Sending books to inmates isn’t as easy as you think. There are rules in place from everything from distribution to content. Prisons are big on security, so it’s pretty obvious they won’t let just anyone send packages directly. You could be trying to break someone out for all they know. That’s exactly why they’re particular of what they let in.
Just because you can mail a book, does not mean it’ll be accepted. There are facilities that will only accept book packages directly from an authorized book store. That means, you have a business that is registered with the state as a book store or distributor. I remember before starting The Insiders Book Club I tried to send my book I keep Holding On to someone and it kept being returned as not accepted. At first I thought it was the packaging, but nope, it was because an author wasn’t recognized as a bookstore.
When in doubt, order through known names like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Also, we did a small survey and found people preferred using Amazon when sending books to inmates.
Another thing to think about is content. Below is an excerpt from the State of Connecticut Department of Corrections, Inmate Communication Policy. It states, publications may be rejected if:
“..it depicts or describes procedures for the construction or use of weapons, ammunition, bombs or incendiary devices; b. it depicts, encourages, or describes methods of escape from correctional facilities, or contains blueprints drawings or similar descriptions of Department of Correction facilities; c. it depicts or describes procedures for the brewing of alcoholic beverages, or the manufacture of drugs; d. it is written in code; e. it depicts, describes or encourages activities which may lead to the use of physical violence or group disruption; f. it encourages or instructs in the commission of criminal activity; or, g. it is sexually explicit material, either pictorial or written, which by its nature or content poses a threat to the security, good order, or discipline of the facility”
Other things to think about is whether they accept paperback only. It’s a good idea to check with the state’s department of corrections prior to sending anything to a current inmate.