How To Send A Letter To Someone In Jail

The period of incarceration can be a difficult time for both the incarcerated individual and their loved ones. Keeping in contact with an inmate during their time behind bars has shown to have many benefits — from keeping a relationship alive to improving overall mental health. One of the simplest ways to stay in contact with an incarcerated loved one is by sending them letters. If you don’t know the right steps, the process may seem overwhelming, but keep reading as we lay out how to send a letter to someone in jail. 

Importance of Sending Letters

Keeping Up With One Another

While your loved one is incarcerated, it can put a strain on your relationship as you do not get the chance to speak every day. But it is important to remember that your loved one is probably missing you and their normal day-to-day life. They probably want to keep up with what is going on in your life, and sending updates through letters can be a great way to do this. However, you must keep in mind many facilities have rules and regulations on sending and receiving mail that you need to check before sending. 

To Have and to Hold

Although visiting and phone calls have their own set of benefits, one of the main benefits of sending your incarcerated loved one a letter is that it is a physical item they get to keep. They can keep the letter in their belongings, and return to it when they are missing you. 

Ways to Send Letters to an Incarcerated Individual

Email

A simple way to send a letter to your incarcerated loved one is through email. When you send a letter through email, the note will be printed on paper to be given to the incarcerated person. To send, visit the website of the facility your loved one is located at to find specific email addresses and instructions. Some facilities may require you to go through an approval process before sending a letter. Once you have your letter written, make sure the content is appropriate and follows the rules before sending. 

Postage

Another simple way to send a letter to your incarcerated friend or family member is through traditional postage mail. The benefit to this method is that a handwritten letter is more personal and intimate, and something your incarcerated loved one will cherish. When sending a physical letter in the mail, the facility will typically require you to include the inmate’s legal name, their DOC number, and the address of the facility on the front of the envelope

Send Photos with Pelipost

In addition to sending letters, sending your incarcerated loved ones photos is another great way to stay connected to one another. Like the letters, a photo is a tangible item they can hold onto and look at when they are missing you. Pelipost is an app in which you can send photos to your loved one directly through your smartphone, making connecting with your loved one an easy process. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store. 

Why Specializing in Correctional Facility Photo Delivery Makes Pelipost Different

Staying in contact with an  incarcerated loved one can have a significant positive impact on your relationship and mental health. When you keep in contact with an incarcerated individual, it can make a world of difference in their motivation and outlook on life. Phone calls, in-person visits, and sending letters are all great ways to keep that connection alive. In addition, one of the most impactful ways you can stay connected to your incarcerated loved one is by sending them physical photos to keep and look at when they are missing home. It used to be as simple as finding the right photo requirements and sending them through the mail; however, many facilities have recently updated their rules and regulations. Contraband and other problems have become an issue with jail mail, and some facilities are limiting the capabilities of sending loved ones photos. Many prisons are only allowing third-party vendors to send in photos to reduce the amount of problematic mail received. 

What is a Third-Party Provider?

A third-party provider is typically defined as an external person or company who provides a service or technology as part of a contract. In the context of sending mail to incarcerated individuals, these third-party vendors are companies, like Pelipost, that take in photo submissions from individuals, print them out, and send them to the facility on the customer’s behalf. This eliminates steps for the customer, as they do not have to physically print the photo or stop at the post office. In addition, the third-party provider typically makes sure the photos are printed at the correct accepted size and only include approved content

Why Does it Matter?

The most important step in the prison mail process is when the mail is physically given to the incarcerated individual. To ensure that the photos make it to that step, there are many rules and regulations you must follow, although it varies from facility to facility. This is where the importance of a third-party service provider comes in to deliver your photos to your incarcerated loved one. With many correctional facilities limiting mail from individuals, the third-party providers may be the only way to guarantee that your photos will make it through the entire process. 

How Pelipost Can Help

Pelipost is an app that was designed specifically for the purpose of being a third-party provider for loved ones to send photos to incarcerated individuals. With the three step process of uploading your photos, sending them in, and the photos arriving at the facility, Pelipost simplifies the way you can send in your photos to your incarcerated loved one. Pelipost stands out among other third-party vendors because unlike other companies, we specialize in correctional facility delivery. Our customer service team is experienced in working with these correctional facilities and their rules and regulations. Our team is always available to help with questions about specific facilities and will even reach out to the facility’s mailroom if there are any issues with the order. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

The Best Ways to Resolve Conflict With Your Incarcerated Loved Ones

Change is hard. Relationships are hard. When you put the two together, conflict often arises. With incarceration being such a big change in a person’s life, the stress can put a strain on relationships with friends and family. Research has shown that staying in contact with an incarcerated loved one has many benefits affecting behavior and mental health. It is important to try and keep your bond strong. Follow these tips to resolve conflict with your incarcerated loved one, and to relieve stress during your time spent apart. 

