Wire of Hope’s Prison Pen Pal Program provides many resources about prison correspondence, including tutorials to help you navigate through the different steps of the process of writing a prisoner online.
You will find below the tutorials for the Prison Email System ConnectNetwork.
• ConnectNetwork also provides advance payphone services (GTL) but we will focus here on the messaging service only. To write a prisoner online with ConnectNetwork, you need to create an account on ConnectNetwork. To begin, click on the drop-down menu and select the state and facility where your prison penpal is currently incarcerated in.
• Once your selection is made, you should access a page with a list of all of the services available in the state/facility you selected. Click on “Create Account”.
• Fill out the form to create yourself an account, agree to the terms and conditions and then click on “Submit”.
• Now that you are connected to your account, you should have access to the main page (called “dashboard“). Before being able to do anything else, you will have to add your prison penpal’s facility to your list of facilities. In order to do this, click on “My Facilities”.
• In the drop-down menus of the “Add a Facility” section, select your state and facility. Please note that sometimes state prisons are grouped together under the title “Department of Corrections”.
• You should now see the list of all of the services available at that state/facility again. Then click on “Add”.
• You will see a confirmation on the screen, indicating that the facility has been added to your list. It is now time to add your prison penpal to your list of inmates. In the dashboard, click on “My Inmates”.
• Click on “Search For Inmate” at the bottom of the page.
• In the drop-down menu, choose the facility that you previously added to your list of facilities. Once the facility is selected, you will be asked to search by criteria, either by first and/or last name(s) or by correctional ID number. Click on “Search” when you’re done.
• Inmates should appear under “Search Results”. Click on “Add” once you have found your prison penpal.
• Your penpal should now appear in your list of inmates.
• In the dashboard, click on “Messaging”.
• Click on “Buy Credits”.
• Select your facility in the drop-down menu. The field “Message Credits” should update automatically with the prices. Choose the best option according to your needs. Transaction fees and sales tax may apply. Click on “Next” and follow the guided steps on the screen to proceed with the payment. Now that you have credits assigned to your account, you can finally email a prisoner!
• Click on “Compose” under “Messaging”.
• In the drop-down menu, select the inmate you want to write to. Fill out the subject field (mandatory) and write your email. The character limit may vary from a facility to another. Click on “Continue” when you are done.
• Agree to the terms and conditions. In some cases, you will have the possibility to add a prepaid reply for your prison penpal to respond at no cost to them. Click on “Send” when you’re ready.
• Your message has been sent!
Allow a couple of days to one week for the mail room to process your email and forward it to your prison penpal (electronically and/or by printing out a copy). If this is your first time writing your prison penpal, don’t forget to include your mailing address in your email! Some inmates do not have the possibility to reply electronically.