The Hall County Jail is beginning a new postal mail policy for inmates.
The effort uses technology to "improve facility safety and security with no additional cost to the Hall County taxpayer."
The new jail mail program is provided by Securus Technologies, the telecommunications services provider for the jail.
Instead of addressing inmate postal mail to the jail, senders are being asked to address it to the Securus Digital Mail Center. Employees there will digitally scan the mail, making it available for inmates to securely view on the telecommunications kiosks in each housing unit of the Hall County Jail.
The cost for the program is absorbed through inmate telephone commissions and is not passed along to the Hall County Sheriff's Office. The other main benefits of the new policy are two-fold:
•Reduction of time spent reviewing, receiving and delivering inmate mail.
•Elimination of contraband, because standard physical inmate mail no longer enters facility. Paper, including mail, can be soaked in fentanyl and any other drug that can be liquefied.
“Several facilities elsewhere have encountered mail laced with drugs, such as fentanyl, which sickened the staff and inmates,” Hall County Jail Division Captain Jeff Shoemaker said. “This mail process is a proactive response to ensure the health and safety of the staff and inmates of the jail.
In addition to the primary benefits, the digital program is expected to result in quicker delivery of mail to inmates.
Although the standard inmate mail policy is changing, legal mail, money orders and packages will still be accepted at the jail. Publications directly sent from a publisher, distributor or authorized retailer are also still being accepted.
The new postal mail policy went into effect on Feb.11.