Best Ways to Resolve Conflict With Your Incarcerated Loved Ones

Communication and Understanding 

Compassion: Put yourself in each other’s shoes.

A common exercise in resolving conflicts of any kind is to put yourself in the other’s shoes. Although incarceration is a different type of situation than most, it is important to recognize that both parties are going through a lot of stress in different ways. The person behind bars is having to adjust to a whole new environment with many freedoms taken away. The person on the outside has to deal with the absence of their loved one and how that affects them financially, mentally and emotionally. Understanding how the other person feels can help you on the road to conflict resolution. 

Consideration: Is the topic worth arguing over?

Incarceration causes a major shift in the course of your lives, and can put things in perspective. Some issues you used to argue over may not matter anymore, and you can prioritize what to talk about in your limited communication time. On the other hand, some issues may be out of your incarcerated loved one’s control. It is best to take a step back, take a deep breath, and consider whether or not the problem can be resolved right now. 

Compromise: Try to resolve the problem, not win.

As you are both going through a difficult period, there is no point in trying to “win” an argument. Instead, aim to resolve the issue at hand. Brainstorming positive solutions and communicating them calmly with one another can help you to reach a compromise that both parties are happy with. 

Utilize Resources Available

Books

There are many books and other publications available that are specifically written for the friends and family of incarcerated individuals. Reading tips from experts and stories from others in similar situations can help you figure out the best way to handle your situation. A list of relevant books can be found here

Mental Healthcare

Although the incarcerated person’s mental health is a high priority, it is very important to make sure that you are taking care of your own mental health, too. If you have the resources available to you, talking to a counselor or therapist can help you work through any issues that arise. Other mental health tips include practicing meditation, exercising, journaling, and getting outdoors. 

Organizations for Families of Incarcerated Individuals

Many organizations, like the AFOI (Assisting Families of Inmates), were created to help the families of incarcerated individuals get through this difficult time. Using their services can help ease the stress of incarceration and work through the conflicts you might be having with your loved one. 

Continue to Stay In Contact

Even if you feel negative feelings of anger or resentment towards your incarcerated loved one, staying in contact with them can be beneficial to you both. It is best to contact them when you are not feeling upset, as arguments can easily arise when emotions are heightened. Phone calls and in-person visits can be a good time to try and resolve issues, as the conversations occur in real time. However, sending letters or photos through Pelipost is a great way to show your incarcerated loved one that you care, even when tensions are high. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

First Time Visiting Someone In Jail? What You Need to Know.

When a loved one is incarcerated, it is important to stay in touch with them to keep your relationship alive and boost their mental well-being. A great way to foster your connection and bring a smile to their face is to visit them in person. A face-to-face interaction will help your incarcerated loved one be reminded that they are not alone, and help keep your bond alive. However, visiting an incarcerated person is not a simple, spur-of-the-moment, as often as you want type of thing. There are many procedures and protocols you must follow to be able to have a stress free visit. If it’s your first time visiting someone in jail, follow these do’s and don’ts before you go. 

First Time Visiting Someone In Jail

DO: Check the specific facility’s rules

Before making any plans to visit your incarcerated loved one, you must check the rules and regulations of the specific facility where they are being held. You can either check the facility’s website or give them a call if the information is not listed online. This first step is imperative before you move on to planning your visit.

DON’T: Show up unannounced 

Visiting a jail is not like going to the mall, taking a trip to the zoo, or going to grandma’s house—you cannot show up whenever you please. You must schedule a visit ahead of time with the specific facility you are visiting. Typically, there is an approval process each visitor must go through before they can schedule a visit. The facility will have limits on how often you can visit as well. 

DO: Adhere to the rules

The more you follow the rules, the smoother your visit will be. Things like arriving early, bringing the proper documentation, and supervising children are all very important. Doing so will ensure you are allowed to see your incarcerated loved one and that’s the ultimate goal right?

