Send Email to an Inmate in a Few Easy Steps

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.

Want To Send Email to an Inmate? We’ll Show You How

Phones and snail mail have been staples of prisoner communication with the outside world for decades. While communication technology has progressed, the innovations haven’t become available to most inmates in the U.S. Only a limited number of prisons allow their inmates to receive texts or emails. Depending on the correctional facility, the staff may transfer email contents to the prisoner by:

  • Letting them read a printed copy of the email
  • Allowing temporary access to an electronic device, such as a PC or tablet

If you’re interested in writing to a prisoner or sending them an email, use DoNotPay to help you draft and send your message. We’ll also make it easier to find an inmate, no matter where they’re incarcerated.

Can You Send an Email to an Inmate?

Most correctional facilities don’t give their prisoners access to computers. In 2009, the Federal Bureau of Prisons introduced TRULINCS (Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System), which provides electronic communication services to inmates. Since then, companies like JPay have stepped in to offer video conferencing and messaging features.

The few prisons that allow prisoners to communicate electronically closely monitor incoming and outgoing traffic. Sending or receiving content forbidden by the facility could lead to the revocation of electronic communication privileges.

Some prisons receive email messages and print them before relaying them to inmates.

How To Send a Prisoner an Email

If you want to contact a prisoner via email, you must use one of the approved service providers that prisons cooperate with. You’ll have to create an account and deposit money to send messages. Here’s an overview of the most popular inmate email messaging services and their features:

Email ServiceFeaturesLimitations


  • Messages can be sent through a smartphone app
  • Prisoners are given an hour to communicate with the other party
  • Delay of one hour for direct electronic messages
  • Only plain black text is allowed
  • Both parties must be online to begin messaging


  • Available features include video conferencing, VideoGram, and email services
  • Photos are permitted
  • Emails are delayed by 48 hours


  • Senders may create an address book and save message drafts
  • Photos are permitted
  • Not available for inmate electronic devices
  • Messages take two to three days to reach the prison

Locate an Inmate With the Help of DoNotPay

Finding an inmate is more challenging than it may seem. Close family members might know where the inmate is located, but friends, pen-pals, and close acquaintances are not informed automatically. The good news is that you can find an inmate with ease by using DoNotPay’s Locate Someone feature. Follow these steps to find out where they’re incarcerated:

  1. Sign in to DoNotPay
  2. Click on Locate Someone in the Connect With an Inmate tab
  3. Enter the inmate’s full name and the state where they’re incarcerated in
  4. Press Proceed

Entering additional information about the inmate can help narrow down the results. If there are multiple facilities in the results, it won’t take long to search through them and find the inmate.

Our database includes every kind of correctional facility, including ICE detention centers, federal prisons, and county jails. Once you’ve found your loved one, we’ll show you how to properly address a letter to an inmate, arrange visits, and send packages their way.

DoNotPay Will Show You How To Write an Inmate a Letter Online

Writing letters to inmates isn’t as straightforward as sending mail to people outside of prison. Senders have to adhere to state laws and the specific rules and regulations set by the correctional facility. If you want a letter to reach your prison pen pal—you should let DoNotPay help you send it.

DoNotPay is well acquainted with the rules of sending letters and packages to inmates. We’ll make it easier for your letter to get through inspections. Here’s how we work:

  1. Access DoNotPay from your
  2. Go to the Connect With an Inmate tab and click on Send a Personalized Letter
  3. Upload or compose a letter and include photos if you want
  4. Enter the inmate’s name and their prisoner ID
  5. Choose a customized letter style(optional) and submit

We’ll print it out and send it to the correctional facility, where it should pass inspection, as long as you don’t include any forbidden content.

Get Replies in Your Virtual Inbox

If the inmate you’re messaging doesn’t have access to digital communication tools, they’ll have to send replies via mail. In case you’re not keen on giving them your address or sifting through physical mail, you can use our Virtual Inbox feature. Here’s how it works:

  1. The inmate addresses the letter to us
  2. We digitize their letter
  3. You receive the reply in our app

Reading an inmate’s reply in our app is more convenient, and you can do it anywhere! You won’t have to check your mailbox or wonder if a letter got lost.

What Am I Allowed To Send in Inmate Emails?

When communicating via email, you must stick to the correctional facilities’ rules. Prison staff monitors every email, meaning any forbidden content won’t get past them. Take a look at some examples of what you can and can’t send in an email:

Messages May ContainMessages Can’t Contain
Personal detailsMessages with more than 2000 words
Digital greeting cardsGang-related imagery or content
DrawingsInformation about individuals playing a part in the inmate’s case
PhotographsPhotographs of a sexual or violent nature
Copies of documentsPrison escape plans

Precautions You Should Take Before Sending Emails to Inmates

Before you decide to contact an inmate, you should consult the prison administration for info. Every correctional facility has its own rules while also following state laws regarding inmate communication.

If the prisoner is transferred to another facility, the rules for email, letters, and packages may change. A different prison may disallow emails due to the nature of the inmate’s crimes.

DoNotPay Can Take Care of Everyday Mundane Tasks

If you aren’t sure how to stay in contact with an inmate, DoNotPay will help you maintain communication. We’ll show you how to text an inmate or give them a call over the phone. If you want to send packages to a prisoner in Ohio, Texas, Arizona, or any other U.S. location, we’ll show you how.

DoNotPay offers a variety of other features to help deal with everyday tasks. If you’re short on money and need to pay off medical bills, we’ll find you the best loans to cover them. Use our app, and you’ll be able to save on heating and gas bills while making some money off robocalls.

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