Receiving Mail in the Federal Prison Camp

The bureau of prison has a list of items they will not allow and this is a list they will give you when you check-in. For example, you can’t receive stamps, office supplies or hard cover books.

However, the mail is unusual at times because all of it is opened prior to you receiving it. That’s right they look at your mail before you get it. The unusual part is that it is not always the same staff member who looks at your mail, therefore some things will get through and other times they will not.

The best thing to do is keep the packages small and simple. Like a brown envelope or priority mail envelope. This can easily fit a magazine, crossword puzzles and a few pages of personal letters.

What about books?

Books are to be paperbacks but even then some are rejected. They will not receive hard cover books. The best way to send books, paperback or hard cover is to buy it from the publisher and have them mail it to the institution. For example my wife would purchase a book online through Amazon books and they would ship it directly to me at the prison camp. There was never a problem.

What about magazines and newspapers?

Magazines and newspapers were easy, all you have to do is get a yearly subscription and get it delivered right to the institution. They arrived daily to inmates who wanted to keep in touch with local events in their town.

What about legal mail from my lawyer?

This is an important question because you can be present when they open legal mail belonging to you. They will usually call you to the office and open it then as you watch as they scan through it. They still have to look at it but it is to make sure no contraband is hidden inside.

Remember, if you are not sure about sending something, always ask or call the prison and they will help you.

on 03 Sep at 3:11 pm1Peter Morton

Rickey–Read all your posts. Very helpful and insightful. Question about outgoing mail: Is outgoing inmate correspondence visibly identified as such? Suppose an inmate wants to write a concerned citizen or consumer letter to a government official or corporate CEO but doesn’t want to be identified as a prison inmate, is that possible? Thanks for your help.
on 03 Sep at 5:23 pm2Rickey

Inmate’s outgoing mail has to have, your name, inmate’s registration number, and name of institution, without it it will not be mailed.
Now concerning the second part of your question.
Yes, the way to send a letter is to have a family member mail it for you.
Here is what I mean, Write the letter and put it in an envelope with the address as though you were mailing it from your home or business.
You then put that sealed envelope in another envelope and send it to a family member or friend and have them mail the original. It’s a double mailing.
on 13 Oct at 7:00 pm3crystal

I have a question. My common law husband is in prison when they are giving a porale date? what does that mean? What do i have to do to help him come out sooner?
on 13 Oct at 9:38 pm4Rickey

Parole is the conditional release of a prisoner before his sentence expires. Basically your husband is coming home early, Praise God.
The best way to help is to make sure you stay on top of any paperwork that comes to you in his behalf.
If a response is needed, respond as quick as possible, be polite and send mail certified so you know they received it.
on 10 Nov at 6:00 pm5Kristina

Do you know why they won’t allow inmates to receive stamps and stationary? My family tried to send an inmate some blank prepaid postcards, but they were returned. I don’t understand what the problem is.
on 10 Nov at 8:49 pm6Rickey

Stamps and stationary are considered office supplies and are not allowed. Another reason for the stamps is that the adhesive can be laced with drugs.
on 26 Dec at 5:26 pm7sandy

I have a friend that is in a federal prison. He filled an appeal back in 2003 and nothing happened. My question is, can he file another one again? would he be able to get out any sooner? he’s been there 6 years and he has about 26 more to go.
on 26 Dec at 6:20 pm8Rickey

Sandy, first of all I am not a legal counsel in any way but in my opinion, your friend should have heard something from the courts regarding the first appeal filed (granted or denied). Personally, I would write to the courts inquiring about the first appeal because getting out sooner is an issue dealt with in the courts.
on 29 Dec at 8:01 pm9yaida

My husbanb is in Federal Prison. Is there something he can do to get less time?
Thank you
on 29 Dec at 10:16 pm10Rickey

Yaida, the only thing I know for sure is good time behavior and halfway house time which are both calculated by the BOP. The best thing for him to do is stay out of trouble.
Do keep your hopes up because anything is possible due to the new administration and legislation, cases before the supreme court, new laws and prison guidelines. Most importantly, Prayer!
on 07 Jan at 5:12 pm11sandy

Thanks so much for your respond and i want to thank you for helping people with this great site. May god bless you and your family..thanks again for your time.
on 07 Jan at 9:43 pm12Rickey

Sandy, thank you, I receive the blessing and the joy of helping. Take care and God bless you also.
on 24 Oct at 4:05 pm13steve


Do you know how many books one can have at one time?
Also, how many subscriptions to magazines could I receive? 10? 15?

