If you are an inmate at a county jail and you send out a letter to your wife can the sheriffs office open it?
My step-father is an inmate at the licking county justice center. He had wrote a letter to my mother which is his wife. They are no orders to stop them from writing or seeing each other. He sent my mother a letter and before the jail sent it out the sherrifs office decided to open it. When my mother recieved the letter it said this piece of mail has been opened. When my mom talked to my step-father and told him that the mail said it had been opened he talked to his deputy about it. The deputy said that they are not allowed to open the mail without his consent or him being there. He had no idea his mail was opened and never would have. The deputy told him the sheriffs office had previously done the same thing to a few other inmates and when it was addressed the inmates charges were dropped and they were released from jail since they were not being held for horrific charges. please give me your insight on this situation and how you think i should go about addressing this and to whom.
- Anonymous1 decade agoFavorite Answer
What you are stating is hearsay, not legal fact.
"When my mom talked to my step-father and told him that the mail said it had been opened he talked to his deputy about it", and "The deputy told him the sheriffs office had previously done the same thing to a few other inmates and when it was addressed the inmates charges were dropped and they were released from jail"
These statements are what the deputy allegedly told your step father, then he told your mother, who in turn told you.
Although I worked in Texas, I have been a correctional officer and sergeant at three different correctional facilities.
I know for a fact, that all inmate mail is opened, and searched for contraband.
There is nothing unlawful about it.
Mail is opened and searched , to prevent trafficking of drugs or weapons, for the safety and security of the institution.
An inmate in a secure correctional facility has no legal right to privacy.
If he did it would not be a secure facility.
You seem to be offended that this happened to your step-father, but this is standard procedure for ALL mail to or from offenders. He is not being singled out for anything.
Criminal charges would not be dropped for opening of an offender's mail.
The only exception to this would be if legal material was searched and used as evidence against said offender.
As a correctional officer, I had the right to even search an offender's legal mail for contraband, but could not search for written material without specific paperwork and procedures that had to be followed.
If I found a weapon or any other contraband mixed in an offender's legal mail, I was not in violation, because searching for contraband does not involve reading anyone's legal material.
If I found written escape plans without going through the proper steps and paperwork, I could have been in trouble, because I would only be able to find something like that, if I had been reading the documents to see what was written in them.
I would also like to note, that this protection against reading ONLY applies to legal mail that is part of a court proceeding.
ALL mail, other than legal mail, does not even have this restriction against being read during a search.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
Yes they can read all mail incoming and outgoing. A person from my church's daughter was in jail for a while and some of the members wrote to her. I was one of them. I knew that what I wrote to her could be read before she got it. The same with what she wrote to me.
Might not seem fair but the best way to get around that is not to get put in jail. Probably isn't a lot you can do about it. The first person I would suggest talking to would be the Sheriff. Ask him if they can open mail.
You also cannot prove that the deputy opened it unless they admit to it. They can say it was opened after it left their hands. Or it could have been delievered to the wrong address and someone opened it and read it and then sent it on to your mom.
I can guarantee if they opened it illegally they are not going to admit to it.
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- Anonymous5 years ago
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- davidmi711Lv 71 decade ago
Their website indicates all mail is subject to search:
There is no limitation to the number of letters that an inmate may send and receive. Indigent inmates will receive postage and stationary to send 2 letters per week. Incoming and outgoing mail is subject to search for contraband. Incoming and outgoing mail must include a full return address. Mail received must be written in English. Any incoming mail not following these guidelines will be marked, "Return to Sender" and placed back in the outgoing mail.Source(s): http://www.lcounty.com/sheriff/frmJail.aspx
- footflash1Lv 61 decade ago
I would think the deputy is very wrong or someone misunderstood what he said. I'm sure they don't pull everyone out of their cells just to open their mail "in front of them" (that's dumb), and I am certain all out-going and in-coming mail gets opened. I would discuss this with one of the higher ups in charge of that facility, but I assure you this alone will not matter a hill of beans to his case.
- Anonymous1 decade ago
they should be allowed to open it. because maybe the inmate is asking for drugs to be bought to him. i know it is only a jail. but maybe they are going to prison from there in a week so they want to get the contraband drugs, weapons,etc. before they enter prison so they have a better chance of not getting caught. Same thing mail coming in they should obviously deff check.
- KarleLv 71 decade ago
yes any mail from any jail/prison in the country is subject to search......both incoming and outgoing
and btw the deputy is WRONG
but if u want u can contact the local DA and ask.......