How Your Secure Instant Mail (SIM) Account Works
1. Your Secure Instant Mail account is funded by transferring money from your debit or credit card to your Secure Instant Mail account.
Please note - there is a
credit card processing fee added to the transaction amount each time you transfer funds from your credit or debit card to your Secure Instant Mail account balance.
2. All transactions and related fees associated with this web site are deducted from your Secure Instant Mail account balance. This includes transactions such as:
- All Pay-As-You-Go electronic letters
- Return letters (where available)
- Email notifications of your letter being printed
- Money order purchases and if available, notification of processing
* The cost of the inbound and outbound letter is determined by the Correctional Facility or County Jail you are sending to, not by Secure Instant Mail.
There are no restrictions on how many inmates or facilities you can send letters to with one account.
How to Create a Secure Instant Mail Account
1. Please look at the
listing and review the facilities, services, and pricing associated with each. All facilities that are not listed are "Print-and-Forward" only.
2. From the black band that runs through the web page (the menu bar), click on the Register tab.
3. The "Terms and Conditions" page will be displayed; read the Terms and Conditions, and if you agree to them, click on the "Accept" button, then click "Next".
4. On the "Personal Information" page, fill out all fields on the page. Your email address becomes your username, your password is of your own choosing. Be sure this information is accurate and complete, as it is used as your return address for all correspondence. Additionally, the address information you supply must also match the address information that your bank or credit card company has on file for the bank card you are using.
5. On the "Credit Card" information page, you must provide your credit card information to create an account. You may create a SIM account without transferring funds into your account however; you will need to transfer funds into your SIM account before you can use the service. Please keep in mind that a
processing fee will be added to every bank card transaction.
6. When you have successfully created your account you must login to begin using the service.
7. Unfortunately, many messages sent by automated systems are flagged as 'spam' by most email providers. Please search your 'spam', 'junk mail', or 'bulk' mail folders or files for messages from firstname.lastname@example.org. When you find this correspondence, please mark it as 'not spam' (or 'not junk') so that future correspondence from us will go straight to your inbox.
How to Send an Electronic Letter, Electronic Funds Transfer, or Money Order to a Participating Facility
1. From the Secure Instant Mail home page, log-in to Secure Instant Mail.
2. The Member Profile page will be displayed. From the column of links at the right side of the page select the link that describes what you want to accomplish. To send a letter, EFT or Money Order, click on 'Send Mail / Money'.
3. Then, from the 'Choose State' screen, select the state in which the facility to which you wish to send is located. Click 'Next'.
4. From the 'Choose Facility' screen, select the facility to which you wish to send. Facilities with the notation [*] indicate facilities that accept electronic mail from us. All other listings are print-and-forward only and delivered via USPS. Click 'Next'.
5. Verify that the displayed address for the facility is correct, and click 'Next'.
6. Enter the name, ID, and housing information (if known) for the inmate to whom you wish to send. If this institution provides us with housing information, you will be presented with a drop-down box from which to select your inmate. Click 'Next'.
7. The next screen prompts you to indicate whether you would like to send a letter. If you are not sending a letter, skip to instruction number 9.
8. On the 'Send a Letter' page, use the text box to create your letter. (You may also copy-paste from a word document or from the internet). For a page count click the 'Calculate Pages' button. Helpful hint: When typing a longer letter, or if you have to leave your computer unattended, refresh the page every 30 to 40 minutes by clicking on the 'Calculate Pages' button. Otherwise your internet session will 'time-out' (be lost) and you will be disconnected from the server, and your partially finished letter will be lost.
9. The next screen prompts you to indicate whether you would like to send funds to your inmate. If you do not wish to send funds, skip to instruction 11.
10. Enter the amount to send to your inmate, and click next. The cost of the money order or EFT and the fees associated with all transactions are deducted from your SIM account balance. If your SIM account balance does not have sufficient funds you will have the option of transferring funds from your bankcard to your SIM account.
11. The next screen is for optional services. If you wish to receive an email when your letter is printed at the facility, click 'Yes' next to 'Email Me When This Letter is Printed'. If the facility permits electronic reply letters, an option is presented to purchase one or more of these reply letters. Reply letters allow your loved one to respond to your letter electronically.
12. The next screen shows the details and costs for the services you have requested. Please review your transaction, and if correct, click 'Authorize Transaction'. Note that if you have insufficient funds in your account, you will first be prompted to add more money to your account. Upon doing so you will then be returned to this page in order to complete and authorize the transaction.
: the services and pricing varies for each facility. Please consult our list of facilities
to determine which services are available at your facility.
Important Note: if you do not authorize the transaction on the final page, your letter and/or funds will not be sent, and your SIM account will not be charged.
How to View Electronic Reply Letters from Your Inmate
1. Be sure that you have sent an electronic letter to a facility that supports electronic return reply letters.
2. Electronic Reply letters are delivered along with your incoming electronic letter to your loved one. At his or her leisure, your loved one hand writes an 'Electronic Reply' on the supplied pages. When complete, he or she returns the letter to the mailroom. The mailroom worker scans or faxes the reply letters to our server. Our server links the special coded number on each page to the purchaser of each return letter. You will receive an email notification that you have a reply letter available to view. To view the letter simply log on to your SIM account and click on the ‘Read Mail’ link. Then click on jpg to view your reply letter. New reply pages are posted at the top of the page.
3. Click on the link in that email to go to Secure Instant Mail.
4. At the Secure Instant Mail log-in page, enter your user name (email address) and password.
5. Go to the 'Mail' tab on the black menu bar, and select 'Read Mail' from that menu.
6. You will see who sent you the letter, when it was purchased, and an information link.
7. Click on jpg to view your letter. Your 'Electronic Reply' letter will be displayed for your viewing.
8. All of your 'Electronic Reply' letters are saved on our server and will not be deleted. However, you may print your letter if you wish.
Important Note: email from our automated systems is often marked as spam or junk mail by internet mail providers. If you are not receiving your email notifications, please search through your bulk, junk, or spam mail for messages from 4inmates.com Mark correspondence from 4inmates.com as 'not spam' so that our email notifications will be routed to your inbox.