How Can I Buy Things for an Inmate?

A package from family or friends can brighten an inmate's day.
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Jail or prison can be a lonely, isolating place, devoid of items of comfort. Many family members of inmates wish to send their inmates packages with food, clothing, magazines and books. Inmates are appreciative of items from “the outside” to make their sentence pass faster. When buying items to send inmates, care must be taken to ensure the jail or prison will accept the items you are sending him.

Step 1

Check with the facility to determine their rules. Facilities have unique rules and limitations. Some jails or prisons allow you to buy and send writing materials, some allow clothing and books.

Step 2

Purchase items from a vendor. Some facilities only allow vendors to send packages quarterly. Valley State Prison for Women only allows packages from particular vendors. Alternately, you can subscribe to magazines and have them delivered directly to the inmate.

Step 3

Obtain the jail or prison’s mailing address. Be sure to use the inmate’s full name and booking number with the address. Make sure the package is securely sealed and the address is legible.


  • If your inmate’s facility does not allow any packages, consider depositing money into the inmate’s account for use at the commissary. Snacks, soda, magazines and hygiene items can be purchased at the commissary.

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