How to Easily Write to an Inmate

People serving jail or prison sentences spend time without their families, friends, jobs, and recreational interests. Jails and prisons can be lonely and depressing for inmates and encourage negative thoughts and behaviors. For this reason, care packages for inmates are a good idea. Sending care packages of letters, photos, and other things to inmates can cheer them up and preoccupy them. Loved ones can be successful at sending items to inmates by following federal and state mailing rules.

American inmates serve time in 109 federal prisons, 1,719 state prisons, 3,163 local jails, and 1,772 juvenile correctional facilities. Additional confinement locations include military prisons and civil commitment centers. With so many facilities across the country, loved ones may be unsure of an inmate’s location. To find where an inmate completes their sentence, people can perform online inmate searches. Doing an inmate search through GoLookUp gives people inmate information. Such information ensures they send packages to the intended inmate. GoLookUp is an online database that compiles public information and arrest, court, and criminal records. This website makes records, contact and address information, social media activity, and other things easy to access.

When someone knows what facility to send letters to, they can mail their package. Everything sent to an inmate must include their name as documented in their states’ Department of Corrections records. Inmates’ identification numbers and the facility’s address must appear on the envelope.

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Inmates appreciate telephone calls, in-person visits to facilities, and handwritten messages. People can send letters with increased frequency compared to making visits. Writing letters is especially convenient for people who can’t make visits to jails or prisons. When sending messages and mail to inmates, senders should be mindful that facility staff open and review every piece of mail.

The rules and restrictions for writing and sending letters to inmates may differ across state lines. For example, the Oregon Department of Corrections prohibits envelopes thicker than a quarter of an inch and letters and content with lipstick, perfume, and other substances on them. People should make sure they don’t exceed the maximum number of pages they can mail to inmates. Letters shouldn’t contain violent or sexual content, nor should they encourage drug or alcohol use. The facility staff will discard messages with inappropriate content. Writing acceptable letters ensures inmates can receive them.

Including photos with letters is a good idea, as they can give inmates a visual aid to go with what they read. Photos may help inmates feel connected to family, friends, and life outside of prison and jail. Receiving pictures of vacations, family functions, social get-togethers, graduations, birthday parties, anniversary parties, and other events may brighten an inmate’s day.

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People who enjoy taking photos and wish to send pictures to imprisoned and jailed loved ones can benefit from using a smart home device, such as ibi. This device optimizes photo saving. It’s capable of saving pictures from data clouds, social media accounts, phones, computers, and USB drives. With ibi, users can share photos through social media apps and messaging apps. Reviews of ibi detail the device’s one terabyte (1 TB) storage capacity. Users can take thousands of pictures and save them on ibi. Senders can print stored photos to mail to inmates.

Rules exist for sending photos to inmates. Most jails and prisons prohibit photos bigger than 4”x6”, or 8”x10” in size. Senders can’t mail pictures of nudity and sexual content or images that imply or depict gang activity. Facility staff members will discard photos they deem inappropriate. Some facilities allow senders to mail five photos maximum. Each photo sent must have the inmate’s name and state offender identification number printed on the back.

Writing letters and sending them to inmates can be easy as long as senders follow the rules and restrictions. Taking the time to do things the appropriate way ensures you’ll be able to stay in contact with an inmate while they serve their sentences.