What Can You Send to Prisoners in the UK?

What Can You Send to Prisoners in the UK

When you have a loved one or a friend serving time in a UK prison, staying in touch and showing support is crucial. One way to do this is by sending items to them. However, UK prisons have strict rules about what can and cannot be sent to inmates. Understanding these regulations is essential to ensure that your package reaches its intended recipient without any issues. Here’s a comprehensive guide on what you can send to prisoners in the UK.

Understanding Prison Regulations

First and foremost, it’s important to note that each prison in the UK may have its own specific rules about what items are allowed. Therefore, it’s always best to check with the individual prison for their specific guidelines. Generally, prisons aim to prevent the introduction of contraband and maintain security while allowing inmates to receive some personal items from the outside world.

What Can You Send to Prisoners in the UK?

What Can You Send to Prisoners in the UK?

Letters and Cards

Communication is vital for prisoners, and sending letters and cards is one of the simplest ways to stay in touch. You can send handwritten or typed letters, greeting cards, and postcards. However, ensure they don’t contain any material that could be considered offensive or a security risk. Some prisons may have restrictions on the number of pages or the size of the card, so it’s worth checking beforehand.

Books, Magazines, and Newspapers

Educational and recreational reading material can be a great source of comfort and mental stimulation for prisoners. You can send books, magazines, and newspapers, but these usually need to be new and sent directly from a reputable retailer or publisher. Second-hand books might not be allowed due to security concerns. Additionally, the content should be appropriate and not contain anything that could be deemed offensive or incite violence.


Inmates need money to buy essentials from the prison canteen, like toiletries, snacks, and stationery. You can send money to a prisoner via a postal order, cheque, or an online service. The prison might have a limit on the amount an inmate can receive, so it’s wise to check this beforehand.

Clothes and Personal Items

Some prisons allow you to send clothes and personal items, but this is not universal. Where permitted, items like underwear, socks, and t-shirts might be acceptable. However, they usually need to be new and in their original packaging. Personal items like photographs can be a source of comfort, but they should not be explicit or potentially offensive.

Educational and Art Materials

For inmates pursuing education or creative hobbies, educational and art materials can be sent. This might include stationery, notebooks, and art supplies like sketchbooks and pencils. However, items should not have metal parts or anything that could be used as a weapon or for tattooing.

Seasonal Packages

During festive periods like Christmas, some prisons allow friends and family to send in a small package with approved items. These might include treats, puzzles, and toiletries. The prison will provide a list of permitted items and the package size limit.

Prohibited Items

It’s crucial to know what you cannot send to prisoners in the UK. Prohibited items typically include:

  • Alcohol or drugs
  • Mobile phones or SIM cards
  • Sharp objects or weapons
  • Cameras or recording devices
  • Anything that could aid in an escape
  • Items that could be used for tattooing
  • Offensive or explicit material

Checking with the Prison

Before sending anything, always check the specific rules of the prison where the inmate is located. You can usually find this information on the prison’s website or by contacting them directly. This will help you avoid sending prohibited items and ensure that your package reaches the inmate.


Sending items to prisoners in the UK can be a way to show support and help them maintain a connection with the outside world. However, it’s essential to adhere to the strict rules and regulations set by the prison service. By understanding what you can and cannot send, you can ensure that your gestures of support reach your loved ones without any issues. Always check with the individual prison for their specific guidelines to stay updated and compliant.