You’ve Got Mail—Send a Postcard to an Inmate With DoNotPay’s Help

Sending postcards to an inmate can be fulfilling in many different ways. Reasons for contacting the incarcerated can range from wanting a pen pal to looking for love, but most people write to their imprisoned friends or family members to check on their well-being. 

Sending postcards to inmates isn’t that simple—you have to follow strict rules if you want your postcard to be delivered. You can find all the relevant information, writing guidelines, and even potential risks in this article.

Rules You Must Keep in Mind Before You Send a Postcard to an Inmate


As you might expect, prisons have strict rules you must obey if you want the inmate to receive your postcard. These rules aren’t always obvious so read them thoroughly. Not all facilities follow the same regulation, and it would be advisable to check their website or give them a call. There are some things you shouldn’t do when mailing an inmate:

  • Apply any scents or perfume to the card
  • Add any staples, paper clips, stamps, extra paper, or empty envelopes
  • Use glitter, colorful ink, or stickers
  • Send musical cards or anything that pops up
  • Add drawings that could be in any way interpreted as a code
  • Enclose anything that doesn’t agree with the rules, including stamps and photos

Sending a photo to an inmate could brighten their day, but don’t neglect your safety. If you don’t know the inmate, be careful with sharing personal information that could reveal your identity. As for the prisoner’s safety, don’t write about anything related to violence, drugs, or anything else that could land them in trouble. 

The guards will most likely read every letter or postcard you send, so keep that in mind as you write. Don’t forget to write your full address both on the envelope and the card, as inmates often receive only the contents of the envelope and won’t be able to reply without the contact info stated on the postcard.

Why Would I Consider Sending Postcards to Prisoners?

If your loved one is incarcerated, then the answer to this question is simple. You might be surprised how many postcards inmates receive that don’t come from friends and family. What could be the reason for writing to a prisoner? There are many, but the most common ones are:

  • Looking for a pen pal
  • Wanting to help inmates by being their social connection with the outside world
  • Curiosity about why someone committed their crime, personal insight, especially common with infamous prisoners
  • Religious reasons, wanting to save someone or help them find faith
  • Loneliness and looking for love

What Can I Send to a Loved One in Prison?

If you want to send anything more than a simple letter, you should be careful and strictly follow the instructions. Each facility has its own rules, but here’s a general overview:

Allowed Forbidden
  • Printed photos
  • Paperback books sent directly from the publisher
  • Magazines ordered directly from the publisher
  • Plain holiday or birthday cards
  • Photos larger than 4×6 inches
  • Hardcover or books that have been used/don’t come directly from the store
  • Magazines sent from home
  • Food
  • Cash
  • Sexually suggestive content
  • Violent content

Explaining the Process of Sending Mail to Inmates

Before you do anything else, think about whether you are ready for this commitment. You are under no obligation to correspond with an inmate, and it could be devastating for them to get their hopes up and then never hear from you again. Make sure you let them know how often you can write. If you don’t know what to say, you can stick to these general suggestions:

  • Ask them open-ended questions about how they’re feeling, what they would like to talk about, or how they spend their time
  • Provide some details about your life to make the conversation more natural
  • If the inmate is your significant other or family member, ask for their opinion on the decisions you’re making so they can feel included
  • Ask them about their life, where they grew up, what their hobbies are

To address a letter properly, write the person’s name and prisoner ID number on the first line. Write the address of the facility on the second one, and then the city, state, and zip code on the third. Do not forget to write the return address both on the envelope and the postcard if you want a response.

How To Write to Someone in Prison With DoNotPay’s Help

The good news is you don’t have to keep track of all the regulations. Let DoNotPay send personalized letters you write to inmates, and you can rest assured that there won’t be any bumps on the road. Check out how quick the process is:

  1. Choose the Connect With an Inmate feature and hit Send a Personalized Letter
  2. The app will show all the required information you need to enter
  3. Write your letter here and add any attachments you want, such as photos
  4. Pick a customized template from the options we offer

Your letter will be printed and on its way as quickly as possible. DoNotPay also allows you to receive messages back in your Virtual Mailbox. Inmates can send their letters to our address, where they will be digitized and forwarded to your inbox. Open DoNotPay in your web browser, and you can relax knowing your letter is in safe hands and will be delivered without hassle.

Looking For an Incarcerated Friend? DoNotPay Will Help You Locate Them Fast

Not sure which facility your friend or a loved one is in? Ditch the anxiety because you can use DoNotPay to locate an inmate quickly. There are only three steps to this process:

  1. Click on our Connect With an Inmate feature
  2. Select Locate Someone
  3. Type in the inmate’s name and what state they’re in

That’s it! DoNotPay will provide you with their location, whether they’re being held in a county, state, federal, or ICE facility. You will then be able to get in touch with them or pay them a visit.

Other Useful Features of DoNotPay 

Whether you need to find an inmate or find out how to email one, DoNotPay has your back. While you can keep using DoNotPay to connect with an inmate, there’s so much more you could do with our handy robot lawyer app. 

We can assist in a bunch of time-consuming and nerve-racking tasks, from disputing parking tickets to managing your bills. Access DoNotPay from your web browser, and you’ll never again have to face bureaucratic problems alone!

If you’re still harboring any doubts, take a look at all the features you can have access to: