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Jpay or snail mail?

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Stepralston
Stepralston's picture
Jpay or snail mail?

Hello! I notice I post a lot of threads but I love the info!

So I recieved my first replies from 2 of the 3 I wrote to and am so happy! The main pp is lovely and wrote 4 pages and asked lots of questions while his writing was so informative and smart :) the second was shorter but very informative also however he did hint at money so I'm being a bit more careful with him but I will write to him and let him know I'm not in that position to do that.

Anyway! The main pp mentioned jpay so I signed up and sent him a letter back but miss the personal touch of a handwritten letter which I will also send with photos :)

But which do other members prefer? Snail mail or jpay? I wasn't sure if I can upload photos to my jpay letter or not?

Edited by: Stepralston on Feb 4 2015 - 11:47am Reason: Imported from old database.
sunray's wench
sunray's wench's picture

Also, in case anyone hasn't realized it you can purchase (include with your sent email) a "return reply prepaid" for the receiver. I have no idea how they are informed so I usually include that information right at the top with the date sent in the email and then type out the email itself.

Only for those in states where the inmate can respond via Jpay. That option is not available for TDCJ inmates.

sunray's wench
sunray's wench's picture

Because TDCJ have not installed the kiosks necessary for the inmates to use the email function. TDCJ only installed inmate phones 3 years ago, and the ability to send emails to inmates at the same time. It's not a priority for the authorities in Texas.

sunray's wench
sunray's wench's picture

(emphasis mine)

I get why it's not a priority, but I would think some bright boy in Texas would realize they state could generate some positive cash flow by taking greater advantage of something like JPay. I get that, in general, Texas has no interest in making time easier for inmates, I would think that the thought of more money might outweigh that.

The only reason the phone system was introduced was because the first profits each year have to go to the Victim Compensation Fund. The state doesn't get any revenue until the running costs and the Compensation fund have taken their cut. The take up is still very low - the majority of older inmates have no one left on the outside to call.

sunray's wench
sunray's wench's picture

Texas really is backwards in a lot of ways aren't they? I woudl KILL for video visits with my cowboy but don't see it happening anytime soon....

Your pal is in a Federal facility though, which is run by the US government and nothing to do with how Texas does things. You do get phone calls, at least.

Video visits are likely to be introduced in a couple of Texas jails in the next year or so, so it's not the whole state that is backwards.

sunray's wench
sunray's wench's picture

Geez that was condescending....Thats not what I meant and you know that full well..(that its the state that is backward)
Yes I know I am lucky to get phone calls now and then...look Sunray some of us enjoy the contact with our pals and have developed really good relationships with them so would love to have any extra additional contact ...some days I wonder why you do this at all because of the way you comment.."i do NOT speak to my pals on the phone" "you dont do this for your pal you don't do that for your pal" well that's your choice don't berate those of us that adore our pp's , we love doing stuff for them and would love to have other interaction with them.

You can take it any way you choose. However, it is important for those reading the forum with less knowledge than you to understand the differences between Federal inmates who might happen to be in Texas, and inmates in TDCJ who live by a completely different set of rules. It is also important for those reading the forum to understand that it is not a requirement to speak to their penpals by phone (whether they pay or not), or send or receive gifts, or visit. Great that some do, but the way it is often portrayed here would make anyone feel inadequate if they did not churn out several emails a day plus letters and calls and make every effort to get on a visit or phone list even if it meant bending or breaking the rules to do so.

You have your way, I have mine. You feel I'm condescending, I feel you can be less than sensitive to some of the other members here. If my pals didn't appreciate the correspondence, they wouldn't stick around.

sunray's wench
sunray's wench's picture

And I completely understand that and I'm not saying anything other then what I have said to you before..its not WHAT you say its how you say it??? I really don't understand why there is always a negative undertone to most of your posts..we are all generally friendly here...and believe me I am not the only one with this view (all the pm's and reputations prove it ) but I think I'm the only one with the balls to say it.... you;re just..well..for lack of a better word...harsh (mean)?? You can offer info and help without being like that...

