Forget Yahoo! Mail, Gmail, and Hotmail. If a federal inmate wants to send and receive emails, they’ll have to use the Corrlinks.com prison monitored electronic messaging program. The electronic messaging program provides an enormous benefit to federal inmates who want to communicate electronically. Read on to learn more about Corrlinks, inmate email, the TRULINC system, and how to email a prisoner.
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Table of contents
- Corrlinks.com: Inmate Email
- How to Sign Up for Corrlinks Inmate Email
- What is Corrlinks? Not Exactly Email
- Premium Corrlinks.com Options
- Costs to Email a Prisoner
- TRULINCS Time Usage Limitations
- Corrlinks.com Prison Email Size Limitations
- Tips for Using Corrlinks: Copy and Paste
- Staff Monitoring of Corrlinks.com Inmate Emails
- Don’t Forward TRULINCS Emails
- Corrlinks Email Restrictions
- Sex Offenders and Corrlinks Email
- Corrlinks.com FAQs
Corrlinks.com: Inmate Email
Federal inmates can utilize the TRULINCS computers in their housing units to send and receive emails through www.Corrlinks.com. The system allows inmates to correspond with a maximum of 30 email contacts in the outside world at any one time. Inmates can, of course, delete existing contacts and add new ones.
TRULINCS electronic messaging is more akin to a message posting system than regular email. Inmates do not have access to the internet or traditional email providers. Instead, they send messages to the website www.Corrlinks.com. When an inmate’s authorized contact wants to return the message, they log into the site to email a prisoner.
How to Sign Up for Corrlinks Inmate Email
Inmates must log in at a TRULINCS computer to utilize the electronic messaging service in their housing unit. Once logged in, they input their contact’s information, including name, mailing address, and email address. The system then generates an email to alert the community member that a message from a federal inmate awaits them at Corrlinks.com.
The system-generated message instructs the contact on becoming an approved messaging contact and provides an authorization code to activate an account. Both inmate and outside contacts can send and receive electronic messages once this code is activated.
Once this free account is created, users must log in to their prison email account every time to email a prisoner. This is the case when sending emails to inmates and when receiving emails from inmates.
Messages are not sent to a user’s personal email inbox. The Corrlinks.com and TRULINCS systems are more like a personal electronic message board, not traditional email.
What is Corrlinks? Not Exactly Email
A common point of confusion for prisoners’ families is how the Corrlinks email system works.
Those outside of prisons are accustomed to traditional email providers like Gmail. These regular email clients allow users to send electronic messages (i.e., emails) directly to a recipient’s email address. This is not how Corrlinks.com works to email an inmate, and it is where much confusion resides as far as new users are concerned.
Remember, this is not standard email. Emails to prisoners are delivered to the Corrlinks.com email account, not a regular personal email account (e.g., Gmail, Yahoo, etc.).
Corrlinks.com users must log in to the website to message inmate contacts. The same is true for sending, reading, and responding to emails. Prisoners’ family members and friends should regularly log into Corrlinks.com to check for messages.
Contacts should also visit the Corrlinks.com FAQs page to learn how the inmate email system works, how to use it effectively, and how premium options can add smartphone capabilities.
Contacts can also choose to receive email alerts when they receive a message by logging into their Corrlinks, clicking “Account Management,” then clicking “Manage My Inmate List,” and finally checking the box under “email alert.”
Premium Corrlinks.com Options
While we at the Zoukis Consulting Group are loathed to recommend paying private companies to facilitate contact with incarcerated loved ones, Corrlinks.com has two valuable, inexpensive premium services.
Corrlinks offers a Premier Account that significantly improves connectivity. This service costs $6 per year and adds the following functions:
- Real-time smartphone push notifications of inmate email messages.
- The ability to send and receive emails in-app without logging into Corrlinks.com.
- Messages are retained for 60 days instead of the standard 30 days.
The other premium option is an inmate text messaging service. This allows for Corrlinks message delivery via text message. Users can also respond to emails through text messages.
