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San Diego jails to ban letters to inmates

Officials will limit prisoners to postcards and email in an attempt to curb smuggling.

August 16, 2012|By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — If you're writing a letter to a prisoner in one of seven jails run by the San Diego County Sheriff's Department, you'd best finish it and get it in the mail.

After Sept. 1, prisoners will be allowed to receive only postcards and email, no letters, except from their attorneys or other justice system officials.

The goal, said Sheriff's Cmdr. Rich Miller, is to reduce the amount of drugs, weapons and other contraband being smuggled into the jails. Among other things, there have been attempts to smuggle hypodermic needles to prisoners in letters, Miller said.

And the postcards better be clean: no depictions of nudity, weapons, gang references, criminal activity, racism, or images or writing that may incite violence.

After Sept. 1, letters, as Elvis famously said, will be marked "return to sender."

tony.perry@latimes.com

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