Everything in prison costs money!

  • Food
  • Soap
  • Toothpaste
  • Stamps
  • Books and Magazines
  • Phone Calls
  • Uniforms
  • Shoes


Even basic medications in some cases will not be paid by the facility.
The prison system wants you to pay, not them.

The problem is that inmates don’t have money. You do.
That means every inmate’s family will suffer a financial burden in addition to the punishment suffered by the inmate.

Refuse to pay and the inmate’s quality of life is made to suffer even more.
This guide is designed to help minimize suffering for both.

Before sending anything to an inmate you’ll need to know three things:

  • Inmates full committed name
  • Inmates identification number
  • Current location of the inmate

You’ll need to work out a reasonable budget with your inmate. It needs to be an amount large enough for them to purchase necessities without putting too much of a burden on the family. For an inmate, just being able to purchase a fruit cup from the commissary every few days can give them something to look forward to. Not to mention supplement their diet with necessary nutrients for health and brain function. But the $30 a month that adds in cost shouldn’t come at the expense of denying food to the inmates children. Don’t hesitate to ask other friends and family to help chip in a few dollars each month. Even an inmate’s dealer or friends who weren’t caught will sometimes chip in to help knowing that it could have just as easily have been them in jail. If money is not a problem. Commissaries often sell everything from radios and televisions to special computers and foods.

There are two companies that provide services that transfer money to inmates. If you live nearby, you can sometimes pay into a commissary account right at the Jail.

Both have discount programs for people setting up regular scheduled payments that help reduce the cost. Many facilities also accept a postal money orders mailed to the institution. It will need to include the inmates mailing address and be made payable to the inmate. Some Sates are also switching to electronic banking.  Electronic banking makes it easy for friends and family to help by sending funds online.

Communication is also very important.
There are several providers of cheap inmate calling services.

By Signing up for one of the companies above you can bypass the long distance inmate calling costs. Some prisons calling services charge as much as $14 per minute! Learn more about the steps to sign up for inmate calling from GlobalTel.

Need To Send Mail?

Sending letters can also be expensive. Especially if you have to take time off work to drive to a post office to buy stamps and envelopes. Every jail also has rules and special formats for mail. It’s often cheaper and easier to use a jail mail postcard service.

One word of warning:

Never agree to send money to an inmate you don’t know. Your inmate should never tell anyone that money is not a problem. Nor should they flaunt their wealth to a degree that will attract negative attention. Many prisons have a problem with prisoners forcing others to give them money for protection or under threat of harm. Those targeted tend to be those with an obvious ability to pay. Visiting the prison while wearing expensive dress or jewelry or depositing large amounts of cash in a commissary account can make your loved one a target.

If you believe your loved one may be in trouble, report anything suspicious to the warden.