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MyraB, Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 371
Experience:  I have over 20 years experience in criminal law and civil litigation from pre-trial practice to appeal.
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I have a prison pen pal and recently. Copied a few stories

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I have a prison pen pal and recently. Copied a few stories for him that he provided links too and i was notified that the letter was rejected do to the story featuring criminal activity and under age sex, it was a babysitter erotica story i think ( i didnt read but just pasted) and im worried im in trouble now or broke a law. Should i be worried? Their form i was sent was intimidating and scary.
Hello and thank you for your question.

No, you did not break the law and you should not be worried. You have a First Amendment right to send him correspondence. However, the prison does have its own regulations about what inmates can receive. Just remember that all mail is screened, so you may want to read what you send to him from now on before you send it to make sure that it complies with the prison regulations. You should also not be worried about the tone of their form as it is intended to be intimidating, but basically it is a reminder of their rules regarding permitted correspondence.

Please feel free to ask any follow-up questions.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
So there is no content i could send that i should be worried about? Sending erotica even if it was like child porn even ( this was teenagers) i wouldnt be breaking the law?
Thank you for your response.

Theoretically, you can send pretty much anything in writing that you want and it would not be illegal (there are exceptions such as threats). Photographs of child pornography would obviously be illegal. However, prison officials could prohibit correspondence between you and your pen pal if they deem that prohibiting such correspondence is generally necessary to further the substantial interests of security, order or rehabilitation. This is an extreme broad standard and the prison officials are given much discretion. If you received a warning letter, then it may be wise not to repeat that type of correspondence. Although it would not be criminal, you could still be barred from communicating.

Let me know if you need any further information.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Ok thanks so much. How would I know if I ever broke a law and was facing trouble? Would I be warned? I'm in a different state. It does sound like in this case I'm most likely ok though.
Thank you for your response.

Likely you would have no warning if you actually committed a crime. In that case the police would either obtain an arrest warrant and arrest you or issue you a summons to go to court on charges. Again, anything written, even written child pornography, as opposed to depictions in pictures or photos, generally is not criminal, so you are more than likely OK as far as any criminal charges resulting from the incident.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Thanks so much. How much time would pass before they acted on a warrant or summons? Just curious.
Thank you for your reply. I apologize for the wait in my response. It seems I turn in earlier than you do.

If there were going to be any criminal charges brought as a result of the correspondence you sent that was not accepted, you would probably know by now. Rather than send you an intimidating letter, they would have referred it to the police or prosecutor who would decide fairly quickly whether to take any action. In addition, the prison would have undoubtedly barred you immediately from sending any further correspondence to your pen pal.

I don't believe in this situation that you have anything to worry about. Now that you know the limit of what the prison will accept, you can adjust any future correspondence that you send so that it meets the prison guidelines.
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