Chapter 5.16
COMMUNICATIONS

Sections:

5.16.010    Telephone usage.

5.16.020    Mail.

5.16.030    Visitation.

5.16.010 Telephone usage.

(1) The bureau shall establish and post rules which specify regular telephone usage times and the maximum length of calls (not to be less than five minutes).

(2) Telephone usage hours shall include time during the normal work day and time during the evening, at least once a week per prisoner. Established social telephone usage hours shall not preclude reasonable access to a telephone to contact the prisoner’s attorney or legal representative.

(3) Calls shall be at the prisoner’s expense or collect. However, appropriate protection of access to an attorney shall be maintained for prisoners without funds.

(4) Calls are not private, unless made to a prisoner’s attorney. All calls will be recorded and may be monitored by the bureau. At the outset of all calls, an announcement shall notify the receiver of the call that the call is coming from a prisoner of Snohomish county corrections, and that the call will be recorded and may be monitored. The bureau shall develop and adopt policies and procedures that (1) provide for written notice to all prisoners that their telephone calls are not private, will be recorded, and may be monitored, (2) limit access to the recordings, (3) establish purposes for which recordings can be divulged, (4) provide for destruction of the recordings pursuant to an established schedule, and (5) prohibit the recording of any conversations between a prisoner and his or her attorney in order to protect the attorney-client privilege.

(5) Reasons for calls shall be the personal concern of the prisoner, except in consideration of requests for emergency calls beyond normal telephone hours.

(Added Amended Ord. 94-041, May 25, 1994; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-137, Nov. 10, 2008, Eff date Jan. 1, 2009; Amended by Ord. 09-128, Jan. 13, 2010, Eff date Jan. 29, 2010).

5.16.020 Mail.

(1) Newspapers, Books, Periodicals, Other Printed Materials and Photographs.

(a) Prisoners shall generally be permitted to subscribe to and otherwise receive books, newspapers, periodicals and other printed materials or photographs which may lawfully be delivered through the United States mail. All hardbound books must be received directly from the publisher, a book club or a bookstore, unless otherwise permitted by the bureau chief or bureau chief’s designee. Otherwise, such materials may be denied a prisoner only when the denial or other restriction is rationally related to a legitimate penological interest, including, but not limited to security, safety, order and rehabilitation (in the case of sentenced prisoners).

(b) When such materials are withheld from a prisoner:

(i) The prisoner shall receive immediate written notice that the publication is being denied, accompanied by an explanation of the reason(s) for the denial;

(ii) The affected prisoner shall be promptly informed of the right to have such decision reviewed by the bureau chief or bureau chief’s designee upon written request;

(iii) A written decision of the review of the denial, including reason(s), shall be given to the prisoner requesting review.

(2) Correspondence.

(a) General.

(i) Incoming or outgoing mail shall be retained no more than one business day;

(ii) Except in the case of prisoners without funds, prisoners shall be permitted to mail out any number of letters. Prisoners without funds shall be permitted to mail up to three letters per calendar week at public expense. Upon proper showing, the number may be increased. Each prisoner shall be permitted to mail out any number of letters to the prisoner’s attorney and the courts;

(iii) No restriction shall be placed on the number of letters a prisoner may receive or on the persons with whom the prisoner may correspond, except by order of a court of competent jurisdiction or as provided under SCC 5.16.020(c);

(iv) These rules shall not preclude a prisoner being required to place the prisoner’s name and return post office address on outgoing mail.

(b) Opening or Censoring Mail.

(i) No general restriction of the number of letters prisoners may receive or of classes of persons with whom they may correspond shall be made by bureau rule or policy;

(ii) Incoming mail may be opened, inspected and read. Whenever mail is not delivered by the staff directly to the prisoner to whom it is addressed, it shall be resealed. Mail may be rejected when, in the judgment of the bureau chief or bureau chief’s designee, it presents a threat to a legitimate penological interest, including, but not limited to, security, order and rehabilitation (in the case of sentenced offenders) or violates state or federal law;

(iii) Except by order of a court of competent jurisdiction, outgoing mail shall not be opened unless the bureau chief or bureau chief’s designee has reasonable grounds to believe that the content of a letter may present a threat to a legitimate penological interest, including, but not limited to security, order and rehabilitation (in the case of sentenced offenders) or violates state or federal law.

(c) Notice of Disapproval of Prisoner Mail.

