Drugs being smuggled into prisons forces new mail guidelines

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- The Indiana Department of Correction has announced controversial changes to what can and cannot be mailed to prisoners.

As of April 1, all correspondence must be on lined white paper and inside a white envelope. The reason for the new guidelines is to prevent drugs, mainly K-2 from being smuggled behind bars.

Prison officials say they’re seeing a dangerous trend, letters laced with the liquid, synthetic drug. K-2 is an easily manipulated drug and plain white paper makes it easier for prison inspectors to see if they paper has been soaked in something.

Colored paper, colored envelopes or paper with coloring on it is no longer allowed. CBS4 spoke with the Jennifer Gutierrez, her 4-year-old granddaughter’s father is serving time in the Putnamville Correctional Facility.

“Any communication, you know that just brightens him up. It’s just going to help them with their recovery,” said Jennifer Gutierrez, a relative of a prisoner.

Guiterrez says her granddaughter frequently colors pictures and uses colored paper which is mailed to her father. She believes these new rules take it too far. Photos are allowed but photocopies and greeting cards are not allowed under the new guidelines.

“(We send cards for) his birthday, Easter, Father’s Day is coming up, that’s a very important holiday for most men who are in prison that have kids. A lot of men are sitting in there wishing they didn’t make the mistakes that they did and just getting a Father’s Day card would just brighten their world,” said Guiterrez.

Although the majority of the mail is safe, it only takes one tainted piece to pose a risk to prisoners and the staff.

“Obviously you don’t always know what’s coming in,” said Jeff Heck, Jail Commander with the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

The new rules are for state prisons, but officials on the county level are taking notice.

“We always try to be aware and try to learn from what the other counties as well as what the other institutions are doing,” said Heck.

A review is planned for October to determine the effectiveness of the rules.

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