How to Send an Inmate Mail

Maintaining communication with family and friends is crutial to an inmate's rehabilitation.
••• jail in calico ghost town, arizona image by Albo from

The Federal Bureau of Prisons encourages communication between inmates and their families and friends. It is important for inmates to maintain ties to the community while serving their sentence. This procedure aids in the inmate's rehabilitation and transition. To send an inmate mail, you must locate the institution or rehabilitation facility that is holding the inmate. Using the state's Department of Corrections or Federal Bureau of Prisons website, you can find the address of the institution and the inmate's ID or DOC number. This information is needed to communicate with an inmate.

Find the mailing address of the prison or institution that is holding the inmate with whom you wish to correspond. You can do this by searching the state's Department of Corrections website. If the inmate is in a federal prison, you can search the Federal Bureau of Prisons website. Enter the inmate's first and last name into the corresponding fields and press "Search." Alternatively, if you know the inmate's ID number, you can enter it into the field and press "Search." The locator will display a list of names. Click on the inmate's name and discover the prison or institution.

Write a letter to the inmate and realize that staff of the prison or institution will read the mail. If the mail contains any illegal or suspicious information, the inmate will not receive the letter.

Read More: How to Contact an Inmate

Address the envelope using the following information:

Inmate's full name and ID or DOC number

Institution or Prison name

Mailing address or post office box

City, state, zip code

Place a stamp on the envelope and mail the letter using the U.S. Postal Service. Most prisons or institutions only allow inmates to receive mail through the U.S. Postal Service.


  • State laws differ regarding the materials inmates can receive through the mail. Some states allow inmates to receive magazines and cards, while others only allow paper letters. Consult with the prison or institution before attempting to send the inmate a package.
  • Sending the inmate illegal material may result in revocation of mail rights for the inmate.
  • In most cases, a guard will open and inspect mail in the presence of the inmate.

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