Sending Books, Letters, and Photos to an Inmate: Important rules you need to know | PrisonPro

This is a general guide on how to send items to an inmate. will cover sending letters, photos, books, cards, magazines and newspapers. For the most part, these are the only items that can be mailed to an inmate (with the exception of vacation packages). At no time should you attempt to mail an inmate anything else, such as jewelry, personal items, etc., as they are likely to be confiscated as contraband. If at any time you are not sure what you can send, please contact the facility by phone using the numbers provided on our site.

send letters to inmates

It may not seem like much to someone on the outside, but when you’re incarcerated, the cards are your soul. they keep you going from day to day and bring the voices or those of your loved ones right into your head. many times, inmates can hardly wait to receive the next letter from the mail room. In prison and jail, there are few things to look forward to, and the mail is one of them. receiving mail can sometimes be slow, and when a facility crashes, incoming mail deliveries stop and will not continue to be delivered until the crash is lifted.

One of the big scams I’ve noticed are various “inmate services” companies claiming that you can contact your inmate online or send them a message through their website. Don’t be fooled, this is all a scam, as no inmate has access to the internet or any instant messaging services (with the exception of digital mail services, which I’ll cover later). what most of these companies do is print the letters you write and send them with a stamp, meanwhile they charge you double, even triple or more for the postage and it doesn’t arrive any faster than if you send it yourself. besides the fact that it’s a scam, it really takes the best part out of receiving a letter…it can be hard to understand, but when an inmate receives a handwritten letter it’s much more personal, and can feel like a connection to whoever is writing the letter.

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some things you should never do when sending a letter, as the letter will be rejected:

  • do not use staples or paper clips
  • never use markers, crayons, glitter, glue, stickers, or lipstick on the letter or envelope
  • do not use perfume or any other other fragrance
  • any drawing or mark that could be misinterpreted as a secret code, etc. will result in rejection
  • never write anything on letters that you would not like a third party to read (all mail is inspected and read by staff)
  • if your letter is rejected /returned, you can contact the facility and ask why, but a simple explanation will usually be provided.

send photos to inmates

If there’s one thing an inmate likes more than getting a letter in the mail, it’s getting pictures. photos are great to receive when you are incarcerated for many reasons. First of all, most facilities allow you to keep your photos and you can place them in your cell, save them as a bookmark or simply carry the photo with you for inspiration throughout the day. furthermore, when an inmate receives a photo, it can allow him to see the things you have been discussing with him in letters or on the phone… the inmate can see what new car, boat, baby, pet, or vacation he took. it actually looks like, think of it like an old instagram.

Unfortunately, photos are another area exploited by some online businesses. these companies allow you to upload photos online, print them, and send them to the inmate, while charging you ten times what it costs to do it yourself. I find that the best way to send photos to an inmate is to print them through Walgreens or a similar online service, often for less than 10 cents per photo (always look for coupons online to save). you can upload the photos online and then go pick them up, put them in an envelope and mail them or just have them mailed directly to the inmate through the walgreens website (mailing them directly has some drawbacks). Some important things to remember when sending photos:

  • photos should be no larger than 4″x6″
  • always print the inmate’s name and ID number on the back of the photo in pen (this helps staff from the mail room)</li
  • photos should never contain nudity, sexually suggestive material
  • hand gestures and tattoos are often not allowed because they may have gang implications
  • only 5 photos can be sent in a single stamped envelope at a time, and many times a facility will only allow 3-5 photos
  • remember that the staff and other inmates will see them

send books, magazines and newspapers to inmates

Receiving books, magazines or newspapers is a gift that can be enjoyed for days and even weeks after the inmate receives it. Sending books and magazines to an inmate is quite simple. almost all institutions will allow inmates to receive books (with the exception of temporary classification and diagnostic institutions), but stipulate that they must come directly from the publisher. what does ‘from the publisher’ mean? Simply put, it means you can order them on amazon.com (they shouldn’t be used or from third-party sellers). Some key things about ordering books are that they must be new and they must be pocket sized. if they are hardcover they will be rejected. if they are used they will be rejected. if they are not from a publisher like amazon and you send them yourself in a box they will be rejected! Ordering books for an inmate through amazon is easy, just make sure you select ship by usps and ship to the inmate’s mailing address. place the inmate’s first and last name followed by the inmate ID number on the name line of the shipping address (john doe, 12345). If you are unsure of this information, please use our inmate lookup feature or call the facility directly to obtain this information. be sure to enter the name of the facility and the address where the inmate’s mail is received (which may not be the same as the physical address). For example, if you were sending items to an inmate who is incarcerated at Ulster Correctional Facility, you would address it as follows: John Doe, 12345Ulsterp.O Correctional Institution. box 800napanoch, new york 12458-0800

Magazines and newspapers can be ordered the same way, through amazon and using the same payment method highlighted above. just remember to be tasteful. the institution will not allow adult content magazines such as playboy, penthouse, and hustler… however, they will allow magazines such as maxim, car and driver, field and stream, newsweek, etc.

Some important things to remember when sending books, magazines, or newspapers to an inmate:

  • send no more than 3 books at a time
  • all books must be new and softcover (no hardcover or spiral bound for reasons of security)
  • always send usps
  • use inmate name and ID number with facility mailing address
  • inmates in solitary confinement cannot receive mail

send holiday/birthday cards

You may send Christmas and birthday cards to an inmate, but they must not contain electronic content or pop-up windows. they must also adhere to policies regarding appropriate content (no nudity or sexually suggestive material, no matter how funny), and can’t have glitter, stickers, or anything else that makes the card different from a regular card .

Remember, when sending items to an inmate, it is best to send a letter first. this will confirm inmate location and ability to receive items, and if you are unsure of what you can send, please contact the facility using the phone numbers provided. Also keep in mind that anything you send to an inmate will need to be stored, and some correctional facilities will only allow a certain number of items to be in an inmate’s possession at any given time. In other words, if an offender has too many books, he will have to donate some or he will not be allowed to have any more.

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