Sending money to a friend or family member in prison isn’t like the normal way it’s done in the outside world, there are guidelines you need to follow.
If you want to send money to an inmate to pay for expenses such as telephone charges, postage stamps, paper, pencils, toiletries, or snacks, such money must be deposited in the inmate’s trust account.
This method may be quite different from the facility your friend or family member is held up in, as the methods for sending money varies from prison to prison. However, the general medium for sending money to inmates is through the U.S. mail using a certified check or money order.
There are basically two mediums you can send money to your friend or family in prison which include:
- Sending money electronically
- Sending money in the mail
SENDING MONEY TO FRIEND IN PRISON ELECTRONICALLY
To send money electronically, you need to follow the steps:
VERIFY THE INMATE’S LOCATION
It is very important to first of all, be sure of the Inmate’s location before sending money across, so you won’t end up sending to the wrong address.
- You can look up the location of inmates in federal prison using the inmate locator provided on the facility’s website (most federal prison facilities have websites for that).
- If your friend or family member is held up in state facilities such as Ohio, sending money is a bit difficult as the prison will only accept money sent in your name that matches the one registered on the Inmate’s visitor’s list, the name on your driver’s or government-issued ID.
FIND OUR WHAT SERVICES THE FACILITY ACCEPTS
There are a number of electronic payment services you can easily utilize to send money to your friend or family in prison such as MoneyGram, Western Union, and JPay, however payment services may vary between different prisons.
- You can find out the payment service peculiar to a prison by calling the facility or checking through their website.
- You can send money electronically to inmates in federal facilities via MoneyGram or Western Union.
- Electronic payment services like JPay allow you to search for a particular inmate or facility directly from their website. However, you must first open a free account to use this service. Once set up, the service permits sending money to multiple inmates or recurring payments.
- If you prefer sending money through JPay, walk into any MoneyGram location to do so. You can find MoneyGram service centers in retail stores like CVS and Walmart.
Sending Money To Inmates Through Moneygram
In most cases, it is possible to send money to an inmate using a money transfer service like MoneyGram. To do so, you will need to provide the inmate’s name and identification number, as well as the name and address of the prison where they are being held. You will also need to pay a fee for the money transfer service.
However, please note that each prison has its own rules and regulations regarding how inmates can receive money, and some prisons may not allow inmates to receive money through a money transfer service like MoneyGram. It is always a good idea to check with the specific prison where the inmate is being held to find out what their policies are before trying to send money to an inmate.
GATHER THE INFORMATION YOU’LL NEED
To be able to send money to your friend or family in prison, you must have the Inmate’s accurate identification number, the Inmate’s legal name, and the correct facility number.
- If you want to send money to your friend or family in a federal prison, you’ll need the company name and code city. For a federal correctional facility, the company and code name will be addressed to, say, the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, DC, irrespective of where the inmate is held up.
- You’ll also need the state of federal DOC number of your friend or family you want to send money to. The DOC number serves as the Inmate’s account number.
- Also ensure that the name of the inmate you’re sending money to matches his or her as recorded in the facility’s database, even if the Inmate’s name is not spelt correctly in the database send it that way.
- The method of sending money in some facilities may differ. These facilities may provide Inmates with several sub-accounts for receiving money. As such, if you send money electronically, you may not be able tell which account the money goes to. For instance, if you want to send money via Western Union to an inmate in a Californian state prison, you can only deposit it in the Inmate’s “spendable” sub-account, and not the sub-account for postage, medical, or educational expenses.
CALL OR VISIT THE SERVICE OF YOUR CHOICE
Before you send money using any of the mentioned electronic payment services, there are toll-free numbers you can call. You can as well visit their website, kiosk, or go to the location in person.
- You get access to more options for making payment when you go to the payment service location. At MoneyGram or Western Union, you have the option of paying with cash, or you can choose to may payment online which requires a debit or credit card
- Some states like Ohio have kiosks stationed at the point of entry of each prison where you can deposit money into an Inmate’s account using cash, credit, or debit cards.
FILL OUT ANY NECESSARY FORMS
These payment service platforms require you to first fill out a form containing provisions for your name and address, including the inmate’s name and identification number provided by the department of corrections.