This service costs either $6 per month or $36 per year. But note that the Premier Account already offers better functionality. As such, we recommend the Premier Account, not both premium services.
Costs to Email a Prisoner
The cost of using the TRULINCS system is entirely the inmate’s responsibility. Outside contacts are not charged to email a prisoner. Inmates pay five cents per minute for using any aspect of the TRULINCS electronic messaging service (i.e., composing, reading, and browsing messages). Inmates are not charged for the time their contacts spend on the system.
To pay this inmate email fee, inmates buy “TRU-Units” for $0.05 each in groups of 40, 100, 200, 300, or 600 units. Prisoners select how many units they want to purchase on the welcome screen of the TRULINCS system. The cost is deducted from their commissary/trust fund balance. Printing out copies of emails costs 15 cents or 3 TRU-Units per page.
Because of the costs imposed on inmates, it is best to send incarcerated loved ones between $15 to $30 per month to have enough money to use the TRULINCS Public Messaging service at their convenience.
TRULINCS Time Usage Limitations
To ensure equal access to the service, most Federal Bureau of Prisons facilities impose a thirty-minute or one-hour time limit on public messaging. When this time is exhausted, the TRULINCS system automatically logs them off.
Prisoners then have to wait thirty minutes before logging back on. If an inmate is in the process of typing a message when they reach the time limit, the message is automatically saved in their drafts folder. They can always come back to finish it later by clicking on the save icon.
Families and friends do not have any limitations when emailing a prisoner. This is one of the distinct advantages of electronically communicating with inmates. Unlike inmate phone calls, which are limited to 300 minutes per month, families can use the inmate computer system TRULINCS to stay in contact with their incarcerated loved ones without limitation.
Corrlinks.com Prison Email Size Limitations
Corrlinks messages cannot exceed 13,000 characters. This equates to roughly 2,000 words per email. As the inmate types, they see a “Characters Remaining” countdown indicator on their composition screen advising how many character spaces remain.
Note that this 13,000 character limitation applies to all emails within an email string. If a prisoner or outside contact replies to a previous message, the previous message also count against this limit. Users can always start a new email string in such circumstances.
TRULINCS electronic messaging is a text-only communications medium. This consists of plain, black text. Styles such as bold, italics, and foreign symbols are not supported. Likewise, photos and attachments are not permitted.
Additionally, users can’t forward messages. Inmates can send the same message to multiple contacts by selecting the contacts before sending the message. Except for the time limitation, there is no restriction on the number of messages sent or received in a 24-hour period.
Tips for Using Corrlinks: Copy and Paste
Most people who use Corrlinks.com have only bad things to say. The spell-check function is atrocious. The system limitations are short-sighted. And the email alert function doesn’t always work. All of this is true and much, much more.
When emailing a prisoner, outside contacts can type directly into the window at Corrlinks.com, or they can copy and paste messages from Word or another word processing program into the message window. They can also copy and paste plain text from a website.
While nothing can be done about the internal functioning issues, outside users can use external programs to make life easier when using Corrlinks.com.
Two such programs are Microsoft Word and copy and paste. Many experienced Corrlinks.com users prefer to type their messages in a Word file, then copy and paste the message into the Corrlinks.com email itself.
The same function can be used when sending text from news sites or other locations online. This can save a lot of time and aggravation.
Staff Monitoring of Corrlinks.com Inmate Emails
As with telephone and postal mail communications, prison staff also monitor electronic messages. This includes emails to a prisoner. Specific keywords trigger more intense scrutiny. Staff often look for other inmates’ names or if violations of disciplinary regulations are revealed.
Monitoring naturally slows down message delivery. Inmates might wait an hour or so to receive messages. On the other hand, it only takes around 20 minutes for an inmate’s message to reach an outside contact. Emails might be obstructed if they contain anything determined to be “detrimental to the security, good order, or discipline of the institution, or a threat to the public and staff or if it might facilitate criminal activity.”
