Are you trying to ship a package to an inmate in a federal prison in the United States? Shipping School has got you covered. Before we dive in, however, you should keep in mind that you can only send clothes and authorized medical devices if you want to ship to federal prisons, and you also need to obtain written approval from the institution before you send anything.
You Need to Use USPS to Ship to Federal Prisons in the United States
The United States Postal Service is the carrier you’ll need to use for shipping to federal prisons. This is because inmates cannot sign for packages, and some prisons make use of P.O. Boxes. Since inmates can’t sign for deliveries, private carriers such as UPS and FedEx cannot deliver packages to prisons.
As is the case for shipping all small packages, USPS will be your cheapest option, anyway. You’ll also save way more money on your postage if you use shipping software to buy discounted shipping labels!
Keep the Restrictions In Mind
If you want to ship to an inmate in a federal prison, you should keep the restrictions on what you can ship in mind…and these restrictions are pretty limiting. We’ve listed those out for you below.
First, You Need to Obtain Written Approval
In order to ship to inmates in federal prison, you’ll need to obtain written approval from the inmate’s unit team, or another authorized staff member at the institution. Contacting the prison where the inmate is located for written approval is the absolute first step you need to take in order to ship there.
You Can Only Send Clothes and Authorized Medical Devices
Okay, so you’ve got your written approval and are ready for the next step. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, clothes and authorized medical devices are the only items you can send inmates. That means you literally cannot ship anything else. No candles, no desserts, no nothing. However, inmates may receive magazines, hardcover books, and paperback books directly from any publisher. In that particular case, publishers can ship these sorts of items via USPS Media Mail Service.
Pro Tip: All federal prisons reserve the right to check incoming mail and packages for contraband…so, our official recommendation is that you don’t get any funny ideas.