Except when precluded by statute (see § 540.72), the Bureau of Prisons permits an inmate to subscribe to or to receive publications without prior approval and has established procedures to determine if an incoming publication is detrimental to the security, discipline, or good order of the institution or if it might facilitate criminal activity. The term publication, as used in this subpart, means a book, booklet, pamphlet, or similar document, or a single issue of a magazine, periodical, newsletter, newspaper, plus such other materials addressed to a specific inmate such as advertising brochures, flyers, and catalogs.
[61 FR 57568, Nov. 6, 1996]
(1) At all Bureau institutions, an inmate may receive hardcover publications and newspaper only from the publisher, from a book club, or from a bookstore.
(2) At medium security, high security, and administrative institutions, an inmate may receive softcover publications (for example, paperback books, newspaper, clippings, magazines, and other similar items) only from the publisher, from a book club, or from a bookstore.
(3) At minimum security and low security institutions, an inmate any receive softcover publications (other than newspapers) from any source.
(4) The Unit Manager may make an exception to the provisions of paragraphs (a)(1) and (2) of this section of the publication is no longer available from the publisher, book club, or bookstore. The Unit Manager shall require that the inmate provide written documentation that the publication is no longer available from these sources. The approval or disapproval of any request for an exception is to be documented, in writing, on an Authorization to Receive a Package form which will be used to secure the item.
(b) The Warden may reject a publication only if it is determined detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution or if it might facilitate criminal activity. The Warden may not reject a publication solely because its content is religious, philosophical, political, social or sexual, or because its content is unpopular or repugnant. Publications which may be rejected by a Warden include but are not limited to publications which meet one of the following criteria:
(1) It depicts or describes procedures for the construction or use of weapons, ammunition, bombs or incendiary devices;
(2) It depicts, encourages, or describes methods of escape from correctional facilities, or contains blueprints, drawings or similar descriptions of Bureau of Prisons institutions;
(3) It depicts or describes procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages, or the manufacture of drugs;
(4) It is written in code;
(5) It depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption;
(6) It encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity;
(7) It is sexually explicit material which by its nature or content poses a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution, or facilitates criminal activity.
(c) The Warden may not establish an excluded list of publications. This means the Warden shall review the individual publication prior to the rejection of that publication. Rejection of several issues of a subscription publication is not sufficient reason to reject the subscription publication in its entirety.
(d) Where a publication is found unacceptable, the Warden shall promptly advise the inmate in writing of the decision and the reasons for it. The notice must contain reference to the specific article(s) or material(s) considered objectionable. The Warden shall permit the inmate an opportunity to review this material for purposes of filing an appeal under the Administrative Remedy Program unless such review may provide the inmate with information of a nature which is deemed to pose a threat or detriment to the security, good order or discipline of the institution or to encourage or instruct in criminal activity.
(e) The Warden shall provide the publisher or sender of an unacceptable publication a copy of the rejection letter. The Warden shall advise the publisher or sender that he may obtain an independent review of the rejection by writing to the Regional Director within 20 days of receipt of the rejection letter. The Warden shall return the rejected publication to the publisher or sender of the material unless the inmate indicates an intent to file an appeal under the Administrative Remedy Program, in which case the Warden shall retain the rejected material at the institution for review. In case of appeal, if the rejection is sustained, the rejected publication shall be returned when appeal or legal use is completed.
(f) The Warden may set limits locally (for fire, sanitation or housekeeping reasons) on the number or volume of publications an inmate may receive or retain in his quarters. The Warden may authorize an inmate additional storage space for storage of legal materials in accordance with the Bureau of Prisons procedures on personal property of inmates.
(a) When commercially published information or material may not be distributed by staff or made available to inmates due to statutory restrictions (for example, a prohibition on the use of appropriated funds to distribute or make available to inmates information or material which is sexually explicit or features nudity), the Warden or designee shall return the information or material to the publisher or sender. The Warden or designee shall advise the publisher or sender that an independent review of the decision may be obtained by writing to the Regional Director within 20 days of receipt of the notification letter. Staff shall provide the inmate with written notice of the action.
(b) Definitions. For the purpose of this section:
(1) Commercially published information or material means any book, booklet, pamphlet, magazine, periodical, newsletter, photograph or other pictorial depiction, or similar document, including stationery and greeting cards, published by any individual, organization, company, or corporation which is distributed or made available through any means or media for a commercial purpose. This definition includes any portion extracted, photocopied, or clipped from such items.
(2) Nudity means a pictorial depiction where genitalia or female breasts are exposed.
(3) Features means the publication contains depictions of nudity or sexually explicit conduct on a routine or regular basis or promotes itself based upon such depictions in the case of individual one-time issues. Publications containing nudity illustrative of medical, educational, or anthropological content may be excluded from this definition.
(4) Sexually explicit means a pictorial depiction of actual or simulated sexual acts including sexual intercourse, oral sex, or masturbation.