How to Talk to an Inmate for Free

When spending time apart from a loved one, it is important to stay in contact to keep the relationship alive. Texting, phone conversations, and video chats are typically how long-distanced loved ones talk to one another. However, if incarceration is the reason you are apart, there are additional hurdles you must get over in order to communicate. Unfortunately, the options for keeping in contact are limited, and most are not free of charge. In today’s post, we highlight how you can talk to an inmate for free—and other affordable options, too. 

Visiting in Person

The only way to speak to an inmate completely free of charge is by visiting them in person at their facility. An in-person visitation is a great way to connect with your incarcerated loved one, because you can physically see one another and have a face-to-face conversation. Studies have shown that in-person visits from loved ones help an incarcerated individual experience fewer depressive episodes and may even reduce rule-breaking behavior. Becky Calderon, co-founder of Pelipost and formerly incarcerated, says that the visits from friends and family “remind you that you have a life, a purpose, and a meaning.” 

In-person visits are free of charge, however there are essential steps to take before your visit. Typically, facilities require you to be pre-approved, adhere to a strict dress code, and schedule your visit in advance. It is important to check the guidelines for the specific facility your loved one is at to make sure you follow all the rules and regulations. Once you have taken the necessary steps, check out this guide for how to talk to your incarcerated loved one when visiting. 

Visiting in Person

Other Communication Options That Won’t Break the Bank

Just a Collect Call Away

A relatively low-cost way to communicate with your incarcerated loved one is through phone calls. Incarcerated individuals usually receive up to 300 minutes of telephone calls per month, and the calls can be up to 15 minutes long each. Although calls are collect and there will be a fee, speaking on the phone will help you connect with your loved one and brighten their spirits. 

Old-School Letters

In today’s technology-driven world, handwritten letters between friends, families, and lovers are a lost form of communication. A personal note sent to someone in incarceration is a great way to stay connected and talk to them in a way you typically would not. A huge benefit to sending letters is that the incarcerated person can physically hold onto it and go look back at your words when they need to hear them most. Postage is not free and facilities have rules when it comes to letter content, but sending mail is a low cost way to stay connected with your loved one. 

A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

A step above sending letters and speaking on the phone, while still not breaking the bank, is sending photos through the mail. A photo is a tangible item your incarcerated loved one can keep in their belongings and look at whenever they miss you and want to see your face or reminisce on memories. Pelipost is a very convenient, quick way to send photos to your incarcerated loved one at an affordable cost. To get started with sending photos, you can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

21 Replies to “How to Talk to an Inmate for Free”

  1. It’s good to be reminded of the simple ways to encourage and support our incarcerated loved ones.

    All your suggestions are true. I have been on this journey with my Son and others for over 20 years, and I am a personal witness of the difference it makes.

    Keep up the good work, you are truly appreciated. 🙏🏼✝️

    1. Thank you for your comment. We know how important it is to receive that encouragement and support when you are serving time. Bridging the gap is vital to maintaining a positive mindset. : )

    1. Thank you for your feedback. While many companies are working on phone services and video, we like to stay in our lane. We are a 3rd party provider that specializes in photos to correctional facilities.

  2. This is a wonderful way of staying in touch and sending your love. Its convenient and timely I love it and he loves it to

    1. My wihe done video visits when I was in prison omg it was so great to see her beautiful face and see when we talked it helped me and my incarceration so much easier with all the bad things that go on in prison it gave me hope for 3 yrs

  3. Totally love the Peli post app, great was to share family photos with our loved ones. Can’t beat the prize and size of the photos available to us and able to send a note with it. My son loves it makes him feel connected and has lots of family support from outside. We always send positive words to him to let him know we are here for him.

    Thanks Peli

  4. I love pelipost and my favorite inmate loves getting pictures to feel like he’s still part of the family.

    1. Unfortunately, the majority of states do charge for calls placed to jails or prisons. In 2022, California and Connecticut passed legislation making calls to prison free of charge for loved ones and their families. We hope this change spreads to all states to help keep families connected.

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