Title: Mail - Prisoner Mail
Category: Custodial Operations - Standard Operating Procedures
Implement Date: 27 July 2011
Application: Custodial Operations
Appendices and Forms
Associated Custodial Operations Standard Operating Procedures
Review Date: May 2013
|2.1||Cost of ordinary mail|
|2.2||Search and censor of ordinary mail|
|2.3||Unwanted mail from prisoners|
|2.4||Seizing ordinary mail|
|2.5||Mail addressed to primary or secondary educational institutions|
|3.||Australian Taxation Office Mail|
|4.1||Cost of privileged mail|
|4.2||Received privileged mail|
|4.3||Sent privileged mail|
|4.4||Search of privileged mail|
|4.5||Seizure of privileged mail|
|4.6||Register of privileged mail searches|
A process must be established that provides for the control, administration and management of incoming and outgoing prisoner mail that preserves the good order and security of a corrective services facility. The process must be in accordance with -
Safety & Security - Our Principles - Incentive.
1. Conditions of daily life
We will manage prisoners in the least restrictive environment required for their humane containment.
Refer - Safety & Security - Our Principles
Chief Inspector Healthy Prisons 2007 - Standard 12 Contact with the Outside World
Prisoners are encouraged to maintain contact with the outside world through regular access to mail, telephones and visits.
Refer - Healthy Prisons Handbook
Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia Standard 3.21
Prisoners should be encouraged and where practical, assisted to develop and maintain their family ties and relationships through visits to the prisoner by family and friends and through the controlled use of telephones and letters.
Refer - Standard Guidelines for Corrections in Australia Revised 2004
Corrective Services Act 2006 ss 44-49, 52, 132, 263, 265, 291, 311-312, 317, Schedule 4
Corrective Services Regulation 2006 ss 18, 19, 45
The general manager of a corrective services facility must provide for the administration and control of incoming and outgoing prisoner mail including, for example-
Prisoners subject to a domestic or family violence protection order are not permitted to contact people identified in that order.
Prisoner mail may be scanned -
Refer standard operating procedure - Electronic Scanning Equipment
“Ordinary mail” means mail that is not privileged mail (refer Corrective Services Regulation 2006 (CSR) s 18).
All money and valuables received in a prisoner's mail must be managed in accordance with CSA ss 311, 312. A receipt must be issued for money or valuables received and given to the prisoner.
Any items of property not previously authorised for issue received by mail must be returned to the sender if there is a return address. If there is no return address, the item is to be managed in accordance with CSA s 317 and CSR s 45.
Refer CSA s 44
Refer CSA ss 45, 46 and Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)
All outgoing ordinary mail must be left unsealed by the prisoner for monitoring purposes by corrective services officers prior to posting.
Outgoing ordinary mail must be addressed on the front of the envelope as follows -
Full name of the recipient
Residential street address/Post office box number
Suburb State Post Code
The prisoner must clearly write his or her name on the back flap of the envelope.
A stamp must be placed on the back of the envelope that provides the facility's mail address and a contact phone number.
Only a corrective services officer authorised by a delegate should open, search and censor ordinary mail and this should be done in the presence of another officer.
The recipient of unwanted mail from prisoners may contact the facility (using the stamped information placed on the back of the envelope) if they do not want to receive further mail from the prisoner.
If contact is made, the recipient or the written response must be referred to an intelligence officer. The intelligence officer must ensure that the recipient and the prisoner are recorded on the targeted mail register. The prisoner must also be advised of the 'stop mail' condition put in place by the recipient. Refer appendix - Rubber stamp template for returned correspondence
Any further mail sent to the recipient by the prisoner must be seized and returned to the prisoner.
General managers should develop a local procedure to facilitate the process if necessary.
Refer CSA s 48
For the storing and disposing seized property (including ordinary mail), refer procedure - Property of Offenders.
Prisoners are prohibited from sending correspondence addressed to primary or secondary educational institutions except in the following cases -
Child sex offenders must not send mail to a primary or secondary educational institution under any circumstances.
All prisoner-related taxation matters must be posted using only Australian Taxation Office (ATO) pre-paid pre-addressed envelopes. The envelopes are available from the QCS/ATO representative at each corrective services facility (usually the intelligence officer).
The QCS/ATO representative must maintain a tax pack register. This register must be kept with the envelopes and tax packs issued by the QCS/ATO liaison officer. When a prisoner requests an envelope and/or tax pack for posting, the prisoner must sign the register for these documents.
If all the issued envelopes and tax packs have been accounted for on the register, the register must be returned to the QCS/ATO liaison officer who must issue more envelopes and tax packs with a new envelope and tax pack register.
Refer appendix - Taxation Fraud Intelligence Process (in-confidence)
“Privileged mail” means mail that is sent to, or by, a person who is prescribed under CSR s 18 and appendix - Schedule of Authorised Persons for the Purposes of Privileged Mail.
A prisoner who uses the blue envelope system to post privileged mail is not required to meet the cost of postage.
Refer CSA ss 45-47, 263, 265
All privileged mail (including legal mail) received by a prisoner must -
A corrective services officer may -
If the officer considers the privileged mail may contain an unauthorised article or may not be privileged mail or the prisoner refuses to comply with a) or b) above, refer section 4.4.
Refer CSA ss 263, 265
Refer CSA s 45; CSR s 18(2)-(3)
Privileged mail sent by a prisoner to a prescribed person may be sealed by the prisoner without the presence of a corrective services officer and may be processed unopened, except in accordance with CSA s 45.
Privileged mail to or from a prisoner is not subject to a standard search.
Only an authorised delegate (refer Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)) may conduct a search of privileged mail in accordance with CSA s 45.
If a corrective services officer considers privileged mail may contain an unauthorised article or may not be privileged mail, the officer must advise an authorised delegate. The authorised delegate must decide whether to conduct a search of the mail in accordance with CSA s 45.
Examples of when a corrective services officer may consider that privileged mail should be referred to an authorised delegate include-
Under no circumstance should an authorised delegate read mail that is marked “privileged”, other than to establish that it is privileged mail in accordance with CSA s 45 (2) and (3), unless express written permission has been received from the prisoner to whom the mail is addressed.
If a search of privileged mail reveals information about the commission of an offence, the officer who has been authorised to conduct the search should first confirm that the mail is not merely discussing details of the offence for which the prisoner is currently detained.
Refer CSA ss 46, 47 and Instrument of Delegation of Chief Executive Powers - Corrective Services Act 2006 (in-confidence)
If a search of privileged mail reveals a prohibited thing or something that may harm the person to whom the mail is addressed, the contents of the mail may be seized.
An intelligence officer must determine whether an offence has been committed (refer procedure - Breaches of Discipline).
Refer CSA ss 49, 291
Each corrective services facility must maintain a register that records the details of searches carried out on privileged mail. The information recorded in the register must be completed as thoroughly as possible and the register made available for inspection by an official visitor upon request.
Refer CSA ss 45, 52, Schedule 4
Facsimile mail may be received by, or sent on behalf of, a prisoner with the permission of the general manager of the corrective services facility if operationally convenient.
6. Return to Sender of Ordinary Prisoner Mail Received
Where a decision is made to return prisoner mail received to the sender (eg. an item which does not meet the criteria for issue approval). The envelope/package should be secured and addressed “Return to Sender” on the front with only a stamp (refer section 2.2 of this standard operating procedure) placed on the back of the envelope/package. No other corrective services facility identifiers should be placed on the envelope/package.
Deputy Commissioner, Custodial Operations
27/07/2011 Version 01