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Marion County Jail Bans Letters and Parcels November 29, 2009

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

Marion County jail inmates soon won’t be able to get letters from the outside. They’ll have to settle for postcards.

Starting as soon as Jan. 1, jail officials are going to limit incoming and outgoing mail to postcards only. Current policy allows letters with no limit on the number of pages.

The policy will save the county money and man-hours spent sorting through more than 1,000 pieces of general mail inmates receive each week.

“We’re not trying to be mean or make people upset,” Marion County Sheriff Jason Myers said. “It’s about efficiency and safety in the workplace.”

Inmates will be required to purchase standardized pre-stamped 3.5-by-8.5-inch postcards from a commissary. The postcards feature a photo of the jail.

The new rules will not affect mail to and from public officials or legal mail.

The benefits of the new policy include decreased traffic of contraband items through the jail, as well as saving time and costs, Marion County jail Cmdr. Jeff Holland said.

The most common contraband item deputies find is pornography, Holland said.

Contraband has “been a problem off and on as long as I’ve been in the business — 23 years,” Holland said.

Each year, the county spends about $60,000 to cover man-hours spent sorting jail mail, Holland said.

“We estimate by going to the postcard system we can cut that by half,” Holland said.

It takes about nine hours per day to process mail, Holland said. That amount of time will be scaled back, and deputies will use the time to patrol the grounds and focus of safety, the sheriff said.

“We’ll be able to refocus the time on safety and security of the facility,” Myers said.




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