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Rick Scott, Governor
Florida Department of Corrections, Secretary Michael D. Crews

Florida Department of Corrections
Timothy H. Cannon, Interim Secretary

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding
Writing to an Inmate

1. How do I write to an inmate?

  1. All correspondence addressed to inmates must be sent by U.S. Postal Service mail. Correspondence sent by other courier or delivery services will be refused.

  2. Inmates shall not be permitted to receive routine mail in boxes, padded envelopes, plastic bags, multi-layer packaging, envelopes that include metal parts, or any package containing bubble wrap or packing peanuts.

  3. Always use the inmate's committed name, DC number, and institutional address when addressing your letters.

  4. Use the Facility Profiles to locate the address for major institutions. Use the printable directory to locate Work and Forestry Camps, Road Prisons, Work Release Centers, and Administrative Service Center addresses.

  5. Address the envelope as follows:
    Inmate's last name, first name, DC#
    Institution name
    Mailing address
    City, State Zip Code
    Example: Doe, John DC# 012456
    Some Correctional Institution
    1212 South Street
    Any Town, Florida 11111


  6. Mail should be written in English or Spanish unless the inmate has prior written approval from the warden to receive correspondence in another language.

  7. All routine mail sent to an inmate is opened, examined, and read by designated department staff.

  8. Inmates will be permitted to receive only the following types of materials through routine mail:

    1. Written correspondence (no limit as to number of pages). Correspondence may be written on greeting cards, but cards containing electronic or other non-paper parts, cards which are constructed in such a way as to permit concealment of contraband, or which are larger than 8"x10" will not be permitted.

    2. Up to 15 pages of additional written materials, unless prior approval is obtained from the warden to send in an enclosure of greater than 15 pages

      • Each page can be no larger than 8 1/2 x 14 inches in size; material can be on both sides of a page.
      • This does not include bound publications which will be handled pursuant to rule 33-501.401, F.A.C. Individual newspaper or magazine articles or clippings or clippings from other publications are permissible, up to the 15 page limit.
      • No item can be glued, taped, stapled or otherwise affixed to a page.
      • Requests to send enclosures of greater than 15 pages shall be made to the warden or his designee prior to sending the material.
      • Exceptions to the 15 page limitation are intended for enclosures concerning legal, medical, or other significant issues, and not for material for general reading or entertainment purposes.
      • The warden shall advise the sender and the mail room of his approval or disapproval of the request.

    3. Photographs. Photographs will be counted toward the 15 page additional materials limitation.

      • Nude photographs or photographs which reveal genitalia, buttocks, or the female breast will not be permitted.
      • Polaroid photographs will not be permitted.
      • Photographs will not exceed 8"x10".

    4. Self-addressed stamped envelopes. These items do not count toward the 15 page limitation for additional materials, but cannot exceed the equivalent of 20 (1 ounce) first class stamps.

    5. Blank greeting cards (no larger than 8"x10"), stationery or other blank paper or envelopes. These items do not count toward the 15 page limitation for additional materials, but cannot exceed 10 in number, with a total possession limit of 15 of each item. Stationery and blank paper must be white, off-white, or yellow. Card stock, sketch paper, and other types of craft paper may not be included

    6. U.S. postage stamps. The value of the stamps cannot exceed the equivalent of 20 (1 oz.) First class stamps. These items do not count toward the 15 page limitation for additional materials.

  9. The following items are not permissible for inclusion in or attachment to routine mail addressed to an inmate:

    1. Non-paper items;

    2. Items of a non-communicative nature such as lottery tickets or matchbooks;

    3. Stickers or stamps (other than postage stamps, postal service attachments, and address labels affixed to the outside of the envelope);

    4. Address labels (other than those affixed to the outside of the mailing envelope);

    5. Laminated cards or other laminated materials.

  10. Incoming mail shall be disapproved for mailing or delivery to an inmate if any part of it:

    1. Depicts or describes procedures for the construction of or use of weapons, ammunitions, bombs, chemical agents, or incendiary devices;

    2. Depicts, encourages, or describes methods of escape from correctional facilities or contains blueprints, drawings or similar descriptions of department of corrections facilities or institutions, or includes road maps that can facilitate escape from correctional facilities;

    3. Depicts or describes procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages, or the manufacture of drugs or other intoxicants;

    4. Is written in code;

    5. Depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption;

    6. Encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity;

    7. Is dangerously inflammatory in that it advocates or encourages riot, insurrection, disruption of the institution, violation of department or institution rules, the violation of which would present a serious threat to the security, order or rehabilitative objectives of the institution or the safety of any person;

    8. Threatens physical harm, blackmail or extortion;

    9. Pictorially depicts sexual conduct as defined by s. 847.001, Florida Statutes, as follows: (a) actual or simulated sexual intercourse; (b) sexual bestiality; (c) masturbation; (d) sadomasochistic abuse; (e) actual contact with a person's unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks, or, if such person is a female, breast; (f) any act or conduct which constitutes sexual battery or simulates that sexual battery is being or will be committed.