And as far as me being less then sensitive?? I challenge you to show me where I have been less then sensitive (except maybe to you) if anything I always try to be helpful?? but anyway..thats your opinion and you are entitled to it. I'll try as far as possible to stay out of your posts/threads..think thats for the best..

My last word on this (which I'm sure some will be thankful for). If my posts have a negative undertone, it is generally because I am telling people the rules of a particular state say they can't do whatever it is they want to do. That's not me, that's the state DoC they are dealing with. I am not going to advise people to find an alternative way that could get them or their penpal in trouble if caught. Other people might be fine with that but I'm not.

Rep points mean less than nothing to me. You have PMs from people saying how nasty I am and how right you are? Great for you and those who send them. You say "we are all generally friendly here" and I agree, and those of the "we" who have been a round a while and have seen the ups and downs of the forum have also learned that in a space where people from all walks of life converge, there will always be some who do not say what they mean, mean what they say, or just generally get the wrong end of the stick, and some people will post things you don't agree with. It is not a personal attack on you when someone disagrees. I may come across as harsh, but that is because people don't take notice when you sugar coat things. They miss the point. There is little benefit to anyone in tiptoeing around a subject on the off-chance that you might hurt someone's feelings.

It's not all about me, you just assume that it is. I post information for those in similar situations, not because I need some justification or validation that I write to inmates. There are a LOT of WAP members who live outside the US and write to TDCJ inmates. I don't advise on states that I've had no experience with, because I don't want people to be misled and then find out the hard way that just because something works for person A and California, it is big trouble for person B and Indiana. That was the whole and only reason for me commenting on your post in this thread where you mentioned how backwards Texas is.

I asked earlier whether you wrote to your penpals with the intent to move to phone calls quickly out of curiosity. It was a simple question, which you chose to see as a dig at your choices. I asked because I would have thought that if that was the motivation, it would be better to pick inmates in states where it is possible, rather than going in blind and then lamenting the lack of available contact methods. I do understand that your postal system is a little ... nearly said backwards then .... backed up. I understand that you want to hear from your penpals a bit more often. You are not the only one. And if you are the kind of person who needs to speak regularly to people, then I can see why you would want better communication links. But you wont change the states who don't see phone calls, video visits and emails as a priority, so knowing that maybe choose other states next time, or someone other than an inmate who could give you the level of interaction that you want? However, we are not all the same, and I have just as much right to say that I don't feel the need to speak to my penpals as you do to say that you want to. My pals see phone calls as an added burden and point of possible conflict in their lives, so I'm not going to insist we have them. Your pals feel differently. Neither are wrong. See how this works?

Earthmother
Earthmother's picture

^^^And no federal facilities offer video visits, regardless of which state in which they are located. Even if federal facilites did decide to establish video visiting ( which seems unlikely, seeing as they are cutting every corner they can), the rule about having had a relationship with the federal inmate prior to his/her having been incarcerated would most likely still apply.

Earthmother
Earthmother's picture

I also think reading for tone can be very subjective.

What one interprets as condescending, another may think of as straight-forward or brusque.

What one considers as joking, another make take seriously.

What one finds acceptable, another may find offensive.

DanPal
DanPal's picture

It's a little beyond me how anyone would think that an email online service would use actual USPS stamps? ;) It's like two separate worlds, isn't it?
Using the word 'stamp' seems appropriate to me when mailing something; be it cyber mail or USPS mail. So many words are now applied to the cyber world that never used to be. We 'meet' on here for instance, although few of us ever really meet IRL.

The JPay site states clearly how many stamps you need to send your JPay before you push 'send'.

Anyway, if there are a number of customers who find it unclear and let JPay know, they may brush up their instructions, who knows? :)

DanPal
DanPal's picture

One thing I've noticed when it comes to J Pay is; when I go to Buy Stamps directly after sending a message with more than one page the stamps are much cheaper. Has anyone else noticed this?

