37 Pa. Code § 93.2

Current through Register Vol. 50, No. 41, October 10, 2020
Section 93.2 - Inmate correspondence
(a)Permitted correspondence. Inmates are permitted to correspond with friends, family members, attorneys, news media, legitimate business contacts and public officials. There may be no limit to the number of correspondents.
(b)Restrictions. The following restrictions apply:
(1) Correspondence with inmates of other facilities, former inmates, probationers or victims of the criminal acts of the inmate will not be permitted except upon approval of the facility manager or a designee.
(2) Correspondence containing threatening, obscene or explicit sexual material, or nudity as well as correspondence containing criminal solicitation or furthering a criminal plan or institution misconduct is prohibited.
(3) An inmate shall refrain from writing to persons who have stated in writing that they do not wish to receive mail from the inmate. This will not be interpreted to restrict the right of inmates to correspond with public officials with respect to the official duties of the latter.
(4) Correspondence with prohibited parties through a third party is also prohibited.
(5) Mail addressed to an inmate organization will not be accepted unless the facility manager and Secretary have approved the organization and it is addressed to the staff coordinator of the organization.
(c)Incoming mail. Mail sent to a facility will be opened and examined for contraband in the facility's mailroom or designated area except when permitted under paragraph (1).
(1) The Department may permit sealed mail to be opened in the presence of an inmate under the following conditions:
(i) An attorney or authorized representative/designee may hand-deliver a sealed confidential client communication to an inmate if the attorney is unable to communicate through alternative means, if the following conditions are met:
(A) The person making the delivery does so during normal business hours unless granted permission in advance by the Secretary or a designee.
(B) The person making the delivery shall provide valid identification and information sufficient to verify that the person is the inmate's attorney or authorized representative of the attorney.
(C) The person making delivery shall present the documents for inspection for contraband, unsealed and unbound.
(D) Upon inspection, the documents will be sealed and delivered to the inmate where they will be unsealed and searched again for contraband.
(ii) An attorney may obtain a control number from the Department's Office of Chief Counsel if the attorney wishes to have correspondence addressed to an inmate client opened in the presence of the inmate.
(A) An attorney shall submit a written request for a control number to the Office of Chief Counsel. The request must include the attorney's name, address, telephone and facsimile numbers, State attorney identification number and a verification subject to the penalties of 18 Pa.C.S. § 4904 (relating to unsworn falsification to authorities) that all mail sent to inmates using the control number will contain only essential, confidential, attorney-client communication and will contain no contraband.
(B) The attorney shall place the control number on each envelope that the attorney wishes to have opened in an inmate's presence. The number is confidential. It shall only be placed on the outside of the envelope so that it can be obliterated before it is delivered to an inmate client.
(C) If a control number does not appear on the envelope, the mail will be treated as regular mail and opened in the mailroom unless the procedures in subparagraph (i) are followed.
(D) The Department may change the control number for any reason upon notice to the attorney who requested it.
(iii) A court may direct delivery of court documents sealed from public disclosure to an inmate by specific order. The court's representative shall deliver the sealed documents and the specific court order to the facility. Under no circumstances will documents filed in a court of public record be delivered sealed to an inmate.
(2) Contraband in the form of money orders, certified checks, cash or other negotiable instruments will be recorded indicating the nature of the receipt, the sender, the amount received and the date. Personal checks, unless certified, will be returned to the sender. The facility is not responsible for cash sent through the mails. Confiscated coins and currency will be deposited in the Inmate General Welfare Fund. Contraband not specifically addressed in this section will be returned to the sender or destroyed.
(d)Outgoing mail. Sealed outgoing mail from an inmate will not be examined except as set forth in subsection (e).
(e)Scrutiny of correspondence.
(1) The facility manager or a designee may read incoming or outgoing mail, except mail sealed in accordance with subsection (c)(1), when there is reason to believe that it may reveal or discuss illegal or unauthorized activity or for reasons set forth in any Department document that is disseminated to inmates.
(2) The facility manager or a designee may read mail sealed in accordance with subsection (c)(1), only upon the written order of the facility manager with the written approval of the Secretary when there is reason to believe that there is a threat to facility security or criminal activity.
(f)Rejection of correspondence. An item of correspondence which appears to violate subsection (b) may be rejected by facility mailroom staff. The inmate and the sender, in cases when the inmate is not the sender, will be notified when the letter is rejected. The letter will be held for at least 7 business days after mailing of the notification to permit reasonable opportunity to protest the decision. If the letter is rejected, it will be returned to the sender.
(g)Incoming publications.
(1) A publication review committee consisting of staff designated by and reporting to the facility manager or a designee shall determine whether an inmate may receive a publication.
(2) Publications shall be received directly from a publisher, bookstore, book club, distributor or department store. Newspapers shall be mailed directly from the publisher.
(3) Publications may not be received by an inmate if they:
(i) Contain information regarding the manufacture of explosives, incendiaries, weapons, escape devices, poisons, drugs or intoxicating beverages or other contraband.
(ii) Advocate, assist or are evidence of criminal activity, inmate misconduct, violence, insurrection or guerrilla warfare against the government.
(iii) Threaten the security of a facility.
(iv) Contain nudity, obscene material or explicit sexual materials as defined in subsection (i).
(v) Constitute a bulk mailing specifically intended for the purpose of advertising or selling merchandise.
(4) An inmate under 18 years of age may not receive explicit sexual materials as defined in 18 Pa.C.S. § 5903 (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances).
(5) A publication will not be prohibited solely on the basis that the publication is critical of penal institutions in general, of a particular facility, staff member, or official of the Department, or of a correctional or penological practice in this or any other jurisdiction.
(6) An inmate may receive only one copy of any publication unless granted permission by the publication review committee.
(7) Small letter sized pamphlets may be received in regular correspondence.
(8) Covers of hardbound publications may be damaged or removed during inspection in the discretion of mailroom staff.
(h)Exception. Correspondence and publications containing nudity, explicit sexual material or obscene material as defined in subsection (i), may be permitted if the material has artistic, educational or medical value. The following considerations will guide the Department in determining whether to permit nudity, explicit sexual material or obscene material:
(1) Is the material in question contained in a publication that regularly features sexually explicit content intended to raise levels of sexual arousal or to provide sexual gratification, or both? If so, the publication will be denied for inmate possession.
(2) Is it likely that the content in question was published or provided with the primary intention to raise levels of sexual arousal or to provide sexual gratification, or both? If so, the publication or content will be denied for inmate possession.
(i)Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this section, have the following meanings:

