We were originally established in 2000 as an organization to help incarcerated people receive letters from free world pen-pals by providing the inmate a place to invite pen-pal correspondence. Since then, we have expanded our services to include many features aimed directly toward reducing recidivism and raising awareness.Direct link to this FAQ
The person incarcerated or their friends/family pay to post the inmate's pen-pal or legal profile. You, the public, can write to inmates free of charge after you complete our registration. We never charge you anything to use this website. Inmates also have the option to post any of our reintegration profiles at no charge to them.Direct link to this FAQ
This is the Department of Corrections number, Federal Inmate Number, or County Prisoner Number; depending on what type of facility in which the inmate is housed. You must include this next to the prisoner's name when writing them directly. In most institutions, numbers are assigned to incarcerated people.Direct link to this FAQ
Visit our Inmate Locator where we have compiled all data on locating inmates, as well as a complete list of contact information for all available State, Federal, and County facilities. You can learn more about the inmate from the facility where they are housed. Remember, the crime we place online for each inmate is generic and rarely includes all offenses. Its purpose is to give the viewer an idea of the crime. However, for full disclosure, viewers are encouraged to visit the DOC, Federal, or County website using the link provided on each inmate's profile.Direct link to this FAQ
We post the crimes so that pen-pals have full disclosure about the person they are writing. This information is supplied directly by the inmate and verified by WriteAPrisoner.com when that option of verification is available to us. Complete information can often be verified on a government website. The crime we place is generic and rarely includes all offenses. Its purpose is to give the viewer an idea of the crime. However, for full disclosure, viewers are encouraged to visit the DOC, Federal, or County website using the link provided on each inmate's profile.Direct link to this FAQ
You cannot. All requests for removal need to come directly from the inmate. Inmates must submit in writing that they want their profile removed. Once we receive their written request, a confirmation letter is mailed back to them. Once this is returned to us, the profile is removed. We ask the inmate to send these requests via Certified Mail. This is done for their protection. Under no circumstances will we remove a profile unless the inmate requests it directly and in writing. This can take a few weeks. If the inmate has stated that we are not responding to their requests for removal, this is incorrect. We respond to every letter that comes into our office, and our goal is to get inmates who don’t want to be listed off as soon as possible to help free up pen-pals for inmates who need them. This is why we always ask the inmate to send his or her signed profile removal confirmation request to us via Certified Mail. When an inmate's profile is placed on our website, a welcome packet, which includes a copy of the profile, is sent to them via postal mail explaining this policy in detail.
In the event the inmate is deceased or has been released, please send all supporting documentation and information to us. As long as we are able to confirm this information at a government website, we will remove the profile.Direct link to this FAQ
If the change of address is verifiable online at the official state or federal website, you may use the Report an Address Change link found on each inmate’s profile. Our staff will verify the address change, and the profile will be updated accordingly. If we are unable to verify the inmate's location online, the change of address must come in writing directly from the inmate. This is done for our members' protection and exceptions cannot be made.Direct link to this FAQ
The release dates listed on inmate profiles may not exactly match those on official government websites. This is because inmates will often factor in gain time, pending appeals, etc. Therefore, government information and inmate information may conflict. The inmate is not necessarily trying to mislead you with varying release dates. In many cases, inmates are simply planning on an earlier or later release based on criteria that has not yet, or may not, be applied to the government's website.Direct link to this FAQ
We do not provide direct assistance or funding for legal aid. An incarcerated person can place a Legal Profile on WriteAPrisoner.com, but we suggest doing this only when they have a very compelling case. If you would like to place a Legal Profile for an inmate, please complete our Legal Profile Brochure and send it back to us. Payment for Legal Profiles can be made here if you do not wish to send a check or money order.Direct link to this FAQ
If the option to verify the photo was available through a government website at the time the photo was posted, then we verified and approved it. We do not consider old photos fake photos; some inmates only have access to old photos. Although we try, we can never determine the authenticity of every photo. However, if it is blatantly false, and we can verify this through a government entity, the photo will be removed, and we may remove the inmate's profile as a result of it. You can report a photo here: contact us.Direct link to this FAQ
We are inundated with emails, and we work very hard to reply to all queries. However, if your email is outside our scope of practice or just conversational, you may not receive a reply. We are unable to engage in conversational exchanges or matters unrelated to services we provide.Direct link to this FAQ
We receive a great deal of mail each day, so we ask that inmates allow 6 to 8 weeks for processing profiles submitted by mail. Processing does not begin until we have received full payment and all required profile information. We ask that inmates consider the time it takes their institution to issue funds when estimating profile posting date. For profiles submitted online, we ask that you please allow 8-12 days for processing. Again, processing does not begin until we receive full payment and all required profile information. Failure to provide all required information will delay processing. We appreciate your understanding and patience while we complete this process.Direct link to this FAQ
Yes, please follow the instructions below:
Step 1) Reset your password.