Nope; I always pay $19.60 for 40 stamps.

DanPal
DanPal's picture

Geez that was condescending....Thats not what I meant and you know that full well..(that its the state that is backward)
Yes I know I am lucky to get phone calls now and then...look Sunray some of us enjoy the contact with our pals and have developed really good relationships with them so would love to have any extra additional contact ...some days I wonder why you do this at all because of the way you comment.."i do NOT speak to my pals on the phone" "you dont do this for your pal you don't do that for your pal" well that's your choice don't berate those of us that adore our pp's , we love doing stuff for them and would love to have other interaction with them.

I think it depends on the ears that hear. To me Sunray was stating clarifying facts and not being condescending at all. At least it clarified something for me, because I wasn't aware that inmates in federal facilities are allowed international calls.

DanPal
DanPal's picture
A Driver For Hire;1162591 wrote:
Well sure, you can, but my experience is that most people aren't very good at it. That's why I think it's ill-advised.

I concur and would like to add that one reason it is so hard to read a tone of someone you don't know personally and have never met, is the fact that we read other people based on our individual experiences, backgrounds etc. Yes, empathy is a great thing if you have it; and luckily most people do, but you still see things through your personal 'caleidoscope'. This provides certain focus, fears, blind angles..

We all carry 'baggage' that shapes the way we perceive things, and as many of you will have no doubt heard a certain psychiatrist (Dr. Phil) say: 'Perception is reality'.
I'm saying this a little tongue in cheek, but I think (my perception is ;) ) that there's some truth to that statement.

When someone claims that someone else is 'condescending' or otherwise, then it makes me wonder what makes the person react. Obviously some buttons are being pushed, but in my view it has less to do with the person posting something than the person who reacts to it. To say that it's ballsy to react, seems like a way to bolster and justify a reaction that is equally as 'harsh' or more, than the simple statement it's replying to.

Sometimes looking at ourselves to see what makes a certain person so 'annoying' can be quite revealing.

Tanya, you are entitled to your reaction/opinion of course, but I for one would have respected it more, although I disagree with it, if it had come without the added 'I'm not the only one with this view..'

This forum IS generally a friendly place, and whoever seeks to keep it that way gets MY vote :)

DanPal
DanPal's picture

(Just for clarity sake to my point...empath and empathetic aren't the same thing...so my statement was based on the term empath not empathy.)

Ah, ok, I didn't realize. Learn something every day :)
I was trying to read about it just now, but it's a bit confusing. Some places state that as an empath you're also clairsentient, whereas others say that being an empath is different from a clairsentient.
What do you think; if you don't mind elaborating a bit? (And if you do, then that's ok too ;) )

Unknown
Unknown's picture

I prefer JPay. It's cheaper and his reply is handwritten, I always include a response page. He is in solitary so can't access JPay. He always asks to pay for his stamps, however they are so cheap that I don't mind paying for them as we only exchange a letter once a week. Once he is back on main line he will be able to correspond via jpay terminal with his own stamps.
I only liked hand written letters from 2 of my penpals because I loved their handwriting!

GardenGroove
GardenGroove's picture

I agree with the word "stamps" being no good for use with the JPay service... I don't like how it automatically, from years and years and years of regular usage, means to most folks "postage" stamps for use with the USPS. I'd like it if JPay called it something else.

Cicci44
Cicci44's picture

One thing I've noticed when it comes to J Pay is; when I go to Buy Stamps directly after sending a message with more than one page the stamps are much cheaper. Has anyone else noticed this?

Cicci44
Cicci44's picture

Thanks for that info... I'll be sure to check this out since I use J Pay to three pen pals in different states. I mean why pay more than you have to?
Pre-paid replies are great if the pp is in Ad Seg and can't use the kiosk. They get one lined paper at the same time they get the message and the answer is sent back to the "payer".

Cicci44
Cicci44's picture

Only for those in states where the inmate can respond via Jpay. That option is not available for TDCJ inmates.

