How to use GTL ConnectNetwork to contact incarcerated people

ConnectNetwork is an email-like service operated by GTL, through which many people incarcerated in Illinois can be contacted. The cost is generally $0.20-$0.30 per message, depending on the size of the message credit pack purchased.

  1. Go to Click “Create account,” and follow steps to create new account. 
  2. In the left sidebar, go to “My facilities.” Under “Add new facility,” select Illinois from the dropdown menu of states and then select “Illinois Department of Corrections” from the dropdown menu of facilities. 
  3. In the left sidebar, go to “My inmates” and select “Search for inmates”
  4. Enter the full name or IDOC ID# of the person you want to reach, and select to add them as a contact. (For artists in our Virtual Gallery series, this information is in the top banner of their art gallery). It may take several days for you to be approved as a contact; you’ll receive an email notification once you’re approved.
  5. Once you’re approved, return to and go to “Messaging” in the left sidebar, then click “Buy credits” and follow instructions to purchase messaging credits.
  6. Return to “Messaging,” and click “Compose” to write a new message.
  7. Write your message. Because GTL can be a finicky website, and frequently requires you to sign in again (erasing any message you’re in the process of writing), we recommend drafting your message in a separate document, then copying and pasting it into GTL. Once your message is finished, click “Continue.”
  8. You’re ready to send! You may want to include one or two extra message credits with your message, so that the person you’re messaging can reply without spending their own message credits. Agree to terms and conditions, and send.  

Because GTL reviews messages before delivery, there’s often a 1-3 day lag between when you send a message and when it’s delivered. You should get an email notification once the email is delivered, and another notification when anyone writes you on GTL. Go to “Messages” in the left sidebar and then click “Inbox” to see any new messages.