Can you share money and provide financial support to someone in jail in the US?

Correctional facilities most often look after the basic needs of inmates but they do not guarantee access to certain luxuries that prisoners can have if they are willing to pay the additional charges.


As such, some inmates might require financial assistance from outside and therefore, it becomes a necessity that someone in the family or the friends circle knows how to transfer money to loved ones in prison. 

First of all, this is completely permissible and legal. Portion of the population is under the impression that it is not allowed to share money with inmates. That is not true but you still have to contact the authorities to check in on the following things. 

  • How the money should be delivered. 
  • If there is any restriction on the amount of money that an inmate can have while in prison. 
  • What can these funds be used for? 

How to send money to an inmate?

The first step here is to make sure you know where the inmate is. Only then would you be able to check out the systems being used in the specific county or state jail and send the money accordingly. There are differences in the way that different correctional facilities operate so you have to transfer the cash keeping in view policies at the specific facility where the inmate happens to be. 

You can check out this page to find out inmate information in Ohio county jail and other relevant pages for more data. 

Once you have found out the exact location, you might find it most convenient to transfer them the funds digitally. There are some services available particularly for this job. These platforms pattern with different legal departments to ensure that inmates have safe access to funds that somebody sends them from the other side of bars. Another important thing to note here is that each individual in the prison is allocated a specific account on their name in which their funds are kept. These are separate from typical bank accounts so you would need inmate ID and other information to send the money successfully. 

Is this transfer similar to other bank transfers?

As far as the methodology behind the transfer is concerned, yes, sending money to an inmate account is just like having it transferred to another bank account or app. However, this type of transfer may take longer to be processed. This is because the authorities need to run certain checks to ensure there is no fraud and the money being sent is through legitimate channels and legit reason. The scrutiny can take some time, therefore, the fund transfer in this case may be delayed for up to 10 days. 

Can you opt for giving them cash instead?

Since the digital transfer can take a while, some people opt for more old-school options i.e. giving cash to the inmate in person. However, this would require that you visit them to hand over the money. 

Moreover, this facility is not available at all centers. Some prisons might not even allow face-to-face meetings so the only option you are then left with is to have the funds delivered to their accounts digitally. 

Nonetheless, if the correctional facility holds no law against meetings and you are capable of paying them an in-person visit, giving cash is a better option since they will have the funds available readily instead of waiting up to a week. 

So whichever method suits you better, the bottom line is that it is possible to send money to someone in jail as long as the concerned prison allows it. Remember to check out their rules and regulations beforehand.