Inmates are probably the most guarded set of people in the world, a tiny loophole in security measures provided by the prison could see hardened and dangerous walking freely on the streets.This is why there is a guide that contains all you need to know about sending items to inmates. 

In this guide I’ll be compiling a list of items you can send to an imates from cover mailing letters, photos, books, cards, magazines and newspapers.

Can You Send Jewelry To Someone In Jail?

These are basically what you’re allowed to send to inmates. Items like jewelry, personal items, and others, are considered as contrabands and will be most likely confiscated by the prison officials. 

You must first contact the correctional facility over the phone before proceeding to send any item to an innate. The telephone numbers you can call are displayed on our site.

letters to friend in prison

Sending A Letter To A Friend In Jail

Like it or not, letters have been one medium of communication that’s still widely used since times past. Even with the introduction of telephones, it can’t seem to replace the intimacy a letter shares with its reader, especially when such a letter is from a loved one. 

Why You Should Send A Letter To A Friend In Prison

For most inmates, letters are what give them the strength to go through their stay sentence knowing that they won’t go through their predicament all alone. That’s why it is common for inmates to get anxious over when the next letter is going to be sent across.

However, mailing letters to inmates is a quite different experience all together. Unlike on the outside where it takes less time to receive mails, In a prison getting mails can be slow at times.

It is even worse when the facility is on a lockdown, as incoming mail deliveries stop during this period, and will only be delivered until the lockdown is lifted.

Another lie I recently noticed is some Inmate Service companies who pose as an avenue through which you can send mails to inmates, by contacting them online or sending them a message via their website.

I however discovered that such “Inmate Service” companies are scams as no Inmate have access to the internet or more or less any instant messaging services.

Instead, what the majority of these services do is print out the letters addressed to the inmates and mail them in with a stamp, for which they charged twice as much or more to mail to the Inmate. How fast it takes to get to the Inmate is another thing of question.

Mailing letters through Inmate Service companies also takes out the intimacy or connection it is supposed to have to the addressed inmate. Because the letters are converted into printed format, it becomes less personal than when it is read in the inmate’s loved one’s handwriting.

Dos And Donts For Sending Letters To Jail

Here are things you should as much as possible avoid doing when sending a letter, else it’ll be rejected:

Can You Send Pictures To Friends In Jail?

Photos are one way of recreating or reminiscing on experiences therefore, if there’s anything inmates love more than receiving letters, then it should be photos.

Remember, inmates spend all their time in the prison locked away from the world, sending them photos is one way to keep them updated about happenings in the outside world. And in some cases, reminisce back on the good old days when things were different.

Unlike letters, photos are more allowed in the prison as officials let you hold on to your photos which you could either put them up in your cell, or carry them along.

The Importance Of Sending Pictures To Your Friends In Jail

Having a picture giving you inspiration and strength to carry on. For instance, you were incarcerated at the time when your wife was pregnant with a child, you can still keep informed about the development of your child through photos.

Getting to see photos of your child from he/she was very tiny to when they took their first baby steps can give you the strength to carry out your sentence just to reunite with your child.

Sadly, there is also the problem of some online companies who exploit people just for sending photos.

These companies provide a site where you can upload photos, they print the photos and send them to the inmates for a cost that’s ten times the amount it will cost to do it yourself.

The good news is I have discovered a reliable and cost-effective way to send photos to an inmate is to print them through Walgreens or a similar online service, most times for under 10ยข per photo.

After printing, you can then upload the photos online and pick them up to mail to the Inmate or have them mailed directly through Walgreens (note that mailing directly through Walgreens has some drawbacks).

Here are some important tips to note when sending photos:

How To Send Books To A Friend In Prison

Books, magazines, and newspapers is a gift that will keep inmates engaged for days or even weeks! Sending a book or magazine to an Inmate is quite simple.

First, you must ensure that such a book comes directly from the publisher. This means such a book can only be ordered and sent by Amazon.com (it must not be used or purchased from third parties sellers)

Also take note that books must come new and must be paperback, as hardcover will be rejected.

Used books will also be rejected. And even if you send them all nicely packaged in a box yourself, they will be rejected. Only books directly from the publisher (Amazon) will be accepted and it’s no big deal ordering books from Amazon. 

To order from Amazon, simply select ship by USPS and ship to the inmate’s mailing address. Input the inmate’s first name and last name then the inmate’s ID number, example (Joe Kingston, 56565).

You can call the inmate’s facility directly if you are unsure of the inmate’s information. Make sure you also enter the facility name and the address. Let me show you a quick example:

Sending magazines and newspapers can be done the same way books are ordered from Amazon (see the illustrated stated above).

Magazines and newspapers containing adult content (Playboy, Penthouse) will not be allowed however, educational and informative magazines like Maxim, Field and Stream, Newsweek will be allowed.