The TRULINCS electronic messaging system rejects anything that prison mailroom staff would reject. Even if emails are not denied, inmates may receive an incident report for engaging in a prohibited discussion. At worst, an inmate could be banned from the service, although this usually requires a severe violation.
Don’t Forward TRULINCS Emails
The Bureau of Prisons takes a draconian stance on forwarding inmate communications. This applies to letters, emails, and three-way telephone calls. Prisoners’ families and friends are not allowed to forward any message to third parties.
Inmates caught asking outside contacts to forward emails risk receiving a disciplinary incident report for a Code 297 or 397 violation (i.e., email abuse). If found guilty, inmates can lose their public messaging privilege for several months. However, as long as this forwarding isn’t mentioned in the emails, institutional staff likely will never know.
If an inmate discovers that an outside contact has forwarded an email, they should immediately advise their outside contact not to do so again. This falls within the scope of plausible deniability and might help mitigate damaging consequences.
Corrlinks Email Restrictions
Not all inmates in the federal prison system are granted access to TRULINCS’s public messaging feature. A since-rescinded policy explained that an inmate could be restricted from the public messaging system in the following circumstances:
- If an inmate has a history that threatens institutional security or the public.
- If a prisoner is under investigation for disciplinary violations related to TRULINCS or Corrlinks abuse or misuse.
- If disciplinary sanctions restrict the inmate from emailing for a specific period.
While inmates have no constitutional right to email, prison authorities must provide notice of the reason for denial or restriction and the right to appeal the decision.
Since the current in-force policy is far less detailed, the provisions of the now-rescinded policy are discussed below. These help show trends in who is denied email access and the rationale.
Inmate Email Restrictions Based on Personal History
Federal prison staff can restrict an inmate from email access if the inmate has a record that threatens institutional security or the public. Their presentence investigation report typically determines this.
The former policy states, “Inmates with a personal history of, or prior offense conduct or conviction for, soliciting minors for sexual activity, or possession/distribution of child pornography through the internet or other means, are excluded from program participation based on their history. Likewise, an inmate with a personal history of special skills or knowledge for using computers/email/Internet or other communication methods as a conduit for committing illegal activities will be excluded.”
Not every prisoner who fits this description is excluded, but experience suggests that this is often the case. Access privileges are determined on a case-by-case basis. Initially, the case manager reviews the inmate’s presentence investigation report to determine if they will grant access. If Corrlinks access is approved, the inmate has email privileges.
If TRULINCS public messaging access is denied, the determination must be reviewed by an associate warden. For example, some inmates incarcerated for possession of child pornography are granted access to public messaging as long as they didn’t utilize email, instant messaging, or text messages to engage in these illicit activities.
Prisoner Email Restrictions for Disciplinary Investigations
Federal prisoners can also be restricted from email access if they are under investigation for a potential disciplinary violation related to TRULINCS abuse or misuse. In reality, this provision is rarely applied.
In our experience, prison staff only administratively suspend inmate email access under this provision when serious inmate misconduct is suspected. For example, prison staff may temporarily restrict email access if an inmate is under investigation for committing new crimes or serious misconduct using inmate email.
Corrlinks.com Email Restrictions for Disciplinary Sanctions
The most common reason for Corrlinks.com email restriction is when an inmate is sanctioned for a disciplinary violation. Denial of access to TRULINCS public messaging is usually imposed in 30-day increments.
For example, if an inmate receives an incident report for insolence to staff, their email privileges may be restricted for 30 days. On the other hand, prison administrators may suspend email privileges for several months or even a year if inmates are caught using drugs.
These disciplinary restrictions deny inmates access as a form of sanction for misconduct or a rules infraction. Inmates can appeal disciplinary email restrictions, but prison staff may render an appeal decision after the inmate has concluded the sanction period. Regardless, inmates can still appeal disciplinary sanctions through the administrative remedy process. If they are successful, imposed sanctions are rescinded.
