How to Send Books to Inmates

How to Send Books to Inmates

Books play a crucial role in the lives of inmates, offering a much-needed escape and a chance for personal growth. However, navigating the process of sending books to inmates can be confusing and overwhelming. In this article, we will guide you through the steps of sending books to inmates and provide answers to frequently asked questions.

Step 1: Research the Rules and Regulations

Before sending books to an inmate, it is essential to research the rules and regulations of the correctional facility they are in. Different facilities have different guidelines regarding the types of books allowed, maximum number of books per shipment, and restrictions on hardcover books or specific genres. Some facilities may require books to be sent directly from a bookstore or publisher.

You can typically find the rules and regulations on the correctional facility’s website or by contacting their mailroom. It is crucial to adhere to these guidelines to ensure that your books are accepted and delivered to the inmate.

Step 2: Choose Books

Once you are familiar with the rules and regulations, it’s time to choose the books you’d like to send. Keep in mind that many facilities have restrictions on explicit content, violence, or certain genres. Opt for books that are educational, inspirational, or provide entertainment without violating any guidelines.

Consider the inmate’s interests and preferences when selecting books. Whether it’s fiction, non-fiction, self-help, or educational material, choose books that will provide intellectual stimulation and help the inmate pass the time constructively.

Step 3: Purchase Books

To ensure compliance with correctional facility guidelines, purchase books from reputable sources such as online bookstores, publisher websites, or directly from the facility’s approved vendors. Some correctional facilities have approved vendors that offer a wide selection of books specifically for inmates. This ensures that the books meet all the necessary criteria and reduces the chances of rejection.

Step 4: Prepare the Shipment

Once you have purchased the books, it’s time to prepare the shipment. Follow the facility’s guidelines regarding packaging, labeling, and addressing. In most cases, you will need to include the inmate’s full name, ID number, and the correct facility address. It is crucial to ensure that the packaging is secure and properly sealed to prevent any damage during transit.

Step 5: Send the Shipment

Choose a reliable shipping service that allows you to track the shipment. This way, you can monitor its progress and ensure that it arrives safely at the correctional facility. Keep the tracking number handy for reference. It’s also a good idea to retain a copy of the shipping receipt for your records.


1. Can I send used books to inmates?

Most facilities only allow new books to be sent to inmates. This is primarily due to concerns about contraband hidden within used books. However, it is essential to research the specific guidelines of the correctional facility you are sending the books to.

2. Can I send hardcover books to inmates?

Some facilities do not allow hardcover books due to potential security concerns. It is essential to research the guidelines of the specific facility to determine if hardcover books are accepted.

3. How many books can I send at once?

Each facility has its own restrictions on the maximum number of books that can be sent in one shipment. It can range from three to ten books, depending on the facility. Research the guidelines of the specific correctional facility to determine the maximum allowed.

4. Can I send magazines or newspapers?

Many facilities allow magazines and newspapers to be sent to inmates. However, it is crucial to research the specific guidelines of the facility as they may have restrictions on certain publications.

5. Can I send books directly from my personal collection?

In general, correctional facilities require books to be shipped directly from a bookstore, publisher, or approved vendor. Sending books directly from your personal collection is often not allowed, as it can raise concerns about contraband.

Sending books to inmates is a meaningful way to support their personal growth and rehabilitation. By following the rules and regulations of the correctional facility and selecting appropriate books, you can make a positive impact in an inmate’s life.

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