Here are some things to remember when sending books, magazines or newspapers to Inmates:

Can You Send Birthday Cards To Inmates?

Correctional facilities do not refuse inmates from receiving holiday or birthday cards however such cards should not have any electronics or popup/out content.

Cards sent must adhere to the facility policies on content that can be received which is: no nudity or sexually suggestive content, must not contain stickers or anything that makes it appear different from a holiday or birthday card.

Keep in mind that it is best to first send letters to Inmates before sending other items.

This is important because it’ll help to confirm the inmates location and you will also know if they’re able to receive items. And if you’re not sure of what item to send, simply put a call through to the facility using the telephone numbers provided.

Do not send too many items to Inmates, as they have limited space to store them and also note that only a certain number of an item is allowed into the prison. In the event an inmate has too many possessions, the facility will end up giving some of them out as donations.

How do I send a letter to an inmate?

How do I send a letter to an inmate online?

To send a letter to an inmate online, you may use the service of companies that specialise in sending mails to prison.

What do you say in a letter to a prisoner?

Write everything that’s happening around you and genuinely let them know how you feel. Include details of a step-by-step recovery approach you hope they may want to take towards reintegration after their incarceration period.

How many letters can you send to an inmate?

There is no limit to the number of letters you can send to an inmate. As long as the inmate does not have your name on their “no-contact list,” all your letters to them will be delivered to the inmate after it is completely processed.

How many letters can a prisoner send?

There is no limit to the number of letters a prisoner can send out if the inmate has enough money in their inmate commissary account to purchase stamped envelopes.

However, if the inmate has to request for a free stamped envelope, then he or she will not be allowed unlimited access to pre-stamped envelope because the welfare team has to make sure every inmate is able to get their own share of the pre-stamped envelopes.

Can you send blank paper to inmates?

If you send a blank paper to an inmate, it will be delivered to them after it has been scanned for hidden text and drugs.

How long does it take for an inmate to send a letter?

Inmates are allowed to send out letters as soon as they are classified and placed into units. The rights of inmates are respected and as long as they have a stamped envelope, they can send out a letter immediately.

Do guards read prisoners mail?

All prisoners mail from family and friends are read to make sure it conforms with the guidelines of the state and prison facility. Letters from lawyers which are branded with “attorney-client priviledge” written on them are scanned separately.

Can Amazon ship to prisons?

Amazon orders can be shipped to prisons and delivered to inmates. Before you make a purchase from Amazon for an inmate, make sure the inmate has received approval from the security team to receive the item you intend to send.

Can you send colored envelopes to inmates?

In most prison facilities, inmates are not allowed to receive envelopes from outside the centre. If you send coloured envelopes to an inmate, they will either be confiscated or placed in their property bin and held till the inmate is released.

Can you send bathing suit pictures to inmates?

Insufficiently clothed pictures which reveal bath suits, underwear or some degree of nudity will be placed in the inmate’s property bin. Inmates are not allowed to receive erotic or indecent pictures while incarcerated.

Can you type a letter to an inmate?

Yes. You can type a letter to an inmate. However sending a typed letter to an inmate takes out the originality and emotions that come with a hand written letter.

How can I text an inmate to get out?

You cannot send a text to an inmate. The use of mobile phones are prohibited in prison and any inmate who is found using a mobile phone will face an adjudicator.

How do I leave a message for an inmate?

You can leave a message for an inmate through a letter, or through their dedicated voicemail box which is set up for them during admission at the prison facility.

Can you send pictures to inmates?

Yes. Anyone can send unlimited pictures to inmates. You must make sure the picture is printed on photo paper, and is not larger than 4″ x 6″ inches in dimension.

Can you spray perfume on letters to inmates?

If you spray perfume on a letter to an inmate, the odds of that letter getting confiscated increases greatly.

Can you write inmates in colored ink?

Yes. You are allowed to write a letter to an inmate in any colored ink of your choice. Some prison facilities only issue out photocopies of your letters to the inmate while the original copy is placed in their property bin.

If your friend’s centre follows this practice, then the aim of sending a letter in colored ink is defeated as the photocopies are only made in black and white.

Can I send clothes to a prisoner?

Yes. You can send clothes to a prisoner but you have to first make sure they have to first make sure the inmate has been approved to receive the piece of clothing you intend to send.

Because of limited space in an inmate’s property bin, most prison facilites only allow a 1 for 1 clothing exchange. In this case, you have to take back the inmate’s former clothes while dropping off the new clothes.

Do prisoners like getting letters

Yes. Letters have proven to be a major support system for most inmates in their fight to maintain a balanced mental health. A letter is the next best thing an inmate loves to receive after money. Sending a letter to an inmate makes them believe that you have not forgotten them.

Sending a letter to an inmate can save them from depression and Post Incarceration Syndrome.

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