Explicit sexual material-Any book, photograph, pamphlet, magazine, printed matter, sound recording, explicit and detailed verbal description, narrative account or other material of the following:

(i) Sexual conduct, which means acts of masturbation, homosexuality, sexual intercourse, sexual bestiality or physical contact with a person's clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or, if the person is a female, breast.
(ii) Sadomasochistic abuse, which means flagellation or torture by or upon a person clad in undergarments, a mask or bizarre costume, or the condition of being fettered, bound or otherwise physically restrained on the part of one so clothed.
(iii) Sexual excitement, which means the condition of the human male or female genitals when in a state of sexual stimulation or arousal.

Nudity-The showing of the human male or female genitals, pubic area or buttocks with less than a fully opaque covering or the showing of the female breast with less than a fully opaque covering of any portion below the top of the nipple, or the depiction of covered male genitals in a discernible turgid state.

Obscene-Any book, photograph, pamphlet, magazine, printed matter, sound recording, explicit and detailed verbal description, narrative account or other material is considered obscene if one of the following applies:

(i) An average person applying contemporary community standards would find that the subject matter taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest.
(ii) The subject matter depicts or describes the following in a patently offensive way:
(A) Ultimate sexual acts, normal or perverted, actual or simulated, including sexual intercourse, anal or oral sodomy and sexual bestiality.
(B) Patently offensive representations or descriptions of masturbation or execratory functions.
(C) In a sexual context, flagellation or torture upon a nude person or one clad only in undergarments, a mask or bizarre costume or fettered, bound or otherwise physically restrained.
(D) Lewd exhibition of the genitals.
(j)Construction. This section is not intended and may not be interpreted to create or confer any rights in addition to those created by the United States Constitution, the Pennsylvania Constitution or Federal or State statutes applicable to the Department.

37 Pa. Code § 93.2