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JennaHamilton2020
JennaHamilton2020's picture
Death row replies

I have found an inmate who I would like to connect with who is on death row. I haven't posted a letter yet as I have found him on Jpay so tried that first. He hadn't listed Jpay on his profile so should I assume that he doesn't often use it or are they notified when they get a notification regardless? Pretty new to this so not 100% sure how it works. Are these inmates allowed to access emails as often as others or is post the best way to go?

Thanks in advance

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

Hi Jenna,

From what regularly occurs I'd say that if they haven't mentioned JPay in their ad then maybe that's not their preferred method of contact. Or perhaps a family member put the ad up and didn't include JPay as an option. 
Is this person in Texas? Because Texas inmates (and a few other places dotted around the country, like Colorado and some prisons in California) only have one way access to JPay. Meaning you can send messages but their facility will print them out on paper and give them to the inmate to reply via postal (snail) mail. This could be the case with your potential PP. As far as I understand, when you add an inmate to JPay they can see that as a new contact straight away, so if you added them and nothing then you might only be able to send messages and they might only be able to reply through the post. 
Access to the email platforms is totally prison dependant. Some people have kiosks which are limited to 15 minutes, others have tablets which they can use in their cell, others are on lockdown right now or only have access at certain times. If you're in the hole, you get no access to privileges like email so there's that too. 

JennaHamilton2020
JennaHamilton2020's picture

Thank you for that. It was very helpful. I think I will send my letter anyway and see what comes of it. How do the inmates pay for postage when they send a letter back? I live in the UK so don't know if they have to pay for the return postage or if I should put in a stamped and addressed envelope? Very new to all this!

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

Inmates have to pay for all their correspondence themselves. They might have a job in prison, or hustles (drawing, gambling, drugs - not all hustles are illegal but a lot of them are unfortunately) or they could have family to support them and send them money. 
Money goes into the inmates commissary account and they purchase their stamps, writing paper and pens through that account. Or for JPay/Corrlinks, the money comes out of that account too, and usually phone as well. (Though I know different prisons use different phone systems which don't all work the same). 
For written letters, it's best to stick to basic until you're familiar with the prison rules. 
Basics are use a black or blue pen only, white liner/ruled paper, or plain white paper. No adhesives (tape, glue, paper clips etc.), no white out - scribble out mistakes, no coloured pens/pencils/crayons/glitter/money/stamps/writing supplies. And your full name and return address printed clearly on the back of the envelope. Leave the rest of it as is, don't decorate the envelope either! 
To be safe, I would write single sided as well. My two PPs are in Federal where people are trying to bring drugs into the prison by spraying it on letters, so now letters are to be single sided, only 5 pages, and they photocopy the letters and give the photocopies to the inmates and destroy the originals. 
Lots of rules, and seems very overwhelming at times. Too many bad apples have ruined the magic of letter writing for us people trying to put smiles on people's faces. Hopefully the pen pal you've selected has put yes to corresponding with people overseas. They will know there will be a cost with sending international mail and should be fine with that. 

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

When he hasn't Jpay listed on his profile, then it is very likely for Jpay not to be available at his facility. A letter would be the better option to go then.

Good luck and happy writing!

Kirsten

I wrote this on another thread of yours (it came up about 5 times, but obviously the site was slow and you didn't see that). ;)

Farfromhome
Farfromhome's picture

It's possible he didn't have Jpay when he set up his profile. For example: Arizona DR their tablets towards the end of last year. 

JennaHamilton2020
JennaHamilton2020's picture

Thank you all for your replies! It is really helpful learning from people who have done this before. I will be posting my letter tomorrow so fingers crossed it arrives eventually! I have made sure the inmates I pick are willing to communicate overseas so fingers crossed.
Thanks again.