- In the event you are still confused on how to fill the form, kindly visit the department of corrections or contact the facility’s staff as those working in the payment service location may not be able to help you.
SEND THE FUNDS
Sending money through these electronic payment platforms usually takes within 24 hours to be deposited in the Inmate’s account.
- Note that any electronic money transfer you initiate attracts a processing fee. It may be a flat fee or charged according to the amount of money you send. MoneyGram for example, charges a flat fee of $7-$8 on any amount sent.
- You must also try to know the limit of the amount of the money you can send at a time, as some states have limits for such. The maximum amount of money you can send to an inmate in Ohio at a time is $200 while for federal prisons is up to $300.
SENDING MONEY IN THE MAIL
To send money through mail, you can follow these guidelines:
VERIFY THE INMATE’S LOCATION
You have to be very careful when sending money through mail. Try to first verify the inmate’s location so you won’t send money to a location that the inmate is not held up in anymore as a result of him or her being transferred.
- Apart from the postage, mailing a cashier’s check or money order typically is a cost-free way to send money to an inmate.
GATHER THE INFORMATION YOU’LL NEED
Be sure to gather every necessary information you’ll need to send the money to the correct account.
- For example, if you’re sending money to an inmate held up in a federal prison, be sure to include the Inmate’s full name and 8-digit identification number with the correctional facility
- Federal prisons place a 15-day hold on non-postal money orders or non-government checks, so keep that in mind.
- If the inmate is held up in a facility that requires inmates to have sub-accounts, indicate which of the accounts you want to deposit the money to on the face of the check or the money order account.
GET A CASHIER’S CHECK OR MONEY ORDER
Note that it is prohibited to send cash or personal checks to inmates. Prisons also do not normally accept third-party checks like payroll checks or government benefit checks.
- Most prisons do not accept money sent together with letters or other items (if you must send them separately). If you as well send a letter with your cashier’s check or money order, it’ll be thrashed and the inmate will never receive it
INCLUDE THE CORRECT INFORMATION
Some prisons require you fill out a form with your correct information, while others simply require information on the memo line of the cashier’s check or money order.
MAIL TO THE CORRECT ADDRESS
Thoroughly go through the inmate’s address, if possible more than once before sending money to the Inmate. Also note that the address used to send money may be different from the one used to send letters.
- For example, if you want to mail a check or money order to an inmate in North Carolina prisons, you must send your money order to the JPay processing center in Hialeah, Florida.
- If you’re sending the Inmate money using mail, make sure to use the U.S. Postal Service, rather than using a private delivery service such as FedEx or UPS.
- Make sure to also include a full and correct return address at the back of the envelope.
How do I send money to someone in prison?
Call the prison to know the transfer options available. Many prisons have an inmates account department that manage the finances of the inmates. Dropping off cash or using a cash deposit machine at the centre is usually the fastest way to put money in an inmate’s account
Is it illegal to send money to an inmate?
Sending money to an inmate is completely legal. Even the government sends Tax refunds to inmates who are incarcerated in various prisons around the country.
Can you send money to a prisoner online?
You can use a prison money transfer service like western union to send money to a prisoner online. You may also use third party money transfer services to send money to inmates online.
What’s a good amount of money to send someone in prison?
Whatever amount you can afford to send to an inmate will be appreciated. Items sold in prison usually cost just about thesame as they cost in the community at large.
Can I send clothes to a prisoner?
To send clothes to a prisoner, you must first make sure that the prisoner has filled out a request, and has been approved to receive the clothes from you.
Sending clothes without receiving prior approval may lead to confiscation of the said clothing items.
Do inmates know who sent them money?
When money is deposited into an inmate’s account, they are sent a receipt or written notification which will include the name of the sender.
If you send a cheque or a money order, your name will be listed on the cheque or money order, and the inmate will know who sent the information when they are requested to sign the document.
How do I put money on a prison phone?
Most prison phone services work independently. Call the prison phone service company and follow their voice prompts to successfully put money into an inmate’s prison phone.
Can inmates use commissary for phone calls?
Inmate phone accounts are different from inmates commissary accounts because they are handled by different companies. However, an inmate can request to transfer some money from their commissary account to their phone account.
What is a green dot in jail?
