Howard County Jail Emailing An Inmate

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Howard County Jail

Address:
124 S. Park Place
Cresco, IA 52136

Phone:

563-547-3535

Send an Email or Text to an Inmate in the Howard County Jail

Sending an Email, Text or Secure Electronic Message to an Inmate

The Howard County Jail provides a service which allows secure electronic messaging for their inmates.

The email service they use is called Reliance.

Reliance is not directly connected to the internet like normal email, but instead each correspondence is first intercepted by the jail's servers. This gives the staff an opportunity to review the messages before delivering them to both inmates and the people that the inmates are communicating with.

Electronic messages received by the inmates are read either on kiosks within the inmate's unit, or or on tablets provided by the third party service that oversees the program.

Allowing inmates access to email has many upsides:

  • It is less expensive than regular mail.
  • It allows for faster turnaround of communication.
  • It allows the jail to monitor inmate communication in real time.
  • Because the jail receives a portion of the revenue, it brings the jail revenue they wouldn't have otherwise.
  • It is an inmate privilege that they don't want to have taken away, and thus can be used as a way to control behavior.
  • It keeps unwanted contraband from entering the facility in the physical mail.

For a list of Frequently Asked Questions and Answers about Reliance inmate emailing and texting, scroll down for more information about it or call the jail at 563-547-3535.

Inmate Emailing & Texting at Howard County Jail

Howard County Jail uses the services of Reliance Telephone for emailing/texting to inmates.

Known as the 'Reliance Inmate Wallet', it makes funding jail communication easy. 

  • Payments made into an 'Inmate Wallet' account are linked to a dedicated telephone number for inmates who rent one of their Reliance Tablet Phones.
  • Inmate Wallet funds can be used for personal inmate text messaging, voice calls and video calls.  
  • Cost of texting is $4.00 per month for rental of the Reliance Tablet Phone + $0.09 per message sent or received up to 160 characters.

Email with an Inmate in the Howard County Jail

Can inmates send and receive texts and emails?

Almost all jails and prisons have adopted a messaging system which allows inmates to communicate with their friends and family using an electronic messaging system. It’s neither email nor text, it’s something in between.

The inmate and their contacts do not use their regular email accounts or phone numbers, but account numbers that are set up with the company providing the service.
All communication goes through them. Think of them as a middleman.

Once a contact of the inmate is approved, like the approval process a visitor goes through, an account is set up, using a credit or debit card to fund the account. 

To start, the inmate’s contact can send a message that has a limit of so many characters, usually about one page of text. 

The message is then reviewed by a computer that scans the message for certain keywords or phrases that are not allowed, almost like a censoring service. If the machine scanner finds problems with the message it sends the message to the Howard County Jail staff to review, and if they find no issues, will then forward it to the inmate’s account so that they can read it.

If there are problems with the message, it is possible the message will not be sent. The sender will be notified of the decision and will not get a refund.

Once the inmate receives the message, should the account holder have funded the account allowing replies, the inmate can respond with a similar length message.

How much does it cost for an inmate to use a text or email service?

The cost to use the electronic messaging service, which is like texting or emailing, costs between $0.50 and $1.00 per page; a page being about 500 characters.

Can inmates send and receive photos through their messaging system?

Photos can be sent by the inmate’s contact that is not incarcerated, but not by the inmate due to security concerns. There is an extra cost, usually about $0.50 for each photo attached. 

The photos must go through a security screening where nudity, violence and other things are checked before the photo can be delivered. If the photo is rejected, the sender will be notified, but no refund will be given.

The inmate does not have the ability to print out the photos that make it past the screening, but the photos will stay in their account so that they can view them at their leisure. 

Can I send an inmate a link to a video to watch?

No.  Because this is a closed system, the inmate has no access to the internet, thus the inmate will have no access to any links that you send them.

Can I send the inmate a video?

Yes, just as you can send text and photos, you can send a video message, or if not a message, then a video of your children or yourself. Every company has a limit on the length of the video, usually no more than one minute, and at a cost of approximately $2.00 to $3.00 per video.