on 24 Oct at 5:42 pm14Rickey

Now that is a good questions. I don’t remember ever reading anything on book or magazine restrictions. I remember one time when a friend sent me 7 paperback books in one mailing with no problem. Some inmates had their local town newspaper sent to them along with magazines.
The most I have seen was about 3 magazines coming to an inmate but again I don’t think that was the limit. I do remember a list showing types of magazines with discount prices, again no limit.
My suggestion, if you have the resources and time to read then by all means subcribe to magazines and buy many books till the BOP says stop because reading is one of the best things to pass the time as you already know.
A word of concern while accumulating books, you may not have enough space in your locker to store books. Magazines can be easily be shared and thrown away but books can occupy a lot of space. I personally remember mailing some home so I would have more room so keep that in mind.
Oh, you can also donate books when you are done reading to the BOP library by way of the education department.
on 24 Oct at 10:54 pm15steve

Thanks a ton.

I was thinking of subscribing to some financial and political magazines. As well as some tech magazines and popular science and popular mechanics. Then my family will probably send me paperback books that they find around town.

I was going to try to bring in a soft cover bible and a soft cover Quran. I just want to study the Quran and understand it, even though I am a very devout Christian…do you think they will allow that?

Now…what about writing? Did you just purchase 2 notebooks from the commissary? One to write letters with and the other to keep like a journal? Or would you recommend against keeping a journal?

Thanks a ton!!
on 25 Oct at 5:55 pm16Rickey

Good choice of magazines to keep you updated on current events and information. Be patient when family sends paperback books because sometimes they may not get through the first time depending on who is processing the mail.
Bringing in your bible should be no problem but I am not sure about two books of different faiths. When it comes to an inmates religious faith and beliefs the prison system tends to stay away from. In fact you will see a variety of religions being observed.
Writing pads and materials were never a problem, some can be purchased and then some are provided by the institution.
Yes, journaling is a good idea. The journaling I did was in the form of letters I wrote to my wife. In other words I mailed my journal home each week. I did however was able to receive through the mail a couple of composition books that I used in my bible study and prayer journal.
on 02 Nov at 9:37 pm17corey odonell

So the only way to recieve books is factory direct? My freind was going to plan on sending me paperback books that he already owns, does this mean I will not receive them? Also what is a typical care package consist of or does not consist of?
on 03 Nov at 5:39 am18Rickey

Let me clarify. Getting books from a publishing house pretty much guarantees they will get in to you regardless of soft or hard cover.
Friends and family can only send in paperback books but it’s not a guarantee they will get through. Here is an example of what I mean by that, my wife sent me a couple of books but they were send back to her but I had a friend who sent me 7 books and they got through. Go figure!
I would suggest your friend try because you never know, it really depends on who is processing the mail. I say that also because I remember my wife mailing something a second time and it got through. Again, go figure.
However, books from a publishing house was never a hassle, they always got through to me.
on 27 Dec at 12:49 am19Letty

Dear Rickey

My husband is in a Federal Prison Camp and just before Christmas he received an anonymous letter, in it there was false e-mails that they copied and paste with very nasty text and assuring him that his wife was unfaithful, I kind of suspect who it was, since I just fired a girl from work and she threatened me before leaving. The letter did not have a return address, and it was typed, I don’t know how they passes this letter to my husband. Is there any way that he can request not to receive any type of mail? I appreciate your advise.
on 27 Dec at 4:49 am20Rickey

Sorry but inmates usually have no control of the mail because of how quickly it’s processed by the BOP staff and singling out one inmates mail is not what they focus their attentions on, their goal is to filter out contraband items and deliver the mail.
Assure your husband of the truth and facts, express your feelings then get rid of the letter and move on because this will be a test of faith and trust in your marriage, make it a good one.
on 30 Dec at 7:08 pm21Letty

Hi Rickey

That is what I am doing. Thank you so much for your prompt reply.
on 30 Dec at 11:23 pm22Rickey

Be blessed and I pray God will enrich your marriage to its’ fullest.
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on 27 Apr at 9:46 pm24Rickey

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on 17 Jun at 12:18 am25Gabriela

I would like to know how often you send out out going mail? My husband says he writes every day; however it takes me a week to get the corraspondes. So if anyone can answer this question it will be greatly appricated.

Also does anyone know what is the percentage that they are doing there sentanced with? is it 85% or 55%?
on 17 Jun at 1:14 am26Rickey

Mail is pick-up and delivered each workday (M-F).
85% of the sentence is served.


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