Essex sheriff shifting to digital mail system

Boston Statehouse

BOSTON (SHNS) – The Essex County Sheriff’s Department will no longer accept personal mail for people incarcerated in its facilities, moving instead to a digital delivery system where letters must first be sent to a Missouri P.O. box to be scanned into a computer file.

The switch takes effect Thursday, Sheriff Kevin Coppinger’s office said, and will apply only to personal and nonprivileged mail. Privileged and legal mail and some specific items including money orders and publications directly from a publisher or authorized retailer will still be accepted through the postal service.

Securus Technologies will receive, open and scan the mail, and the sheriff’s department will then print the files and distribute them to recipients, according to a press release. The company will keep the original letter for 30 days before it is destroyed, and a sender can request the return of a letter by including a self-addressed stamped envelope, the sheriff’s office said.

Coppinger said in a statement that the digital mail program has been in development for months and that his department believes it “will be an effective weapon in our war against illegal drugs and contraband.” The visitor information booklet for the Plymouth County Correctional Facility also lists the Securus Digital Mail Center’s P.O. box as the mailing address for personal correspondence. 

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