When you’re in prison, there’s nothing like hearing from friends and family. I can’t explain how happy it is to hear my name on a mail call and see a thick envelope filled with long letters from loved ones detailing everything that’s going on in the free world.
As you can imagine, there are some pretty strict rules when it comes to sending mail to inmates in prisons. Since correctional facilities have such a big problem with people sending contraband in the most creative ways, many have drastically reduced what you can include in your prisoner letters. Some prisons don’t even give prisoners their actual mail, but give them copies.
All items you send to prison inmates will be opened and reviewed by staff before being handed over to the inmate. And, if you don’t follow the rules, your mail will be bounced or destroyed. While the specific rules for inmate communication vary by facility, the rules involving photographs are very similar.
So, let’s dig into today’s blog post: Can you send pictures in prison letters?
In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:
- What are the rules for federal prisoners when it comes to getting photos in the mail?
- What are the mail rules for state inmates when it comes to getting photos in the mail?
What are the rules for federal prisoners when it comes to getting photos in the mail?
You can send personal photos to inmates in federal prisons, but they cannot contain any sexually explicit or nudity. According to official BOP policy, nude or sexually suggestive photographs are of particular concern for the personal safety, security, and good order of prisoners.
This is especially true when the people in the photo are relatives or friends of the inmate, which is why they are extremely strict about the photos.
Inmates at federal prisons “may not receive personal photographs that show nudity, display genitals or female breasts, or that depict sexually suggestive acts.”
However, taking regular photos of family and friends is not only allowed but encouraged. When an inmate posts photos of family and friends on the wall or in a photo album, their time in jail is easier to handle.
Just looking at a picture of a loved one can give an inmate a sense of love and support, as well as an expectation from the outside world.
There appears to be no limit to the number of photos you can send to a federal prison inmate at one time. Just remember to keep them in good taste.
What are the rules for state prisoners when it comes to getting photos in the mail?
The rules for nudity and sexually explicit photos are the same in state and federal prisons. If you try to send something like that, the pictures will be destroyed or returned to you without the prisoner having access to them.
Prisoners are generally permitted to keep 50 photographs on their personal property, but the photographs cannot exceed 8×10. Some prisons require photos to be no larger than 5×7, so you’ll have to ask your incarcerated loved one about their prison’s specific rules. All inmates in state and federal prisons receive a handbook during the sorting process that details how many photos you can send at one time and how large they should be.
One thing that is common when sending photos to inmates in prisons is that no polaroids are allowed.
Whether you’re an inmate at a state or federal agency, there’s no doubt that receiving mail from friends and family is a big deal. Most of all, taking pictures is the best because it’s so nice to see familiar, friendly faces when you’re inside the prison walls.
When you spend a lot of time indoors, it’s always good to get regular updates about living outside. Photos are the only way for prisoners to see how each individual changes and grows.
Since it is so easy to print photos and drop them in the mail, I highly recommend that you send some photos to your incarcerated loved ones. It will only cost you one stamp, and they are very important to the prisoner you send them.
If you are an ex-prisoner, do you have a special photo from a family member or loved one that helped you through your incarceration? Let us know in the comments below.