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Inmate Care Packages for Prisoners - What's Acceptable to Send?

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 0 0

Send a Care Package to a Prisoner

Inmate care packages for prisoners in Georgia, NY, Kentucky, or just about any other state, can be sent to almost any prison facility.  There are, however, some very basic rules that are often ignored by many online providers.  Few people realize what items are allowed or disallowed in a secure facility, so many of the items included are often not passed on to the inmate.  This can cause a lot of hard feelings, not only for the inmate, but for the sender of the gift basket as well.  For this reason, you need to be very careful when you put together a care package for a prisoner or inmate in jail.  In this article, we’ll look at the items that are normally allowed in prisons and show you how you can make sure you don’t include anything that won’t make it into the inmate’s cell.

Commonly Allowed Items

This is going to vary greatly by state and even facility. What is allowed in one prison in Georgia, for example, may not be allowed in New York.  To make matters even more complicated, some items will be allowed at one prison in New York, but not another within the same state.  This is because there are different classification levels, and each facility tries to limit contraband.  Listed below are items that are commonly accepted in inmate care packages.

Personal Letters/Cards:  You can almost always include a personal letter or greeting card when you send out the prisoner care package to a loved one.  This will most likely make the convicted inmate feel quite happy and brighten their day.  If you are sending the items to a loved one, they will most likely appreciate that people are thinking of them.

Pictures:  Whether taken with a camera or drawn, pictures are often the single most important part of any inmate care package sent to prisoners.  These add a personal touch and will make the receiver feel good and happy to receive the box of goodies.

Books:  In general, they need to be new and sealed directly from the manufacturer to even be considered to be passed on to the inmate in most prisons.  You may want to call the facility where your son, daughter, mother, father, or other loved one is incarcerated to make sure they will allow books and what the regulations are for acceptance.

Religious Items:  While it may be a constitutional right to have certain religious items, that doesn’t mean all will be allowed.  In many cases bibles must be paperback and not hardcover.  There can be other limitations on various religious items, but almost all facilities will allow general religion items to be included and given out in the cell of the incarcerated.

Games/Puzzles:  Again, these will generally have to be new, unopened and have the factory seal intact to be accepted.  Inmate care packages for prisoners will give you a good chance to brighten the day of the incarcerated.  You’ll find that many of them would love to put together some puzzles or play some card or board games.  In many cases, no metal is allowed in the cells, so the games must not include metal pieces or anything that could be manufactured or altered into a weapon.

Money (not cash):  Include a check or money order to be placed on the inmate’s account.  They will be able to order commissary or canteen items, depending on the terms used in each facility, which allows them to buy additional hygiene products, snacks, and other items.  Cash could be sent, but the funds will normally only be placed in the prisoner’s account for ordering purposes.

Commonly Disallowed Items

Food:  Unlike military care packages, those sent to people in jail most often cannot include food items.  It will vary by facility, but in most cases, any food items will not be delivered to the inmate.  Before you order a box online that includes food items, be sure to find out if the facility will even allow them to be distributed.

Jewelry:  There will often be some exceptions, like a wedding band or religious jewelry, but in general, the jewelry will not be given to the inmate after inspection of the prisoner care package.  This is because most jewelry is made of some type of metal and is considered contraband, as it can easily be altered into weapons.  While this may not be the intent, the staff and guards must confiscate those items. 

Art Supplies:  Some facilities will allow pencils and crayons, but some will not.  You need to be careful before you assume it’s okay to send out these items.  If the facility allows some items, you will almost always have to ensure they are new and complete with factory seal to make it past the inspection by the guards.

How Can I Find Out What’s Allowed?

If you are looking to get information on what is allowed and what isn’t, you may want to make a phone call to the facility or visit their online website to find out what items are allowed to be send in an inmate care package for prisoners.  What is allowed in GA or NY, may not be allowed in another state.

What Happens to Confiscated Items?

It depends on the facility, but in general, the items will be placed with all other property the prisoner cannot have access to and be given to them at release after they serve their sentence for their crime.  In some cases, the inmate can request to have the property released to another person.  This is going to vary by facility.  Some may even allow the unacceptable items to be sent back to the original sender.

Why are Certain Items Disallowed?

Each facility makes their own rules.  Virtually all the rules are designed to reduce the introduction of contraband to the prison.  Many items that we all view as harmless have been used in the past to manufacture weapons or create dangerous situations.  Virtually all banned items are banned not because they can be used in a such a manner, but because they already have been used in that manner.

Hopefully you have learned a bit about what’s acceptable and unacceptable for inmate care packages for prisoners.


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