Prison Mail Access and Limitations

The initial goal was simple: mitigate the flow of contraband moving into state and federal prisons by changing the flow of communication. In February of 2020, North Carolina Department of Public Safety tested this theory with the implementation of TextBehind and mail to the female incarceration population.

  • Mail posted by family or friends to a contracted vendor at an outside location
  • Mail screened by vendor (TextBehind) for compliance with facility regulations
  • Mail scanned by vendor
  • Physical mail archived by vendor
  • Scanned mail uploaded by vendor
  • Scanned mail reviewed and downloaded by facilities
  • Digitized mail received by inmate via electronic tablet, kiosk, or scanned copy

The TextBehind process was implemented throughout North Carolina last year though other states like New Mexico and Florida utilize Securus to process inmate mail. Our clients share their disappointment in not receiving physical mail and cards which serve as tangible connections to family and supporters. The continued slowing of USPS delivery seems to compound delays in delivery, often taking 3 weeks to a month for letter delivery. New Mexico lawmakers recently convened to discuss their current process. The committee heard from inmate family members about the significant delays: “I sent over 10 letters to my son, out of those 10 letters he received four since February.”

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