rule.

(g)  Mass Mailing.  Any massive attempt to use the mails to reach the inmate population or facility is inherently suspect.  If the superintendent/warden has good cause to believe that such an attempt has been initiated in order to cause disruption or otherwise threaten the order and security of the facility, the mail involved will be censored.  If necessary, due to the security consideration stated in this Paragraph, the superintendent/warden may refuse delivery of this mail without notice to the inmate addressee.

(h)  Rules on Letter Content and Structure.

(1)           Letters to and from inmates must be written in English.  If the superintendent/warden determines that the inmate is unable to read or write in English, then the superintendent/warden may allow the inmate to receive or send correspondence in his/her native language.  If the superintendent/warden has reason to believe the contents of the letter falls into one of the categories in Paragraph (e) of this Rule, he may secure an accurate translation by any means including access to local resources, (high schools, community colleges, universities, etc.).

(2)           Letters may be typewritten, printed, or written legibly in longhand.

(3)           Letters to inmates should be addressed so that the full name of the inmate appears on the envelope. The inmate shall instruct his correspondents to use the correct address as posted on the inmate's bulletin board.

(4)           Letters from inmates must have their full name and return address of the facility in the upper left corner of the envelope.

 

History Note:        Authority G.S. 148-11;

Eff. November 1, 1991;

Amended Eff. October 1, 1992;

Transferred from 05 NCAC 02D .0307 Eff. June 1, 2013.