Inmate Mailing Address

Updated 12/04/2020

While incarcerated at the Black Hawk County Jail, inmates have several methods of communication to family, friends, their attorney, and the court. Where not prohibited by law, court order or jail rules; inmates may communicate via the US Postal Service, inmate telephone system, video visitation system, or electronic messaging system.

Mail can be sent to inmates at the following address:

(Inmate name)
Black Hawk County Jail
225 East 6th St.
Waterloo, IA  50703

*Include a return address on any correspondence sent

*This is the same address for sending money

Incoming Inmate Mail

Personal mail sent to an inmate at the Black Hawk County Jail will be scanned into an electronic messaging system, where it will then be made accessible to the inmate via the inmate tablet system. Inmates only have electronic access to their own mail. Any approved photographs received via mail will still be delivered to the inmate, however THE ORIGINAL CONTENTS OF THE MAIL INCLUDING ALL LETTERS AND DOCUMENTS WILL BE DESTROYED AFTER BEING SCANNED.INMATES WILL STILL RECEIVE THEIR LEGAL MAIL, WHICH WILL NOT BE SCANNED.

Letters and drawings sent to inmates at the Black Hawk County Jail must adhere to the following:

  • Letters and drawings must be typed or written with pen or pencil. Crayon, paint, felt pen, markers, etc. will not be accepted.
  • Paper must be free of stains, stickers, tape, perfume, glitter, lipstick, etc.
  • Content or letters must be only communication or correspondence. Sending items such as food, drink, stationary, stamps, etc. is not allowed.

The following subjects are considered banned content by the jail staff and will not be distributed to inmates:

  • Martial arts, boxing, wrestling
  • Tactical maneuvers, firearms, weapons, etc.
  • Unlawful substances
  • Tattoo and body piercing
  • Sexually explicit or provocative content
  • Racist or inflammatory material
  • Gang related material, symbols, hand gestures, etc.
  • Any material that poses a safety or security threat to staff or the facility
  • Obscene material

Obscene Material as defined by Iowa Code 721.8(5):

      5. "Obscene Material" is any material depicting or describing the genitals, sex acts, masturbation, excretory functions or sadomasochistic abuse which the average person, taking the material as a whole and applying contemporary community standards with respect to what is suitable material for minors, would find prurient interest and is patently offensive; and the material, taken as a whole, lacks serious literary, scientific, political or artistic value.

Any and all legal mail will not initially be opened or scanned into the electronic messaging system. Legal mail will be taken to the inmate where it will be opened in front of a staff member and the inmate, and will remain in the possession of the inmate.

Mail for inmates no longer in the Black Hawk County Jail will be returned to the sender, and will not be forwarded.

Outgoing Inmate Mail

Inmates may write and receive as many letters as they wish, and when not prohibited by law, court order, or jail rules; inmates may communicate via the US Postal Service, inmate telephone system, video visitation system, or electronic messaging system. Communication is restricted from other inmates of the Black Hawk County Jail, and to inmates of other jails or prisons. Third party mail, telephone calls, or video visits to communicate with other inmates or prisoners is not allowed.

If an inmate's attorney is a member of the Public Defender's Office, or for court correspondence, this may be sent via the mail or electronic messaging system. If an inmate's attorney is in private practice, inmates will need to send correspondence through the US Mail.

Inmates can also use the electronic messaging system to submit a request to jail staff, kitchen staff, medical staff and some outside agencies. There is no cost to the inmate to send these requests, however excessive or frivolous requests are against jail rules and could result in disciplinary action to the inmate.

Inmates wishing to send letters through the mail are only able to use envelopes purchased through jail commissary. No stamps or envelopes can be sent to an inmate.

Inmate Books, and Newspapers

The Black Hawk County Jail provides a variety of reading material for inmates while incarcerated. New books and magazines are added to the library as they become available. Inmates are not allowed to accumulate an excessive number of books or magazines in their cells, so that all inmates have an opportunity to select reading material. Inmates are allowed no more than three books or magazines in their cell at one time, no more than three newspapers at one time, and may have up to three religious books in their cells at one time.  

  • Individual magazine subscriptions are not allowed for inmates.
  • Inmates who wish to receive a newspaper subscription must make arrangements for payment from outside of the jail. Newspaper subscriptions cannot and will not be paid through inmate commissary accounts.
  • Only books of a religious, educational, or legal nature are allowed to be sent to inmates, with the following circumstances:

     1. Any book an inmate wishes to receive must be first approved by the Jail Administrator.

     2. Books must be sent directly from a publisher, or other approved source ( Nothing from a third party will be allowed.

     3. The seller's information must be included in the request to the jail administrator. Books that are approved to be sent will count toward an inmate's total allowed books (three). No books will be stored or mailed outside of the jail for an inmate that exceeds the allowed number of books. Any books received that are not pre-approved will be returned to the sender.

The Black Hawk County Jail has a law library available to the inmates at no cost via the inmate tablet system. Inmates are free to use this whenever the tablets are distributed by the pod officer.

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