Sending Mail to Inmates in Illinois
Offenders incarcerated in Illinois are allowed to receive letters from anyone as long as the piece of mail does not have anything else with it such as jewelry or contraband of any sort. Be sure to put the inmate's name and ID number on the envelope, and never place stickers on the envelope or letter, as this will cause the piece of mail to be rejected. Stickers have been used in the past to introduce illegal substances into the institution, so that is why they are so strict about stickers. All correspondence (with the exception of legal mail) is opened, inspected and read to ensure their is nothing that presents a danger to the security of the institution, such as plans to escape, maps, etc. Legal mail can be opened to check for contraband but only in the presence of the inmate, and will not be read.
Inmates can also receive books (more on that below) and photographs. All photos must be no larger than 4"x6" and may not contain nudity. The photos may not be instant or Polaroid. You can use plain envelopes and envelopes padded with clear bubble wrap, all other types of envelopes like the ones that contain diamond dust and corrugated cardboard are not allowed and will result in what you send being returned.
You should format all mail that you send to your Illinois inmate as follows:
Inmate Name, ID Number
PO Box or Street address
City, State, Zip code
How to Send Books and Magazines to Inmates in Illinois
To send books to your inmate, they must meet certain criteria.
- No hardcover books are allowed
- All books must be new from a vendor like Amazon.com and mailed directly from the inmate or may be brought directly to the facility by a friend or family member during visitation (limit of five per visit are allowed).
- Books/Magazines and other publications must not present a danger to the security of the facility (they cannot have maps, explain how to make weapons or explosive devices, or incite hate on any religion or race).
- Sexually explicit material such as Playboy, Penthouse etc. are not allowed.
If you want to learn more about sending these items to an inmate read about it here.
Sending Money to Inmates in Illinois Prisons
Inmates are allowed to receive money from friends and family members in a variety of ways. These funds are desposited into the inmate's trust account where they can be used to purchase a variety of items from the commissary, such as food, clothing, shoes, hygiene items, and even electronics.
You can send funds to Illinois inmates by:
- Walk In
Before you can send funds using any of the above methods you will need to know the following:
- The Inmates Name
- The Inmates Identification Number
- The current location of the inmate
Deposit by Walk In
Friends and family members can deposit money by visiting any MoneyGram location, this includes any CVS or Walmart. You will need to use the receive code 7364. The deposit may be made for a fee and can be paid with cash or debit card. You can also make a deposit through any Western Union location using the Quick collect form. For Western Union you will need to know the Code City ILDOC and state IL. The maximum amount that can be sent is $5,000.
Deposit Funds Online
You can also deposit money to an inmate's account online through JPAY, and Western Union online (for Western Union you will need to know the Code City ILDOC and state IL). If your inmate is incarcerated in Big Muddy River, Decatur, Menard, Shawnee, Vandalia, or Vienna you may also send funds through Global Tel* Link here. Each of these companies charges a fee to send the funds, and allows you to use a debit or credit card. The maximum amount you can send is $5,000.
Deposit Funds Over the Phone
Deposit funds to your Illinois inmate's trust fund account over the phone by calling JPAY at 1-800-574-5729.
Deposit Funds Through the Mail
The way of sending funds with the lowest fee is by money order through the mail. Using a United States Postal Money Order, made payable to 'JPAY' and include the inmates name and ID number in the memo field. You can send funds up to $999. You must also fill out and complete the Money Order Deposit Form and send it with the money order to:
P.O. Box 260250
Hollywood, FL 33026
For more information on sending funds to an inmate, read our guide here.
Illinois Inmate Phone Calls
All offenders are able to make outgoing collect calls to anyone who is on their approved call list. To get on an inmate's approved calling list you must write to the inmate and request he or she add you to the list. Once you are on the inmate's approved call list they can call you collect, or can utilize the third party inmate call provider Securus. If you only have a cell phone to receive inmate calls, you will have no choice but to use Securus, as this is the only way a cell phone can receive calls from the prison. All calls are subject to recording and monitoring, unless it is a call from the inmate's attorney.
You can setup a phone account through Securus by calling 1-800-844-6591 or by visiting their website at securustech.net.
Securus will charge you a fee for each call, plus a rate per minute. You may be able to drastically reduce your inmate phone bill by setting up your account with a number local to the facility. Learn more about how you can save money on your inmate phone calls.