DON’T: Break the dress code

Most jails and prisons have a strict dress code for visitors coming in to see inmates. A general rule of thumb is to avoid tight fitting, see-through, and midriff-baring clothing. Avoid shorts and ripped jeans, and wear closed-toed shoes. You should wear undergarments and socks as well. It is also important to avoid any clothing that could be considered gang related. Also make sure to avoid wearing the same color as the inmates. The color they wear and the specific visitor dress code can usually be found on the facility’s website.  

DO: Talk about the important things

With visits being limited in time and frequency, use this time to talk about the important things with your loved one. Try to avoid sensitive topics like release dates, and focus on what your inmate wants to discuss. Check out more tips on what to talk about with your incarcerated loved one here

DON’T: Bring them any items

To avoid the trading of contraband from guests, it is important to note that you cannot bring your incarcerated loved one any items when you visit. Most facilities will allow you to bring in cash for the vending machines, but will cap it around $20. However, outside gifts, clothing or food will not be allowed inside the facility. 

DO: Send them photos ahead of time through Pelipost

Although you cannot bring items to give your loved one during your visit, you CAN send them photos ahead of time through Pelipost. A physical photo is a cherished item your incarcerated loved one will be able to look back on in between visits. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

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.

How to Stay in Touch with a Girlfriend or Boyfriend in Jail

Incarceration can be difficult on people in a relationship, for both the person on the inside and the person on the outside. Spending time apart may be hard, but it is possible to stay in contact with your girlfriend or boyfriend in jail and nurture your relationship. Keeping up with communication will help both partners feel more connected to one another, and can help the incarcerated person’s mental health, too. In fact, research shows that around half of all incarcerated people suffer from some sort of mental illness. Staying in contact with your incarcerated loved one has been proven to help with their mental health and set them up for a better life upon release. If you’re not sure how exactly to foster your relationship during your time spent apart, follow these tips on how to stay in touch with a girlfriend or boyfriend in jail. 

Visit Face-to-Face

One of the most impactful ways to stay in touch with your incarcerated boyfriend or girlfriend is by visiting them in person. A face-to-face interaction will help remind you both that the love you have for each other is real and can last through the tough times. It is important to note that when planning your visit, you must make sure you check the rules and regulations for the facility your loved one is at and follow visitation guidelines accordingly. If you are unsure what to talk about with your loved one, follow these 7 tips on what to talk about when visiting someone in jail. 

Staying in touch with an incarcerated loved one.

Hear Their Voice

During a relationship, you usually talk to your significant other over the phone on a regular basis. Even if your partner is incarcerated, this part of your relationship can be maintained in a slightly different way. Inmates are allowed to make phone calls, and you should always try to answer when they get the chance to call. Hearing your voice can turn their whole day around, and will cheer you up as well. For more details on how an inmate can make phone calls, check out this post on the Pelipost blog.  

Put It On Paper

Back in the day, letters were the main form of communication for lovers who were apart. Sending your incarcerated partner a love letter is a classic way to stay in touch and keep the spark alive. Although they won’t be able to hear your voice, a letter will give them a tangible token of your love that they will be able to hold onto and look back on when they are missing you. 

Share Photos They Will Cherish

Along with the letters, sending photos is another way to give a tangible item to your incarcerated significant other that they will cherish. Sharing images of life milestones, happy memories, or just your smile will be something your loved one can look at when they are missing you and life on the outside. Pelipost makes it easy for you to send these photos that your boyfriend or girlfriend will love. For tips on how to send pictures to inmates and what kind of photos to send, check out this blog post.

Staying in touch with a girlfriend or boyfriend in jail is possible and will be beneficial to you both in the long run, and Pelipost is here to help.

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

How Often Can an Inmate Make Calls (and Other Answers to FAQs)

Fostering a connection with your incarcerated loved one is beneficial during your time spent apart. In fact, staying in contact with an incarcerated person will help with their mental well-being and set them up for a more successful life upon release. Along with exchanging mail with an incarcerated loved one, phone calls and in-person visits are personal gestures that can be very meaningful. However, the rules and regulations around contacting your incarcerated loved one can be a little confusing. The Pelipost team has put together tips about how often an inmate can make calls, along with answers to other FAQs. 

How Often Can an Inmate Make Calls

How often can an inmate make calls?

Although it may vary from facility to facility, incarcerated people typically receive up to 300 minutes of telephone calls per month. The frequency depends on the incarcerated person’s behavior, the wait time for using the phone, and the operating hours the facility has placed for the phone. Although rare, sometimes the warden will grant extra phone minutes in addition to the 300 minutes per month depending on behavior. It is also common for facilities to grant extra minutes during the holidays to promote family bonding. 

