- Inmates at Fulton County Jail in Atlanta are not allowed to receive mail with adhesive postage stamps – only meter stamps.
- The reason is that inmates can use outside accomplices to smuggle drugs underneath the adhesive stamps.
- Guards are constantly on alert for contraband material like drugs, weapons, and phones.
At Fulton County Jail in Atlanta, corrections officers heavily monitor the mail inmates send and receive.
When it comes to mail sent to inmates, the rules are simple: only postcards with meter stamps are allowed, according to chief jailer Mark Adger. Any mail sent in envelopes or with adhesive postage stamps is confiscated, he said.
The strict rules are in place to prevent inmates from receiving contraband from the outside. An envelope would be an easy place to stash drugs, for example.
But what about postage stamps? As it turns out, you can hide drugs there, too.
In 2014, officials at the Brunswick County Detention Center in North Carolina discovered that inmates were using postage stamps to smuggle drugs into the facility. According to local NBC affiliate WECT, an outside accomplice was hiding small dissolvable strips of Suboxone underneath the stamps on letters mailed to several female inmates.
Suboxone is a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction that comes in orange, rectangular strips. Although Suboxone doesn’t get the user high, its availability in a detention center could encourage inmates to smuggle in heroin or other opioids.
According to WECT, Brunswick County inmates have also attempted to smuggle in Suboxone between the pages of books and in decks of playing cards.
At Fulton County Jail, guards are constantly on alert for contraband materials such as drugs, weapons, and cell phones. If a staff member catches wind of an inmate possessing contraband, they’ll perform a raid, during which inmates are frisked and their cells are meticulously searched for the illegal items.
Adger said the jail adopted its strict mail policy about three months ago after a particularly disturbing incident in which an inmate’s letter was found to contain secret instructions for an accomplice to murder a jail staff member.
The only exception to the policy is legal correspondences, which staff cannot read because of attorney-client privilege. In those cases, Adger said, corrections officers will force the inmate to open a legal letter in front of them to ensure they don’t contain contraband.
Extreme policies like the one at Fulton County are essential to keep the jail secure, Adger said.
“There’s a lot of things that if you don’t pay close attention … staff stops doing for whatever reason. They get busy, or it’s too mundane, they think someone else is doing it,” Adger told Business Insider. “But it’s the things you need to be doing day in and day out that keep the facility safe.”