prison-penpal | Frequently asked questions

How do I list an inmate and how much will it cost? Click on the list an inmate button at the top of the page, and fill in the details.

12-month subscription is now only $10

We do not offer featured or enhanced profiles, we believe everyone deserves the same exposure based on your profile, not what you can pay. We also include more photos (up to 4) as standard than other similar sites as we know how important this is. There is a word limit of 500, also much higher than similar sites. You can cancel at any time, but no refunds will be issued. If you need to update the inmate address you can do that free of charge, just email update@prison-penpal.com. Other sites charge at least $10 for changes.

More frequently asked questions:

How do I write a prisoner? If you are 18 or older, use the address given in the inmates profile for the correctional facility and write to a prisoner directly to them.

I feel nervous about writing a prisoner, what should I do? We suggest using a PO Box address, and of course, only tell what you want them to know. Prisoners are just like people on the streets. There are some good and some bad. ALWAYS use common sense. Also, be aware that the photographs we show are provided by the inmate and may not be up to date – you can check most details at the relevant state website.

Can a prisoner get e-mail? Many prisoners now have access to JPay, a prisoner only email service. You will need to set up a free account at JPay.com. There is a small charge for sending emails, you can also prepay replies for the prisoner to email you back. All Jpay emails are strictly monitored by each prison so be sensible about what you write to a prisoner. Also some states only allow one-way Jpay communication so you may be able to email them, but they will have to write back to you.

Can prisoners get stamps, gifts, etc? Each prison has its own rules that are constantly changing. It is best to ask your pen pal directly or ask the prison office for the specific rules. Transferring stamps from your Jpay account to the inmates is a good gesture.

How do I find out a criminal history on a person? Every state, county and federal prison has different rules. Most states have a website where you can check inmate details.

My letter to a prisoner was returned to me ? The address that appears in the ad is what the prisoner has given us. We update the address when the prisoner writes and tell us about an address change. If they don’t write to us with their new address we have no way of knowing it. The best way to get the complete address is to write to the prison office and ask for it. Include a SASE for them to reply back to you faster. You can also call the prison and ask their administration office.

My prisoner friend wants me to change their ad, can I do this? No, only the prisoner can make any changes to their ad once online. They need to put their request in writing. This is to protect the privacy of their profile details and make sure no one changes it when they do not so desire it.

My prisoner friend wants me to send them money? The reason inmates pay to post their profiles online is to beat loneliness and the isolation from society by finding friends with similar views, likes and hobbies they can connect with on a personal level. Inmates are in prison for good reasons, usually, so use good judgment when contacting them. Don’t volunteer too much information to start with, find out who they are first. Don’t get conned into giving large amounts of money; after you exchange correspondence for a few months and you’re asked for $50 or less for stationery, postage, or commissary purchases that should be ok. Prison jobs (if they are lucky to have one) pay very little so any help will be appreciated.