Learn Everything About Inmate Calling

iEditorial Note: These blog posts represent the opinion of DoNotPay’s Writers, but each person’s situation and circumstances vary greatly. As a result, you should make sure to do your own independent research. Because everyone is unique, our self-help tools are never guaranteed to help with any specific situation. DoNotPay is not a law firm and is not licensed to practice law. DoNotPay provides a platform for legal information and self-help.

The Ins and Outs of Inmate Calling

When a loved one gets incarcerated, one of the most important things to do is keep in touch. A study researching this found that prisoners who maintained close contact with supportive family and friends were less likely to re-offend and were more successful when released. Close contact also makes the time spent in prison go by faster.

There are several ways inmates can be in contact with people outside, for example, by:

If you have questions and concerns about getting in touch with someone in prison over the phone, DoNotPay will answer them. We'll also offer other solutions you may find useful.

What You Need To Know About Inmate Phone Calls

The first thing you should know is that you cannot call someone in jail unless it’s an emergency—they need to call you. Prisoners should comprise a list of people—typically up to ten—they would like to call, along with their contact information.

There are also certain rules and restrictions when it comes to inmate calls. How often prisoners are allowed to call their loved ones and how long they can talk varies depending on the prison. One detail that is common for every facility is that the calls can be recorded and monitored, except when it comes to calls with lawyers. Some prisons even use voice authentication technology to identify callers in case there is some illegal activity involved.

Pay attention to phone call hours as well. You should check with the prison your loved one is in, but prisoners are usually allowed to use the phone service between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m.

How Much Are Inmate Phone Calls?

The prices of inmate phone calls vary in different prisons and states, but one thing is almost certain—they are high. A couple of minutes a few days a week can set you back around 240 dollars a month, as one woman reported.

Calls from jails are already costly. Another reason behind the sky-high price could be the location. If a prisoner is making a long-distance call, this costs extra. If a local telephone is not an option, there is a way you could work around this issue without actually moving to a different location just to receive a phone call. You can create a Google account and choose a number in the same area where the inmate is located. Then, the incoming call from jail can be forwarded to your real number, and you will no longer have to pay the long-distance price.

Learn more about the inmate calling prices and solutions to reduce the cost by reading our article about free local numbers for inmate calls.

How Can a Prisoner Get in Touch With Someone via Phone?

Inmates are allowed to make collect calls. This means that the person on the receiving end of the call will incur the cost. Depending on where you are and where your loved one is imprisoned, the cost of the call will vary.

Aside from collect calls, there are telephone services that you can use to receive calls from prisoners.

Check out the three most famous inmate telephone providers. Compare their features, and see which one is the best solution for you.

Inmate Telephone ProviderServices They Offer


  • Direct bill
  • Inmate debit
  • Advance connect

IC Solutions

  • Collect calling
  • Video visitations
  • Secure deposits
  • Prepaid account
  • Voicemail messaging
  • Debit telephone account

Global Tel Link

  • Inmate messaging
  • Handheld devices
  • Visitation management
  • Inmate telephone systems

If you’d like an in-depth analysis, read our articles on Securus, IC Solutions, and Global Tel Link.

How to Contact Loved Ones in Jail the Easy Way

On occasion, prisoners may not be able to call their family and friends for various reasons. Some of them could be:

  • Power outage in the facility
  • Punishment for bad behavior
  • Not enough funds in their telephone account
  • The person they want to call is not on the approved visitation list

When someone in jail can’t reach you over the phone, it may be frustrating, to say the least. DoNotPay can be of assistance here! You can have access to three features on our website that will help you stay in touch with your loved one in prison:

  1. Virtual Mailbox
  2. Locate Someone
  3. Send a Personalized Letter

How To Locate an Inmate Through DoNotPay

You may not be sure about the exact location of an inmate you’re trying to reach. DoNotPay can help you find them with ease. Here’s how it works:

  1. Open DoNotPay in any
  2. Choose the Connect With an Inmate feature
  3. Click on Locate Someone
  4. Fill in the prisoner’s full name
  5. Enter the state they are located in
  6. Answer a few more questions
  7. Tap on Submit

DoNotPay will find them and provide you with their current location.

Send a Personalized Letter to a Prisoner via DoNotPay

Writing a letter to an inmate is no easy feat. There are myriads of details that you should know and include in your letter. There are rules to follow, such as addressing the letter properly, so that your letter is approved and received. You can skip this hassle! Write a letter and send it through DoNotPay—we’ll worry about the rest.

Once you select the Connect With an Inmate feature, this is what you should do next:

  1. Tap on Send a Personalized Letter
  2. Type in the name of the person you’re writing to
  3. Enter their Inmate ID or Booking Number
  4. Answer questions about the prison and unit they are located in
  5. Draft your letter
  6. Add a photo if you want

As soon as you click that Submit button, we’ll print out your letter and make sure it’s sent and received as soon as possible. We also go the extra mile to make this letter as personalized as possible by generating different templates to choose from, as well as special holiday editions.

Can I Receive a Letter From an Inmate Through DoNotPay?

Yes, you can! This is what our Virtual Mailbox is for. It gives you the option to receive letters from your loved one in jail and keep the conversation going. The Virtual Mailbox operates in the following way:

  1. The incarcerated person will write a letter and send it to a specific address
  2. The letter will then be digitized
  3. You receive the digitized version of the letter in your virtual mailbox

What Else Can We Help You With?

If you didn’t get all the answers in this article, you may find them in a different one—perhaps our article about prison marriage, inmate love letters, inmate text messages, federal inmate phone calls, or iCare packages for inmates.

DoNotPay’s mission is not only to connect you with your loved one in jail but also to help you in various aspects of your daily life. Visit DoNotPay in a and see how much we have to offer. DoNotPay is the best virtual assistant when you:

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