How New Texting Apps Are Connecting Families and Federal Inmates (2024)

Staying connected with incarcerated loved ones poses many challenges. Communication with family on the outside is extremely limited for the over 150,000 people serving sentences in federal prisons. Traditional options like letters, calls, and infrequent visits make maintaining bonds difficult. 

However, new secure texting services are emerging as vital tools for families to bridge communication gaps.

We at Pigeonly have nine years of experience facilitating communication with family members and people who are behind bars. We know that keeping in touch with incarcerated people is more than simply a convenience; it is a lifeline to love, support, and hope. 

With almost ten years of committed service, we have developed our expertise in building safe and effective communication routes that connect the imprisoned with their loved ones.

The Challenges of Limited Communication

Federal inmates have very minimal contact with outside relatives and friends. Any communication is heavily restricted and monitored by prison staff. The few precious in-person visits allowed can cost families thousands in travel expenses, lodging, and lost wages. 

Phone calls are limited to just 15 minutes at a time and cost up to $25 for that brief 15-minute window. Require scheduling weeks in advance; with the average federal prison stay nearly 10 years, maintaining family relationships through these limited channels takes a huge toll.

Benefits of New Texting Solutions

That’s why new authorized texting solutions leveraging prison email systems are a game-changer for federal inmate communication. Secure services like federal inmate texting app allow families to exchange text messages with incarcerated loved ones conveniently and affordably. These providers are finally modernizing communication options by facilitating texts through on-site technologies like inmate email kiosks. 

Although messages are not instant due to screening protocols, delivery usually takes one hour to two to be delivered. Just having the ability to converse via text casually can foster a wonderful sense of connection.

Texting offers a vital lifeline for relatives like spouses, parents, and children missing an incarcerated family member. 

Simple daily messages let inmates know they are thought of and not forgotten. Maintaining active family ties through texting is especially critical for those approaching release dates. Numerous studies show that inmates who preserve connections with relatives have much lower recidivism rates upon reentering society. Easy texting access provides hope.

How Texting Through Pigeonly Works

So, how exactly does seamless two-way text exchange work? 

Services like Pigeonly enable relatives to send text messages via their personal mobile phones easily. The texts are then securely delivered to the federal inmates on authorized devices. 

Inmates can then check their email system messages for new texts throughout the day and reply through the on-site prison email system. Their responses are screened for security purposes before being sent back to waiting loved ones. Though not instant, this platform facilitates safe, meaningful communication.

Why Texting Matters

Texting has many unique advantages over the limited phone calls allowed in federal prisons. Families can send messages to inmates at any time of day instead of just 15 minutes per scheduled call. 

Inmates can take time to thoughtfully craft meaningful responses instead of feeling pressured during a phone call. Pictures are not allowed through text, but Pigeonly also offers a photo texting service that can also be conveniently exchanged to help family members feel closer and more involved. For all involved, just engaging in casual text conversations can provide comfort and relieve feelings of isolation.

The Future of Inmate Texting

While texting services expand visitation options for federal inmates and families, legislation is also easing restrictions. A 2021 Federal Communications Commission vote allowing tablets in prisons for educational content opened doors for more secure inmate messaging apps. 

As lawmakers increasingly recognize the benefits of enhanced communication, texting access could grow even further. But existing services like Pigeonly are already profoundly improving realities for thousands of incarcerated individuals and their loved ones each day.


Navigating federal incarceration undoubtedly poses many challenges, but innovative texting solutions are helping families stay meaningfully connected during difficult separations. Maintaining treasured family ties supports rehabilitation and successful societal reintegration. 

By providing a convenient way for relatives to exchange frequent messages, texting delivers comfort, reassurance, and hope. Truly, easy messaging access represents a vital lifeline – one bringing families closer despite the miles between them.

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is Senior Writer DZ-TECH, where he covers the world of technology, hacking, cybersecurity, surveillance and privacy.

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