Green dots are a form of money transfer service in prison. People who offer services can receive payments from other green dot card owners for rendered services.
What are Green Dot cards used for in jail?
Green dot cards are used for financial transactions between inmates and prison guards. They are usually considered as illegitimate means of transactions.
Do inmates have to pay for toilet paper?
Inmates are not required to pay for toilet paper while incarcerated in prison. However, they may decide to purchase extra toilet papers out of their commissary account.
How much money can an inmate have in their account?
In most prison facilities, there is no limit to how much an inmate can have in their account. As long as any money received is from a legal source, the accounts department will deposit the money into the inmate’s account.
Is 20 dollars a lot in jail?
20 dollars can do quite a lot in jail. It can pay for a hair cut, or a couple of snacks and pop drinks. Every inmate appreciates an extra money irrespective of the value.
How many photos can you send to a prisoner?
There is no limit to the number of photos you can send to an inmate, however, the inmate will not receive all the pictures at one time. They will be required to view the photos in batches of tens.
What gifts can you send prisoners?
You can send books, clothes, pictures, money, cards and letters. Make sure you are pre-approved to send in books or clothes before you do so.
Can you send gifts to jail?
It is possible to send gifts to jail but you must first look up the policy of the prison to know what is acceptable, and what is not.
How do inmates send money home?
Inmates can send money home by contacting the inmates account department to debit their commissary account and mail a cheque to their loved one.
In some remand centres, arrangements can be made for a family member to pick up the cheque from the prison.
How do I get unlimited jail calls?
Only lawyer calls are free for inmates. To get unlimited calls from jail, you will have to contact the facility to list your number as a legal representative.
I doubt this will be possible because background checks will be carried out to determine if you are truly a lawyer.
How do I leave a message for an inmate?
You can leave a message through an inmate’s dedicated voicemail, or by passing the information to their lawyer.
Lawyers are often able to communicate with inmates frequently, and can help you pass your message across.
Are Inmates notified when money is put on their books?
Yes. Inmates get a receipt every time a deposit is made on their commissary account.
How much does it cost to accept a collect call from jail on a cell phone?
Collect calls from jails are priced differently depending on the prison phone service company, and your own phone carrier.
How often do prisoners shower?
Prisoners have unrestricted access to a bathroom and can shower as many times as they decide to. As adults, their personal hygiene is their own responsibility.
What do jail inmates buy?
Inmates may decide to spend their commissary account on snacks, drinks, stamped envelopes, personal hygiene products or even hair cuts.
Do you have privacy in jail?
Most inmates are required to have bunk mates in their cells, and may not have as much privacy. Also, security cameras are present to make sure inmates are watched at every point while in prison.
How can I accept jail calls without paying?
All inmate collect calls must be paid for. It can either be paid for by the inmate’s end from his phone account, or by the reciever.
Can you send stamped envelopes to inmates?
Stamped envelopes sent to inmates will be denied, put into their property or confiscated. Inmates can purchased stamped envelopes from their commissary account, or request for one from the welfare department.
How long does it take for an inmate to get a letter?
Letters take an average of three days to get to an inmate from the time it is received at the prison. First they have to be scrutinised by a search team who will also test them for drugs.
After that, they are put into the appropriate mail bin where the correctional officers or prison guards responsible for the inmate’s unit will pick them up for distribution.
Do you get paid in prison?
Inmates can join the prison work service or a bootcamp program where they can work and get paid while in prison.
To join the bootcamp, an inmate must have demonstrated exemplary character and must have not been involved in any violent activity over a period of specified days.
What happens to your bank account when you go to jail?
You bank will continue to maintain your account and draw up operating charges or pay in interests even if you are incarcerated.
Can you text while in jail?
Prisoners are unable to communicate through text messaging while they are incarcerated in prison. Using a guard’s phone is out of the question because most prison workers are required to lock up their mobile devices before entering the secure area.
Do prisoners get money when released?
Prisoners are only able to receive whatever monies they had left in their commissary account at the time they are released.
How long does it take for a prisoner to receive money?
The duration it takes for a prisoner to receive money depends on the money transfer service used. Cash deposits are usually instand. Money orders can take 2 days as they can be verified online, but cheques will be held for a number of days until the bank has completely cleared them.