    10. Presents nudity or a lewd exhibition of the genitals in such a way as to create the appearance that sexual conduct is imminent, i.e., display of contact or intended contact with genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breasts orally, digitally or by foreign object, or display of sexual organs in an aroused state.

    11. Contains criminal history, offender registration, or other personal information about another inmate or offender which, in the hands of an inmate, presents a threat to the security, order or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system or to the safety of any person;

    12. It contains an advertisement promoting any of the following where the advertisement is the focus of, rather than being incidental to, the publication or the advertising is prominent or prevalent throughout the publication.

      • Three-way calling services;
      • Pen-pal services;
      • The purchase of products or services with postage stamps; or
      • Conducting a business or profession while incarcerated

    13. Is not in compliance with incoming mail regulations set forth in subsections (2) and (3) of Administrative Rule 33-210.101;

    14. Contains or appears to contain unknown or unidentifiable substances; or

    15. Otherwise presents a threat to the security, order, or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system, or to the safety of any person.

  11. When an inmate is prohibited from receiving any item of mail, the inmate and the sender will be given notice in writing that the mail has been disapproved stating one of the authorized reasons for disapproval.

    1. The Unauthorized Mail Return Receipt, Form DC2-521, will be placed in the original envelope with the correspondence and returned to the sender.

    2. If contraband is discovered in the mail (other than contraband of an illegal nature), the contraband item and the correspondence will be returned to the sender with the Unauthorized Mail Return Receipt included.

  12. When an inmate is transferred or released, routine mail addressed to the inmate at his old institution shall be treated as follows:

    1. For 1 month after the transfer or release, all first-class and second-class mail will be returned to the post office within 10 working days of receipt with a forwarding address, if available, and a request will be made to postal authorities to forward.

    2. All postage due is the responsibility of the inmate and must be paid in accordance with postage regulations.

    3. At the end of the 1-month period, all first-class and second-class routine mail will be returned to the U.S. Postal Service with no attempt to have mail forwarded.

    4. From the date of transfer or release, all routine mail other than first-class and second-class will be returned to the U.S. Postal Service for its disposition.

  13. Inmates may not send mail to any person who has advised the warden that he does not wish to receive mail from the inmate.

    1. The parents or legal guardians of a person under the age of 18 may advise that mail is not to be sent to such person.

    2. Upon receipt of such advisement, the warden will cause to be prepared an acknowledgment specifying that the inmate will not be permitted to send mail to the person requesting the correspondence restriction and that such person should return any further mail received from the inmate and notify the warden of the attempt to correspond.

    3. After the inmate is notified of the correspondence restriction, any further attempt to correspond will be considered a violation of Administrative Rule 33-210.102 and of Section 9-14 of the Rules of Prohibited Conduct, (Administrative Rule 33-601.314, F.A.C.) and will subject the inmate to disciplinary action.

    4. This restriction does not apply to civil pleadings or other legal documents pertaining to a civil case in which both the inmate and the receiver are parties, and no inmate shall be subject to discipline for mailing such items.

2. I need the address or other information about one of FDC's institutions or facilities, how do I get it?

  1. Use our Directory of major facilities. In addition to address information, this directory provides driving directions, historical information, staff information, facility profiles, and programs offered.

  2. Use our printable directory to locate address information for Work and Forestry Camps, Road Prisons, Work Release Centers, and Administrative Service Centers.

3. Can I send an inmate an e-mail message?

  1. No. For obvious security reasons, inmates are not authorized access to the Internet, or to computers connected to the Internet that can send or receive e-mail messages.

  2. Inmates are only allowed letters sent through the US Postal Service. See Question 1 above.

4. How does an inmate receive books, periodicals (magazines/newsletters), or other publications?

  1. The sending of publications to inmates is addressed in Administrative Rule 33-501.401, "Admissible Reading Material" F.A.C.

  2. Publications will be rejected if they include subject matter that:
    1. Depicts/describes construction or use of weapons, ammunition, bomb, chemical agents, incendiary devices.

    2. Depicts/encourages/describes methods of escape or contains blueprints, drawings, descriptions of facilities or maps that facilitate escape.

    3. Depicts/describes procedures for brewing alcoholic beverages or manufacture of drugs or other intoxicants.

    4. Is written in code.

    5. Depicts/encourages/describes activities leading to use of physical violence or group disruption.

    6. Encourages/instructs in the commission of criminal activity.

    7. Is dangerously inflammatory in that it advocates or encourages riot, insurrection, institutional disruption, or violation of department rules.

    8. Threatens physical harm, blackmail or extortion.

    9. Depicts sexual conduct as follows:

      • actual or simulated sexual intercourse;
      • sexual bestiality;
      • masturbation;
      • sadomasochistic abuse;
      • actual contact with a person's unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks,  or, if such person is a female, breast with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of either party;
      • any act or conduct which constitutes sexual battery or simulates that sexual battery is being or will be committed.