Why is this? I don't expect you to know this but it really sucks they can't use J Pay to the fullest.

Cicci44
Cicci44's picture

I did check this out and after using two stamps to Mr OH I could buy 60 stamps for $12. That's the cheapest so far.

And Tanya... I would settle for them being able to reply on J Pay but I get your point having a loved one in TX.

Girl On Fire
Girl On Fire's picture

I just had to read back thriugh this entire thread twice, because I thought I must have missed something somewhere. Tanya, I think you're being waaay too hypersensitive/paranoid in reading what you did into Sunray's posts. Calling her condescending just because she was straightforward and to the point was way off and implying that you and others talk about her behind her back is cruel and unnecessary. I'm glad that there is someone like Sunray here, with the amount of knowledge she has and the willingness to share it, because I really rely on reading about the experience and info of others. without it I'd be clueless about stuff. thats what I thought this place was supposed to be abouit.

A Driver For Hire
A Driver For Hire's picture
sunray's wench;1162341 wrote:
Because TDCJ have not installed the kiosks necessary for the inmates to use the email function. TDCJ only installed inmate phones 3 years ago, and the ability to send emails to inmates at the same time. It's not a priority for the authorities in Texas.

(emphasis mine)

I get why it's not a priority, but I would think some bright boy in Texas would realize they state could generate some positive cash flow by taking greater advantage of something like JPay. I get that, in general, Texas has no interest in making time easier for inmates, I would think that the thought of more money might outweigh that.

A Driver For Hire
A Driver For Hire's picture

And I completely understand that and I'm not saying anything other then what I have said to you before..its not WHAT you say its how you say it??? I really don't understand why there is always a negative undertone to most of your posts..we are all generally friendly here...and believe me I am not the only one with this view (all the pm's and reputations prove it ) but I think I'm the only one with the balls to say it.... you;re just..well..for lack of a better word...harsh (mean)?? You can offer info and help without being like that...

And as far as me being less then sensitive?? I challenge you to show me where I have been less then sensitive (except maybe to you) if anything I always try to be helpful?? but anyway..thats your opinion and you are entitled to it. I'll try as far as possible to stay out of your posts/threads..think thats for the best..

I don't have a dog in this fight and may regret sticking my virtual nose into it, but I think you're reaching a bit here. I would caution you that reading a "tone" into any sort of written communication is, at best, ill-advised.

A Driver For Hire
A Driver For Hire's picture

You don't think you can read for tone? (I asked this curiously...and not aggressively)

As an empath, I definitely know I can.
That being said...Tim is the WORST when it comes to that...he reads for face value only.

Well sure, you can, but my experience is that most people aren't very good at it. That's why I think it's ill-advised.

The_Snarly_Yow
The_Snarly_Yow's picture

I am so glad this topic has come up. I just had an experience with JPay that I want to share with all the Newbies here. The Regulars may already know about this but for those of us who are still on that learning curve...LOL.

I had a couple of PP's who mentioned they have access to JPay. I thought: great, I'll use the email along with the postal mail since the email should arrive quicker. With one PP it did not show any email function but it did offer stamps to be purchased with JPay credits. It also mentioned that it would allow the purchase of any JPay items such as media music. This PP was always saying how she had to barter for stamps so I thought this would be great for her. I made a small purchase of $10 plus the $3.50 processing fee figuring she can buy a book of stamps, thinking along the lines of postal stamps.

I found out from her today in her letter that she is only able to purchase media music downloads but since she doesn't have a MP3 player this does her no good. She suggested contacting JPay for either a refund or to apply it towards emailing. I contacted JPay and here is what I found out: Stamps refers to THEIR stamp word for sending an email. If the facility/prisoner does not show email availability you CANNOT email that person. There are NO refunds or transfers of purchase towards another JPay item or service. And this is from JPay customer service. I was thinking of not getting the refund but just applying the purchase price of even the $10 towards the email stamps. Not happening. So beware...stamps are not referring to postage stamps. The CS rep tried to inform me that I was warned about the stamps and I informed her that the site does not specify it is not referring to postage stamps. I will admit that a good deal of this may be my bad for not thinking along these lines but I do feel it should have been worded better/clearer for those who are signing up for the first time.

