Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is Meet-An-Inmate.com a dating site? The definition of a pen pal is a person with whom one keeps up an exchange of letters via snail mail*, usually with someone so far away that a personal meeting is unlikely. So by definition Meet-An-Inmate.com is not a dating site. Sometimes people do actually meet and consider a relationship but that is not the purpose of the site.
*Snail mail simply means you correspond through handwritten
letters that require stamps and are delivered by the postal service.
With letter writing the whole thing is centered around building up
a relationship to another person one on one. Social media (forums) are
more about transactional relationships. A transactional relationship is
a relationship where both, or all, parties are in it for themselves. So
being a pen pal with someone is somewhat intimate.
*Snail mail simply means you correspond through handwritten letters that require stamps and are delivered by the postal service. With letter writing the whole thing is centered around building up a relationship to another person one on one. Social media (forums) are more about transactional relationships. A transactional relationship is a relationship where both, or all, parties are in it for themselves. So being a pen pal with someone is somewhat intimate.
inmates receive phone calls or make phone calls? In many
institutions they are allowed to make long distance phone calls. They
are collect and are more expensive than regular collect calls. The
reason for this is the prison makes a big profit on the calls. They are
also usually limited in length to around ten or fifteen minutes. You
should be cautious in giving out your phone number as it can become
3. Can I e-mail a prisoner? The answer has always been no but things are starting to change rapidly. Many prisons have allowed pay for use email services into the prison. The largest is Jpay.com. To see if a certain prisoner can use the service go to http://www.jpay.com and enter the inmates information. Using Jpay.com can be a little confusing. In Texas for example the inmates can receive an email but they must respond via postal mail. For this reason you must include your postal mailing address so they can respond. In another state Washington they can both receive and send emails via jpay.com.
Many federal prisons use the pay for use service accesscorrections.com. They invite you on their list and you must accept them before they can email you. It is free for you but the inmate pays a fee.
There are other services emerging. So my suggestion is to write the first letter via postal mail and ask the inmate if they have access to email..
4. How often are ads updated? Usually within one to five days of receiving a prisoner's ad.
5. What is the number next to the prisoner's name? This is the Department of Corrections number. You must include this next to the prisoner's name when writing them or the letter will not be delivered.
Can prisoners receive gifts, stamps, etc.?
Usually not but the rules vary from prison to prison.
On your first letter do not send anything other than your letter
and possibly a photo of yourself.
Ask the inmate you are corresponding with for rules of her/his
Polaroid photos are not allowed.
Polaroid photos are not allowed.
7. Do you have any suggestions for writing prisoners? Be honest with them. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Most of these prison inmates are in need of friends and contact outside of prison. Mail is a very positive experience for them. Just be yourself. Many of these inmates will not respond if you do not show them some respect or if you send sexually explicit letters.
8. Can I write an inmate if I live outside of the United States? Yes - You may want to mention to the inmate that it will cost them extra postage to reply. As of year 2014 it is $1.15 for most countries for a once ounce letter . It is possible but rare that some institutions may have their own policy and not allow it.
Do you have a disclaimer posted on Meet-An-Inmate?
Yes, we do as we are dealing with convicted felons.
The disclaimer is on the home page and states:
Can I request an inmate be removed from your site or make changes
to her/his ad?
No. All changes made to an ad must come directly from the
prisoner who placed the ad.
11. Can I pay for a prisoner's ad? Yes - you can submit and pay for an ad. You can also request an application and have us mail it to you or directly to an inmate. We can also send you an application as a file attachment via email. Please go to http://www.meet-an-inmate.com/application.htm for instructions.
12. How many prisoners can I write? There is no limit! Pick as many as you can be a good pen pal to. The only requirement is you have to be 18 or older. I recommend that you write several to increase your chances of success in finding someone you enjoy writing.
13. Can I request an
you can find the information at:
14. How did Meet-An-Inmate.Com start? In 1998 I decided to start a web site dedicated to getting mail for prisoners. My daughter saw an ad in the personals section of a local advertiser under the classification meet-a-mate, which gave us the idea for the name meet-an-inmate.com.
Is it possible at all, to be
informed of the crime in which the person we contacted has committed?
There are several states that give out this information free on
their websites. You can go to
start your search.
15. Is it possible at all, to be informed of the crime in which the person we contacted has committed? There are several states that give out this information free on their websites. You can go to http://www.meet-an-inmate.com/locator/index.html to start your search.
16. Do you recommend looking for a
17. Do I have to put my return address on the envelope? Yes, if you don't they will not be able to write you back.
18. Can I use a post office box as my return address? Yes
19. Can inmates write to inmates? No, offender-to-offender correspondence is not allowed.
20. What if I'm not 18- Can I still write a prisoner or use your service? No. You must be at least 18 years of age. It is not wise for someone under 18 to write a prisoner nor is it wise for a prisoner to write someone under 18.
21. Do I have to be worried about scams when writing inmates? Caution must always be used when dealing with inmates.
Here are some of the problems we have encountered:
· FAKE PICTURES.
· OLD PICTURES. It is common that they cannot send us a recent photo. We do not remove them from the site for this reason if the photo is of them.
· UNDERSTATING THEIR AGE.
· SHORTENING HIS/HER RELEASE DATE. This can be very complicated because they may be stating the expected release date after earning gain time or they may be stating an optimistic parole date. If a lady says she gets out in two years and she is in for life we obviously will remove them, but it is not always that simple.
· LYING TO GET MONEY. They sometimes outright lie to get money sent to them. The best advice is not to send money or only very small amounts for stamps, stationary, or small luxuries such as shampoo, deodorant, shoes, etc.
is the mailing address for Meet-An-Inmate.Com?