Section 525.130  Outgoing Mail


This Section applies to all correctional facilities within the Department.


a)         Offenders shall be permitted to send privileged and non-privileged letters at their own expense.  Offenders with insufficient money in their trust fund accounts to purchase postage shall be permitted to send reasonable amounts of legal mail and mail to clerks of any court or the Illinois Court of Claims, to certified court reporters, to the Administrative Review Board, and to the Prisoner Review Board at State expense if they attach signed money vouchers authorizing deductions of future funds to cover the cost of the postage.  The offender's trust fund account shall be restricted for the cost of such postage until paid or the offender is released or discharged, whichever is soonest.


b)         Offenders must clearly mark all outgoing mail with their name and in adult facilities with their institutional number.  Mail that is not properly marked, including privileged mail, shall be opened and returned to the sender if the sender's identity can be determined.  If the sender's identity cannot be determined, the mail shall be destroyed.


c)         Outgoing privileged mail must be clearly marked as "privileged" and sealed by the offender.  Outgoing mail which is clearly marked as privileged and addressed to a privileged party may not be opened for inspection except as provided in subsection (d) of this Section.


d)         In adult facilities, outgoing privileged mail shall be examined for dangerous contraband, using an x-ray, fluoroscope, or other similar device. Such examination may be conducted in juvenile facilities.  Outgoing privileged mail may be inspected for dangerous contraband by other means which do not damage the mail and which do not permit the mail to be read.  Except in an emergency, outgoing privileged mail shall not be opened, unless there is reasonable suspicion that dangerous contraband is contained therein, legal services is consulted, and the mail is opened in the offender's presence.


e)         With the exception of privileged mail, all mail shall be unsealed when collected or placed in housing unit mailboxes.  Sealed mail that is not privileged will be opened and returned to the sender if the sender's identity can be determined.  If the sender's identity cannot be determined, the mail shall be destroyed.


f)         Each correctional facility shall establish procedures for the collection of outgoing mail.  Collections shall be made daily, Monday through Friday, except on State holidays.  Every effort shall be made to ensure that mail is delivered to the U.S. Postal Service on the same day.


g)         Outgoing non-privileged mail shall be inspected for contraband. If a letter from an offender is confiscated because it contains contraband, the offender shall be notified promptly in writing.


h)         Department employees may spot check and read outgoing non-privileged mail.  Outgoing non-privileged mail or portions thereof may be reproduced or withheld from delivery if it presents a threat to security or safety, including the following:


1)         The letter contains threats of physical harm against any person or threats of criminal activity;


2)         The letter contains threats of blackmail or extortion;


3)         The letter contains information regarding sending contraband into or out of the facility, plans to escape, or plans to engage in criminal activity;


4)         The letter is in code and its contents cannot be understood by correctional staff;


5)         The letter violates any departmental rules or contains plans to engage in activities in violation of departmental or institutional rules;


6)         The letter solicits gifts, goods, or money from other than family members;


7)         The letter contains information which, if communicated, might result in physical harm to another;


8)         The letter contains unauthorized correspondence with another offender; or


9)         The letter or contents thereof constitute a violation of State or federal law.


i)          Any outgoing letter may be stopped and returned to the sender if the person to whom it is addressed (or a parent or guardian, if the addressee is a minor or incompetent) has notified the Chief Administrative Officer in writing that the person does not wish to receive mail from the offender.  This rule shall not be construed to prevent offenders from corresponding with their children unless their parental rights have been terminated.


j)          If an offender is prohibited from sending a letter or portions thereof, the offender shall be informed in writing of the decision.


k)         Material from a letter which violates subsection (h) of this Section may be placed in an offender's master file.


l)          Offenders may not send packages without approval of the Chief Administrative Officer, whose decision shall be based on administrative, safety, and security considerations.


(Source:  Amended at 27 Ill. Reg. 8039, effective July 1, 2003)