Writing to Inmates

Don't be afraid to write a friend or loved one while they are in prison.  Writing a letter is a small and easy thing to do for those on the outside but receiving letters while incarcerated makes a huge difference in their day.  Letters received while in prison makes them feel loved, and allows them to still be part of the family.

Once you send the first letter, each one that follows will be easier to write.

However, not only is it important to write the letter but also to write it in a way that it will be allowed into the prison and that it be mailed properly.   You can send a postcard, artwork or talk about your day but bear in mind that everything is read by the prison employees and any questionable materials will not be given to the offender.

All inmates can send and receive mail while incarcerated in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.  

Just a few rules:

  • General correspondence is subjected to inspection and can be rejected if the content is found to be in violation of the rules.
  • There is no limit to the amount of mail an offender may receive or send.  However, all mail must go through TDCJ.
  • All letters must have a complete return address on the envelope.  It is also a good idea to place the return address on the letter too in case the envelope is destroyed.
  • All letters must include the offender's complete name, TDCJ number and unit of assignment.
  • Do not discuss any illegal activities.  Keep in mind that all mail is read by the authorities.
  • Offenders may not receive packages from friends or family.  All packages for approved magazines, books and newspapers must come from the publisher or a store that sells them.
  • Do not send stamps, blank stationery or postcards to the offender.  They will get thrown away. These items must be purchased at the commissary or provided through the indigent supply program.
  • Avoid using white-out, stickers, tape or glitter.
  • Most facilities do not allow pages torn from magazines, newspapers, or books.  Make photocopies and mail them instead of tearing out the pages.

Studies have shown that personal letters from friends and loved ones on the outside can create positive changes for inmates and help them stay focused and out of trouble which is important when in applying for parole.  

One way Texas Parole Now suggests to start correspondence is by helping the inmate create a parole packet.  Our guide to How To Create A Texas Parole Packet can be is a great gift to send to someone who is incarcerated.  The books provides step-by-step instructions on how to create a parole packet.