Step 2) Enter your username or email address. Click "Request new password"
Step 3) Go to your email account and open the link provided in the email we sent you. If you can't find the email, check your spam or junk mail. Please be sure to mark email from WriteAPrisoner.com as "allowed" or "approved". This will prevent our emails from ending up in these folders in the future.
Step 4) Click the "Log in" button at the bottom of the page you opened from the email we sent. Enter and confirm your new password. Click "Save" at the bottom of the page.Direct link to this FAQ
We never encourage pen-pals to write to an inmate for romantic reasons. However, we have worked with millions of people since we started in 2000. Romantic relationships with an inmate do form on occasion. When this happens, we caution people about the difficulties of maintaining a prison relationship. In addition, we send the inmate our self-help guide, Maintaining a Prison Relationship, on sustaining a healthy relationship during incarceration. We want both parties to have all the information they can, as it is their best chance to make it work considering the challenges. We also have a forum for Incarcerated Loved Ones.Direct link to this FAQ
We need this in case you decide to write to an inmate through our email forwarding option. This information is never provided to the public.Direct link to this FAQ
To cancel your WriteAPrisoner.com, please follow the instructions below:
Step 1) Click My Account
Step 2) Click "Edit Profile"
Step 3) Scroll to the bottom and click "Cancel Account"
Step 4) Follow the prompts to complete canceling your account.
Note: These instructions apply to canceling your account, not an inmate's profile. Only an inmate can request his or her account to be canceled. Read more here.Direct link to this FAQ
If you are not receiving emails from us, your email provider is most likely flagging our emails as "spam" or "junk mail". This is a very simple fix. Log in to your email, and check to see if you have a folder titled "spam" or "junk." Look through that file until you find the email from WriteAPrisoner.com. Highlight the email and look at the options; select "not spam," "never block," or a similar term along these lines. Every email provider has an option like this. Once you make this change, you should start receiving our emails again.Direct link to this FAQ
This is something we often hear, and while it is sometimes challenging to locate mail once it has been lost, there is a lot you can do to help improve the chances of mail arriving next time. Please check our missing and lost mail page for information on what can be done to improve your chances of having mail delivered.Direct link to this FAQ
If you believe that your account was suspended in error, you can request a review of your suspended account by completing our Review of Suspended Account Request Form. Once we receive your request, we will investigate the matter.
Please note that we are unable to help you retrieve your account if you deleted it yourself. You would need to register a new account.Direct link to this FAQ
When we established WriteAPrisoner.com in 2000, we chose the term "write a prisoner" to clearly state our mission and create a brand people would remember. However, language and attitudes evolve, and we recognize that a term like “write an incarcerated person” may be more inclusive today. Although the term "write a prisoner" may seem outdated, our name is well-established and respected by many individuals and organizations around the world. Changing our name could confuse or even alienate our community. Rebranding could present a serious setback to our mission. We pride ourselves on the ability to move forward in an inclusive society. And although we will continue using our original name, we embrace the use of more modern terms, such as "write an incarcerated person," which reflects our values and commitment to respecting incarcerated individuals. We constantly evaluate our practices to best serve our clients, the incarcerated men and women we have been serving for more than 20 years. We intend to continue demonstrating the same respect and commitment to our clients that we always have. To that end, won’t you please consider writing to an incarcerated person today?Direct link to this FAQ
Unfortunately, we have no control over Google’s search results or any other search engines. Even though you are seeing this information is still posted on a search engine, it has been removed from our website. What you are seeing is a cached version of the information that used to appear on our website.
