As some people are sent away to prison, many questions are left to their families and friends. How will we communicate? Will we be able to see them face-to-face? How do we stay up to date on what is happening at the prison? The Ciccarelli Law Offices and our West Chester criminal defense attorneys are here to answer your questions and more.
How Inmates Can Communicate with Their Family
Inmates in the State of Pennsylvania are allowed to contact almost whomever they want, whenever they want via mail. Some exceptions to the types of people they are allowed to contact via mail include their victims, other inmates, or employees at the facility in which they are held. There is no limit to the amount of correspondence an incarcerated individual may have with those on the outside either, although prisoners are only given eight free stamps a month. More stamps are available to purchase in the commissary with their personal trust account.
Giving a Prisoner Cash in Pennsylvania
There are some scenarios in which getting usable cash into their hands is quite difficult. Should the prisoner have an outstanding debt or owe court fees, for example, a quantity under 50% will go toward paying those fees. In any case, there are a number of ways a family member can deposit money into a prisoner’s trust fund.
- Internet deposit via JPAY
- Phone call to 1-800-574-5729
- Money order via mail
Rules and Restrictions on Sending Mail to Pennsylvania Prisons
Although it is quite easy for inmates to send mail, receiving mail from the outside is a bit more complicated. Inmates are allowed to receive birthday or anniversary cards, but they are not allowed to be multi-layered or include electronics. Furthermore, mail cannot be embellished, such as with perfume, glitter, stickers, and more.
To send an envelope to someone in a prison, their address should be formatted as a normal one with a few exceptions. Identification numbers alongside the name of the facility at which the inmate is being held are compulsory and will ensure any and all mail sent to an inmate arrives as it was intended.
- Inmate’s Name, ID Number
- Facility Name
- PO Box or Street address
- City, State, Zip Code
Photos are allowed to be sent to inmates as long as they are 4”x6” and are not Polaroid-type photographs. Photos must also not picture any illegal activity or nudity and must include the inmate’s name on the back of the photo in pen. Books, publications, magazines, and newspapers may also be sent to inmates, but with similar restrictions to photos. It should be remembered that anything and everything sent to an inmate will be heavily scrutinized by the prison staff and subject to search. Including a return address on any sent mail is always required in the Pennsylvania prison system.
Ciccarelli Is Always Ready to Address Your Needs
Families and friends of inmates should know that they still have many rights in regard to communicating with their loved ones. Should you or someone you know have any questions or concerns regarding communicating with an inmate, please do not hesitate to contact a West Chester criminal defense attorney from the Ciccarelli Law Offices at (610) 692-8700.