Letter writing provides incarcerated people with an inexpensive way to stay in touch with their families and preserve ties to their communities. These connections are critical for successful reentry, but several jails around the country have experimented with harmful letter bans that limit the personal mail incarcerated people can receive to postcards. Postcards are an expensive alternative to letters, and they provide no privacy or room to attach important documents.
To help protect letter writing in jails, we have released two reports that highlight the importance of written correspondence and identify the agencies responsible for enforcing mail guidelines in jails. We hope that continued attention to this costly and ineffective policy will encourage all jails to acknowledge that postcards are not an acceptable substitute for letters from home.
On this page:
Return to Sender: Postcard-only Mail Policies in Jail
by Leah Sakala, February 7, 2013
Report [PDF version]
Praise for Return to Sender:
“This report is required reading for policy makers and anyone working with individuals in jail custody.” -National Institute of Corrections
"To Whom It May Concern: Community Forum on Policy to Restrict Mail to Jails," by Fernando Perez, Silicon Valley De-Bug.