How long can the phone calls be?

The general rule of thumb for the length of phone calls from prison is 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes of speaking is up, the phone will disconnect automatically. The incarcerated person must wait 30 minutes before they are allowed to to make another call. Facilities tend to have a handful of telephones for a few hundred people, so wait times can be very long. Phone calls must always be made by the incarcerated person, but their loved ones on the outside should be aware of the costs they will be charged from these collect calls. 

How long does an incarcerated person have to wait before making a phone call?

The timing for incarcerated people to make phone calls depends on the facility they are at and where they are in the incarceration process. For example, if the person was just arrested, they will be allowed a phone call after the booking is done. While going through a sentence, there is a process they must undergo before making calls. In the intake and classification process, they must participate in a medical, physical, and psychological examination. This process can take anywhere from one day to a few weeks, and during this period the incarcerated person will not be allowed to make phone calls. 

How often can you visit your incarcerated loved one?

Under federal law, an incarcerated person will receive at least 4 hours of visiting time per month. Depending on the location of your loved one, they may receive more visiting hours than that. The facility may also restrict the length of each visit and the number of people that can be in the room. Before you go, make sure to check the facility’s visiting schedule and whether or not you need to set up an appointment. If you’re not sure how to approach an in-person visit with your incarcerated loved one, check out these tips on what to talk about when visiting someone in jail. 

What are some other tips for staying in contact?

Other than phone calls and in-person visits, there are other ways to stay connected to your loved one while they are incarcerated. Communication through mail is a simple and easy way to keep in contact, and it gives the incarcerated person a keepsake to hold on to. For example, sending photos through Pelipost is a great way to stay connected and give your loved one a tangible item to help them through tough times. 


Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

How Is Mail Processed in a Prison?

Have you ever wondered about the process your mail goes through before making it to your incarcerated loved one? There may be more to it than you think. The general process is that the mail is shipped, sorted, scanned for contraband, and then given to the inmate. However, it is not always that simple, as correctional facilities can face many roadblocks in the mailroom. In today’s post, we break down the things you probably don’t know about mail processing in a prison.

How Is Mail Processed in a Prison?

Sometimes Mail Arrives Unsorted

Prisons use the U.S. Postal Service to handle their mail, however, not all use it to their advantage. Some facilities only use one mailbox to receive regular inmate mail, legal mail, and administrative mail — which all arrives at once, unsorted. This means that the prison has to use extra time and bandwidth of their employees to sort through these types of mail before they can be processed. 

Some Prisons Use Correctional Officers to Sort Through Mail

Most correctional facilities are overwhelmed with the amount of mail they receive and therefore have to process. Due to this, the mailroom workers are sometimes assisted by correctional officers with a light workload, or on the night shift while inmates are sleeping. They can assist with the separating of types of mail as well as search mail for contraband. For more information on what prisoners are allowed to receive, click here

Standard Mail Processing is Often Delayed

If it seems like your standard mail sent to your incarcerated loved one takes longer to arrive, that is due to the processing delays many prisons face. Legal and certified mail is processed immediately, while regular mail is set aside to be searched to identify items requiring more inspection. This includes mail with enclosures such as stamps, photos, money orders, or contraband. When something with contraband is found, the mail process for all mail comes to a halt while the contraband is addressed. This can cause long delays, as many facilities have their workers hand-write the forms about why the piece of mail is not accepted. 

Duplicate Logs Take Extra Time

The Prison Legal News found that prisons spend significant amounts of time creating duplicate logs when processing legal mail. Legal mail often gets priority over other mail in these facilities, but the double processing can take up a lot of time, creating delays for other types of mail. Many prisons require three types of logging for this mail: first on a hand-written form, then in a logbook used to record legal letters processed by date, and third, into an Excel database spreadsheet. Mailroom employees said this logging takes approximately an hour a day to complete, taking their time away from other types of mail, like personal photos.

Although it may face roadblocks and delays, sending mail to your incarcerated loved one is a great way to stay connected, which will benefit them in the long run. Pelipost is here to help you with this process and assure that your mail will be received by your incarcerated loved one. 

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

How Many Pictures Can You Send to Someone In Jail?

Keeping in contact with your incarcerated loved one is proven to positively impact their mental health and overall well being. One of the best ways to keep up your relationship with them — next to in-person visits and phone calls — is to send them photos of your family and what is going on in your lives. Photographs can be a great way to brighten your inmate’s day and is a possession they will cherish. However, there are rules and regulations in place in regards to inmates receiving photos. The Pelipost team has put together these tips for how many pictures you can send to someone in jail. 

