How to Stay Connected With Your Inmate in Prison

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How to Stay Connected With Your Inmate in Prison

Time limitations and considerable distances turn communication with an inmate into a real challenge. Sometimes it is just impossible to visit your loved one too often. Yet, staying connected can make all the difference.

We know that maintaining communications with relatives and friends has a huge impact on inmates’ life – both emotional and behaviorally – as well as increasing chances of successful rehabilitation upon release. We receive these success stories every day.

Therefore, we hope to encourage your support:
1) Visiting makes the difference

2) Writing and calling makes the difference

3) Involvement and connection create happiness.

The article contains everything you need to know about communication with inmates. Do not let legal details and administrative protocols separate you!


PrisonConnect - cheap inmate calls

Inmate Calls to Prison or Jail

There is a certain number of phones in each facility. Inmates are using these phones for collect calls. You can use a prepaid calling card as well. In every case, there is only one telephone provider available in each facility – Securus, GlobalTel, etc. They are monopolists that charge high per minute rates. However, using the PrisonConnect number can save from 30% to 90% of costs on phone bills.

The inmate should add your number to an approved list of phone numbers that he can call. Usually, inmates submitting this list after the first admission.

You will find the full article here – How To Call An Inmate: Typical Pitfalls and Useful Tips

Prison staff listens to and records major part of calls. Only calls to a legal adviser shoud not be monitored. Remember, police can use these records as an evidence in a criminal prosecution.

How to Send Mail Letters to Inmates

Sending letters via the U.S. Postal Service is probably the cheapest way to stay connected with loved ones in custody. This service is available in every prison or jail.

Terms and requirements differ for every facility, so you should check specific facility’s web page for additional guidelines. However, there are some common rules:

  1. Prison staff checks all letters sent to and from prison, except letters from courts and solicitors. However, if there is a reasonable doubt, then they can open it;
  2. All acceptable mail rules differ in each facility while classic cards and letters are usually allowed at each facility;
  3. Packages aren’t allowed in the major part of facilities. Everything bigger than a normal letter or card from relatives and friends may be banned. Here, an inmate will have to pay an additional price for shipping back or the package will be annihilated (may be taken away by staff) or donated to;
  4. There is an option to buy items from an approved seller (such as Amazon). In this case, the package will be sent directly to the facility. Lists of authorized vendors, allowable items, suitable schedules and special procedures are available on facilities’ sites.


Sending Emails to Inmates

Inmates don’t have Internet access in most U.S. prisons. Some facilities do allow inmates to access email on secure, private intranets like CorrLinks. CorrLinks provides access to the secure TRULINCS system, which is used by the Federal Bureau of Prisons.

It is not the same as Internet access. You can’t send any attachments, like photographs, there. All emails are restricted to 13,000 characters.

Each message can be delivered with an hour. However, it may take up to two days in some cases. It depends on institution staff who are choosing the time, reviewing or rejecting messages. Thus, inmate’s communications can be forbidden (even without explanation) by prison authorities.

If you want to try CorrLinks, you can visit their website or download the CorrLinks app. However, you will need a paid premium account for this. When you receive an invitation, you will need the inmates’ identification code and number. When the account is set up you can easily use it.

How to Send Money to Inmates

Inmates’ life in custody will be much easier with some extra money. Money is necessary for numerous facility enterprises, such as medical treatment, prepaid phone accounts and items from the commissary.

In-facility storehouse (commissary) exists in every facility. It is possible to but hygiene things, food and writing materials there. Of course, the facility provides standard meals, clothing and hygiene products, so these purchases aren’t obligatory. To buy these items one should use its inmate account where the money is.

There are three ways to fund an inmate, deposit his/her personal phone or commissary account:

  • Electronic sending via MoneyGram or the Western Union. Each one ensures quick payment (nearly 4 hours) to the account. Write information carefully because details matter here!
  • Access these services by phone or in person from an agent.
  • Send funding via U.S. Postal Service. Money order only allowed. No cheques, cash and additional items. You should include the full name of the inmate and register number, consist of eight digits, to the money order.

Other electronic services, like JPay, and Access Corrections, can be a good alternative to MoneyGram and the Western Union. Each option has its own fees, easiness, delivery time and some additional features like email. We recommend spending some time to find out what is the best for you.

How to Visit an Inmate

In most cases, online registration for visits is available. If this option is not available, then you should call the facility and find out more details.

When and how often you are able to visit – and the number of visitors allowed at once – depends on facility and state.

Depending on the classification of the facility and the inmate, there are three types of visits, – contact visits, non-contact visits and video visits

Typically, contact visitation will have a place in a large room with tables. Non-contact visitation means that you can’t hug your loved one. You will use personal boxes with telephones for speaking.

Visitors are not permitted to take any presents or personal items inside due to security reasons. It means that you can’t take your wallet, food, gifts, cell phone, book and magazine with you. Any attempts to pass these unauthorized things through security control are illegal. Even if unintentionally. Some facilities offer lockers in the lobby for storing these items.

We strongly advise against any smuggling of a contraband, such as alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, cell phones or weapons. This is treated as a security threat and will result in immediate legal action. The chances are that you will stay there for this. If you’re unsure what you can send or give, call the facility and ask.

Specific rules and requirements can vary widely across the level of the facility, state etc. Always check guidelines of each institution on its website!

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    2 Comments so far

    Charity SpringfieldPosted on10:08 am - Jun 4, 2017

    I was trying to find out if ii could get a local phone number for crc in orient ohio my husband is being sent there just don’t know when yet but would like to try and have it set up for him when he arrives


      PrisonConnectPosted on2:53 pm - Jun 4, 2017

      Hello Charity!
      Please, contact our support on the site or dial +1 (855) 971-1121. The support will help you to set up an account.
      Have a nice day!

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