Earlier this month, the ACLU of Kansas wrote to Sheriff Randy Henderson of the Reno County Sheriff’s Department regarding the legal mail policy of the Reno County Correctional Facility. According to the jail’s handbook, inmates are only allowed to send sealed mail to the attorney on their case. Any legal correspondence with potential attorneys or service organizations, such as the ACLU of Kansas, must be sent in unsealed envelopes, opening the door for potentially unconstitutional inspections. We have recommended that the jail revise its mail policy to allow for private correspondence between inmates and all lawyers, regardless of whether they are the official attorney on record for an inmate.
On July 10, Sheriff Henderson notified the ACLU that the Reno County Correctional Facility had revised its legal mail policy to meet our suggestions. The new policy is as follows:
"'Legal Mail' means the mail affecting the inmate's right of access to the courts or legal counsel. This term shall be limited to letters between the inmate and any lawyer, a judge, a clerk or the court or any intern or employee of a lawyer or law office, legal clinic, or legal services organization, including legal services for prisoners."