(i) When a prisoner is prohibited from sending a letter, the letter and a written and signed notice stating the reasons for disapproval and indicating the portion(s) of the letter causing disapproval shall be given the prisoner;

(ii) When a prisoner is prohibited from receiving a letter, the letter and a written signed notice stating the reason(s) for denial shall be given the sender. The prisoner shall be given notice in writing that the letter has been prohibited, indicating the reason(s) and the sender’s name;

(iii) When a prisoner is prohibited from sending or receiving mail, the affected prisoner and sender, in the case of incoming mail, are entitled to have such decision reviewed by the disciplinary hearing body, the bureau chief or bureau chief’s designee upon written request and shall be promptly informed of this right;

(iv) A written decision of the review of such denial shall be promptly delivered to the prisoner and sender.

(d) Limitations.

(i) Incoming mail of prisoners that is clearly marked as coming from an attorney, court or elected government official, shall be opened only in the presence of the addressee;

(ii) Mail to or from attorneys, courts or elected government officials, shall not be read absent a court order;

(iii) There shall be no additional restrictions on prisoner correspondence for disciplinary or punishment purposes, unless the prisoner has violated rules as to correspondence. Upon proper showing of the alleged violation, the prisoner’s mail may be restricted for a limited time, but such restriction shall not apply to attorney/client mail or correspondence with the courts.

(3) Packages.

(a) Incoming

(i) All packages shall be opened and inspected;

(ii) Packages may be received only if the contents conform to policies adopted by the bureau and a witnessed receipt for permissible items shall be promptly delivered to the prisoner, unless such package is opened in the presence of the prisoner and all items are given directly to the prisoner.

(b) Outgoing. Outgoing packages of prisoner’s personal property shall be inspected to insure ownership and compliance with United States postal regulations.

(4) Contraband. Items which are not permitted by bureau rules may be destroyed upon the prisoner’s written request, placed in the prisoner’s personal property box or returned collect to the sender. A receipt for permissible items received in the mail, including money or checks, shall be signed by a staff member and a copy thereof promptly delivered to the prisoner. Contraband, as defined in RCW 9A.76.010, shall be turned over to the proper authorities, for handling as evidence, for disciplinary action or possible prosecution under RCW 9A.76.140, 9A.76.150, 9A.76.160 or other applicable statute(s).

(Added Amended Ord. 94-041, May 25, 1994; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-137, Nov. 10, 2008, Eff date Jan. 1, 2009).

5.16.030 Visitation.

(1) General.

(a) Open visitation may be provided for those prisoners determined to present a minimal degree of risk to the safety and security of the institution, including, but not limited to, prisoners in the work release/special detention facility;

(b) The degree of security required for each prisoner during visitation shall be determined by the bureau chief or bureau chief’s designee.

(2) Social Visits.

(a) The bureau shall establish and post rules governing social visits and specifying times therefor;

(b) Each prisoner shall be allowed a minimum of one hour total visitation per week;

(c) Except for immediate family members, visitors 17 years of age and under shall be accompanied by a parent or guardian;

(d) The bureau chief or bureau chief’s designee may grant special visitation privileges to visitors who have traveled long distances, to visitors for hospitalized prisoners and for other unusual circumstances.

(3) Business and Professional Visits.

(a) Each prisoner shall be allowed confidential visits from the prisoner’s attorney or legal assistants and the prisoner’s clergy or other religious advisor;

(b) By prior arrangement with the bureau, a prisoner shall be allowed confidential visits for business or educational reasons;

(c) Law enforcement professionals shall be allowed to interview prisoners at reasonable times and with prior notice, unless it appears circumstances do not permit delay.

(4) Visitor Regulations.

(a) Signs giving notice that all visitors and their accompanying possessions are subject to search shall be conspicuously posted at the entrances to the facility and at the entrance to the visiting area;

(b) Any person may refuse a search but, subsequent to such refusal, may then be denied entrance;

(c) Other reasons for denying entrance to visitors shall include, but not be limited to:

(i) An attempt or reasonable suspicion of an attempt to bring contraband into the facility;

(ii) Obvious influence or effect of alcohol or controlled substances;

(iii) Request from the prisoner’s physician;

(iv) Request from the prisoner;

(v) Reasonable grounds to believe a particular visit would present a threat to security or management or the safety of prisoners, staff or other visitors.

(d) Whenever a visitor is refused admittance during regular visiting hours, the prisoner shall receive notice of the refusal stating the reasons therefor. The affected prisoner is entitled to have such decision reviewed by the bureau chief or bureau chief’s designee upon written request and shall be promptly informed of this right. A written decision stating the reason(s) therefor, shall be furnished the prisoner who requested such review.

(Added Amended Ord. 94-041, May 25, 1994; Amended Ord 02-022, June 12, 2002, Eff date June 23, 2002; Amended by Amended Ord. 08-137, Nov. 10, 2008, Eff date Jan. 1, 2009).