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E-Messaging Saves Time, Improves Security

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 2008
2 pages
This article describes the benefits and protocol for Colorado's system for inmates to receive e-mail.
Provisions for inmates to receive e-mail facilitates their receipt of messages from family and friends quickly and more often. Colorado's e-mail system for inmates provides mailroom staff with the tools necessary to scan letters quickly, print out those that qualify for distribution to inmate recipients, and quickly deliver them to inmates. E-mails eliminate the need for mailroom staff to open hard-copy mail for inspection. Also handwritten letters may be difficult for staff to read and check for key words or phrases. For electronic messaging, the system has developed several hundred key words identified by Intel Corporation and security staff for inclusion in a database. Each e-mail is scanned for these words in less than a minute. Families and friends of an inmate use the Internet to create an account and purchase "e-stamps" to send their letters. The vendor's interface system sorts and routes letters to the appropriate facility daily. Colorado obtained printers and copiers for printing the e-mail letters at no cost. Because not all families and friends of inmates have computers, mailrooms still process traditional hard-copy mail. Colorado introduced incoming e-mail in August 2006. The next phase is the introduction of kiosks that will enable inmates to send e-mails.

Date Published: July 1, 2008