Resources – Preparing for Prison – Contact With Loved Ones In Prison

Contact with Loved Ones In Prison

While in prison, it is important that inmates maintain relationships with those they care about. The Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) allows inmates to do this through mail, phone calls, e-mails, and in-person visits.

Corrlinks – Email Communication with Inmates

The BOP allows inmates to use a limited form of e-mail. E-mail messages are delivered through a platform known as Corrlinks.This platform offers a way for family and friends to communicate with their loved ones who are in prison. This system allows family and friends to subscribe to CorrLinks services, and members of the public can access the Corrlinks site to review and respond to messages from federal prisoners using the Internet or Corrlinks mobile application from their smart phone.

Members of the public are not charged to review or respond to e-mail messages from federal prisoners. Inmates, however, are charged to review and send messages. These charges are deducted from the inmate’s commissary account. The cost for using the Corrlinks service will depend on the agreements that exist between the incarceration institutions and the service providers.

In addition, there are some federal prisons that are connected to TRULINCS, and for those, the service is basically free. Other state prisons in places like Iowa, Minnesota and Oklahoma allow inmates to use the service for a fee. In other instances, people wanting to send messages to inmates pay as much (or as little) as $0.30 per message.

Inmate Visits

Inmates are allowed social visits with members of their immediate family and friends. BOP rules generally require visitors to have known the inmate prior to incarceration. Potential visitors are screened before being placed on an inmate’s approved visiting list. Screening includes running a background check. Potential visitors with a criminal history will likely not be allowed on an inmate’s visiting list.

Each institution is allowed to create their own visiting rules within the framework of the BOP’s national inmate visiting policy. Local visiting rules typically dictate what visitors may or may not wear when visiting an inmate (e.g., no see-through clothing), the days and hours of visits, and other visiting procedures.

Many institutions also impose limits on the number of visitors that may visit. Check the “institution supplement” for the institution you intend to visit at www.bop.gov for specific visiting rules.

Correspondence with Loved Ones in Prison

Inmates are allowed to send and receive correspondence from virtually anyone. Inmates may also receive books and magazines from individuals. Books and magazines should be sent directly from the publisher or bookstore (e.g., Amazon.com) in order to prevent erroneous rejection by the mailroom of such materials. Inmates in federal prison are not allowed to receive “care packages” or gifts. The only time an inmate may receive a package is when a prisoner is within 30 days of his or her release, and that package may only contain release clothing.

Inmate Phone Calls

Federal inmates are given 500 minutes of calling time each month. These minutes may be used to call friends, family members or any other person on the inmate’s approved phone list. Presently, local calls over the inmate telephone system cost .06¢ per minute. Long distance calls are .23¢ a minute.

It is important to keep in mind that ALL inmate calls (except for legal calls) are recorded and subject to monitoring by the BOP. Furthermore, each call is limited to 15 minutes in duration. After 15 minutes, the phone will simply disconnect and the inmate will not be able to make another call for 15 – 60 minutes.

The only calls that are unrecorded are attorney phone calls which must be coordinated through the inmate’s counselor and case manager. NOTE: These calls–while not recorded–are typically still monitored because BOP staff will sit in the same room with the inmate while he or she is on the phone.