One of the main sources of frustration for family members is the rejection of mail due to unfamiliarity with the myriad of rules (see below). In order to assist families with adhering to policy, I am providing a copy of the mailroom policy for review.
Here is a link to the Alaska Department of Corrections current mailroom policy.: https://doc.alaska.gov/pnp/pdf/810.03.pdf
Please keep in mind each facility interprets mailroom policy differently. What may be allowed at one facility, may not necessarily be allowed at another. At GCCC for example, the mailroom staff is photocopying all incoming mail, including cards in some cases.
When in doubt, always ask mailroom staff first. It will save you a great deal of time, money and frustration.
Here are a few very key items of importance taken directly from the policy:
B. Mail received at an institution that does not have a return address identifying the sender poses a safety and security risk, and will be destroyed.
C. Envelopes which cannot be effectively searched may provide a means of introducing controlled substances (for example Suboxone or Fentanyl) into an institution, posing a threat to the safety of individuals. Unless received directly from an approved vendor or publisher, or marked as “Privileged” mail the following envelopes will not be accepted by mail staff and shall be returned, unopened, to the sender:
1. Any non-white envelopes.
2. An envelope which is not commercially produced.
3. An envelope made of cardboard, padded, corrugated, or tear-resistant material.
4. An envelope constructed of heavy weight paper (i.e. greater than 24 Pound) or with security screening features.
5. Envelopes to which address labels, stickers, stamps, glitter or other items are affixed with an adhesive. Labels and stickers affixed to an envelope by the U. S. Postal Service are excluded, but should be removed from the envelope before being delivered to the prisoner.
6. Envelopes with drawings on them unless the drawing is in blue or black ink or graphite pencil.
D. The following types of mail item may also be rejected when the mail cannot be effectively searched and as such is deemed to pose a risk to the safety and security of the institution or individuals. Unless received directly from an approved vendor or publisher, or marked as “Privileged” mail the following mail items will not be accepted by mail staff and shall be returned, unopened, to the sender:
1. Mail that is taped, pasted, or otherwise joined to another item.
2. Mail which includes drawings or written content in a medium other than blue or black ink or graphite pencil.
3. Photographs that have been physically altered in any way, or that are not printed on plain white or photographic paper.
4. Mail written on a non-white, heavy weight (i.e. greater than 24 Pound), or construction paper. This does not include white lined paper.
5. Mail with stamps, stickers, or anything affixed to the paper with an adhesive.
6. Non-commercially produced or multi-fold greeting cards, greeting cards made of non-standard card stock paper, greeting cards which have embellishments or greeting cards which exceed 6” X 8” in size.
7. Mail containing lipstick or a foreign or unknown substance, including unusual stains, body fluids, perfumes or oils. If the substance is suspected of being a controlled substance, the mail may be turned over to law enforcement officials for further investigation.