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What’s your first reaction when you see a loved one in either physical or emotional distress? It’s human nature to want to help solve the problem, alleviate their discomfort, or comfort their sorrows. Unfortunately for our loved ones behind bars these, simple acts of kindness and comfort are nearly impossible to complete. However, there are a few things you can do to help.
In a recent blog post, we discussed five simple ways that you can show support to those you love while they are incarcerated. However, one of the items listed suggested sending letters which can get tricky. With that in mind, we are taking the opportunity in this blog post to delve a little deeper into what is and isn’t acceptable when sending letters and packages to loved ones while they’re in jail.
Let’s get started by discussing the items that cannot be sent to someone in jail. The actual list of prohibited items is pretty exhaustive and includes things such as cell phones, cigarettes, and clothing. Ultimately what is and isn’t allowed into the prison is at the discretion of the corrections officer in charge of mail. They are likely to throw away or return any of the following items that fall into one of the categories below.
• Items that promote violence
• Items that are related to or promote drugs of any kind
• Items that promote sexual deviancy
Now that we have what you can’t send to inmate out of the way, let’s take a look at the items you can send. You can send:
• Letters and greeting cards – When sending letters and cards, be sure to keep the envelope clear of doodles, fragrances, staples, paper clips or tape – this may alert the corrections officer that you are hiding something inside
• Photographs – Something to keep in mind as you select photographs to send is to ensure the photograph does not contain explicit content or nudity.
• Money – If you would like to send money to an inmate, please ensure that it is in the form of a money order. Cash is not allowed inside the prison.
• Reading Material – Unless prohibited by the prison, inmates may receive books, magazines, and newspapers. However, the reading material may not contain anything that promotes sexuality, violence, or other bad behavior. Please note, the reading material may not directly come from you, it must come from the manufacturer or distributor. This means that you cannot order a book and then send it to the inmate, the book must be sent straight from the website to the inmate.
It’s no surprise that incarceration is difficult for everyone involved. We hope that these guidelines help you decipher what types of items you are able to send to a loved one.