Personal Effects: What Types of Things Are Inmates Allowed To Have While They Are In Jail?

Personal Effects: What Types of Things Are Inmates Allowed To Have While They Are In Jail?

For inmates, having a few creature comforts can make surviving jail easier and more comfortable. However, there are strict rules about what personal effects inmates can have during their stay in jail. For those who are new to the system, you may be wondering what kinds of things inmates can take with them, buy, or have sent to them. 

While there are strict restrictions around personal items, there are many options available for inmates to purchase from the commissary. We'll discuss what kinds of items inmates may have while they are in jail, as well as things that aren't allowed. 

Choosing Personal Effects While In Jail

Many inmates will want to keep some personal effects with them while they spend their time in jail. Since there are limited activities and distractions in jail, having items to relieve the boredom and anxiety of life in jail is important. However, there are quite a few restrictions on what's allowed inside jails. It's essential to keep up-to-date on the local jail's inmate information content to ensure that you follow all guidelines for sending and receiving items. 

What Items Will Be Confiscated Upon Arrival?

In general, inmates are allowed very few things from the outside. When they first arrive at the jail, the staff will confiscate all personal items, including jewelry, clothes, keys, and wallets. For those who are preparing to enter a jail facility, you'll want to leave these items at home. It's also important to remember that the list of acceptable items varies by jail, so it's better to leave all non-essential personal items at home. Some of the items that jail staff may allow include prescription eyeglasses, medical prescriptions (they will need to be current and inside of a pharmacy container), and a piece of paper with important contact information (legal team, family, etc.). 

What Personal Items May an Inmate Have While in Jail?

All jails and prisons are required to provide necessary items to inmates, like food, clothing, and water. However, these items are the bare minimum. If an inmate wants extra personal hygiene products, books, or magazines, they'll need to buy them. The jail commissary provides inmates the option to purchase personal items to make their stay more comfortable. The list of items varies depending on the jail but in general, inmates will have the option of keeping books and religious materials with them in their cell during their stay. 

For inmates stuck in the same routine every day, having reading materials is often critical to preventing boredom. Life inside jail can be quite dull, so having a Bible or books to keep the mind occupied is common. Inmates may be allowed to order books, magazines, and other reading materials. However, for inmates to order these items, they'll need to have enough money in the commissary accounts. 

What Are Contraband Items?

If you or someone you love is in jail, you'll want to be aware of the kinds of items prohibited in jails. For those looking for inmate information concerning contraband, this list of banned items varies slightly by jail and the items are often left up to the discretion of jail staff whether or not they are permissible. Jails are typically strict in the kind of items allowed into the facility. The rules are in place to prevent criminal activity from occurring within the jail. Some of the most common prohibited items in jails include weapons, items that could be used as weapons (i.e. box cutters, knitting needles, scissors, etc.), drugs, cellphones, and pornographic materials.

Can Someone Drop off or Send Items to an Inmate?

If your loved one is spending time in jail, you're probably wondering whether you can send them any personal items to brighten their day. The days can be quite long without enough activities to keep busy. One of the most common and acceptable items to send inmates is books. However, you'll need to know the jail and inmate information to send it, such as the address and inmate's ID number.

Jails allow people to send books to inmates as long as they are mailed directly from the publisher. This rule is to ensure that no contraband items or secret messages enter the facility. You can order books through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or another publishing company. However, you may not order through a third party, so you will not be able to send used books. Jails typically will reject hardcover books as well. You'll need to order only new paperbacks for inmates. 

What kinds of books can you send? Religious reading materials are always acceptable. Bibles are common personal effects allowed to be kept in a cell. You'll also be able to send other types of reading materials, like fiction and nonfiction books, magazines, puzzle books, and newspapers. 

While there is a wide range of acceptable books you may send, it's essential to remember that jail staff can reject books at their discretion. So, you'll want to keep the reading materials as appropriate as possible. Some of the books or magazines that may be rejected include materials that display pornographic, violent, or offensive messaging. 

Having personal effects is a wonderful way for inmates to keep their spirits up. One of the most commonly acceptable personal items is books. With religious and other reading materials, inmates will be able to keep their minds occupied. But, if you would like to send an inmate a book, you'll need to follow proper procedures. You'll also need to know the correct jail and inmate information. To find out this information, you can use our inmate search function.