Gifts for Prisoners


I can’t tell you the number of times I googled the phrase ‘gifts for prisoners’, ‘gifts for inmates’, etc. Before I became involved in this little world of services for those incarcerated I didn’t have a clue, but I knew I wanted to send my prison pen pal something to surprise him.

Prisoners love receiving mail. A simple greeting card means more than you know! In my years of pen paling with prisoners I’ve learned about many different services which can be helpful in your pen pal journey


  1. Freebird Publishers 
    freebirdPublishersFreebird Publishers is the publisher of America’s #1 Resource Book for Prisoners, Inmate Shopper. They have also published many other useful books for prisoners including The Best 500 Non-Profit Orgs for Prisoners and their Families (as seen in Prison Legal News), Pen Pal Success: A Guide to Getting and Keeping Pen Pals, The Cell Chef, Corcoran Sun, and more! ¬†Freebird Publishers also offers a section of books chosen especially for your incarcerated pen pal.
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  2. Touch Note
    touchnoteTouch Note is such a cool service! You can create a postcard or greeting card using your own photos (or the photos they provide) online and have them sent out directly to your pen pal or imprisoned loved one. It’s a simple and fast service and your pen pal will love their card because it’s great quality and such a nice change from the normal. Cards can be created on the internet or on your mobile device by downloading their app.
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  3. Hamilton Books
    hamiltonBooksI didn’t know about Hamilton Books until my pen pal pointed me in their direction. Hamilton offers books at discounted prices. I was amazed at the amount of savings found on this site. Of course you can also order books from other vendors such as Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. Prisoners love books…they’re always a great gift.
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  4. Hobby Supplies
    hobbyIs your pen pal involved in any hobbies? Painting, Beading, Crafting of any sort? If so check with their facility to see where you can purchase hobby supplies for them. Some facilities allow purchases from outside vendors such as Dick Blick, Hobby Lobby,or even Amazon. Other facilities may only allow purchases from one in particular vendor and some only allow the prisoner to purchase for themselves. However always check with the facility to see what is allowed before purchasing hobby supplies.
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  5. Vendor Property Packages
    propertySending property to your pen pal or loved one depends on the facility. Always check with the facility before sending property. However most facilities will list this information on their website. Sites like JLMarcus.com, AccessSucurepak.com, Unionsupply.com are some of the few most commonly used property programs.
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Be sure when sending something to your pen pal or loved one in prison you check with their facility to make sure they allow it. Books are allowed to all facilities (unless they have explicit photos), so are post cards and general mail. Hobby supplies and vendor property packages vary by facility. Most facilities will list this information on their websites, but do not hesitate to call and ask. it’s better than sending something in and having it rejected.

Good luck to you and your pen pals!

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