Learn Everything About Sending Books to Inmates

Connect With an Inmate Learn Everything About Sending Books to Inmates

Learn About Sending Books to Inmates and Help Sharpen Their Minds

Receiving mail is a special treat every prisoner is looking forward to. Along with letters and photos from their loved ones, getting books is important to help them pass the time in the correctional facility. If you plan to send books to an inmate, you will have to learn about the rules that come with the process.

Rules About Sending Books To Prisoners

If you want to surprise your incarcerated loved one and send them a book, make sure to get acquainted with the rules and regulations you’ll need to follow. All correctional facilities allow and even encourage sending books to inmates because it helps them pass the time and educate themselves.

Each facility has its rules about books that you should check beforehand. The table below contains some general rules:


Books You Can Send Books You Can’t Send
  • New books
  • Books straight from the publisher
  • Paperback books
  • Educational books
  • Books of various genres that cover appropriate topics
  • Used books
  • Hardcover books
  • Items such as bookmarks, staples, or paperclips
  • Books that contain nude photos
  • Books about gang-related topics or any other form of violence

How To Send Books To Inmates?

Once you know what you can send, the only thing left to do is mail the books to your friend or family member in prison. The rules regarding the sending process are equally strict and important, and you should follow them to make sure your parcel reaches the inmate.

Most of the correctional facilities in the United States require you to send books via the United States Postal Service (USPS) because prisoners can’t sign for book parcels. You can also send the reading material to the prisoner directly from a publisher like Barnes & Noble or the approved internet vendors like Amazon.

How To Send Books to Inmates From Barnes & Noble

If you choose to send books to your incarcerated friend or family member from Barnes & Noble, you will have to find out the specific rules about what can be sent to that particular correctional facility, such as:

  • Genres and topics 
  • Formats 
  • Courier services they accept mail from

Fill out the delivery form in the following way:

  1. Create a BN Account
  2. Fill out the field with the prisoner’s personal information
  3. In the field, Apt/Suite enter their inmate number
  4. Check the Address can’t be served by UPS box—most facilities accept only USPS
  5. Put the correctional facility as the shipping address

How To Send a Book to an Inmate via Amazon

If you confirmed with the facility where your incarcerated loved one is located that you can send books from Amazon, you should also watch out for some additional details:

  • Check how many books you can send at once
  • Find out what book formats are permitted
  • Make sure to provide Amazon with the destination address and return address so they can put it on the label on the package

Amazon advises users to order books to their home address and then send them to the facility. This would be wise since Amazon sends packages via UPS and FedEx in addition to the USPS, and you cannot pick which courier service it’s going to be. Most correctional facilities allow only USPS deliveries, and if that’s not the way they ship it, the offender won’t receive their parcel.

Rules About Sending Books to Federal Prisons

Inmates held in low- and minimum-security federal prisons can be sent magazines, newspaper clippings, paperback as well as hardcover books. The items must be sent directly from the publisher or a bookstore—sending used books from your home is strictly forbidden.

Prisoners located in medium- and maximum-security federal prisons can receive the same items in the same manner except for the hardcover books. 

In both cases, you should be careful about the material and topics which the books cover—nothing containing explicit content is allowed, and your package won’t reach the inmate if that is the case.

Get in Touch With an Inmate With DoNotPay’s Help

DoNotPay has a great category called Connect With an Inmate that can help you contact your loved one fast and easy. You can benefit from three available features. Open DoNotPay in your web browser and choose what you need help with:

  • Locate an Inmate
  • Send a Personalized Letter to an Inmate
  • Virtual Mailbox 

How To Find Out Where the Inmate Is Located With DoNotPay

In case you don’t know the exact location of the facility, DoNotPay can help you find it in a matter of minutes. You don’t even have to know their ID or unit number. We will manage without that info. Follow these steps:

  1. Open DoNotPay
  2. Choose the Locate Someone feature 
  3. Enter the inmate’s full name
  4. Enter the state they are serving a sentence in
  5. Click on Proceed

Once you are done with the short questionnaire, we will let you know the exact address of the correctional institution. You can then easily write to the inmate or even visit them if you wish.

How To Send a Letter to a Prisoner With DoNotPay

Communication becomes easy when you know the inmate’s exact location. The best option would be to write a letter to an inmate because nothing can bring as much comfort as the kind words from someone who cares about them. DoNotPay can help you, and these are the only steps you need to follow:

  1. Open DoNotPay
  2. Locate and click on the Send a Personalized Letter option 
  3. Enter the key info about the prisoner (their full name or ID number)
  4. Compose your message
  5. Attach some photos to the letter if you like
  6. Choose one of our customized letter templates if you wish

We will print out, address the letter to the prisoner properly, and send it to your prison pen pal’s correctional facility.

How To Receive Mail From Inmates With DoNotPay

DoNotPay ensures the conversation between you and your loved one runs smoothly. The inmate can write their response and update you on their wellbeing and current situation. Our system is quite simple, and it involves three steps:

  1. The prisoner sends the letter to our address
  2. We digitize it upon arrival
  3. We send the digitized letter to your Virtual Mailbox

Other Great Features DoNotPay Offers

We have all the info about inmate packages, gifts for prisoners, or other creative mail ideas for inmates.

Maybe you’d like to know more about iCare packages for inmates or how to send them pictures? Don’t stress, we can answer all that as well as when inmates receive the mail you send them.

DoNotPay’s assistance doesn’t stop with inmate communication. We can help you with a plethora of other problems that are not easy to deal with on your own.

Open DoNotPay in any web browser and let us tackle:


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