    10. Depicts nudity or a lewd exhibition of genitals in such a way as to create the appearance of sexual conduct is imminent

      • Display of contact or intended contact with a person's unclothed genitals, pubic area, buttocks or female breasts orally, digitally or by foreign object.
      • Display of sexual organs in an aroused state.

    11. Contains criminal history, offender registration, or other personal information about another inmate or offender, which , in the hands of an inmate, presents a threat to the security, order or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system or to the safety of any person;

    12. Contains an advertisement promoting any of the following where the advertisement is the focus of, rather than being incidental to, the publication or the advertising is prominent or prevalent throughout the publication.

      • Three-way calling services;
      • Pen pal services;
      • The purchase of products or services with postage stamps; or
      • Conducting a business or profession while incarcerated.

    13. Otherwise presents a threat to the security, order or rehabilitative objectives of the correctional system or the safety of any person.

  3. Finally, ensure you are familiar and comply with the requirements of 33-501.401 (16) through (24). Briefly they are:

    1. Inmates, except for those in Maximum Management, may subscribe to no more than one periodical which is printed and distributed more frequently than weekly and four other periodicals which are printed and distributed weekly or less frequently than weekly.  Religious publications as defined in Rule 33-503.001, F.A.C., shall not be counted against these limits.

    2. Inmates shall be limited to no more than 2 single issues of a periodical which is printed and distributed more frequently than weekly and 8 single issues of periodicals which are printed and distributed weekly or less frequently than weekly.

    3. An inmate is not allowed to keep more than one copy of any volume, issue or edition of any book, periodical or other publication. (For example: may keep January and February 2003 issues, but not two copies of the January 2003 issue.)

    4. Inmate must be able to store the materials in his/her personal living area.  If an inmate does not have space to store admissible reading material in his or her personal living area without creating a fire, safety, or sanitation hazard, the institution is authorized to not issue the items or to impound the items if previously issued until the inmate disposes of other personal property in order to create storage space for the publications

    5. Inmates, except those in disciplinary confinement, close management, and maximum management are limited to possession of 4 books.

      • Inmates in disciplinary confinement -- scriptural and devotional reading materials that are in compliance with admissibility requirements;
      • Inmates in maximum management -- possession limited to a bible, religious testament, or other reading material specifically related to the inmate’s faith only;
      • Inmates in close management -- possession of 3 softcover books.
      • Religious materials, law books (not in the institution's law library), and books received pursuant to an approved correspondence study course do not count against this limit.

    6. For security concerns, inmates at Florida State Prison Main Unit or in death row and close management status other institutions are not allowed to receive hard-bound books.

    7. Books, periodicals or other publications must be sent directly to an inmate from a publisher, mail order distributor, or bookstore. DO NOT attempt to send a package of any type to inmate -- it will be rejected.

    8. Books, periodicals or other publications forwarded to inmates must be sent through the United States Postal Service. Materials delivered by package delivery services, such as United Parcel Service (UPS), Fed Ex, etc., will be refused.

    9. Inmates may only receive and possess print media publications. Incoming publications published on non-print media or print media publications that include non-print media that are an integral part of the publication will be rejected and returned to the sender along with an explanation as to why the material is being rejected.

    10. Binders and covers.

      • Metal bindings, other than staples are not allowed. Metal bindings include: paperclips, binder clips, and other metal fasteners. Staples are not allowed in the following types of housing units: death row, administrative or disciplinary confinement, close management, maximum management, and mental health in-patient housing including transitional care units, crisis stabilization units, and correctional mental health institutions.
      • Spiral bindings are not allowed.
      • Due to security concerns, inmates at Florida State Prison Main Unit or in death row or close management status in any institution are not allowed to receive hard-cover publications.

    11. Calendars.

      • Quantity – limited to one per inmate;
      • Size – limited to 12 inches by 12 inches or smaller (if multi-page, then 12 inches by 12 inches or smaller when closed, and no greater than 24 inches by 12 inches when opened);
      • Medium – limited to paper;
      • Can not have any audio or electronic components.
      • Must be mailed direct from publishers, mail order distributors and bookstores.
      • Calendars that contain inadmissible written or pictorial matter will be rejected and will not be issued to inmates.

    12. Blank journals and diaries.

      • Quantity - see possession limits set forth in paragraph (16)(e);
      • Size - limited to 9'' x 12'' or smaller;
      • Medium - limited to paper;
      • Can not have any audio or electronic components.
      • Must be mailed direct from publishers, mail order distributors and bookstores.
      • Blank journals and diaries that contain inadmissible written or pictorial matter will be rejected and will not issued to inmates.

  4. For more information on Admissible Reading Materials, please contact faq-libraryservices@mail.dc.state.fl.us.

If you need more information on Writing an Inmate, see Rule 33-210.101 Florida Administrative Code or e-mail us at: central.classification @mail.dc.state.fl.us