One of the simplest ways to let someone know you care about them is to get them a gift. Gifts are wonderful for holidays, birthdays, special occasions, or just to lift someone’s spirits during a difficult time. When someone is in prison, sending a gift becomes complicated and confusing.
People often ask questions like, “What is a good gift for people in prison? Can you send care packages to inmates? What should I send to an inmate for his birthday? What are good gift ideas for someone in prison?” The good news is, I can help!
First, you need to find out what the rules are at the prison or jail the person is at. This is really important because if you send gifts for someone in jail, and they don’t allow gifts to come in, they will return the gift at the prisoner’s expense or throw it away! The institution’s website should give you very clear guidelines on what can and cannot be sent. If you cannot find the information on the website, you will have to make the dreaded phone call to the institution. I know, I know, the times they take calls are typically totally inconvenient, and the staff answering the calls is often not friendly. But they will know where you can find a list of “approved” items to send. This information is like gold when it comes to sending care packages. Now you know what gifts you can send to prisoners in that location.
Once you know what you CAN send, it is much easier to decide WHAT to send. Things they enjoy or items that will remind them of a family tradition or gathering are great gifts for someone in prison. It reminds them that there are people in their lives who care about them and won’t give up on them. Most institutions also have a limit on how many packages an inmate may receive in one year. When Ron was in prison, that number was only 2! I had to coordinate with his family to make sure we weren’t sending things he couldn’t have, or sending too many packages in one year.
Some institutions do not allow anything to come in from the family at all. They have specific contractors who provide a variety of goods to be shipped directly to the prison. I am not a fan of this, to be honest. It definitely feels like a monopoly to me. Nonetheless, if you want to get a gift, or send a package to someone in prison, you may have to use this service. If this is the case, it will be clearly stated in the same place as the list of approved items. They will provide the website or phone number along with an order form. It is super important to have both the list of items approved by the prison or jail and the list of available items for sale if you have to use a catalog vendor to send things. Every prison has their own rules. If you don’t have the list of approved items, you might order something considered “contraband,” and they won’t be able to keep it.
Ron and Catherine Tijerina are true catalysts for change. They are authors, nationally‐renowned speakers and Founders of The RIDGE Project and TYRO Support Services. Their inspirational book, High Five – Love Never Fails, is available on amazon or click here for a FREE e-book! Order yours today.