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  1. I understand that mail in prison is vital for imprisoned individuals to remain close to friends, family, and society. It is crucial to their mental health and correspondance should be encouraged by all family and friends of those who are doing their time. I also know that mail is a resource used to sneak in contraband and not all correspondence sent to inmates is positive, such as by victims or their families who want to further punish the inmate for their actions.

    I am a mailroom employee at the California Dept. of Corrections and Rehabiliatation and I can tell you that in my mailroom, we get accused of maliciously hiding mail, purposely delaying or not sending their mail, and much more which is simply untrue. We have rule that we must abide by when processing and expecting ingoing and outgoing mail that we do not necessarily agree with or like but the alternative is to be unemployed so we follow the rules the best we can. When we do go outside of those guidelines, it is not our employers who complain and threaten our jobs, it is the inmates who throw fits about it. For example, instead of disallowing mail and forcing the recipient to either destroy or pay to return the mail, and all of the allowed contents included, we began to send it back at our cost with a note explaining why it could not be allowed. Often, we transferred the allowed contents in a new envelope and forwarding it to the recipient so that they would still receive most of their mail. This lasted a few months before complaints began to surface so we are back to delaying their mail, going through the disallowed process, and them once again destroying or paying to return their mail. We no longer send helpful notes that will let the sender fix their mail to avoid future issues, and a lot of time is wasted.

    We also do our best to find the cheapest methods to ship packages home as well as allowing them to pay for postage with indigent envelopes. We do supply them with flat rate boxes and envelopes for only the cost of shipping if that is the cheapest method there is.

    I cannot speak for all mailrooms in the country, or even in California, but we are not all power hungry jerks looking to make anybody feel miserable. The fact is, we do not have the space to store and hide mail, we do not have the time to create more work for ourselves by answering request forms and complaints, nor do we enjoy having to interview those who file a grievance against us. Most times when we are accused of keeping mail, that mail had never been delivered to begin with. It is sad but true that many people lie and say they write or send packages but never do, making the situation worse on everybody.

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