If you have a loved one in prison, you may be wondering how to email an inmate.
Emails, texts, and chats seem trivial today in a world saturated by digital communication and social media. But it’s different for people behind bars. Most correctional facilities don’t give their prisoners access to computers or the internet.
And if a guard catches an inmate with a cell phone, they can get into trouble.
That said, people spending time in jail can still get emails, but there’s a procedure you have to follow. It requires using an inmate email service to write an email to your friend or relative in prison.
How does the whole process work? Please keep on reading to learn more.
How an Inmate Email Service Works
So how does a federal inmate email pass through to get to your presently confined loved one?
Up until the last decade, inmates could only communicate outside the old-fashioned way: telephones and letters. But in 2009, the Federal Bureau of Prisons introduced TRULINCS, which stands for Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System. Since then, companies like JPay and CorrLinks began to offer electronic messaging services.
How to Start Correspondence
Either the person behind bars or the individual on the other side can start correspondence.
If an inmate wishes to exchange electronic messages, the prison staff must approve the prospective contact first. The email service will then send a sort of “friend request” to the person outside. After the person accepts, email correspondence can begin.
If it’s the other way around, you’ll need to locate where your loved one is incarcerated first. You can use websites with a “find an inmate” service; for example, you can search here to locate an inmate in Flathead County, Montana. Then it’s up to you to choose a provider that offers email services to prisoners.
Inbound Only vs. Two-Way
Inbound-only services only allow a one-way type of digital communication. You can send an email through the company’s webpage by paying for the message.
The message will have to go through a scan first. After the prison staff approves the email, it’s printed out and delivered to the person locked up. But the inmate can only reply using postal mail.
Companies that offer a two-way email service have kiosks set up in the correctional facility. Two-way systems work almost the same, except that the message is not printed to be delivered. The prisoner can access the email through the kiosk and also respond while they’re there.
How to Send Email to Inmate via Tablet
These days, the same companies also give the option of buying a tablet.
Obviously, the tablet will not have internet access. Email messages and even videos can be downloaded from the kiosk. The prisoner can write emails at their leisure and upload them later.
The tablet typically features options to download music, ebooks, games, and also rent movies. However, take note that tablet services have a higher cost compared to traditional email services.
Cheer Up Your Loved One in Prison
Through an inmate email service, you can send messages that are a big help to your incarcerated loved one in more ways than one. Prison life is lonely enough, and without the means to communicate, it can be unbearable. Bring a smile to their faces by sending a heartfelt email.
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