If you do find any instances of this information on our website, please send us the URL and a screenshot. We will immediately remove it if the inmate has already been removed. Note that this does not apply to inmates wanting to have their profile removed.
Google and other search engines can take weeks or even months to remove this information sometimes, but they always do remove it. It is now a matter of waiting on their bots to crawl our website again and see that the information has been removed. Once that is done, they will remove the content from their search results. We have no way of forcing them to do this any faster.Direct link to this FAQ
No, please do not send your books to WriteAPrisoner.com. Books and other materials must be sent directly to the institution or organization listed. You can also drop books off in person to those organizations that indicate this as an option. To find an organization, please visit Books Behind Bars.Direct link to this FAQ
No. Simply choose an organization or institution from the directory that you would like to help, and send your books directly to them.Direct link to this FAQ
The best way to send books is to mail them using the U.S. Postal Service's Media Mail or Parcel Post. This method is optimal for sending books and is less expensive compared to first class rates. Because books are heavy, be sure the packaging is substantial and taped well. Also, please note that media mail takes longer to arrive.Direct link to this FAQ
There are many organizations trying to help educate inmates. We offer assistance to all of them.Direct link to this FAQ
Absolutely. A few books in prison can go a long way.Direct link to this FAQ
Different organizations need different materials. Please use the search feature to match your items with an organization that needs them. If you are still unable to find an organization that is requesting the materials you wish to donate, consider emailing some of the programs directly and explain what you have. You can also place a notice on our Books Behind Bars Forum.Direct link to this FAQ
No. This program is not designed to help inmates on an individual basis. However, donating books to your loved one’s facility can benefit everyone housed there.Direct link to this FAQ
Please do not send any books you consider to be unusable. When in doubt, contact the organization you are sending them to prior to mailing.Direct link to this FAQ
No. Under no circumstances will we work with anyone under the age of 18 years old. While we strongly support family and friends maintaining contact with underage persons incarcerated, we will never facilitate mail for minors. If you would like information on helping incarcerated minors, please visit a website that we have designed just for this purpose, CrimeFreeKids.com.Direct link to this FAQ
Absolutely! Please complete the best form option from below:
Option 1) List New Inmate Profile - Complete this form if you would like to place a new inmate profile (or replace one that expired more than nine months ago) and if you have all the content ready to share. Please provide as much information as possible. However, please know that the inmate will still be able to add any missing information after the profile is posted. Other services are available as you complete this form, such as adding blog posts, poems, and artwork, but these services are optional. Completing a profile typically takes 3 to 4 minutes.
Option 2) Make Changes to an Inmate Profile - Complete this form if you would like to make changes, additions, or edits to an inmate profile currently listed live on WriteAPrisoner.com.
Option 3) Submit Payment for Inmate Profile - Complete this form to submit only a payment for an inmate profile. You can choose how much extra WriteAPrisoner.com credit to give the inmate. A current base profile costs $65, and there are various extras available as noted in the Price List. Any additional amount added can be used at the inmate's discretion for edits or additions to their profile.
Option 4) Purchase an Inmate Profile as a Gift - Complete this form if you have the inmate's name, address, and want to purchase a profile as a gift. We will mail the inmate a notice of your profile gift within three business days via postal mail, and the inmate will be able to provide the information needed to activate the profile.
Option 5) Purchase WriteAPrisoner.com Credit for an Existing Inmate Profile - Complete this form if you would like to purchase WriteAPrisoner.com credit for an inmate currently listed on our website. This credit can be used for any service we provide. This form does not allow you to send money to inmates, only to purchase WriteAPrisoner.com credit toward our services.