I'm a bot upset about no refund or transfer but since it was a small amount I am bypassing that. I am more upset, so to speak, about the principle of the thing and not being able to transfer the funds for something that would be used still within the JPay services. Anyway, just thought I would share this. In answer to the original poster's question: I use both but prefer the postal method for the simple fact that I can include photos within the letter and it's something they can hold onto and not worry about having to print out. For a slightly quicker response I may use the email portion though.

The_Snarly_Yow
The_Snarly_Yow's picture

Yes, I agree with you Stepralston. It is definitely cheaper especially if you are mailing from another country outside of the USA. And I am sure much faster also. What I was trying to inform anyone new of is regarding the purchase of JPay credits and what they are used for. I foolishly (and I admitted to this) thought that credits applied to stamps was in regards to the prisoner buying postage stamps. Some of us here that are "new" to this have very little idea how the facilities operate. I had one PP tell me that they can only buy from the Commissary every third month. How many of us think of things like this? Or that the hourly wage can range from .08 cents to .25 cents. If JPay had termed the item that is in question with e-stamps I think most of us would catch that much quicker. My post was more to alert anyone new to using JPay, as I was, of that little item so they wouldn't go through what I went through. As I said before, it is no major deal but it was disappointing that the funds couldn't/wouldn't be transferred to a different service within the same company.

The_Snarly_Yow
The_Snarly_Yow's picture

Hi Cicci,

I didn't notice that with my experience from them as I usually use the emails just to send off a quick note but that is a good observation. What I did notice though is if you are writing to more than one IPP and they are in different areas, probably in different states, then the price of the postage can change. For example: a IPP in Georgia that I was writing to would cost me something like $10 for 50 stamps - which I think is a real bargain. And you can use those "same e-stamps" to write to anyone else anywhere else. They are not for just that one location. However, for another IPP located in KY the cost of the stamps was just about double. Something like 40 e-stamps for around $18 or so. I don't remember the exact pricing so please don't quote me but I do remember there was a significant difference. At first I thought I had hit a "first timer special" with the pricing but when I had the GA IPP address up and went to purchase the e-stamps that same great pricing came up.

Also, in case anyone hasn't realized it you can purchase (include with your sent email) a "return reply prepaid" for the receiver. I have no idea how they are informed so I usually include that information right at the top with the date sent in the email and then type out the email itself.

Stepralston
Stepralston's picture

Thankyou! He is the one who suggested jpay and it helps that his getting mail so much sooner than from Australias snail mail! I'll iust send the photos via post aswell so he gets the colour photos.

I'm loving it already I replied on jpay and already can't wait for the next reply :) thankyou though your input helped aswell! :)

Stepralston
Stepralston's picture

Also anyone else, if I write jpay for the first time where do I put the return address?

Stepralston
Stepralston's picture

Okay thankyou :) my pp should have my address from my last letter but just incase :)

Stepralston
Stepralston's picture

I find jpay cheaper as $5.00 for 20 or so stamps is a lot cheaper than $2.60 per international stamp but I just feel like it's so much less personal than postal letters which I will send also so I guess using both services is more common :) thankyou for all the info and opinions!

Stepralston
Stepralston's picture

Oh wow! I got around 25-30 stamps on jpay for $7 which is way cheaper than $2.60 for each stamp from the post office! And i still have 4 or 5 stamps left on jpay after 4 or 5 months of writing which is way better than I thought

Tanya369
Tanya369's picture

Texas really is backwards in a lot of ways aren't they? I woudl KILL for video visits with my cowboy but don't see it happening anytime soon....

Tanya369
Tanya369's picture
sunray's wench;1162546 wrote:
Your pal is in a Federal facility though, which is run by the US government and nothing to do with how Texas does things. You do get phone calls, at least.

