can you have books in prison

Can You Have Books in Prison


Ever pondered on the question, “Can inmates receive books in prison?” Well, the answer is yes. Inmates can indeed receive books in prison, although there are some conditions and restrictions. The reason behind this allowance is due to the benefits of reading in prison, which are numerous and significantly impact the inmates’ wellbeing and potential rehabilitation.

The Types of Books Allowed in Prison

Prison rules vary from place to place, but there are general categories of books that are typically allowed.

Educational Books

Textbooks and other educational resources are generally permitted. Knowledge, they say, is power, and this rings true even in prison. These books serve as a tool for learning new skills or acquiring knowledge that may help inmates upon their release.

Self-Help Books

Many prisons permit self-help books. These books can provide guidance and encouragement to inmates, helping them develop the necessary emotional and mental strength to handle their challenging situation.

Religious Books

Religious books, like the Bible, the Quran, or other religious texts, are typically allowed. These books offer comfort and can be a source of spiritual strength for inmates.

The Process of Sending Books to Prison

Now that we know what types of books are allowed, how exactly do you send books to prison? There are two main methods.

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Directly from Publishers

Books can be sent directly from publishers. This rule is to prevent contraband from entering the prison through book parcels.

Through Approved Vendors

Alternatively, books can be ordered through approved vendors. Each prison usually provides a list of approved vendors that you can order books from to be sent to an inmate.

The Importance of Books in Rehabilitation

Books aren’t just for entertainment. They can be an important tool in rehabilitation.

Cognitive Development

Reading books can promote cognitive development, which can be beneficial in helping inmates make better decisions and refrain from criminal activity upon release.

Mental Health Improvement

Books can also aid in mental health improvement. They provide a form of escapism, help reduce stress, and can promote empathy and understanding.

Preparation for Life after Prison

Finally, books can aid inmates in preparing for life after prison. Educational and self-help books can provide them with valuable skills and knowledge that they can use to secure employment or manage life outside prison.


In conclusion, books play a significant role in the life of an inmate. They offer educational opportunities, a chance for self-improvement, and mental and spiritual support. By understanding the importance of this access, we can see that the answer to “Can you have books in prison?” is not just a yes, but a necessity.


  1. Can I send any book to an inmate? No, prisons have specific guidelines regarding the types of books that can be sent to inmates.
  2. Can I send a book directly to an inmate? Generally, books need to be sent directly from publishers or through approved vendors.
  3. Why are books important in prison? Books provide educational opportunities, mental health support, and can aid in the rehabilitation process.
  4. Are all types of books allowed in prisons? No, specific categories of books are typically permitted, like educational, self-help, and religious books.
  5. Can books help prepare inmates for life after prison? Yes, educational and self-help books can equip inmates with valuable skills and knowledge that can be beneficial upon their release.
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