Write to a Prisoner

Send Prisoner A Letter

Want to send a letter to a prisoner? To be able to write to a prisoner you will need the prisoners prison number, address of prison, prisoners full name and, if you have it, their wing and cell number (However the wing and cell number is not neccessary). 

When you write to a prisoner, ensure that the above information is on the enveloper starting with the prisoners name and prisoner number, secondly, the prisoner address. On the back, i advise to write the senders name and address incase the letter needs to be returned to sender.

Please remember, whatever you write in the letter could be read by an officer. Do not spray the letters or envelope with any purfume or scents. The prison may take this as an attempt to lace the paper with something like spice which has been a previous issue for prisons and the prisoner may not get your letter.

Most prisons now photocopy the letter, be prepared for the prisoner to not actually get the original copy of your letter. This may be placed in their storage box for when they leave or transfer prisons. So when you write your letter to the prisoner, make sure that its clear enough that its still eligable when its photocopied. 

Same with photos, photos dont actually come out too well when photocopied. They will also not allow any indecent photos to go through to the prisoner.

If you dont know the prisoners details, you will not be able to get a letter to the prisoner. If you dont know which prison the person you are trying to write to is in, you may want to use the locate a prisoner service 

The prisoner is able to get freepost 2nd class envelopes and paper from the prison to be able to write back. You can also email a prisoner and also use a prison voicemail service as another form of communication with the prisoner

Write to a Prisoner - How to send a letter to a prisoner UK

Sending a letter to a prisoner in the UK is a straightforward process, but there are guidelines and rules you need to follow to ensure your letter reaches the inmate. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

1. Addressing the Letter:

  • Name: Begin with the full name of the prisoner.

  • Prison Number: Include the prisoner’s prison number. This is essential for identification.

  • Name of the Prison: Address the letter to the specific prison where the individual is being held.

  • Postal Address: Each prison has a specific postal address. You can usually find this on the HM Prison Service website or by searching for the specific prison online.

    For example:

    [Full Name of the Prisoner]
    [Prisoner Number]
    [Name of the Prison]
    [Prison's Address]

2. Content Restrictions:

  • Contraband: Obviously, don’t include any illegal items or substances.
  • Stamps & Envelopes: Some prisons may not allow you to send additional stamps or envelopes. Check with the specific institution.
  • Photos: While photos are generally allowed, ensure they’re appropriate. Avoid explicit or potentially harmful images.
  • Paperclips & Stickers: Avoid using these, as they can be deemed as security risks.

3. Write Clearly:

For security reasons, all letters are opened and checked before being given to the recipient. Therefore, write clearly and legibly to avoid any misunderstandings.

4. Sending the Letter:

Use the standard postal service. Remember, all mail, except legal correspondence, is likely to be opened and read by prison staff before being given to the inmate.

5. Expect Delays:

Given the security checks, there might be a delay between when you send the letter and when the prisoner receives it.

6. Receiving a Reply:

If the prisoner wants to write back, they will have to purchase their own stamps and stationery, unless they qualify for free correspondence, which is a privilege given to some based on their circumstances.

7. Be Mindful of Rules & Restrictions:

Each prison might have its own specific rules and restrictions when it comes to correspondence. It’s always a good idea to check the guidelines for the particular prison you’re sending a letter to. This ensures your message reaches its destination without issues.


Correspondence can play a significant role in the morale and mental well-being of prisoners. By ensuring you follow the proper procedures, you can maintain contact and provide essential support to those incarcerated.

write to a prisoner

Write to a prisoner, how prisoners receive letters.

Receiving letters while in prison can be a significant source of emotional support and connection to the outside world for inmates in the UK. The process, while straightforward, is subject to rules and security measures to ensure the safety of both staff and prisoners. Here’s a breakdown of how prisoners receive letters in UK prisons:

1. Letters are Screened:

Upon arrival at the prison, all letters addressed to inmates (with a few exceptions for legally privileged correspondence) are opened and checked by prison staff. This is to ensure no prohibited items or substances are enclosed and that the content doesn’t pose a security risk or contain any information that could harm the recipient or others.

2. Reading the Content:

Apart from letters from legal representatives, which are usually exempt from being read, all other correspondence can be read by prison staff. If there are concerns about the content, especially if it relates to illegal activities or has details that could jeopardize the safety of individuals (either inside or outside the prison), the letter may be withheld.

3. Restricted Content:

Certain types of content might cause a letter to be withheld or not delivered, including:

  • Information about ongoing criminal activities.
  • Explicit or inappropriate images or content.
  • Messages that could incite violence, hatred, or disrupt the peace within the prison.
  • Instructions or components for prohibited items.

4. Delivery to the Inmate:

Once screened and approved, letters are delivered to inmates. Delivery frequency can depend on the prison’s internal processes, but most institutions aim to deliver mail promptly after it’s been checked.

5. Withheld Letters:

If a letter is withheld from a prisoner, they should be informed of this decision unless doing so would compromise security, the prevention of crime, or the protection of victims or witnesses. In many cases, prisoners have the right to appeal if they believe a letter was wrongly withheld.

6. Confidential Correspondence:

As previously mentioned, letters from legal representatives, courts, or other legal bodies are generally treated as confidential. They are not usually read by prison staff but can still be checked for any prohibited items.


While the process of receiving letters in UK prisons is subject to security measures, the importance of maintaining communication lines between prisoners and their loved ones, friends, or legal representatives is recognized. As such, the system aims to balance the need for security with the emotional and legal needs of inmates. If you’re planning to write to someone in prison, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and guidelines of the particular institution to ensure your correspondence reaches its intended recipient without issues.