Incarcerated individuals experience a lot of challenges while serving their sentences. It is one of the most difficult periods of a person’s life, so anything that can help ease the burden is greatly valued. If you have a friend or loved one who is currently incarcerated, you may be aware that one of the challenges is how to manage their finances while in jail. Although the prison systems provide the basic needs of each inmate, they are not always able to meet the additional needs that an inmate might have.
One of the ways that you can remain connected with a loved one while incarcerated is by sending them money. And although sending money to an inmate can be a complicated process, it is possible. This can be done through several channels, depending on the prison’s policies and procedures. The best way to know how is to contact the prison or jail to ask about their specific policies. But in most states, one or all of the following options may be available to you when sending money.
Money Orders or Certified Checks via Mail
One of the most common ways to send money to an inmate is by sending a money order or certified check through the mail. To do this, you will need to make the money order or check out to the inmate’s name and send it to the prison or jail’s address. The money will then be deposited into the inmate’s account.
Once in the account, the inmate can use the funds to purchase items from the commissary, pay for phone calls, or put money into a savings account. Note, however, that there may be restrictions on how much money you can send through the mail. So it’s important to check with the prison or jail beforehand to know the limits.
Money Transfer Services
Companies including JPay, MoneyGram, and Western Union offer money transfer services that can be used to send money to inmates. These companies typically have a network of locations where you can go to send money, as well as an online presence.
This means that you can send money either through mail or via the company’s website or mobile app. Some money transfer companies also have established agreements with the Department of Corrections per state to provide their services to inmates – but again, be sure to check with the prison or jail first.
In some states like North Carolina, only verified senders can use a money transfer service to deposit into the inmate’s account. This means that you must be on the inmate’s approved visitor list to use this method. So if you’re not already on the list, you’ll need to go through the process of being verified before you can send money in this way.
Additionally, you should note that there may be fees associated with using a money transfer service. These fees will depend on the company you use as well as the amount of money you’re sending. Be sure to check with the service provider beforehand to learn more about their fees.
Walk-in Cash Deposit
In some cases, you may be able to make a cash deposit in person. But this doesn’t mean that you will hand the cash over to the inmate directly. Instead, you will need to go to prison or jail and request a money order form from the cashier.
Once you have the form, fill it out with the inmate’s details and your own. Then, take the form to the cashier along with the amount of money you wish to deposit. The cash will then be deposited into the inmate’s account.
While some prisons may require you to schedule an appointment before coming in to make a cash deposit, others do not allow walk-in cash deposits at all. In these cases, you will need to use one of the other methods described in this article.
Being in prison and having limited access to money is an ordeal that is far more difficult than sending money. The good news is that with a little research and planning, you can find the best way to get the money where it needs to go. Setting a budget and sticking to it will help both you and your incarcerated loved one make ends meet.
By doing your due diligence and understanding the policies and fees involved, you can make sure that your loved one has the money they need to make their life a little bit better while in jail. It can also help them become more financially responsible and prepare for a steadier life after prison.