The Department of Corrections is considering allowing prisoners to receive external emails.
A three-month trial at Rimutaka Prison, north of Wellington, has just been completed, with more than 50 emails being received from as far afield as Europe.
The department reads the emails first before printing them out and giving them to prisoners. But because the inmates don't have internet access, they respond by letter.
The department says the emails are good for security, because family and friends can't sneak in banned items like they do in the post.
The department is reviewing the trial, before deciding whether to commit to a wider-scale programme in other prisons.