Video visits are likely to be introduced in a couple of Texas jails in the next year or so, so it's not the whole state that is backwards.

Geez that was condescending....Thats not what I meant and you know that full well..(that its the state that is backward)
Yes I know I am lucky to get phone calls now and then...look Sunray some of us enjoy the contact with our pals and have developed really good relationships with them so would love to have any extra additional contact ...some days I wonder why you do this at all because of the way you comment.."i do NOT speak to my pals on the phone" "you dont do this for your pal you don't do that for your pal" well that's your choice don't berate those of us that adore our pp's , we love doing stuff for them and would love to have other interaction with them.

Tanya369
Tanya369's picture

And I completely understand that and I'm not saying anything other then what I have said to you before..its not WHAT you say its how you say it??? I really don't understand why there is always a negative undertone to most of your posts..we are all generally friendly here...and believe me I am not the only one with this view (all the pm's and reputations prove it ) but I think I'm the only one with the balls to say it.... you;re just..well..for lack of a better word...harsh (mean)?? You can offer info and help without being like that...

And as far as me being less then sensitive?? I challenge you to show me where I have been less then sensitive (except maybe to you) if anything I always try to be helpful?? but anyway..thats your opinion and you are entitled to it. I'll try as far as possible to stay out of your posts/threads..think thats for the best..

Abigael
Abigael's picture

Hello!

I am new in is but I think the more important think is what your PP prefers in the end. I had my first answer today (I sent an Email via Jpay) and in her answer she asked me if I liked email because it would be more easier for us to communicate with way (I am living in Europe). She didn't really ask or command but she was very sweet because she made me understand in a very sweet way that she would prefer Jpay because it's easier and faster.
So I will Jpay her but if I want to sent her pictures I will use normal mail, I think! Although, you can upload photos on Jpay but it will be print in black and white!

So if your PP wants to have news quickly, I think the best option is to use Jpay for the main correspondence and then using snail mail to sent pictures some times :)

Abigael
Abigael's picture

I do understand that feeling. I got my very first answer yesterday and I replied the very same day! She should get my answer today, I like the idea that she will be happy today ^^.

Abigael
Abigael's picture

You put your address in your Jpay. For example, I said to my PP "take care, I hope I will hear from you." I signed and then PS: There is my address. :)

Saskatchewanian
Saskatchewanian's picture

I don't have a dog in this fight and may regret sticking my virtual nose into it, but I think you're reaching a bit here. I would caution you that reading a "tone" into any sort of written communication is, at best, ill-advised.

You don't think you can read for tone? (I asked this curiously...and not aggressively)

As an empath, I definitely know I can.
That being said...Tim is the WORST when it comes to that...he reads for face value only.

Saskatchewanian
Saskatchewanian's picture

(Just for clarity sake to my point...empath and empathetic aren't the same thing...so my statement was based on the term empath not empathy.)

ImAPenPal
ImAPenPal's picture

One thing I've noticed when it comes to J Pay is; when I go to Buy Stamps directly after sending a message with more than one page the stamps are much cheaper. Has anyone else noticed this?

I've only noticed that depending where a person is the stamps can be cheaper... sometimes 30 stamps is $12.00 and other place has 30 for $10.00... I could be off with my numbers but that's just an example

HOGrat
HOGrat's picture

Why is this? I don't expect you to know this but it really sucks they can't use J Pay to the fullest.

It seems to me that certain inmates may not have the approval of the prison to use JPay e-mail, but they can use other services (Music, funds, etc..). I know that for my pp, the state and prison have JPay but apparently she is not allowed to have e-mail. :dunno:

stivan
stivan's picture

If i send JPay email to a prisoner how is the reply returned via email or handwritten i am a little bit confused by all of this and am wanting to know the best way to contact someone. 

Kirsten
Kirsten's picture

Hi Stivan,

depends on where the prisoner is at. Some ppl can send jpays back to you, some will get the Jpays printed out and delivered like a letter and can only respond via snailmail.