When Lenell Ripley wanted to send a quick message to a friend inside the Travis County Jail in Austin recently, she had a new option: e-mail. The Austin American-Statesman says Ripley went to a Web site that offers a way to send e-mails to inmates even though they don’t have access to the Internet. The e-mails are printed out by a jail official and delivered to the inmate. Since late last year, inmates at the Travis County Jail have been able to receive e-mails through the service, which is provided by Dallas-based Securus Technologies.
As part of the service, the sender can include a reply page, which is a piece of paper that the inmate writes a note on, said a sheriff’s spokesman. The paper is scanned and e-mailed back to the original sender. The inmates can’t initiate the e-mail, he said. To send a message, people can go to the Securus Web site, www.4inmates.com, and register. The sender must have the name of the inmate and inmate number. Sending an e-mail costs 60 cents for two pages in Travis County. Since the program started, the Travis County sheriff’s department has received up to three e-mail messages for inmates per day.