Option 6) Renew Existing Inmate Profile - Complete this form to renew an inmate's profile before it expires. Renewals can be made at any time. The cost to renew a profile is $50. By submitting this form, you will pay this amount toward the renewal of the selected inmate. Included in your renewal fee is an update to the inmate's basic info, profile, and main picture (all optional). Enter the inmate's name and number below to begin.
Option 7) Reinstate Expired Profile - Use this form if you are trying to reinstate an inmate profile that has expired within the last nine months. The cost to reinstate an inmate profile is $65.
Or, send check or money order via postal mail to:
P.O. Box 10
Edgewater, FL 32132-0010 USA
Please be sure to include the inmate's full name and address.Direct link to this FAQ
Yes. Although we are unable to offer our email forwarding service to inmates outside of the United States, all other benefits apply. When paying from outside the United States for an inmate's profile, please use an international money order in U.S. funds or our List an Inmate section to simply pay by credit card.Direct link to this FAQ
There are some unscrupulous services known for sending our members renewal notices with brochures almost identical to ones here at WriteAPrisoner.com. If you get one of these, please mail it to:
WriteAPrisoner.com Legal Department
P.O. Box 10
Edgewater, FL 32132-0010 USA
We then recommend visiting the Better Business Bureau and filing an official complaint against the company.Direct link to this FAQ
Yes. The reason that you did not receive your email confirmation from us is most likely because your email provider has marked our automated email as spam. If you have a "Bulk Mail," "Spam," "Junk Mail," etc. folder, the email should be in there. Once you find the email from WriteAPrisoner.com, select it and mark it as "Not Spam." This will remove our name from your spam list, so you can receive emails from WriteAPrisoner.com. Please contact your email provider directly for any additional assistance. We will not be able to assist with these requests, as we are unable to make changes to your email account. If you wish to manually add our emails to your approved sender's list, please add the following:Direct link to this FAQ
You have two options to do this. You can email or mail the photo along with the inmate's complete name, mailing address, and any specific instructions to:
Option 1) [email protected].
Option 2) WriteAPrisoner.com
P.O. Box 10
Edgewater, FL 32132-0010 USA
If the photo is a profile addition, and payment still needs to be made, please do that here: Make Changes to an Inmate Profile.Direct link to this FAQ
No. WriteAPrisoner.com never places an inmate’s information on sites such as these. Online communities like Facebook function when all parties have access to the Internet. We do not provide inmates with Internet access or anything similar to it. Our site is designed to function as a correspondence program (e.g., all of our mail is sent through the prison doors). Except for the prisons that do allow inmates access, an inmate would have to have illegal access to Facebook using an unauthorized cell phone, unauthorized prison computer, etc. Cell phones are quickly becoming a rampant problem in prison today, and this is why you sometimes see inmates using sites like Facebook (an online site) instead of WriteAPrisoner.com (a correspondence site). It is because they have found access to do so, and possibly without the approval of their institution. While WriteAPrisoner.com does maintain its own Facebook Page, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, etc., we never post an inmate’s information directly on those accounts. It is simply to keep our own social network and audience apprised of service updates.Direct link to this FAQ
All new profiles, profile changes, and profiles renewals submitted online are verified by WriteAPrisoner.com staff prior to posting. We ask that you please allow 8-12 days for processing profiles submitted online. Once posted, the profile will appear in our Inmate Profiles, as well as in all relative categories.Direct link to this FAQ
Profiles written as "seeking friends" instead of "seeking romance" receive 86% more mail on average. Being honest, sincere, and gracious in seeking friendship is how an inmate can achieve success in meeting new people. Viewers report being put-off by profiles that seek romance.Direct link to this FAQ
Profiles with photos get more mail. If the inmate doesn't have a photo at this time, he or she can post a profile now, and send a photo later. Photos (or artwork) will be returned to the inmate along with a printout of his or her profile. Only the inmate can be featured in the photo. If someone else appears in the photo, please identify the inmate. We will remove the other person(s) without damaging the photo. Original artwork (no larger than 8 ½" x 11") may be substituted for a photo. Photos that generate the best response rate are those that highlight accomplishments while in or out of prison or showcase the inmate spending time productively. If neither of these is available, a simple smiling photo is also good.Direct link to this FAQ
