Overview:  This article is intended to provide a series of steps on how to correspond with an inmate in your prison ministry.  The Correspondence functionality allows a volunteer to participate in the correspondence program and helps to manage correspondence between the volunteer(s) and assigned inmates.  Types of written correspondence include encouraging letters or participation in the study-by-mail program.

Type of System Access:  The type of System Settings needed to follow this article is:  Volunteer (default permissions)

Please Note:  Any kind of correspondence, whether study by mail or encouraging letters to those incarcerated, should be logged within the Correspondence Module.  The only correspondence NOT covered in this article and functionality is letters between the Branch and the Pilot Program about that inmate or from the Branch to that inmate.  They should be kept in the inmate documentation section.  

Important Facts

Below are important details.

  • A Volunteer will only see the Inmates that are in the correspondence program and that have been assigned to the Volunteer. Click My Ministry in the Navigation Panel, then click the Inmates Tab to see your assigned Inmates.
  • Within the Inmates Profile:
    • The Facility Mailing address is what the volunteer(s) will use to send correspondence to an inmate. 
    • The Return Address will be used by the inmate to send correspondence back to the assigned volunteer(s).

 


 

Where do I find letterhead for Correspondence to Inmates?

 

Letterhead has been created for Volunteer use when communicating with Inmates for either encouraging letters or the study-by-mail program. To download the letterhead, follow the steps below:

Step 1 Click My Ministry in the Navigation Panel.  Then click on the Inmates tab.

 

 

Step 2 Click on an assigned Inmate or the Chevron (right arrow).

 

  

Step 3  Click on Download Template located in the center bottom of the screen, directly beneath the Inmate Correspondence card. A Word document will be downloaded that can be used with Microsoft Word or Google Docs.

 


 

What type of documents can be uploaded to Correspondence?


Currently, Gate Access accepts PDF documents. Any other file type cannot be uploaded to the system.

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are the only two supported browsers that allow a user to upload documents.

 

Is there a file size limit for Correspondence letters to be uploaded?


Currently, PDF files can be and must have a file size of 5MB or less. If your PDF is larger than 5MBs, it is recommended that you split your PDF into multiple parts to condense the file size or save the file as a black and white PDF with a smaller resolution (300dpi is recommended).

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are the only two supported browsers that allow a user to upload documents.

 

Why can’t I see an Inmate under my Correspondence Module?

 

You will only see the Inmates that are in the correspondence program and that have been assigned to you. 

If you do not see an Inmate that you are expecting to see, please communicate with your Facility Contact to make sure the Inmate has been assigned to you and is enrolled in the correspondence program.

 

How do I add Correspondence?

 

The option to upload a PDF version of a letter sent or received rests with the volunteer, however, a note will be required in all instances.  To add correspondence to or from an inmate, please follow the steps below.  

 

Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge are the only two supported browsers that allow a user to upload documents.

 

Step 1 Click My Ministry in the Navigation Panel.  Then click on the Inmates tab.

 


Step 2 Click on an assigned Inmate or the Chevron (right arrow).  This action will display the Inmates Profile.  

Note:  If you have a large number of assigned inmates:

  • You can search for a specific inmate by entering criteria (First Name, Last Name, Facility Name) in the Search Box located at the top left of the page.  
  • You can also set your pagination (number of inmates displayed on a single page) by using the Rows Per Page dropdown box located in the bottom right of the page.  
  • If neither of these is your preference, then you can scroll through the various pages of inmates by using the Chevron (left/right arrow) also located in the bottom right of the page.  

 

 

Note:  The Inmate Profile contains various cards with information that will be beneficial in your corresponding with an inmate.  

  • Inmate Details:  This contains information about the Inmate, his current location, and the addresses where correspondence is to be sent.
  • Inmate Correspondence:  This documents the correspondence that was sent to or received from the inmate.  
  • Inmate Notes:  This is where a summary of any interactions with an inmate is to be documented.  Here is where one will designate that a Study was conducted (whether in-person or through correspondence) and this will in turn be reflected in your Activity report.  If it is not identified as a Study, it will not be counted as such by the system and your report will be inaccurate.  
  • Document Template:  By clicking here, an MS Word document will be downloaded that can be used with Microsoft Word or Google Docs for your prison ministry correspondence.

 

 

Step 3  To add new correspondence to Inmate Correspondence, click the Add Icon.  

 

 

  • Note: The Add Correspondence Drawer will open on the right side of the page. 

 


Step 4 To record/upload a physical correspondence event or document:

  • Select Document in the Format dropdown menu. 
  • Update the Date field, as needed. 
  • If the correspondence pertains to an ongoing Bible Study, be sure to check the box labeled Bible Study.  
    1. If this is not selected, it will not be counted as a Bible study in your Activity.
  • Select whether the correspondence was Sent by a volunteer (you) or Received from an inmate.
  • Enter Notes summarizing the contents of the correspondence. 
  • Use Drag and Drop or Browse Files to attach the file.

 

 

Step 5 Click Save. 

 


Step 6 To record/upload a digital correspondence event or document:

  • Select Digital in the Format dropdown menu. 
  • Update the Date field, as needed. 
  • If the correspondence pertains to an ongoing Bible Study, be sure to check the box labeled Bible Study.  
    1. If this is not selected, it will not be counted as a Bible study in your Activity.
  • Select whether the correspondence was Sent by a volunteer (you) or Received from an inmate.
  • Enter the contents of the communication in Digital Correspondence.   Please note this is a required field and you will not be able to Save it if this is left blank.  

 

 

Step 7 Click Save.

 

 

Step 8  Inmate Correspondence card will display newly added correspondence.  

 

 

How do I View, Edit, or Delete Correspondence?

 

Step 1 To View, Edit, or Delete correspondence, click on the Ellipsis to the right of the specific row and select either View, Edit, or Delete.

  • Note: 
    1. View will open the uploaded PDF to review. (This option is only for entries with a Document that has been uploaded and not a digital entry.)
    2. Edit and Delete will open the Edit Correspondence drawer.

 


Step 2  To Edit, make the necessary adjustments in the Edit Correspondence drawer.  Once complete, click Save.

  • Note: Delete will remove the record. 


How do I record a new entry in Inmate Notes?


Step 1 To add an Inmate Note, click the Add Icon. 

  • Note:  The Add Inmate Note drawer will open on the right side of the page.

 

 

 

Step 3 Enter the Date of the Note by selecting the Calendar Icon or entering the date in YYYY-MM-DD format.  Click the Bible Study box to indicate a note about an assigned Bible study.  Enter any relevant Note details. 

 


Step 4 Click the Save button when complete.

 

 

Step 5  Inmate Notes card will display newly added notes.  


 

How do I Edit or Delete an Inmate Note?

 

Step 1  To Edit or Delete, click on the Ellipsis to the right of the specific row and select either Edit or Delete.

  • Note: Edit and Delete will open the Edit Inmate Note drawer.

 

Step 2 To Edit, make the necessary adjustments, and click Save.

Note: Delete will remove the record.

 

 



Article Last Updated:  June 18, 2022

Videos Last Updated:  August 21, 2022