Harassment in any form can be annoying, unnerving, and even downright scary. Harassment coming from a jail inmate or prison inmate is sometimes more frustrating because it comes through the mail or telephone and you may feel that there is nothing you can do to make it stop. Here are a few tips on stopping inmate harassment.
If you are being harassed by an inmate, the chances are good that the inmate is someone that you know. Telephone harassment generally occurs because the inmate has access to your telephone number and is confident that you will accept collect calls from the correctional facility they are in.
The first thing you need to do is make it clear to the inmate that you no longer wish to receive calls from them. Don’t bother trying to spare their feelings or let them down gently, because it probably won’t work. Be blunt, straightforward, and honest; tell them exactly why you don’t want them calling.
The next step is to stick to your guns. No matter how often the inmate calls you, do not accept a single collect call. If you do, they will know that if they call enough times you will eventually answer. If you are dealing with an unreasonable inmate, telling them that you do not want them to call will not be enough to get them to stop, so it is imperative that you ignore their calls.
If you have followed the first two steps and the inmate continues to harass you, contact the jail or prison. Explain that you are being harassed by an inmate, that you have asked the inmate to stop calling you, and that the inmate has refused to comply. The representative at the facility will let you know if there is any specific information they need. The end result will be either a restriction or revocation of the inmate’s telephone privileges.
Handling mail harassment from a jail or prison inmate is similar to that of telephone harassment. Be clear in your statement that you do not want to receive mail from the inmate. Do not respond to the inmate’s letters, no matter what they say. If the harassment continues, report to the jail or prison with your complaint. The facility will then make sure that no mail leaves the prison with your name or address on it.
The main difference between handling telephone harassment and mail harassment from an inmate is that you need to keep documentation in the form of letters that you have sent and received from the inmate in question. When you write to the inmate for the last time to tell them that you do not want to receive letters from them in the future, keep a copy of that letter to show to the correctional facility staff when you make your complaint. Also, make sure to keep letters that you receive, particularly if they contain objectionable or threatening content, because the staff may be interested in documenting those items as well.
An issue to consider when it comes to mail harassment from an inmate is that they may get creative and find loopholes through which to contact you. This often manifests itself through the inmate sending a letter to someone else on the outside and asking that person to forward the letter to you. Because most facilities only scan through the correspondence and check the mailing address and name on the outside of the envelope, it is next to impossible for them to catch “illegal” mailings of this nature. Report letters that slip through the cracks so the jail or prison staff can tighten the inmate’s restrictions.
Hopefully these tips will help you deal with jail or prison inmate harassment issues. Remember to keep your cool, cease all contact on your end, and keep a line of communication with the correctional facility staff open at all times.