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Middle River Regional Jail inmate mail goes digital in August

Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 2:31 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) - Starting August 15, inmates at Middle River Regional Jail will only be able to receive digital copies of personal mail through their tablets or housing unit kiosks.

“This is all about increasing the safety of the inmate population, controlling contraband, providing a safer environment for both the inmates and staff to work,” Superintendent of MRRJ, Jeffery Newton, said.

Newton adds that it’s been a constant challenge to manage contraband that comes into the jail. One way it gets in is through the mail, and things like K2 or spice can be especially difficult to detect.

“We’ve had 40 instances that we’ve identified just in 2021 where we’ve identified inmates that are under the influence of K2 or spice. Eight of them we’ve had to take to the hospital to deal with their symptoms,” Newton explained.

So starting next month, all personal mail must be sent to this new address:

Middle River Regional Jail

Inmate Name, Inmate Booking #

PO Box 2966

PMB 35803

San Antonio, TX 78299-2966

This is where it will be digitized and forwarded to the jail to be reviewed by staff before being sent to the inmate.

Once the mail is scanned, it will be destroyed, so the jail is advising not to send any original copies of letters, pictures or drawings that you would want back.

“Inmates have had access to email with their family for a number of years, so this should not be an unusual transition for the inmate population,” Newton said.

This change is only being applied to personal mail. All legal mail will be processed the same, and inmates will not lose any access to the court or their attorney.

Any money orders can still be sent to the jail’s address on Technology Dr., but it must be sent by itself. Money orders sent to jail with other mail will be denied and returned.

While many jails across Virginia are considering going digital, Newton notes that only a few have moved forward with the change.

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