I received six letters today. They're postmarked between July 19 and July 26. I believe the term "snail mail" originated in prison. A week after my friend Kei visited me, I got her letter saying she was coming to see me. Why is incoming mail so far behind when outgoing mail is normal? That's because there's a shortage of staff in the prison mailroom. There are approximately 6,000 prisoners in Solano Prison. There are only four people processing all incoming mail. Every letter must be opened and inspected before its delivery to the prisoner. Granted not everyone out of the 6,000 gets a letter, but you can imagine the volume of mail the mailroom has to process each day. Sometimes one or two out of the four staff call in sick, then everything gets backed up. There used to be eight staff working in the mailroom, but due to the administration's failure to hire people to fill the vacancies, the job positions were eliminated. The last time i checked it's a violation of federal law to delay the delivery of mail more than five working days. A couple of years ago, the Postmaster General ordered the prison to process the mail on time. It got better for a couple of weeks. Then it's back to the normal program. During the holiday seasons it's not uncommon for someone to receive a greeting card two or three months late.
The reason the process of outgoing mail is normal is because the prison guards who work on First Watch take care of it. First Watch guards work from 2200 hour to 0600 hour. Since they only sit around and count three times during the night, part of their job is to process outgoing mail for the building they work in. THey inspect each letter before sealing it and putting it in a mail bag.
Well, at least the mail going out is on time.