Per DOC Policy 450.100 Mail for Prison Offenders, inmates may receive new books, newspapers, certain catalogs and brochures, and other publications in any language sent directly from the publisher(s) and/or approved vendor(s).
Catalogs & Brochures
Catalogs and brochures will only be treated as publications if they contain a publisher name, publication date, volume/issue number or other identifier, copyright notice, and publisher address in the publication. All other catalogs/brochures will be handled as general incoming mail.
Below are some of the general requirements applicable to the sending of publications to inmates. Please see DOC Policy 450.100 for more details.
- Publications must be delivered to the facility by USPS, UPS, or FedEx.
- Inmates may receive used books in any language from specific non-profit organizations as approved by the Superintendent. Inmates housed in stand alone minimum security facilities may also receive used books from a publisher or approved vendor.
- Items such as product samples, CDs, DVDs, etc., will be removed if doing so will not alter the publication. If the item cannot be removed without altering the publication (i.e., tearing a page from the publication), or if the item potentially has value (i.e., CDs included with books), the entire publication will be rejected.
- Loose advertisement cards may be removed as staffing resources allow.
- Inmates may not receive gift subscriptions and/or publications from another inmate, or the friends or family of another unrelated inmate.
- No publication will be withheld solely on the basis of their appeal to a particular ethnic, racial, religious, or political group or sexual orientation.
A comprehensive list of publications reviewed by the Publications Review Committee, which includes allowed and restricted publications.
All incoming mail and publications is reviewed by prison facility mailroom employees. When rejecting mail, mailroom employees will provide written notice (DOC 05-525 Rejection Notice form) to the inmate with the reason for rejection. Please see Rejection Reasons for a list of reasons why mail and publications may be rejected.
Publication Review Process
The mailroom staff will also provide the rejection notice, along with scans of the rejected pages, to the Publication Review Committee (PRC) at DOC Headquarters.
The PRC will meet at least monthly to review rejected correspondence/items and documents. When they have completed the review process, the Committee will return the packet to the facility with its decision. Generally the inmate will be notified of the PRC's decision within 10 working days after it is made. However, publications requiring more information may take an additional 2 weeks to review.
Publications initially rejected as sexually explicit material per WAC 137-48-020(13a-d) may be approved by the Committee for artistic, health/medical, and educational purposes.
If an inmate appeals the rejection, the DOC 05-525 Rejection Notice form is sent to the Superintendent/designee of the facility where the inmate is incarcerated for decision.
If the rejection decision is upheld by the Superintendent/designee the rejected content, inmate appeal, and Rejection Notice are scanned and placed in secured folder, accessible by the Publication Review Committee. If the rejected content cannot be scanned or digitally photographed, it is sent to DOC Headquarters for review via USPS.
If the Superintendent/designee grants the appeal, they may submit a written appeal request to the mailroom within 10 days of the Committee’s decision. The mailroom will forward the appeal request to the Correctional Manager at DOC Headquarters, who will provide a response to the requester. The Correctional Manager’s decision is final.
The final decision made regarding a particular publication will be binding for all prisons for at least 3 years. The Assistant Secretary for Prisons/designee (Correctional Manager) will maintain the decision in a database for at least 3 years.