As a family member or friend of an inmate, your loved one is able to correspond with you, attorneys, courts, and other public officials and organizations by mail while they are incarcerated.
All correspondence must comply with the Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) procedures and not pose a threat to the facility’s security, violate any state or federal law, or violate any U.S. Postal Service regulation. View more details in Operating Procedure 803.1.
Disclaimer: These mailing procedures apply to VADOC facilities only. Inmates under the responsibility of the VADOC but housed in a local/regional jail must follow the rules of that jail. Please contact that jail directly to learn more about their procedures.
Addressing Your Mail
Inmate’s first and last name
Inmate’s 7-digit state ID number
Name of Facility or Institution
Address and Zip Code
Find an inmate's state ID number using the Offender Locator
Find facility addresses on the Facilities Directory.
What You Can Send to Inmates
Below is a short list of items you can and cannot send to an inmate. If you have any questions about whether or not an item you want to send is approved, please contact the facility directly.
- Greeting cards
- Appropriate photos (no pornographic, obscene, or offensive imagery)
Please note that all mail received will be shredded after it has been scanned including photographs.
Mail Not Accepted
- Money orders, cash, checks, or other items of monetary value (send money to an inmate with JPay)
- Postage stamps
- Prepaid postage envelopes or postcards
- Nude or semi-nude images of anyone
- Contraband or other items not in compliance with Operating Procedure 802.1
How We Process and Deliver Mail
Incoming inmate mail may be opened, searched, and read by authorized staff.
Photocopying Inmate Mail
For Security Level 2 facilities and above, all incoming inmate mail will be photocopied. Only the photocopies will be delivered to the inmate.
The original envelope and enclosed mail contents, including personal photos, will be shredded after they are photocopied. A maximum of three 8.5”X 11” photocopied black and white pages, front and back, will be delivered to the inmate for each mailing. This includes a copy of the envelope as one of the three front and back photocopied pages.
Unauthorized incoming mail, such as mail for an inmate not housed in a facility, will be returned to the post office unopened. If opened, the mail will be returned directly to the sender if known with a written explanation for rejection.
If an inmate has been released or transferred, we will send your mail back to you.
All legal correspondence sent by attorneys and courts must be mailed directly to the VADOC Central Mail Distribution Center for screening and inspection. Please refer to our Legal Correspondence page for more detailed information.