The video will first be screened for any nudity, excessive vulgarity, violence, etc. If it is rejected on any of the grounds the sender will not be given a refund.

As with the policy of photos, the inmate cannot reciprocate. They cannot send videos of themselves or anything in jail.

What device does an inmate use for texting and emailing?

The jails that contract with the electronic messaging service is given a certain number of kiosks within each unit for inmate use. Inmates can log on as they might with a public computer terminal. 

In addition to the public terminal kiosks, inmates are given (or can rent) access to individual tablets like a bulky, almost indestructible ipad. These allow an inmate to use them to access your messages, photos and videos in a more private manner. 

Should the inmate damage the tablet, they will be responsible for replacing it. The money will be deducted from their commissary account.

What is the inmate text and email system in Howard County Jail?

The electronic messaging system used by Howard County Jail, if there is one, can be found at the top of this page. If there is no information about the ability to text or email with an inmate, it is possible that the facility has recently changed companies or does not have this service available. Call 563-547-3535 to confirm.

What are the companies that provide inmate electronic messaging services?

This is a list of all the companies in the United States that work with jails and prisons, providing text and email messaging between inmates and their friends and families:

Access Corrections
CIDNET
City Tele Coin
Correct Pay
Corrlinks
Ctel
Edevo
Express Account
Gettingout
GTL
Homewav
IC Solutions
Inmate Canteen
Inmate Sales
JailATM
J Pay
NCIC
Paytel
Pigeonly
Prodigy Sales
Reliance
Securus
Smart Communications
TBE
Visitel

How do I fund the inmate’s messaging system?

You fund the messaging service with credit and debit cards. All of them take Visa and MasterCard, most also take Discover, and just some take America Express.

How often can an inmate text and email?

There is no limit to the amount of texting and email that an inmate can have with their family and friends.

Can inmates’ text any time of the day or night?

If an inmate has their own tablet, then they can text any time of the day or night, however if the must use the wall mounted kiosk terminal in their unit, they are limited to using it only during the hours they are allowed off their bunks; usually 7:00AM to 10:00PM, excluding meals, head counts and shift changes.

Can inmates email other inmates in other jails or prisons?

No, inmates are not allowed to communicate with each other, nor with inmates in other institutions. There is always a way to get around it, for example if one of the inmates has access to a phone with an internet connection, but this would be the only way.

How Do You Schedule and Visit an Inmate in Howard County Jail?

To set up an account to schedule and visit your Howard County inmate, follow these instructions:

  • Register and set up a new account with RELIANCE, or log in if you already have an account.
  • Select Howard County Jail, then select your inmate who you will be visiting.
  • Your identity will have to investigated and approved by the Howard County staff.
  • Once approved, you can schedule a visit.

For all the information you need in order to schedule and visit your Howard County inmate, or to assist them in visiting with others, including instructions, fees, cost of each visit, requirements for free visits, tablet rentals that can be used for visits, payment methods and times that your inmate can have a visit, check out our Visit Inmate Page.
NOTE: All of your visits with your inmate will be monitored and recorded. Use discretion when discussing sensitive information about their pending case.


 

How Do Inmates in Howard County Jail Make Phone Calls?

To set up your Howard County inmate to make to make phone calls to you and others, follow these instructions:

For all the information you need in order to receive phone calls from your Howard County inmate, or to assist them in making calls to others, including instructions, fees, cost of calls, payment methods and times that your inmate can use the phone, check out our Inmate Phone Page.
NOTE: All of your communication with your inmate will be monitored and recorded. Use discretion when discussing sensitive information about their pending case.


 

How Do Inmates in Howard County Jail Send and Receive Texts and Emails?

To set up your Howard County inmate to make to send and receive texts and emails to you and others, follow these instructions:

For all the information you need in order to send and receive texts and emails from your Howard County inmate, or to assist them in sending and receiving secure messages to and from others, including instructions, fees, cost of each message, tablet rentals, payment methods and times that your inmate can send messages, check out our Text/Email an Inmate Page.
NOTE: All of your communication with your inmate will be monitored and recorded. Use discretion when communicating sensitive information about their pending case.


 

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