Sending Mail to an Offender

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As a family member or friend of an offender, 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. Offenders 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.

Sending Mail

Addressing Your Mail

Offender’s first and last name
Offender’s 7-digit state ID number
Name of Facility or Institution
Address and Zip Code

What You Can Send to Offenders

Below is a short list of items you can and cannot send to an offender. If you have any questions about whether or not an item you want to send is approved, please contact the facility directly.

Mail Accepted

  • Letters
  • Greeting cards
  • Postcards
  • 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 offender 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 offender mail may be opened, searched, and read by authorized staff.

  • Photocopying Offender Mail

    For Security Level 2 facilities and above, all incoming offender mail will be photocopied. Only the photocopies will be delivered to the offender.

  • Shredding Policy

    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 offender for each mailing. This includes a copy of the envelope as one of the three front and back photocopied pages.

  • Unauthorized Mail

    Unauthorized incoming mail, such as mail for an offender 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.

  • Mail Forwarding

    If an offender has been released or transferred, we will send your mail back to you.

Watch this video to learn more about the mail procedures and restrictions at Virginia Department of Corrections facilities.
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