How To Send An Inmate A Care Package

Written by J. Hirby and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Because of security concerns in jails and prisons it is no longer possible for friends and family to send care packages directly to inmates. Instead, it has become common practice for prisons to develop contracts with certain approved care package providers. Loved ones can contact these care package providers to send a gift to an inmate.

Understand the Rules

Regulations vary between jurisdictions, so it's best to check with prison management to determine how often an inmate may receive care packages. Most only allow prisoners to receive one package each quarter. Moreover, prisons usually only contract with certain care package providers. If you order a package from another company that is not approved, it likely cannot be delivered. Contact the prison where the inmate is being held to find out which providers are approved for use.

What Comes in a Care Package?

Each item in the package is carefully selected to meet prison regulations. They run the gamut from products designed to provide entertainment and distraction to useful everyday items. A care package might include food like coffee, candy, meats and seafood. Personal hygiene items like toothpaste, shampoo and deodorant are commonly included. Some inmates also receive shoes, sweats or underwear in care packages. Sometimes things like guitar picks, headphones, art supplies and books can be sent to prisoners.

How to Order

Some package services make it possible to set up a recurring order that is automatically sent each quarter. Each delivery essentially includes the same items. Customers may also make special orders for other items that are not included in the quarterly delivery. Again, it's very important to check prison regulations before placing a special order. Some inmates may not be permitted to receive an additional delivery in the same quarter. The good news is that the care package providers make it very easy for the shopper to make smart choices. After arriving at the package provider website, users often have to input the inmate's number or choose the correctional facility where they are housed. The user will then be given options for care packages that are approved for that inmate and that facility. If you have the opportunity to communicate with the prisoner, they may be able to tell you about certain items they need, and you can tailor your next order to meet these requirements. After the order is placed, it can be tracked at the website.

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