Sending Books, Letters, and Photos to an Inmate: Important Rules to Keep In Mind

A Washington Post report stated that an estimated 2.4 million Americans are in prisons (2013). These individuals spend a long time without family and friends, depending on their sentences. A care package of letters, books, photos, and other things from loved ones may cheer them up and help them pass the time. Rules dictate how to send packages to inmates.

It’s crucial for everything sent to an inmate to include their name as it appears in their state’s Department of Corrections records. Additional things to include are the inmate’s state offender identification number, and the name and complete address of the facility. Having this information ensures that the packages reach the correct place and person. If you don’t know what facility someone is in, you can find inmate information by doing an inmate search through GoLookUp. GoLookUp is an online resource database that provides public and criminal records, and contact and address information, and enables background checks. Inmate searches result in information related to inmates in United States facilities. Be mindful that the staff at United States facilities open and review all mail sent to inmates.

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Sending books to inmates to keep their minds occupied is a great idea. Inmates can learn from books and stimulate their imagination and creativity. If you know an inmate’s favorite genre of books, consider sending them a book from that genre they’re sure to enjoy. Senders can find a new text for an inmate to read by consulting the list of The New York Times Best Sellers.

Books sent to inmates must be paperback, as hardcover books could become a potential weapon. Most facilities don’t allow used books, so all books mailed must be in new condition. Publishers and companies such as Amazon must mail books, and the United States Postal Service must deliver them. Most facilities allow sending a maximum of three books at a time. Prohibited reading materials include those that contain sexual or violent content.

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Most inmates enjoy receiving letters from loved ones and getting updates on what’s happening outside the facility. To send messages to inmates, one should search state restrictions and rules on mailing letters. For example, in Oregon, envelopes cannot be thicker than a quarter of an inch. Additionally, envelopes, letters, and other contents shouldn’t have perfume, lipstick, or other substances on them.

Floridian inmates can’t receive packages in plastic bags, boxes, padded envelopes, or metal-consisting envelopes. Limitations exist on the number of pages someone can mail. Senders who send personal but appropriate content to inmates avoid having their letters discarded by facility staff.

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Inmates may feel connected to their family and friends outside of jail and prison when they receive photos. Sending pictures of vacation spots, graduations, birthday parties, family functions, and other get-togethers can keep an inmate updated on what their loved ones are doing. Photos can send them the message that everyone misses them and can’t wait for them to come home and rejoin the fun.

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People who love taking pictures and desire to send photos to jailed and imprisoned loved ones should invest in a smart home device, such as ibi. This device provides cloud picture backups. It saves pictures from one’s data cloud and social media accounts, and devices such as computers, phones, and USB drives. ibi enables photo sharing through messages and social media apps. People can take as many photos as they’d like and save them all on ibi, as it has massive storage capacity. Senders can print stored images and send them to inmates.

When sending photos to inmates, one should be aware of a few rules. There may be a size regulation in place. For example, most jails and prisons won’t accept photos bigger than 4”x6”, or 8”x10”. Photos shouldn’t depict nudity, explicit sexual content, hand gestures, tattoos, or content that implies gang activity. If facilities deem photos inappropriate, they’re likely to dispose of them. It’s wise to avoid sending pictures that include someone who committed a crime with an inmate. You should check with the staff to see how many images you can mail at a time. In some cases, facilities allow five photos maximum. Photos should have the inmate’s name and ID number printed on the back.

Connecting with an inmate is worth the research and work that goes into mailing things the appropriate way. Sending mail and care packages to inmates can be easy as long as senders follow the rules.