Please refrain from mentioning anyone by name in the profile. Sexual language is prohibited. No business may be conducted through the profile. Profiles must be submitted in English. We do not allow members to request donations in their Pen-pal Profiles. Any profile we feel inappropriately represents us will be returned and fully refunded prior to processing. We reserve the right to edit profile content at our discretion.Direct link to this FAQ
All profile content including artwork, poetry, profile text, blogs, etc., must be the inmate's original work. No copyrighted work will be accepted.Direct link to this FAQ
No. In fact, reports of fraud amongst our members is very rare. We provide this information as a precaution.Direct link to this FAQ
Institutions' rules vary from prison to prison. It is recommended that you do not send cash, personal checks, stamps, stationery, or any items of any kind without first checking with the institution at which the inmate is incarcerated. In most cases, you will not be able to send any items like these.Direct link to this FAQ
Yes. If you send your first message to an inmate via our email forwarding option, the inmate will be given your postal address and the email you used to register. This allows the inmate two options to contact you. If you do not want the inmate to have your email address, send your message directly instead of using our email forwarding option. You do not have to give your address to an inmate if you are willing to get a P.O. Box. Also, your local religious centers may let you use their address. They tend to be very supportive of inmates maintaining contact with the outside world. Be sure to ask before doing this. Another option may be to use your post office's General Delivery service. Please contact your local post office directly for additional information about this service.Direct link to this FAQ
First, check the address for typos. If everything appears correct, the inmate may have changed locations without telling us, or we may have not had a chance to update the address yet. In these cases, we recommend checking the inmate's profile again after two weeks to see if the address has been updated. You can also search to see if the inmate has been moved using our Inmate Locator.Direct link to this FAQ
We do not encourage you to send money to an inmate at any time. Many inmates are indigent, and we fully understand that they may ask people on the outside for money once correspondence is established. Institutions provide all basic necessities to inmates (e.g., food, clothing). In many cases, even educational programs and materials are free to inmates. Donating money is a decision that can only be made by you. Remember that you chose to write to an inmate, not sponsor one. You are not obligated to send money, nor do most inmates ask for money. If this makes you feel at all uncomfortable, don't do it. A few dollars can go far in prison, but you should never send large sums of money under any circumstances, nor should you ever send cash. Many pen-pals will send $25.00 or so on birthdays or holidays to the inmate they are writing. Inmates can use money in prison to purchase a variety of items including better quality hygiene products, art supplies, postage, phone cards, and food in some cases. They can also use money from their account to purchase magazine subscriptions and books. You can also ask questions about this on our forum. There you will find many seasoned pen-pals who are willing to share their experiences and make suggestions. The bottom line is, don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, and report anything that you suspect as unethical or illegal. For more information on reporting and researching postal fraud, please visit: Detecting & Reporting Fraud.Direct link to this FAQ
Please be very patient. Institutional mail typically moves significantly slower than normal mail. Mail is rarely lost as long as it is addressed properly. International mail can take much longer for delivery. If you emailed an inmate using our email forwarding service, messages are sent on the 7th and 23rd of each month. If you are afraid mail has been lost after a reasonable amount of time has passed, we suggest sending your letter again.Direct link to this FAQ
We are not a dating website, and we do not encourage you use our website to seek romance. Some inmates do place profiles on our website geared toward romance. While we strongly encourage them not to do this, we have found that most still welcome a pen-pal relationship. If you are overly concerned with it, simply do not correspond with anyone seeking romance in their profile.Direct link to this FAQ
Addresses do not need to be listed in the message section of the email an inmate form. They are automatically added when you complete this form, and so is your email address.Direct link to this FAQ
There are several legitimate reasons why an inmate suddenly stops writing. Inmates are moved frequently, even within an institution, so this could be a factor. Also, mail can be lost, the inmate could be sick, or perhaps the inmate is short on funds for postage. In addition, an inmate's possessions are typically limited to a box or two. If these boxes were to be lost or stolen, it is possible that the inmate no longer has your address. Try writing another letter. If you don't hear back from the inmate, use our Inmate Locator to verify that the inmate's address hasn't changed. It is very rare that an inmate will abandon a pen-pal. However, depression can be a reason that your prison pen-pal has stopped writing. Don't give up on them without thoroughly examining the situation.Direct link to this FAQ
