The San Diego American Civil Liberties Union said the recent “postcard only” policy adopted by San Diego jails violates inmates’ rights. A spokesperson for the ACLU said, more specifically, it is an “infringement on free speech” and could be damaging to detainees’ personal relationships.
The North County Times reported the organization further sees the policy as a potential violation of constitutional rights. Not only does it serve as a mass violation of privacy, they said, it may also hinder communication between inmates and their family members.
A spokesperson for the San Diego jails dismisses the claims, saying it was a necessary precaution. Sheriffs deputies have said that the USPS has been a way for people on the outside to smuggle weapons, drugs and other contraband to those in custody. The postcard only policy was implemented as a way of mitigating that risk. It will be implemented beginning Sept. 1. Mail received after that time that is found to be non compliant will be marked “return to sender”. Mail from attorneys offices will still be permitted.
In 2010 more than 73 cases were filed against people who were arrested on suspicion of attempting to smuggle drugs or contraband into San Diego jails via the USPS. Deputies said that drugs have been found hidden beneath stamps or spliced between the layers of greeting cards.
The ACLU continues to maintain the new policy “will do more harm than good”.