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How to Contact an Inmate

Contacting an inmate can be done one of two ways. There’s the option to send mail to the inmate or you can receive a collect call from the inmate. While this might sound simple there are a few things you need to know about how to contact an inmate and what to do beforehand. In today’s blog we’re going to review what you need to know in order to communicate with your friend or loved one. Let’s begin by examining how to contact someone by mail.

  • How to Contact an Inmate by Mail

When reaching an inmate by mail you need to have the following information. Their Full Name, Name of the Institution, P.O. Box, and City and Zip Code.  In some cases you may need to contact the Public Information Officer or the Inmate Locator at the institution. Be aware that if you need to use the Public Information Officer (PIO) or the Inmate Locator you may need to have the inmates birth date available, especially, if the inmate has a popular first and last name.

Visit the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for a list of Institutions and corresponding PIO/Inmate Locator phone numbers.

  • Contacting an Inmate by Phone

When you want to contact an inmate by phone there are a few things you need to know. For example, it’s not uncommon for inmates to have no access to personal phones like cell phones after an arrest. Because of this inmates are allowed to call out by making a collect call. Typically these calls can last no longer than 15 minutes and are charged to the inmates account. With that said it’s important to understand that some institutions provide inmates with “accounts” where friends or loved ones can send money enabling the inmate to make collect calls.

Before try to contact an inmate by phone first try writing to them or calling the institution to learn more about their specific communication protocols they have in place.

We hope that this post has been insightful and can help you navigate how to contact your friend, loved one or family member after an arrest.