Postal Service tells prisons opened inmate mail can’t be returned without new postage

All Maine Department of Corrections facilities have been following the same mail policy as the Maine State Prison, according to spokesperson Anna Black. But to her knowledge, “they have not had an issue or been contacted by their local post office.”

Black did not respond to questions asking how much it would cost the Department of Corrections to put new postage on returned mail.

Since discovering that postage policy was not being followed in Warren, the U.S. Postal Service is working to contact correctional facilities in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont regarding its returned mail policy as a reminder, though Doherty said the issue does not appear to be widespread. It’s unclear how long the practice has been happening in Warren, but Doherty estimates that it has been going on for a long period of time.

The post offices that serve those facilities are also being trained on returned mail policy, he said.

To stem the flow of contraband into prisons, the Maine Department of Corrections opens mail addressed to inmates to ensure that it meets department standards. If the mail does not meet these standards, it is returned to the sender.

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That is occurring at detention facilities all across the country.