When Do Inmates Receive Mail?

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.

When Do Inmates Receive Mail? Let’s Find Out

If you’re trying to write a prisoner, you’re probably wondering when your prison pen pal will receive the letters you send. Writing letters to inmates is a bit more complicated than sending mail to people outside of prison.

There are specific rules you have to follow to make sure the inmate receives your letter. Security protocols might cause delays in delivery, which is why you should take great care when composing your letter and deciding what to put in the envelope. Another crucial thing you need is patience, as prisoners may not receive letters as soon as expected.

At What Time of Day Do Inmates Get Mail?

Once the prison staff inspects the mail, the inmate will be able to check their mailbox or receive mail directly from the staff. The time to check their mail varies from facility to facility and is known as mail call.

The prisoner may use their free time to receive mail if the facility allows mail access during these hours. Time reserved for phone calls may also be used to this end.

How Long Does It Take for Inmates To Receive Mail?

Mail sent to prisons is handled the same way as any other mail. The mail service you use will deliver it to the correctional facility within one to three days. How long it takes will also depend on the sender’s and prison’s locations.

What may delay the process is the prison’s security protocol. The prison staff will open and inspect all incoming mail, whether it’s a letter or package. If no contraband or forbidden content is detected, the mail will be forwarded to the inmate, usually during mail call.

As the process takes time, there’s always a backlog of mail that needs to be inspected. The actual date they receive the mail will depend on how much mail is processed by the facility on a particular day, and how quickly the staff can inspect it. The inmate could wait as little as a day or as long as a week, depending on the institution.

How To Mail an Inmate Using DoNotPay

If you want to stay in contact with an imprisoned loved one, DoNotPay has everything you need to make it happen. While mailing someone in prison can be a complicated task, our app helps simplify it for both parties. Our Connect With an Inmate feature does three things:

  1. Locates the inmate you’re looking for
  2. Helps you draft a personalized letter
  3. Makes it easier for the inmate to respond to your letters

How To Locate an Inmate With DoNotPay

DoNotPay can help you locate inmates wherever they may be incarcerated. Whether it’s a state, county, or ICE detention center, our database will have them listed. Follow these steps to find out the prisoner’s location:

  1. Open DoNotPay
  2. Navigate to the Connect With an Inmate tab
  3. Choose the Locate Someone option
  4. Input all the information you know about the prisoner, such as their name, date of birth, and the state they’re imprisoned in

DoNotPay will either show you where they’re located or give you a list of prisons that best match the information you provided. You can then search through the results, and you’ll eventually find the prisoner you’re looking for and be able to send letters, arrange for inmate visitation, or call them.

How To Send Mail to an Inmate Using DoNotPay

Once you’re sure that you’ve found the inmate's current location, you can start drafting your letter. Since there are too many rules that regulate the form and length of your letter, it might be easier to let DoNotPay help you with the task.

We’ll make sure your letter arrives at the destination. When you’re ready to start composing your letter, open DoNotPay in your and follow these steps:

  1. Go to the Connect With an Inmate section
  2. Choose the Send a Personalized Letter option
  3. Fill out the required info about the prisoner
  4. Upload or compose your message and pick from one of the many customizable letter templates
  5. Add photos if you like and submit your letter

DoNotPay will print and send the letter swiftly so that the inmate can read it and reply as soon as possible. We’ll take care of the technicalities such as how to address a letter to an inmate, so you won’t have to worry about whether you did everything right.

Make Replying to Your Mail Easier by Using DoNotPay’s Virtual Mailbox Feature

Prisoners don’t always have the luxury of texting someone or sending emails. If you’re the type of person that likes to travel or move frequently, your prison pen pal will find it challenging to reply to your letters. There’s no way for them to know your current address unless you tell them in advance.

DoNotPay makes it easier for you to receive their letters, no matter where you’re located. Here’s how it works:

  1. The imprisoned individual can send a letter to a designated address
  2. We receive and digitize the letter
  3. The digitized letter is sent to your Virtual Mailbox directly

Not only does this guarantee that you’ll receive the letter immediately, but you’ll also be able to access it from our app whenever you want.

What Can an Inmate Receive in the Mail?

Before you start writing letters to an inmate, you must know that there are strict rules regarding what you can send. Regulations differ from state to state, which is why you should familiarize yourself with them before proceeding.

Here are some common examples you should keep in mind:

Type of MailWhat You Can’t Send


  • Pens or pencils
  • Food
  • Medications
  • Controlled substances
  • Cigarettes
  • Sharp objects
  • Cosmetics


  • Photographs of nudity
  • Mail with stickers
  • Locks of hair
  • Perfumed letters
  • Cash

Since particular prisons may have different rules, you should contact the administration to double-check what restrictions may apply. That way, you won’t have to worry about your letter being discarded.

DoNotPay Can Be Your AI Consumer Champion

The great thing about DoNotPay is that it can help you with different tasks and challenges. DoNotPay has all the info you need to contact inmates via phone, email, or text messages. Wondering how to send love letters to an inmate without the prison staff discarding the message? We’ll show you the ropes.

You can use DoNotPay to take care of other mundane daily tasks as well. when you need loans to pay bills or get rid of medical debt, we can help you find the right ones.

If you’re sending emails to an inmate, but your inbox is full of spam from dating sites, DoNotPay will show you how to block emails on iPhone, Android, desktop, and any mail platform.

Access our app from your and start using various features that will make your life easier. Take a look at all the tasks we can simplify for you:

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