Jail's postcard-only policy angers letter-writers

Friends launch petition against jail's mail ban

Tracy Lehr, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Reporter, tracy@keyt.com
POSTED: 06:06 PM PDT Mar 25, 2013    UPDATED: 09:57 PM PDT Mar 25, 2013 
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SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. -

Letters written to inmates in Santa Barbara Jail are being returned to senders.

A mail ban started this month. Inmates can send letters but they can no longer receive them. Letter writers angry about the new postcard-only policy started an online petition at www.change.org/petitions/sheriff-bill-brown-end-the-postcard-only-mail-ban-at-sb-county-jail. They have also started a Facebook page at: Facebook.com/right-to-write-letters.

Marissa Barragan's fiance is in custody.  Barragan said the ban makes her feel like she is being punished too. But Sheriff's Department spokeperson, Kelly Hoover, said the policy is not intended to limit communication, it is intended to improve jail safety. One compromise has been made: Photographs maybe mailed with well-marked envelopes.

Ventura County Jail also bans letters to inmates.  Ventura County Jail recently started allowing families to email well-behaved inmates for a processing fee.