This is a guide to sending funds and money to an inmate. This is a general guide and may not be applicable to all jails and prisons. If you have any questions or concerns about sending an inmate money contact the institution directly at the numbers provided on our site.
How to send money to an Inmate
Sending money to an inmate can vary from state to state, depending if it is a jail, prison, or a Federal Prison.
Federal Prisons and some state level prisons have centralized banking systems. In almost every instance you will be able to send a Money Order, but the address you will send it to will depend on the institution. Use our Prison and Jail Information Directory to get the specific prison and directions for sending your inmate money.
Funds are Usually accepted by Cash, In Person and Through the mail. Most prisons will have you mail a money order payable to the correctional department with the inmates name and ID number in the memo. Many institutions now offer deposit via the web through services like Western Union.
Important things you need to know when Sending an Inmate Money
The most important piece of advice I can give you is to never send money to an inmate's account other then the inmate you are friends or family with. If your inmate asks you to deposit funds into a friend's account be careful as this is almost always a sign of illegal activity. The department of corrections will never require funds to be sent in this manner, and deters it. Inmates often say the money needs to go into another inmates account because the money in that goes into their account will have court fee's etc removed, which may or may not be true, but the prison never takes the entire amount deposited, they only levy a small percentage.
Also remember to always keep receipts and order numbers. When sending a Money order to an inmate keep the stub with the money order number on it, from time to time Money orders do get lost, so having a way of tracking the money order provides you with recourse and sometimes will be your proof the inmate got the funds when they tell you three days later they didn't and need more money....this is also not a good sign. You can always contact your inmates counselor if you feel some sort of illegal activity is occurring.
The cheapest way to send funds is by postal money order, the electronic online way of sending funds to an inmate does carry a fee. No matter what you will need to know the inmates full committed name, and the inmates ID number. If you are unsure of this use are site to do an inmate search and get the information. All methods of sending funds will require this information.
Why send Money to your inmate?
Anyone who has been in jail or prison knows one of the things inmates most look forward to are the Commissary days. A Commissary is a small store located inside the institution. The commissary sells all sorts of things from food and snacks, to hygiene items such as shavers, soap, towels as well as electronics like televisions, radios etc. But perhaps the most important thing that a commissary sells is paper, envelopes, and stamps. To an inmate these are the most important of items because it allows them the chance to write to someone on the outside. While some facilities will provide a small amount of stamps and paper to inmates who cannot afford it, not all prisons and jails will provide it. Many times people will write to their inmate and not get a letter back and it is simply for the reason that the inmate is unable to afford stamps and paper. So, if you have a loved one in prison make sure you send some funds for commissary as it can and will brighten an inmate's day and give them something to do.