Check With the Facility 

The first thing to keep in mind is that rules and regulations vary from facility to facility when it comes to sending mail to inmates. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to check with the specific correctional facility your loved one is located at before sending them photos. Most of the time this can be confirmed through the facility’s website, but if you are still unsure, we recommend calling the facility directly. It is better to check beforehand to ensure that your photos will be accepted rather than returned to you by the facility. 

Cap It at 50

Although it is important to double check with your incarcerated loved one’s specific facility, most jails and prisons allow inmates to have up to 50 photos in their possession. As the sender, you should keep track of the number of photographs you send to make sure they get to keep the pictures that are most important. Before sending the photos, make sure they follow these guidelines for appropriate content that the correctional facility will accept. 

Talk With Your Loved One

Your incarcerated loved one is a great resource to find out information about their facility. Ask them directly: how many pictures you can send to someone jail? Are there any rules or regulations that I should be aware of?

If your inmate has had the same group of photos for a while and is ready for a refresh, they may not tell you up front. The next time you talk to your inmate, ask if they might want new photos. If they’ve reached their photo limit, they may be ready for more recent images of family celebrations and holidays, and willing to retire a few. Especially if any family members have experienced life-changing events, like graduating, getting their first car, meeting Santa for the first time, or getting married. Photos of these events will be a welcome addition for your loved one. We recommend sharing as much as you can!

Let Pelipost Help You Out

Once you are ready to send photos to your inmate, make sure to download Pelipost and follow these steps for an overall smooth transaction. Pelipost does not have a cap for the amount of photos you can send through the app, but the team will work with you to fit the guidelines from your loved one’s prison. With Pelipost, you can stay connected to your incarcerated loved one easily and securely, and include them in your family’s big events through photographic mementos.

Ready to send your pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

Picture Ideas for Inmates: What to Send Your Incarcerated Loved One

Sending photos to a loved one while they are incarcerated can be a great way to lift their spirits and foster your relationship during a difficult time. Staying connected to someone in jail can help their well-being — both emotionally and behaviorally — and can increase their chances of successful rehabilitation and good life choices upon release. If you are ready to send a photo to an inmate, but don’t know where to start, Pelipost has created a list of ideas for what kind of pictures to send to your incarcerated loved one. 

Smiles of Family and Friends

Your inmate probably misses seeing the smiling faces of loved ones on a day to day basis. Seeing friends and family members through a photograph may not be the same, but can be a great way to lift spirits during a tough time and remind inmates that they are not alone. These types of photos are best with a clear background and no objects, tattoos, or hand symbols pictured.  

Special Events 

Whether it’s a wedding, birthday, holiday, or accomplishment, your incarcerated loved one probably feels as if they are missing out on big moments in life. Capturing photos of special events and sending them to your incarcerated loved one can help them to feel included in your life and share in the joy that you felt during these big moments. 

Pictures of Pets

Who doesn’t love seeing a photo of an adorable, happy pet? Your loved one is probably missing the warmth and cuddles from their furry friend while incarcerated, and seeing a photo of their beloved pet can brighten their spirits. Whether your pet is covered in feathers, scales, or fur, a cute photo of them is a great memento to send to your inmate. 

Picture Ideas for Inmates: Pictures of Pets

Drawings From Kids

A drawing from a child is a heartwarming gift that will bring a smile to your loved one’s face. Children often express emotions through drawing pictures and giving them to loved ones, which does not have to change while that person is in jail. Sending photos of drawings can be a great way for both the child and the inmate to feel connected to one another during their time spent apart. By having a child create a special piece for your incarcerated loved one, they can also process emotions they might be feeling while missing your loved one.

Picture Ideas for Inmates: Drawings From Kids

Happy Memories

Reflecting on happy memories can help us to feel the joy we did in those precious moments. Photos of past holidays, vacations, milestones, and other happy memories can bring joy to your inmate. Sending an image of a cherished memory will remind your incarcerated loved one of good times, and how much they are loved. 

While there are many great ways to cheer up your inmate during your time apart, these photo ideas will definitely bring a smile to their face. Now that you have likely collected a bevy of images to send to your incarcerated loved one, make sure to download Pelipost for a seamless shipping process. Before you send, click here to learn more about what you’re allowed to send to a prison to ensure your photos make it to your loved one.

Ready to send pictures? You can download the Pelipost app through the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.