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NCJ Number: 62905 Find in a Library
Title: MAIL REGULATION IN JAILS
Author(s): A DELLINGER
Corporate Author: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government
United States of America
Date Published: 1977
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Government
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-5381
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: MAIL REGULATION IN NORTH CAROLINA JAILS MUST CONFORM TO COURT DECISIONS. LEGALLY DEFENSIBLE JAIL OPERATING PROCEDURES AND PROTECTION OF INMATES' AND PRETRIAL DETAINEES' RIGHTS ARE DISCUSSED.
Abstract: THE MAJORITY OF JAILERS FIND LITTLE NEED TO CENSOR INMATES' MAIL. WHILE MOST DO INSPECT FOR CONTRABAND, FEW SEE NEED TO READ MAIL OR TO REFUSE TO DELIVER IT. CONTINUED RESTRAINT IN THIS MATTER IS ADVISED TO ASSURE POSITIVE INMATE MORALE AND RELIEF FROM ADMINISTRATIVE INCONVENIENCE. THE LEGAL STATUS OF JAIL INMATES IS DEFINED ALONG WITH PARTICULAR INFORMATION ON THEIR RIGHT TO MAIL. LEGAL AUTHORITY HAS BEEN UNANIMOUS ON THE MORE PRIVILEGED STATUS OF PRETRIAL DETAINEES. SECURITY AND ORDER IS THE BASIS FOR MANY JAIL PROCEDURES AND THE JAILER MUST TAKE THESE INTO CONSIDERATION WHEN DECIDING UPON DIFFERENCES IN TREATMENT FOR DETAINEES AND THOSE IN JAIL. THE REASONS FOR MAIL REGULATION INCLUDE PROHIBITION OF PASSING OF CONTRABAND, ELIMINATION OF PLANS FOR ESCAPE, AND OTHER CRIMINAL ACTIVITY. LETTERS OF COMPLAINT OR CRITICISM AND PORNOGRAPHIC AND OBSCENE MATERIALS ARE CENSORED TO IMPROVE THE INMATE'S OWN ATTITUDE. SOME REASONS GIVEN MAY BE FULLY JUSTIFIED UNDER CURRENT LAW, SOME ARE JUSTIFIED FOR PRISONERS BUT NOT FOR PRETRIAL DETAINEES, AND OTHERS ARE NOT LEGALLY JUSTIFIABLE. THE QUESTION OF MAIL CENSORSHIP DURING PRETRIAL DETENTION IS STILL UNSETTLED. LOWER COURT DECISIONS ARE SPLIT, AND THE SUPREME COURT HAS NOT RULED ON THE MATTER. IN THE PROCUNIER V. MARTINEZ 1974 SUPREME COURT DECISION THAT OVERTURNED PREVIOUS LAW, A FIVE-MEMBER COURT MAJORITY REFUSED TO SAY WHETHER PRISONERS HAVE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS, BUT DID HOLD THAT UNNECESSARY RESTRICTIONS ON PRISONERS' MAIL VIOLATE THE FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF PRISONERS' CORRESPONDENCE. AFTER PROCUNIER, NECESSARY CHANGES WERE MADE IN NORTH CAROLINA JAIL PROCEDURES TO ENSURE PROPER MAIL REGULATION. DECISIONS IN OTHER CASES ARE OUTLINED. FOOTNOTES COMPLEMENT THE TEXT. (RFC)
Index Term(s): Censorship; Constitutional Rights/Civil Liberties; North Carolina; Prisoner's rights
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