The information listed below is a brief overview of the RIDOC mail policy. To view the entire inmate mail policy click here. To view the policy in Spanish, click here.
The RIDOC mail procedure assists inmates in social, legal, business and other correspondence deemed appropriate.
For additional information contact facility Wardens.
- Are inmates allowed to send and receive correspondence?
- May I send an inmate a letter or package to an inmate using UPS, Federal Express or some other commercial mail service?
All mail (letters, packages, etc.) is only accepted when arriving through the U.S. Postal Service. Packages arriving from any other source are not accepted.
- May I send books or magazines to an inmate through the mail?
Refer to the Inmate Mail policy for details.
- May I send something to an inmate in a colored envelope?
No. Effective October 1, 2012, per policy, all incoming mail for inmates must be in a white envelope, with the exception of manila envelopes from attorneys.
- May I send something to an inmate C.O.D.?
No. Postage for all items sent to inmates through the U.S. Postal Service must be paid by the sender.
- What if I send a letter/package to an inmate and I did not put enough postage on it?
If the item has a return address it is sent back to the sender. If there is no return address, it is returned to the Post Office.
- May I send postage stamps to an inmate?
No. Inmates must purchase postage stamps through the inmate commissary. You may not give an inmate stamps at a visit.
- Can I send money or a check to an inmate through the mail?
No. Any cash, checks, postal notes, money orders, or drafts found in incoming mail are seized and forwarded to the Inmate Accounts Office to be deposited in the inmate’s account, according to RIDOC policy 2.09 DOC, Accountability of Inmate Money/Checks or a successive policy.A receipt of the transaction is given to the addressee/inmate, and a copy is placed in the inmate’s facility file.In order to mail deposits directly to an inmate’s account please view the FAQ’s for Inmate Accounts.
- Can I send a letter to an inmate Certified Mail?
Yes. The mailroom officer delivers the Certified Mail to the inmate who signs the green receipt card. This receipt is returned to the sender via the U.S. Postal Service. The mailroom officer also records the date the Certified mail was received and when it was delivered to the inmate.
- Is there a limit on the amount of mail an inmate can receive or send?
No. As long as an inmate or sender bears the mailing cost, there is no limit on the number of letters inmate can send or receive. However, if there is a reasonable belief that it is necessary to limit the amount of mail an inmate send or receives to protect public safety or institutional order and security, assist the rehabilitation of an inmate, and/or prevent the furthering of illegal activities the inmate’s mail may be limited.
- Is incoming mail opened?
Yes. All incoming non-privileged mail may be opened inspected for contraband and read by authorized
RIDOC institutional staff pursuant to 24.01-5 DOC Mail, or a successive policy. Incoming non-privileged mail is disapproved only to prevent interference with facility goals of security, order, discipline, rehabilitation, if it might facilitate, encourage, or instruct in criminal activity, or contribute to a hostile work environment. Disapproval is not based upon an employee’s personal views of the merit of such mail. The RIDOC reserves the right to disallow personal photographs and/or facsimiles which feature nudity.
- What happens if I send something to an inmate and it is removed from my letter/package?
If it is necessary to remove any item(s) from incoming mail, a written record is made of such action. A copy of the record is given to the affected inmate.
- What happens to the item that was removed from the inmate’s mail?
When contraband which is not otherwise illegal is found, a notice is sent to the inmate, and the contraband is returned to the sender at the inmate’s expense. If there is no return address, and the contraband that is not otherwise illegal, it is destroyed. For the procedures which are followed when illegal contraband is seized, please refer to policy 9.14-2 DOC, Procedures for Detecting and Controlling Contraband on or in the Possession of Inmates, or a successive policy.
- How long will it take for my mail to reach an inmate?
Incoming mail is distributed to inmates within 24 hours of receipt from the U.S. Postal Service whenever possible, excluding weekends, holidays and emergency situations.
- What if I mail a letter/package to an inmate who has been released from the RIDOC?
If a forwarding address is available; all First Class mail (letters and packages) is sent to inmates at the specified address. If an inmate has been transferred to an out-of-state facility or a federal facility mail is forwarded to the inmate in care of the warden of that facility.
If a forwarding address is not available, First Class letters and packages are returned to senders.
- Where do I send mail to an inmate?
Mail for inmates should be sent to the post office box for the specific facility the inmate is currently residing in. Click on Contact Us to find the facility names and corresponding post office boxes. Also, be sure to include the inmate's identification number on the mail.