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How Much Does It Cost To Email a Prisoner?

Emailing an incarcerated loved one allows you to stay connected while they serve their time. But sending messages to someone in jail or prison comes with fees. Below we’ll explore how much it costs to email an inmate, the rules around digital communication, and alternatives to keep your connection strong.

Factors That Impact Email Costs

Several variables determine the price to email someone behind bars. The main factors include:

Facility Type

State and federal prisons charge differently for messaging services. For example, federal penitentiaries tend to cost more than local jails.

Email Provider

Most correctional facilities contract with third-party companies to handle inmate emails. Popular providers include JPay, Securus, and CorrLinks, each with their own pricing models.


The state where the prison is located makes a difference. States have individual contracts with email providers that set rates.

Message Length

Some services charge per email, while others charge by the number of stamps required for longer messages. Stamps can cost from 5 to 50 cents each.


Adding a photo or other file attachment can substantially increase costs by $1 or more per attachment.

Account Features

Email providers offer various account tiers, like basic, premium and platinum. More features, like increased message length, come with higher recurrent monthly fees.

So the specific facility and service provider drive how much it costs to email an inmate. Now let’s look at average pricing.

Average Cost to Send an Email to a Prisoner

Most services charge between 5 and 50 cents per email message. This covers the basic cost to send plain text emails without attachments.

At the low end, some state prisons only charge 5 to 10 cents per message through JPay or other low-cost providers. Federal prisons tend to be more expensive, from 25 to 50 cents per email with Securus.

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Here are some examples for basis:

  • Local jail email: $0.25-$0.50
  • State prison email: $0.05-$0.25
  • Federal prison email: $0.25-$0.50

So for a state facility, you may pay an average of 15 cents per email. For a federal prison, the average could be closer to 30 cents per message.

Some other key averages:

  • Photo attachment: +$1.00 per photo
  • Video attachment: +$2.00 per video
  • Monthly account fee: $2-$10 per month

These numbers illustrate the standard costs for inmates to exchange emails with friends and family. Continue reading to learn the typical rules around messaging, or skip to the FAQ section below.

Rules and Restrictions on Emailing Prisoners

Most jails and prisons allow inmate emails but have restrictions to maintain security. Common email rules include:

Approved Contacts Only

Inmates can only communicate with people on their approved contact list. Both the prisoner and contact must accept terms and provide personal information before messaging.

Message Time Limits

Many systems only allow emails during certain periods like 7am – 9pm. Messages sent outside those hours queue up to send later.

Content Monitoring

Authorities screen all messages for banned content and keywords. Any violations can lead to suspended communication.

Attachment Limits

Due to security concerns, most services restrict attachment types and sizes. JPEG photos under 5MB are generally allowed but video, PDFs and other files are prohibited.

Profanity Filters

Emails get flagged or blocked if they contain racial slurs, curse words or other profane language. The filters aim to allow benign personal communication without the risks of harassment.

Session Frequency

To manage volume, sessions may be limited to 10-20 emails at a time with mandatory log outs. Senders have to wait an hour before starting a new session.

No Sharing Accounts

Contacts must use their own authorized account to send emails. Shared accounts often get blocked if detecting multiple users.

These rules help maintain security while enabling inmates to preserve relationships through digital correspondence. Practice patience with delays, limits and blocks to avoid account suspensions.

Now let’s look at some real-world examples of costs and procedures for emailing prisoners.

Emailing Florida State Prisoners

The Florida Department of Corrections contracts with JPay to provide inmate email services. Electronic messaging offers a convenient way for friends and family to connect with incarcerated loved ones.

Here is an overview of how the JPay email system works and associated costs:

  • Each email costs $0.15 plus tax
  • Inmates receive 2 free stamps (emails) per week
  • Larger maximum message length of 6000 characters
  • $2 monthly fee for senders to access system
  • Photo attachments cost $1.00 each
  • Video attachments prohibited
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Senders must set up a prepaid JPay account to fund emails. Messages can only be exchanged with approved contacts on the recipient’s authorized communication list.

The Florida state prisons with JPay email capability include Columbia Correctional, Santa Rosa Correctional, Suwannee Correctional, Union Correctional, Hamilton Correctional and Reception Center East Unit.

JPay offers an economical means for community engagement with incarcerated individuals in the Florida Department of Corrections. Take advantage of free weekly stamps plus low $0.15 per message rates to maintain bonds during imprisonment.

