All mail must be delivered through the US Postal Service when sending mail to a loved one in prison. Facilities do not typically allow personal packages or boxes to be delivered. Some facilities have a site to order supplies, or during the holidays you can order a holiday package. When sending mail, make sure you are in compliance with the facility’s rules and that all of the required information is on the envelope. All mail is opened and may be reviewed by facility staff. Make sure you know what is considered contraband by the facility. For example, a card with electronics or glitter may be considered contraband and either returned or destroyed, depending on the facility’s rules.
When a loved one is transferred to another facility his/her mail may be forwarded from one facility to another right away. Check with the facility to find out if mail is being forwarded. Also note that there may be a delay in your loved one receiving his/her mail if moved to another facility. Even if the first facility forwards the mail right away, it may take time for the second facility to have your loved one set up in the mail system. (There is always the slight possibility that their mail will get lost. It’s a good idea to keep copies of all important letters.)
Legal mail is not opened by facility staff, but the inmate may be required to open legal mail in the presence of facility staff.
Computers and e-mail are typically not available to inmates. There are some facilities that allow you to send email to a specific email address. The facility staff would then print out the email and delivery to your loved one. Cell Phones and social media are not available to inmates. There are outside companies working with some facilities that allow you to email letters. The facility would then print the email out for your loved one.
Books and Magazines
Facilities typically allow approved books (books that do not contain inappropriate content) to be delivered from reputable book companies. Same goes for magazines. Magazine subscriptions from reputable, appropriate (no nudity, weaponry, inappropriate verbiage) companies is typically allowed. Some facilities do have a maximum number of magazine subscriptions allowed per inmate.