Posted: January 8, 2013 in Federal Prison Camp

You will not be allowed to receive phone calls at all.  In order to make any phone calls you will first have to get your PIN number and your PAC Number.  These numbers will be given to you by your counselor.  Keep in mind that you will have to work to get these as they will not give to you willingly.  Make sure that at your first chance contact your counselor and get them.  These numbers will also be required for you to send emails and to use the commissary.

In order to get your family and friends listed on your “Okay to call/email” list you will have to sign onto a computer and put all the information for each contact.  Once the information is in it will take approximately 24hrs before you will be able to use the phone or send them an email.  In the case of emails all contacts will receive an email that will require your friends and family to sign onto a separate email system.  They will not be able to receive your emails directly to their email accounts (Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail, etc.).  They can receive notifications that there is a new email, but they will have to sign into a web browser to read and respond.

Phone Calls

You will be allowed 300 minutes per month for outgoing calls, and the minutes do not accrue from month to month.  The calls are expensive with cost varying depending on when and where you are calling; you should plan on around $75.00 a month as an average if you use all your minutes, funds which also must be added to your commissary fund. The calls are generally made from payphones in the facility in which you are housed.  Any numbers that you call must be pre-approved in order for you to dial out.  All calls are monitored and tape recorded so that they can be reviewed so care in what you discuss is important; the officials who review these calls are savvy to about any “Code” that you might think of so caution is of extreme importance.  Calls to your attorney can be arranged so that you have confidentiality in that conversation.

In a family emergency circumstance, a call can be made directly to the prison with a message asking to have you call.  It is important that the caller leave the inmate’s full name, registration number, housing unit and the name of the assigned Counselor or Case Manager if known.  Not all messages get through so back-up plans are important.

Phone calls can be extremely expensive (as much at $.25 per minute).  You may want to look at getting a local number for the area in which your inmate is located.  The best thing to do is look at getting a Google Voice account.  This will drop the charges for phone calls to $.05 per minute.  There are other plans out there you just have to search the internet.


In addition, many of the lower level facilities now have email access, which is cheaper than using the phone; however, this is also a cost that must come to you from outside except for whatever you may earn from your prison job.

Emails are monitored just like phone calls so again you have to be very conscious of what you put in your emails.  Putting anything in an email that is questionable could revoke the email privileges both for you and the inmate.

Email does come with a cost, but is much more affordable than phone calls and even mailing a letter.  That is, it is cheap if you can type well.  Email is monitored on a per minute basis ($.05 per minute).  This goes for reading, creating, and editing.  For those individuals who are not strong at typing there are many inmates that will assist you with typing for a price.  Just ask around someone will help you out.


The mail policy is pretty liberal; you can receive and send mail freely at most facilities.  However, all incoming mail is opened and checked for contraband; contraband can be something as small as a greeting card with some unique attachments such as sound effects, stamps, or a small, non-threatening gift.  In the case of any question, the mail will be returned to the sender.  Outgoing mail is not normally opened and read in the lower levels of security unless the BOP staff has some suspicion or concern about the inmate’s activities. In medium and higher lever, all mail is routinely opened and read, both incoming and outgoing.

Mail is strictly forbidden between other inmates or anyone who is a felon.  If your spouse is also in prison, there is a specific request process that must be approved by the warden from both facilities before there can be any correspondence.  From both you will not be allowed to receive gifts of any type from outside the prison; there will be no presents allowed.  The exception, at least at lower level facilities is that books can be ordered and sent directly from a retail seller.  Some facilities allow paperbacks to be sent directly, but, again, rules are set by the warden at each facility so often there will be no set policy known until you are there and have gone through orientation.


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