Five Fun Photo Ideas to Send Pictures to Your Inmate

Face it. You can only send so many selfies, family group shots or photos of the dog on the couch to your inmate before it becomes boring for both of you. Try these ideas to spice up the fun!

Have a party for the inmate

Gather friends and family together and have a party. Choose a 5X7 or 8X10 or even a life-sized photo of your inmate to use for this project. Whether it is a dinner party, movie night, card game, etc., ask everyone to take candid random shots of the party throughout the night. In each shot the photo of your inmate can be included. He might be at the game table, occupying a seat on the couch for movie night, or overseeing the grill for the cookout. The point is to include him in the festivities. Print the best ones and mail them to your inmate.

Take Your Inmate to Work

If you are allowed to take a camera (or your phone camera) to work, spend a few days snapping some photos of what you do on the job. You don’t even have to tell anyone what it is for as long as you don’t show faces when you shoot your surroundings. This will be a window into your life that will keep your man or woman in touch with your life.

Get a little buddy

Choose a funny statue or toy figurine and bring it with you everywhere you go, taking photographs along the way. A picture of a gnome washing a car, riding the family dog or fishing can entertain even the most stoic inmate. Put yourself in lots of the photos and create a story about how your new buddy is hanging out, keeping you company till your inmate comes home.

Share the kids days

If you and the inmate have children, help him or her stay in touch with their development. Mundane daily events such as riding a bike, mowing the lawn, or doing homework can fascinate an inmate. Take pictures of all the daily things they do and send them a couple at a time. It will create a long-lasting story of their lives.

Scrabble Photos

Arrange a Scrabble board and put tiles into words all over the board. (nothing sexual or drug-related, to avoid confiscation). Use letters for I LOVE YOU. Snap a photo of it with your smiling face leaning in, and send it off.

NOTE: Jails will not accept photos of people showing too much skin, such as bathing suits, pictures of alcohol bottles, etc. Keep it clean and fun or the photos will never make it to your inmate.

Final thoughts: Some jails do not allow photos. Other jails limit the number that you can send at a time. Call the jail and ask if inmates can have photos, and if so what the restrictions are as far as size and how many you can send.

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writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.