Skip to Content

Can You Wear Jewelry In Prison?

Can You Wear Jewelry In Prison?

Jewelry is a statement of personal style, and even if it is not expensive, some jewelry has inestimable sentimental value. From necklaces to anklets, you wear jewelry for a reason, and it’s an essential accessory to any look.

Of course, things change when you’re in jail. The Department of Corrections and the Federal Bureau of Prisons don’t like prisoners who show personal style. All the clothes the prisoners wear are either issued by the facility or can be purchased at the commissary, which means they look exactly the same.

Of course, they allow prisoners to wear jewelry, right? What’s the harm in that? Read on to find out if prisoners can wear jewelry in prison.

In this blog post, I will cover the following topics:

  • What kind of jewelry can go to jail?
  • Do You Have To Get Your Piercings Out In Jail?
  • Can you wear jewelry to visit?

What kind of jewelry can go to jail?

Prisoners can only wear two kinds of jewelry in prison – ordinary wedding rings and religious necklaces. The reason this rule is in place is because of security. Rings with any type of jewelry or engravings can be used as brass knuckles in battle, and necklaces can be used to strangle someone.

Yes, that sounds scary, but unfortunately, the concerns are justified. In 2010, an inmate named Robert Gleason strangled another inmate at Red Onion State Prison in Virginia with a religious necklace.

Most prisons have restrictions on necklaces: They must be non-metallic, under $100, and have smooth edges.

Most facilities also have a $100 limit on the price of wedding rings. The reason they keep their prices low is because expensive jewelry can be used as currency inside prisons, and if you wear expensive jewelry, you run the risk of it being stolen.

Prisoners can bring these items with them when they enter the prison, or they have the opportunity to order them from authorized suppliers. There are also establishments that sell religious jewelry in their kiosks. Friends and family are not allowed to mail these items to prisoners.

2012, Curtis RowlandAn inmate at the Nebraska Department of CorrectionsSuing prison officials for violating his civil rights by not allowing him to wear a Martin Luther King Jr. medal.

The case went to a federal appeals court, which ruled that the prison did not violate Rowland’s First Amendment rights. They considered it irrelevant who was on the necklace and made it clear that the decision was made purely for safety.

“Our denial of certain decorations and not others to prisoners because they meet official standards of religious orthodoxy is a violation of prisoners’ First Amendment rights.”

Do You Have To Get Your Piercings Out In Jail?

Absolutely. When you enter the prison, you are strip-searched and receiving officers take note of every tattoo and piercing you have. With the exception of microdermal implants, you will need to have all piercings removed.

Can you wear jewelry to visit?

So, if jewelry is a safety issue, can tourists visit wearing jewelry? For most facilities, visitors are only permitted to wear bridal attire (wedding and engagement rings) and religious jewelry.

Rules do vary by facility, but they are usually very strict. When you’re visiting inmates in prison, it’s best to keep things simple. In most facilities, you’ll walk through a metal detector, and jewelry will set it off. They may let you return items to your vehicle or store them in a locker prior to your visit.

Jewelry’s prison rules are all about safety. Just about anything was considered a possible weapon in prison, so jewelry was kept to a minimum to keep prisoners safe.

Do you think prisoners should be allowed to wear jewelry? Let us know in the comments below.


Prison Bling

Virginia executes convicted murderer who wanted the death penalty

Rowland v. B Jones Rowland