Private mail is not accepted in New Mexico prisons

New Mexico Corrections Department spokesman Eric Harrison said the change was for security reasons.

“It’s really just an attempt to curb the introduction of contraband,” said Harrison. “Of course, this has been a problem for years, but in recent months we’ve seen an increase in drugs soaked in paper, dried, and mailed to facilities for these inspections.”

The correctional department sent a letter to the inmates’ families last week saying they must now send personal mail to a P.O. Box in Florida.

A processing company will scan it and a hard copy will be given to the inmate within 48 hours.

Harrison said the state pays the company $ 3.50 per inmate every month, which is about $ 13,300. But he said he expected the change to save time and money overall.

“And that’s because we’re pulling real custody personnel to review this post,” Harrison said. “We can’t let anyone else go through it. They put on this equipment, like I said, they inspect it. And that really saves time, we can put it in the appropriate places instead.”

But Jennifer Burrill, president-elect of the New Mexico Criminal Defense Lawyers Association, is concerned about the impact this will have on prisoners. She said it was dehumanizing.

“So if they don’t have these connections with their family or friends to help them support them in this transition period, they will fail and get right back into the system from these people right,” Burrill said.

Harrison said legal, financial, and medical mail, as well as religious and school supplies, will continue to be accepted in the prisons.

KOB 4 asked Harrison for an answer to Burrill’s concerns:

“I definitely understand the concern. I do 100%. I understand why families and the public think that way. But the goal, like I said, is to protect inmates and staff, that’s the ultimate goal. Every decision we make is for “because of this,” Harrison said.

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