"Verified" may be displayed next to an inmate's photo or crime. This means we were able to verify the information to the best of our ability on a government website. If "verified" is not displayed, it simply means that we are unable to verify the information. It does not mean that the inmate is being deceptive, only that WriteAPrisoner.com was unable to confirm the information through a government website.Direct link to this FAQ
Yes. Additionally, we will mail up to one hundred printed surveys out to inmates on your behalf. The recipients will all be randomly selected inmates within the United States. The survey must contain a return address, and it must fit onto one page, front and back print. Please contact us with specific details of what you are looking for.Direct link to this FAQ
In many cases, institutions do allow inmates to send stamps to people outside of prison, but never other inmates. This is really a case-specific question, and the inmate would have to answer it. We would not be able to provide information on policies related to specific facilities.Direct link to this FAQ
As long as the message has not been printed and sent yet, we can cancel it. However, we cannot edit the message. Please be sure to contact us using the same account you registered with. Once we delete the message, you would not be able to send a new one to this same inmate via our email forwarding option. You would have to write to them directly at the address provided or email them using a facility approved email option.
Please be sure to include the following when you contact us:
I emailed the following inmate below and wish to cancel and delete this email.
Inmate's first and last name exactly as it appears on our website
Inmate's department of corrections number
Link to inmate's profile
Date message was sentDirect link to this FAQ
Yes. You can email your first message to an inmate on our website. We will verify that the content is approved, then print and send it directly to the inmate. This can only be done once per inmate for initial contact. After this, you would need to use a prison approved email service or postal mail to keep in contact with the inmate.
Additionally, many inmates have facility approved emailing options. If this option is available, you will see it mentioned directly on the inmate's profile. These vary from facility to facility, and we are unable to provide support for these third-party services.Direct link to this FAQ
Emails received by the end of the business day on the 4th and 20th of each month will typically be printed and mailed no later than the 7th and 23rd of each month. Prison mail always moves slower, so please give the letter ample time to arrive and time for the inmate to reply.Direct link to this FAQ
These rules and practices vary from prison to prison. It is best to visit the appropriate institution's website to find out before sending a message in another language. If you are unable to verify which languages are permitted, it is safest to send the message in English. You may also wish to ask the inmate before attempting this.Direct link to this FAQ
We are unable to provide specific detail as to why an email forward was rejected. Reasons for rejections may include, but not be limited to, the user is attempting to use it to contact someone they already know, the return address is incorrect, some of the content included may be likely to get the mail rejected by the institution, more emails sent than allowed, message is longer than permitted, and a host of other possibilities.
If this happens, a new email to the same person cannot be sent. However, you can send a letter directly using the address on the profile of the person incarcerated or another means of contact if one is provided.
We are unable to comment further on this.Direct link to this FAQ
No. Inmates are only notified when they receive messages. If there are no messages for an inmate during a mailing period, we do not send any notification.Direct link to this FAQ
There are many official third-party services for pen-pals to email inmates. These are fee-based services and are monitored by the institutions. WriteAPrisoner.com provides no mechanism of contact for inmates to actually email. However, once you are registered and logged into our website, you can create and send your first message to an inmate using our website. We will first check to make sure your message complies with all rules and laws, and then we will print and send it via postal mail to the inmate.Direct link to this FAQ
While conjugal visits have been proven to be effective methods of reducing recidivism and reintegrating inmates into society, they have been in widespread decline for many years. There are still some institutions practicing conjugal visits. However, it remains unclear if they will continue in the future.Direct link to this FAQ