Emailing Federal Prisoners with TRULINCS

The Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System (TRULINCS) provides federal prison inmates with limited messaging capabilities. TRULINCS allows prisoners to exchange electronic messages with preapproved contacts at $0.05 per minute.

Here are some key facts about the TRULINCS email system:

  • $0.05 per minute timed fee for messages
  • Messages limited to 13,000 characters
  • Inmates provided 180 minutes of messaging per month
  • Contacts must be approved and set up an account
  • No attachments allowed
  • Emails monitored for banned content
  • Available at many federal prisons like Marion, Coleman, and Seagoville

Senders must fund a TRULINCS account to pay $0.05 per minute for sent and received emails. Although cost effective, the system has more restrictions than commercial services that contract with federal prisons. But TRULINCS provides a regulated means for keeping in touch.

Now let’s examine some real inmate cases and costs associated with their electronic messaging.

Case Studies: Email Costs for Notable Prisoners

To make email pricing more concrete, let’s look at three high-profile prisoners: El Chapo, Joe Exotic and Bernie Madoff. We’ll break down the costs and rules around messaging these famous inmates.

El Chapo

Notorious Mexican cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is serving a life sentence at the maximum security ADX Florence supermax prison in Colorado.

The ADX facility uses the TRULINCS system for inmate emails. Under TRULINCS policies, contacts spend $0.05 per minute of sent and received messages.

Given monthly caps and character limits, emailing El Chapo likely costs $10-20 per month on average. Strict monitoring also means contacts could have emails blocked or rejected for security reasons.

Joe Exotic

Joseph Maldonado-Passage, better known as Joe Exotic of Netflix’s Tiger King, is serving 22 years in federal prison for murder-for-hire and wildlife violations.

Joe Exotic is jailed at FMC Fort Worth in Texas. The Fort Worth facility utilizes CorrLinks for prisoner emails instead of TRULINCS.

Under CorrLinks, senders pay $0.50 per email, allowing Joe Exotic to receive messages at lower rates than most federal inmates. Expect average monthly costs around $15-25.

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Bernie Madoff

Infamous Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff orchestrated one of the largest financial frauds in history. He’s currently serving a 150 year sentence at the medium-security FMC Butner in North Carolina.

Since Butner is part of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, it also uses the TRULINCS email and messaging system.

At $0.05 per minute, emailing Bernie Madoff likely costs $15-20 per month. Other federal prisons with TRULINCS average similar messaging expenses.

These examples provide real estimates of how much it costs friends and family to exchange emails with incarcerated loved ones based on their facility. Costs range from $0.05 to $0.50 per message.

Now let’s wrap up with some frequently asked questions about emailing inmates.

FAQs: Messaging Prisoners Through Email

Can anyone email an inmate?

No, inmates can only communicate electronically with approved individuals who set up authorized accounts. Both parties have to consent to contact.

What are banned attachments?

Most services prohibit file attachments like images, videos and documents. Only preapproved photos under 5MB file size can be attached in some cases.

Are inmate emails monitored?

Yes, authorities screen all incoming and outgoing emails. Messages with prohibited content will get blocked or result in suspended accounts.

How often can inmates check emails?

Depends on the facility, but email access is generally limited to 1-2 times per day for short 15-30 minute sessions to manage volume.

Can inmates receive printed emails?

Sometimes. Printable email options allow inmates without computer access to receive printed copies through postal mail for a fee.

Electronic messaging provides a valuable channel for keeping connections strong while incarcerated. Understanding facility guidelines helps ensure senders can communicate with inmates consistently. Leverage available email and technology options to provide support throughout a sentence.


Emailing an incarcerated loved one helps maintain bonds during their imprisonment. But costs and restrictions vary between jails, state prisons and federal penitentiaries.

On average, sending emails to inmates ranges from $0.05 to $0.50 per message. Federal prisons utilize TRULINCS at $0.05 per minute, while state facilities contract with companies like JPay for $0.25 per email.

Following facility regulations ensures senders can exchange electronic messages without service disruptions. Manage expectations with limited length, attachments, monitoring and access. Overall, email provides an affordable means for staying involved in an inmate’s life despite confinement.

Prison Inside Team

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Welcome to ‘Prison Inside,’ a blog dedicated to shedding light on the often hidden and misunderstood world within correctional facilities. Through firsthand accounts, personal narratives, and insightful reflections, we delve into the lives of those who find themselves behind bars, offering a unique perspective on the challenges, triumphs, and transformations that unfold within the confines of these walls.

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