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Trying to reduce contraband, Frederick County Detention Center unveils new digital mail system

FREDERICK — The Frederick County Detention Center will be implementing a new electronic mail system after attempts to mail contraband to inmates.

The detention center will begin a mail scanning service and require inmates to view letters electronically starting Wednesday, according to a news release from the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office. The only exceptions are for legal documents, magazines, and newspapers. Inmates will be able to look at their scanned letters on tablets.

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The policy change is in response to multiple attempts to mail contraband to inmates, the release said.

“We have seen dozens of incidents just in the past year, all related to Suboxone being mailed into the facility and disguised as children’s art and everything else,” Capt. Joseph Chrisp, director of security for the detention center, told The Frederick News-Post. “Many water soluble drugs are dissolved and dripped on the paper, envelopes, stamps and mailed in as letters. The inmates eat the paper and get high.”

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According to the release, there will be a grace period until Oct. 31 in which staff will process mail normally but after Oct. 31, any mail received that does not meet the center’s requirements will be returned to the sender. All mail will be scanned within 24 hours of receiving it and then reviewed by correctional staff within 48 hours.

The detention center has a long list of requirements for the mail, including that it must be fewer than 10 pages, no larger than 8.5 by 11 inches, cannot include glitter, glue or electrical components, and cannot contain illegal or explicit content. All scanned mail containing illegal materials or contents will be subject to investigation.

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