2005 West Virginia Code - §25-1-18. — Monitoring inmate mail; procedures and restrictions;

§25-1-18. Monitoring inmate mail; procedures and restrictions;
identifying mail from a state correctional
institution; mail to or from attorneys excepted.

(a) The commissioner of corrections or his or her designee is authorized to monitor, open, review, copy and disclose mail to adult inmates of state correctional institutions in accordance with the following provisions:
(1) All adult inmates of state correctional institutions shall be notified in writing that their mail may be monitored, opened, reviewed, copied and disclosed;
(2) Only the commissioner and his or her designee shall have access to copies of inmates' mail unless disclosed pursuant to subdivision (4) of this subsection;
(3) Notice that the mail may be monitored shall be prominently placed on or immediately near every mail receptacle or other designated area for the collection or delivery of mail;
(4) The contents of inmates' mail may be disclosed to appropriate law-enforcement authorities only if the disclosure is:
(A) Necessary to safeguard the orderly operation of the correctional institution;
(B) Necessary for the investigation of a crime;
(C) Necessary for the prevention of a crime;
(D) Necessary for the prosecution of a crime;
(E) Required by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction; or
(F) Necessary to protect persons from physical harm or the threat of physical harm;
(5) All copies of mail must be destroyed within twelve months unless disclosed pursuant to subdivision (4) of this subsection;
(6) The inmate whose mail has been copied and disclosed under this section shall be given a copy of all such mail.
(b) To safeguard the sanctity of the attorney-client privilege, mail to or from an inmate's attorney shall not be monitored, reviewed, copied or disclosed in any manner unless required by an order of a court of competent jurisdiction. However, such mail may be checked for weapons, drugs and other contraband provided it is done in the presence of the inmate and there is a reasonable basis to believe that any weapon, drug or other contraband exists in the mail.
(c) All inmate's outgoing mail must be clearly identified as being sent from an inmate at a state correctional institution and must include on the face of the envelope the name and full address of the institution.
(d) The commissioner of corrections or his or her designee is authorized to open, monitor, review, copy and disclose an inmate's outgoing mail in accordance with the following provisions:
(1) The inmate has previously sent mail that was threatening to the recipient or that would facilitate physical violence or other criminal activity; and
(2) Such correspondence has come to the attention of the commissioner of corrections or the warden or administrator of the correctional institution;
(3) The contents of any inmate's outgoing mail may be copied and disclosed to appropriate law-enforcement authorities where the commissioner or his or her designee has reasonable cause to believe that it is necessary for the prevention, investigation, or prosecution of a crime or where necessary to protect persons from physical harm or the threat of physical harm;
(4) Only the commissioner and his or her designee shall have access to copies of inmate's outgoing mail unless disclosed pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection;
(5) All copies of mail must be destroyed within twelve months unless disclosed pursuant to subdivision (3) of this subsection;
(6) The inmate whose mail has been copied and disclosed under this section shall be given a copy of all such mail; and
(7) The provisions of this subsection do not apply to mail that an inmate sends to his or her attorney. Such mail may only be monitored or checked according to subsection (b).
(e) The commissioner shall propose legislative rules in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to effectuate the provisions of this section.
(f) The provisions of this section shall apply only to those persons serving a sentence of incarceration in the custody of the commissioner of corrections.

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