The 5 Best Ways to Support an Inmate in Utah

When a loved one is arrested, it’s difficult for everyone in the family, but it can be a nightmare for the one behind bars.  Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to support inmates in Utah to make their days a little brighter.

1. Communicate as much as possible

Inmates can personally connect with you in a variety of ways, including visitations, letters, phone calls, and — in some jurisdictions — emails. If an inmate has permission to call you, do your best to answer. They may not be able to use social media, but you may be able to act as a liaison to the outside world, posting for them and relaying comments to them.

There are certain limitations you need to keep in mind depending on where your loved one is serving and how good their behavior is. Before doing anything, it is important to make sure you are not violating any rules. Call the jail or prison to get a rundown on their communication policies. 

2. Send money

While inmates cannot handle cash directly, they have access to an account that lets them make purchases at the commissary. They can buy snacks, hygiene products, stamps for letters, stationery, and more. They can also use the money to pay debts.

Their funds come from one of two main sources: prison-based employment and family contributions. You can send them money through a variety of means, including an online portal.

3. Buy books

Unfortunately, you cannot send a gift directly to an inmate. The only mail inmates are allowed to receive is a single layer of white or lined paper and a limited number of photos. You can, however, buy a book through the commissary. The book vendor sends it to the prison where it’s delivered to the inmate after it goes through inspection.

You can also subscribe to magazines on an inmate’s behalf. Simply get a subscription form, and fill out the inmate’s name, the offender number, and the facility’s address.

4. Donate to organizations supporting Utah inmates

This is an indirect way to support an inmate in Utah, but it can be a big help. If you don’t have the funding to support these organizations through donations, you can also donate your time as a volunteer. 

The Utah Prisoner Advocacy Network (UPAN) is one of the most well-known Utah organizations helping inmates. Its mission is to support inmates in making the entire process easier while improving prison conditions. There are also programs that educate prisoners like the University of Utah Prison Education Project, religious programs like the Prison Fellowship of Utah, and more.

5. Make sure legal needs are taken care of

Whether your loved one is going through a trial or wants to appeal, you’ll want someone with experience on their team. At Brown, Bradshaw & Moffat, we have been practicing criminal defense for more than two decades. We can help no matter what phase of the criminal process you or your loved one is in.

For a free consultation, give us a call at (801) 532-5297.

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