How to Put Money on an Inmate’s Books
How to Put Money on an Inmate’s Books

How to Put Money on an Inmate’s Books

Hello readers! Today, we will discuss the process of putting money on an inmate’s books. This is an essential aspect of supporting incarcerated individuals during their time in prison. By providing financial assistance, you can help them purchase necessary items, such as hygiene products, snacks, and even educational materials. Let’s dive into the details!

1. Understanding the Importance of Putting Money on an Inmate’s Books

While incarcerated, inmates rely on funds in their accounts, commonly referred to as “books,” to meet their basic needs and make purchases within the prison commissary. By contributing to their accounts, you can help improve their quality of life behind bars and ensure they have access to essential supplies.

2. Contact the Correctional Facility

The first step in putting money on an inmate’s books is to contact the correctional facility where they are being held. Obtain the necessary information, such as the inmate’s full name, ID number, and the correct mailing address for sending funds.

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3. Choose a Payment Method

Next, determine the payment method that works best for you. Many correctional facilities offer multiple options, including online payments, money orders, or cashier’s checks. Consider selecting a method that is convenient and secure for both you and the inmate.

4. Online Deposits

One of the most popular and convenient ways to put money on an inmate’s books is through online deposit services. These platforms allow you to transfer funds directly into the inmate’s account using a credit or debit card. Ensure that the correctional facility supports online deposits before proceeding with this method.

5. Money Orders and Cashier’s Checks

If online deposits are not available or preferred, you can opt for traditional payment methods like money orders or cashier’s checks. These can be purchased from local banks or post offices. Remember to include the inmate’s full name, ID number, and correct mailing address when sending the payment.

6. Set Spending Limits

It’s important to establish spending limits with the inmate to ensure responsible use of the funds. Discuss their needs and agree on a reasonable amount to be spent on various items. This will help them manage their finances effectively and avoid overspending.

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7. Keep Track of Transactions

Maintain a record of all transactions made on the inmate’s behalf. This will enable you to monitor their spending habits and keep an accurate account of the funds. It’s crucial to ensure transparency and accountability throughout the process.

8. Be Mindful of Restrictions

Each correctional facility may have different rules and restrictions regarding the types of items that can be purchased or the maximum amount of funds an inmate can have in their account. Familiarize yourself with these regulations to avoid any complications or rejections.

9. Utilize Inmate Banking Services

Some correctional facilities offer banking services specifically designed for inmates. These services may include savings accounts, interest-bearing accounts, or even financial literacy programs. Research if such options are available and explore their benefits for the inmate.

10. Alternative Ways to Support Inmates

Aside from putting money on an inmate’s books, there are alternative methods to support incarcerated individuals. These include sending letters, books, or other approved items, as well as staying in touch through approved communication channels. Remember, emotional support is just as crucial as financial assistance.

Pros Cons
1. Improves inmates’ quality of life 1. Possibility of misuse of funds
2. Allows inmates to purchase necessary items 2. Restrictions on the types of items that can be bought
3. Supports the rehabilitation process 3. Limited control over spending habits
4. Demonstrates care and support 4. Potential for financial strain on the donor
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Q: Can I directly give cash or personal checks to the inmate?

A: No, most correctional facilities do not allow inmates to possess cash. Personal checks are also generally not accepted. Stick to the approved payment methods provided by the facility.

Q: How long does it take for the funds to appear in the inmate’s account?

A: The processing time may vary depending on the correctional facility and the chosen payment method. It’s advisable to contact the facility or the payment service provider to inquire about the expected processing duration.

Q: Can I send funds to an inmate who is transferred to another facility?

A: In most cases, the funds will follow the inmate to their new location. However, it’s important to inform the correctional facility about the transfer and verify the correct mailing address to avoid any issues.


Putting money on an inmate’s books is a meaningful way to provide support during their time in prison. By understanding the process, choosing the right payment method, and being mindful of restrictions, you can contribute to improving their well-being and helping them prepare for a successful reintegration into society.