Sending Money/Funds to an Inmate


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.


When an inmate asks you to deposit funds into a friend's account

What kind of illegal activity?  Can you give some examples?  You said inmate will say that they want you to put the money into another inmates account, because they don't want the money to go to court fees.  What are they REALLY doing when requesting the money to go to another inmates account?  Is it from gambling, or to keep from getting hurt?  What's the REAL reason for such a request???

BPRichfield's picture

Re:When an inmate asks you to deposit funds into a friend's acco

This is usually a sign of drug activity.  Prisons restrict inmates from having actual money and inmates are not allowed to send money from their account to another inmate's account.  If they are purchasing drugs or paying for some sort of favor from another inmate the only way for them to make payment with money is to have a friend or family member send the funds (payment can still be made by purchasing items from commissary and trading them, although most prisons do not allow this either).  While some prisons will make an inmate pay court fee's, restitution, and outstanding debts out of the money they receive, it is usually only a small percentage of the money that is deposited.

Vernon Bain Center commissary

If you send an imate money through JPay or Western How does the imate know theirs money in their commissary? Also, if I send money through JPay how will they know I sent the money and not another family member? 

about a inmate account

 is there a way to check a inmate account to see how much money is on there account for reason to see if they are telling you the truth about how much money they have on there account when they have two or three people sending them money. like there husband and there parents are sending money but all ways claim that she needs more.  she is incarcerated at virginia correctional center for women po box 1 goochland va 23063

thank you any information is helpful.

response to if u know how much is on inmate acct

let her send receipts fo what she bought. Why would she be dishonest after all, you all are helping her. Let her know if she can't be truthfuk you won't send her money or if you know who sends her money, let them tell you and then keep track.

BPRichfield's picture

Getting information about an inmate's trust account

The short answer is no.  The inmate's trust account is similar to a normal bank account, in that they both have privacy and protection laws to follow.  That being said if you are still worried about something going on with the inmates account you could contact the inmate's counselor and express your concerns, but don't be surprised if they tell you they cannot give out the inmates balance or depositor information.

Middlesex County $$ Limit?

Is there a dollar limit an imate can have on their account?  Does Middlesex County use Jpay?

Winter/Christmas Packages

How do you purchase packages for Christmas to ensure that the money goes on what the inmate says?  I was asked to buy a 'winter clothes' pkg by friday.  Is this a real thing?  Thanks

BPRichfield's picture

re: Winter/Christmas/Holiday package programs

Yes Holiday/quarterly packages for inmates do exist and there is a cuttoff date for each package that can be ordered.  What institution is your inmate at?  There are different package vendors for facilities so you will need to use a vendor who is authorized to send packages to the prison you are inquiring about.


How and what kind of things can be sent to inmates? My daughter is in MCI Framingam.


money order

I want to know where to sent the money order or how to fill the money order to please help. it's my first time

BPRichfield's picture

Where to send money orders

Where to send funds will depend on where the inmate is.  First start by selecting the state the inmate is incarcerated in through our "Jails & Prisons" menu at the top of this page.  Then read the section on sending money to an inmate.

sending letters and money internationally


My boyfriend is at queensboro correctional facility. How do I go about sending him books letters and money?

How would I write the address?.

Thank you for your help

BPRichfield's picture

Sending inmates letters and money from overseas

You will send letters through the mail like you would to anyone in the US.  You will use the inmate mailing address found on the Queensboro Correctional Facility page, remember to include the inmate's full name and ID number.  For sending books and magazines you will need to use and order new paperback books only.  You must also include the inmates name and ID number and ship to the mailing address listed on the Queensboro page.  Sending money to your inmate is where you may run into a problem.  As far as I know there is no way for you to send money to your inmate because the funds are required to be sent via a United States Postal Money order.

Sending inmates money internationally

Hello BPRichfield!

About sending inmates money internationally you answered a few of months ago (10/16/2014):
"As far as I know there is no way for you to send money to your inmate because the funds are required to be sent via a United States Postal Money order."

I'm facing this problem, too.

I can't find any email address to get in touch with the concerned facility, the link to their official website seems broken and snail-mail is really too slow (2 months to get an answer).

Do you have now anything to add to your previous answer?
Who may I contact by email to get a solution?



E-mailing an inmate

how does the e-mail an inmate process work and how much does it cost?

E-mailing an inmate

Emails and video visits are handled through  Emails are sent using 'stamps' which are purchased in a minimum of 10.  One stamp = One and videos cost extra stamps.

Check out their site for more info.  But before buying anything, double check with the actual facility as some do not have the technology to grant the inmates access to computers.

paper pictures

I have a friend thats in Luzern County Correctal and I was wondering if you could send paper photos like from the computer?

wanted to know if inmates can

wanted to know if inmates can send there family money....if anyone knows please comment thx

BPRichfield's picture

re: can inmates send money to family

It really depends on many factors, the first thing we need to know is what institution or state the inmate is incarcerated in.

Getting Tv for inmate directly through the commissary.

Is there a way to get a TV for the inmate with sending the money to the inmates account but just going to the commissary directly.  If so, how?

If inmates are unable to

If inmates are unable to receive stamps will they be able to purchase any if a money order is sent? Also, is it okay to send blank notebooks?

Order Packages

how do I ordet hygeine package. Add coffee stamps notebook and sugar?

BPRichfield's picture

re: stamps and notebooks

If an inmate is not allowed to be sent stamps through the mail they will have the chance to purchase them at their commissary.  Notebooks are a tricky thing each institution will have different rules on notebooks.  Call the facility to see if they allow them, if they allow notebooks they must not be spiral or wire bound.

Send Money Electronicly

Hello- If I would like to send money Electronicly, do I have to use Western Union;if so what facility information will I need to ensure the inmate

receives the funds? 


How do you know that the inmate knows that they have money on there calling account if the inmate hasn't called and also how do you know that the inmate knows that there is money on there actual inmate account

money to inmate

Hello there,

My Question is, if you send a cash money to an inmate to their PO box address will that person, the one sending the cash, go to jail? even if they were unaware it was an offense?

BPRichfield's picture

Re: Money to an inmate (cash)

No, you will receive a warning, at worst the money will be confiscated but it is usually returned to sender.  Never send cash in an envelope.  The best way of sending money to an inmate is outlined above, but every prison is different so you should search for the institution your friend or family member is incarcerated on this site and see what the procedure is for sending money.  And if you do happen to send an inmate cash through the mail, then call the institution and let them know you were unaware of the procedure for commissary funds.

sending money to inmate

Can they get money gram and go pick it up their selfs at a money gram store


BPRichfield's picture

Sending money through Money Gram

umm no, inmates cannot go to the money gram store and pick funds up themselves....some facilities do allow you to send money through western union or money gram but the funds are just sent electronically to the inmate's commissary account, no going to pick funds up themselves...they are in jail/prison after all.