Updated: 07/02/2012 10:44 PM
Created: 07/02/2012 6:42 PM KSTC45.com | Print Story
By: Mark Albert
Finally succumbing to the Internet revolution in the name of safety, inmates at Minnesota's 10 prisons can now receive email.
Beginning Monday, friends and family of the state's 9,300 inmates can now send an electronic message, which will be printed and read by correctional officers before being placed in an inmate's mailbox.
Inmates cannot reply back unless they use old fashioned pen, paper, and postage.
With the email system, "we don't have the risk of contraband introduced by letters into our facilities," said Terry Carlson, Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Corrections, and a former warden.
"It is a real threat," she said, citing past examples of drugs that have made their way into letters.
The email system, run by an Iowa company on the website www.corrlinks.com, is the same one used by the federal prison system. In federal prisons, however, inmates can reply back to email messages.
Carlson said the state may add that feature in the future, but wants to roll out the system gradually, while increasing communication links for offenders.
"We want to have as many methods for family and friends to stay connected with their loved ones while they're incarcerated," Carlson added.
The email system does not cost the state any money, officials said. Each email costs the sender 30 cents, with 20 cents of that going to the state to cover expenses.
Watch our story above to hear from an inmate who is using the system, who says her notes from family and friends have tripled since they've been able to use email.