Sex Offenders and Corrlinks Email
Administrative restrictions occur when inmates have particular email or sexual offense criminal charges. For example, permanent inmate email restrictions are regularly imposed when an inmate previously solicited a minor for sexual activity through email, text messages, or instant messages.
These administrative restrictions can also apply when an inmate has specialized computer skills enabling them to hack into the TRULINCS computer system. While this is possible, the TRULINCS computers are highly secure. Additionally, our firm has never seen an inmate restricted for this reason.
If an inmate is barred from the Corrlinks email system for these reasons, they can file an administrative remedy attempting to reduce or reverse the decision on administrative grounds.
Current Sex Offender Inmate Email Policy
The new TRULINCS public messaging policy explains, “An inmate’s exclusion from participation must be based on their individual history of behavior that could jeopardize legitimate penological interests[.]” The program statement further clarifies, “inmates must not be excluded from participation based on general categorizations of previous conduct.”
Whereas the same disciplinary and investigation restrictions still apply to program exclusion and suspension, the new policy provides clarification concerning sex offenders.
The policy explains, “Inmates whose offense, conduct, or other personal history indicates a propensity to offend through the use of email or jeopardizes the safety, security, orderly operation of the correctional facility, or the protection of the public or staff, should be seriously considered for restriction.” These inmates must be evaluated to see if they “pose a realistic threat.”
In our experience overturning permanent email prohibitions, we find that this often comes down to the case manager’s nature. Some federal prison case managers readily approve virtually all inmates for email. Others erroneously believe that all sex offenders must be prohibited from inmate email.
The secondary associate warden review is also critical. When case managers are unreasonably restrictive, reasonable associate wardens overturn these bans. But when case managers and associate wardens are vindictive, virtually every sex offender, regardless of posing a “realistic threat,” is permanently banned from Corrlinks inmate email.
Corrlinks is a website that allows community members to email a prisoner in specific prison systems. The website connects with computer systems inside prisons that allow inmates to email friends and family members.
Corrlinks.com is owned and operated by the Advanced Technologies Group. This private company contracts with prison systems to provide inmate email services. ATG also manages the federal prison inmate MP3 player service.
These are different but related services. While Corrlinks.com is owned and operated by ATG, it primarily facilitates inmate email for prisoners’ family members and friends.
TRULINCS stands for the Trust Fund Limited Inmate Computer System. This is the computer system available in federal prisons. One function of the TRULINCS computers is the Public Messaging function, which connects to Corrlinks.com.
Several prison and jail systems utilize Corrlinks.com, including:
Federal Bureau of Prisons
Iowa Department of Corrections
Massachusetts Department of Correction
Nevada Department of Corrections
Oregon Department of Corrections
Wisconsin Department of Corrections
Bexar County (TX) Adult Detention Facility
Madison County Jail (AL)
U.S. Naval Brig
Federal prisoners cannot receive any pictures, attachments, or other media through this inmate email system. Family members can only email a prisoner plain black text.
This depends on the prison system. Federal prisoners pay five cents per minute while using the service, but outside contacts are not charged to email a prisoner.
This depends on the prison system. Federal Bureau of Prisons inmates are charged five cents per minute when reading, writing, and responding to emails.
You can sign up for a Premier Account by logging into Corrlinks.com and clicking on “Premier Account.” These accounts cost $6 per year.
Inmates can’t block outside contacts, but they can delete a contact’s email address. If this occurs, community members can no longer email the inmate. But, the inmate can always re-add the email address to reestablish email communication.
You can add money to your account by logging in and clicking on “Recharge My Account.” This takes users to a page where they can add additional funds.
While several inmate email services exist, all emails to and from federal inmates are sent through Corrlinks.com. While community members use the Corrlinks.com website, inmates use the TRULINCS computers in their housing unit to email.
Over the years, we have seen users call this system by various names, including:
Corrlinks doesn’t have a publicly accessible phone number. If you have problems with the service, submit a customer support request here.
Published Sep 4, 2016 by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA | Last Updated by Christopher Zoukis, JD, MBA on Jun 9, 2023 at 1:57 am