How can I Mail Things to People in Prison?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
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Most prisons permit prisoners to accept mail, although the items that can be mailed to prisoners are usually heavily restricted. In order to send mail to a prisoner, you will need his or her address at the prison, and you may find it useful to contact the prison to find out which items are permitted in prison mail, as restrictions vary. If you are just sending a letter, it can be mailed in a conventional envelope, but if you are sending additional material, such as stationery, stamps, photographs, or writing supplies, enclose it in a manila envelope and clearly label it for mail room staff. Be aware that all incoming mail is opened and inspected, and that staff will confiscate all prohibited items.

The requirements for addressing prison mail vary, depending on where the mail is being sent. In general, the first line of the address should include the prisoner's full name, along with an inmate identification number. Next, the prison name and specific housing block of the prisoner should be listed, along with the city, state or province, and postal code. You should never enclose cash, sensitive items, or other valuables, as they will be confiscated.


If you are sending supplies to a prison, make sure that they are allowed. You may need to call the prison to find out about supply guidelines, although most prisons allow prisoners to receive writing paper, pens, stamps, photographs, greeting cards, and news articles or Internet clippings. If you are mailing material from the Internet to a prisoner, you should cut and paste the material into a document, as some prisons will confiscate papers that include a web address. In addition, prison mail cannot contain obscene or violent material. If you want to send books, most prisons require the bookstore to mail them directly.

To send money to a prisoner, you should use a prison-approved wire transfer company. Most prisons take a percentage of funds sent to prisons to supplement the state victim's compensation fund, and the prison will provide more information about that. In general, the amount of money that an inmate can receive is also restricted, so be sure to ask the prison about the maximum amount that you can send. You can also send checks or money orders through the mail, but they may take longer to clear, as the staff will have to process them.

Some organizations offer relationships with prison pen pals, so that prisoners with few friends on the outside can still have an opportunity to get mail. Many websites connect people interested in pen pals with potential correspondents, and many of these organizations process all of their pen pal mail through a central clearing house, meaning that the prisoner will not have your address unless you choose to give it out. The guidelines for mail sent to pen pals are the same as those for regular prison mail.


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Discuss this Article

Post 34

Is there a way to get some free stamps?

Post 33

Some prisons require that you be listed on some sort of list. In my friend's case, I had to be listed.

Post 31

If I forget to put my name and address on will they still receive my letter, and I have put his name and number on the letter.

Post 29

Can my friend have some snacks books and some pics?

Post 28

My fiance is also on remand but he sent me letters monday morning and I haven't gotten them. I normally get them the next day but I never got them today. Will they come tomorrow or will I have to call someone?

Post 27

I'm trying to send something to my boyfriend but I can't find the address where to send it.

Post 26

How long does it take to have a number put on if your boyfriend is on remand in prison?

Post 25

Where can I go on to buy and send a CD to someone in prison in England?

Post 24

I sent off letters to a friend of mine in SC. I wrote the address, dorm number and everything except for the correctional facility's name on the envelope. I'm ticked! Will he still receive my letter? Or will it get sent back just for not having the institution's name on it. I have already had three sent back for not having a dorm number on it

Post 22

If I forget to put my name and address on will they still receive my letter-- and I have put his name and number on the letter.

Post 19

My partner is being sent to haverigg prison from preston soon, and I'm hoping someone could tell me since he got sentenced to five years in February of this year, the court said he would serve two and a half, but is there any chance he could get out sooner?

Post 16

My boyfriend was booked into prison today and I wanted to know if I can send him letters? Since I have no way of contacting him for 15 years, I'm depressed! Can I send him letters and if so, can I receive them from him also?

Post 15

I've been writing my friend since he went to jail back in October and I was wondering is there a way I can get some stamps sent to me for free? I have trouble getting them so it's kind of hard to get a letter out to him and he told me he has trouble getting stamps in jail, too. I can't seem to find away to get some free stamps.

Post 14

I sent my friend a box with candy and food to him at a military prison (he failed to tell me he was in jail, because I wouldn't have mailed him that kind of stuff). He told me that he got my package and thanks, but he can't get stuff like that. What did they do with the food and candy? Would they give it to him, throw it away or mail it back to me?

Post 13

Can I send a big envelope full of paper, pen and stamps to a prison?

Post 12

From a newspaper article I know my brother is in prison somewhere but I can't find where is he. What can I do? Can you guide me? How can I find him?

Post 11

I have sent my son several writing packets all with the same thing every time I send it. He has only received two or three out of seven or eight. I started sending them with delivery confirmation. This time they sent it back to me saying it could only weigh 16 ounces. What happened to all the others I sent?

Post 10

i would like to make a conjugal visit with my partner? he is in yatala labor prison in adelaide sa. just wondering if they allow that, and if so, what nights are they and how long for?

Post 9

My brother's friend has been in prison for 11 years now. I have sent him letters and pictures. I was wondering if I could send some paper, pens and stamps to him? What else can he have?

Post 8

My husband wanted some herbal tea can i send it to him there? what other things am i able to send him.

Post 7

my nephew wants to send a very important document to his lawyer and has only a few days to do that, but the jail staff doesn't fax it for him and they are too slow with the mail. Does anyone know what can we do?

Post 6

My son wants some novels. how can i send them?

Post 5

Are we allowed to send CD's or anything electronic?

Post 4

my husband wants writing supplies. what can i send?

Post 3

I sent out a letter to my friend in jail two days ago. Today, I just found out from his mom that my friend got transferred out to a prison the same day I sent out the letter. Will he receive it?

Post 2

@Anon88553: Yes, he will get your letter.

Post 1

My boyfriend sent me a letter but didn't tell me his housing block but wanted me to reply. He is only on remand but if I reply to the prison address with his full name will he receive the letter?

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