Incoming Mail

Incoming Mail

All incoming mail must be clearly addressed with the inmate's committed name (no nicknames), IDOC number, institution, and housing assignment. Incoming mail that presents no procedural problems will be processed and delivered within 24 hours of receipt, Monday through Friday, excluding legal holidays. Junk mail such as direct marketing, mass mailings, sales flyers, credit card applications, coupons, etc. will be destroyed.

Incorrectly Addressed Mail

Incoming mail that is incorrectly addressed will be handled in accordance with the following guidelines. If possible, incorrectly addressed mail will be delivered to the offender with a note indicating the need for address correction. If after being notified, the sender continues to send mail incorrectly addressed, mail can be returned to the sender. Mail will be returned to the sender if an offender refuses to notify senders of his correct address or encourages senders to use an incomplete or incorrect address.

Contraband and Prohibited Mail - Any thing--of any kind--that is prohibited by Board, Department, or facility rules, policies, directives, or standard operating procedures. Contraband also includes any thing--of any kind--that a facility head has not approved (1) for possession by an offender or (2) to bring into a facility or onto Department property.

Prohibited items -  see  Mail Handling in Correctional Facilities: Section 4. Prohibited Items

Prohibited Sexually Explicit and Pornographic Material - see Mail Handling in Correctional Facilities: Section 5. Prohibited Sexually Explicit and Pornographic Material.

Transfers within the IDOC

When an offender is transferred to a different housing unit or institution, mail will be forwarded for 60 days from the date of transfer. After 60 days, mail should be returned to the sender.

Release from an IDOC Correctional Facility

Offenders will be responsible for filing a change of address with the U.S. Post Office and notify the facility mailroom of their new address before their release from IDOC custody. When an offender is paroled or released from the custody of the IDOC and the address is known, mail will be forwarded for a period of 60 days. After 60 days, incoming mail will be returned to the U.S. Post Office.


Hard back books are prohibited under the offender property policy. Soft-cover books, magazines, and newspapers can be new or used but must be sent by the publisher or a bookstore with a paid receipt or invoice. Magazines must have a receipt or invoice or must have a printed delivery label with the offender’s name and address. If these, or similar proof of origin and purchase are not present, the item will be returned to sender.


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