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Bureau of Prisons Disclosure of Recorded Inmate Telephone Conversations

Date of Issuance:

The policy of the Criminal Division requiring outside law enforcement officials to obtain some form of legal process authorizing access to contents of inmate telephone conversations is not mandated by the Constitution or Title III of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968.

The practice of profiling specific groups of inmates for monitoring raises concerns when it requires or causes the Bureau of Prisons to alter its established monitoring procedures for purposes unrelated to prison security or administration.

Inmates have a First Amendment right to some minimum level of telephone access, subject to reasonable restrictions related to prison security and administration. Under certain circumstances they also may have a Sixth Amendment right to make telephone calls to their attorneys.

Updated July 9, 2014