How to Send Money to an Inmate in a Prison or Jail 

Send Money To Inmate

After employing a federal inmate search to pinpoint the location of your loved one, facilitating the transfer of funds becomes paramount. Sending money to inmates emerges as a vital avenue for maintaining connection. This financial support not only serves as a lifeline for them but also ensures the means to access essential goods and services while incarcerated. Establishing a seamless process to send money to the inmate not only fosters a meaningful connection but also plays a crucial role in their well-being during the period of confinement.

Options to Send Money to an Inmate

Sending money to inmates remains a vital avenue for maintaining connection and upholding some basic human rights in the prison system. There are three generally accepted ways to send money to a prisoner:

  • Through an online portal using a credit or debit card,
  • By wire,
  • By mailed money order.

The prison system will not accept cash or personal checks written to inmates due to the administrative work involved (if a check is returned for insufficient funds). Other items enclosed with checks are unlikely to be forwarded to the individual, so it’s best to send them separately and in accordance with the rules of the facility (magazines may only be sent from the publishers, for example).

Sending Money to a Federal Inmate Online

To send money to federal inmates online, seamlessly navigate through the available platforms designed for this purpose. When exploring options, use search terms such as “send money to inmate,” “send money to prisoner,” etc. to find appropriate channels. Once you've selected a platform, follow the provided guidelines on how to send money to an inmate in county jail. These user-friendly interfaces typically make the transaction process smooth and secure. By adopting this uncomplicated approach, you can efficiently offer financial assistance to your loved one in federal custody, ensuring that the support reaches them on time.

Also, there are phone apps for sending funds electronically, which ensures federal inmate money transfer more quickly. Here are a few services you can use to send money to a prisoner:

Jpay Inmate Services: Sending Money to Prisoners

  • JPay send money to inmate: Jpay is the MoneyGram partner that moves money to the inmate account, whether through an online app or in person at physical locations like Walmart stores and CVS pharmacies. 
  • Websites like also allow electronic funds transfers that show up in an inmate’s account much more quickly than a check. Funds are deposited within 24 hours of receipt, whether electronically or by check. 
  • Certain checks, such as from a business or the IRS (U.S. Treasury), may be sent to an inmate’s account.

Where Can I Send Money to Federal Inmates? 

The Federal Bureau of Prisons establishes accounts for each inmate in federally-run prisons, which are called commissary or trust fund accounts. Funds sent to inmates by check must follow a specific process outlined by inmate search methods. Instead of being directly deposited into the individual's account at the location of their confinement, these funds are directed to a general administrative office.

It's crucial to note that various rules may apply to those held in prisons managed by private companies on behalf of the federal government. Such privately run facilities establish their own regulations concerning commissary accounts and may even impose fees on family and friends for depositing funds into inmate accounts. For instance, GEO Corp., responsible for operating the federal prison in Big Spring, Texas, provides an online portal for transferring funds through

How to Send Money to an Inmate?

How To Send Money To An Inmate

So how to send money to an inmate? Sending money to a federal inmate involves a straightforward process to ensure financial support during their time of incarceration. 

  • Begin by identifying the correct destination for funds, typically through the correctional facility's official channels. 
  • Obtain relevant information such as the inmate's name, ID number, and the facility's address; often available online through the prison’s website or using a federal inmate search tool
  • Choose a suitable method of payment, which may include online platforms, money orders, or designated kiosks. 
  • Get a money order from Western Union, MoneyGram, the U.S. Post Office, a supermarket, or a bank, and include the following information:
Account Number: Inmate's eight-digit register number with no spaces or dashes, followed immediately by the inmate's last name
Company Name: Federal Bureau of Prisons
City & State: Washington, DC
Receive Code is always: 7932
Beneficiary: Inmate's full committed name

Write the inmate’s name and prison identification number on the comment line of the check or ensure that information is included with any funds sent via the Internet and do not send personal notes or cards with it.

Delivery Address

When you send money to federal inmate order obtained at a post office or store, address the envelope to:

Federal Bureau of Prisons
[Inmate name]
[inmate 8-digit identification number]
P.O. Box 474701
Des Moines, IA 50947-0001

Be sure to include a return address in case the funds have to be sent back to you.

Basic Information About Commissary Accounts

Some federal inmates can get jobs inside the prison to make money for their account, whether it’s washing floors or tutoring another inmate who’s studying for a degree. Others rely on family and friends to make deposits so they may have things beyond the basics that are supplied by the prison, including cigarettes.

Inmates Account Checking

On a monthly basis, the inmate's commissary or trust fund account balance is forwarded to the inmate through a bank-style account statement as part of the process to send money to the inmate in county jail. This transaction is confidential, and details are not accessible to individuals outside the prison system.

Why Send Money to a Prisoner? 

A commissary account or trust fund is the only money an inmate is allowed to access while in prison. These funds pay for things like:

  • Phone calls, which are billed by the minute,
  • Personal hygiene items like toothpaste,
  • Use of the internet to send emails or research topics.

How Much Money Can an Inmate Have on Their Books?

The local warden of the prison may set limits on how much money inmates may spend per month, and spending limits may be used for punishment when necessary. In general, an inmate may not spend more than $320 per month, but it’s easy to reach that limit when 

  • telephone calls are 21 cents per minute (with an approximate limit of 300 minutes per month),
  • emailing/internet use is limited to 40 hours per month at 20 cents per minute (approximately), 
  • video calls are rationed. 

Commissary spending is carefully planned by inmates who must budget for necessary over-the-counter medications, postage stamps, and other items. Before sending money to an inmate in county jail be sure to double-check the individual’s current location and identification number on a federal inmate search engine to ensure the money gets there.


In conclusion, comprehending the process of how to send money to inmates is vital for individuals with loved ones in prison. Exploring various methods, including the convenience of online platforms like JPay for sending money to inmates, is crucial. Understanding the fundamentals of commissary accounts, checking inmates' financial details, and recognizing the reasons an inmate might need money are key aspects. Additionally, being aware of the limitations on the amount of money an inmate can have on their books enhances our ability to provide essential support. In mastering the intricacies of sending money to an inmate in county jail, we empower ourselves to positively contribute to their well-being, ensuring they have the financial resources necessary for their time in federal prison.


What Traditional Options Exist for Sending Money to Federal Inmates?

Traditional options for sending money to federal inmates may include methods such as mailing a money order directly to the prison's designated address or depositing funds in person at specified locations. Understanding these traditional avenues ensures a comprehensive approach to supporting inmates financially.

Are there specific restrictions to be mindful of when sending money to federal inmates?

It's essential to be aware of any restrictions imposed by the prison facility, such as limits on the maximum amount of money an inmate can receive. Understanding and adhering to these restrictions ensures a smooth and compliant process when sending funds.

How to Ensure That The Funds Sent Have Been Properly Received and Allocated?

Verifying that the funds have been received and allocated correctly involves checking an inmate's account. Depending on the facility, this may be done through online portals, contacting the prison's financial department, or other specified methods. Confirming these details provides transparency and peace of mind.

What Online Platforms Are Commonly Used to Send Money to Prisoners?

Commonly used online platforms for sending money to federal inmates include services like JPay. These platforms typically offer user-friendly interfaces, secure transactions, and efficient ways to select and transfer funds to specific inmates. Familiarizing oneself with these platforms ensures a streamlined and convenient process for sending money to prisoners online.