What Kind of Pictures Can You Send to Prison?

Sharing photos with incarcerated loved ones is a great way to stay in touch, uplift your loved one, and empower yourself during a difficult time. But what kind of pictures can you send to prison? Most facilities have restrictions on the size and content of photos sent to inmates. If you do not follow the facility’s guidelines, your photo will be returned and your inmate will not receive it. To ensure that your photo makes it to your loved one, Pelipost has created the following guidelines:

What size can your photo be? 

Answer: The size restrictions and regulations will vary depending on where your loved one is located. We encourage you to look at the website of the specific facility to ensure you have the proper sizing. 

Can you send a photo if there are drugs pictured? 

Answer: NO. Facilities will not accept photos of drugs, individuals using drugs, or drug paraphernalia. This includes anything from a photo of someone smoking marijuana to drug-related imagery in the background. Double check the photo to ensure there are no drugs pictured in the background. Use a plain, clean background and if you are unsure if something is drug related, don’t include it.

Can you send a photo of money to an inmate?

Answer: NO. Do not send photos of you fanning yourself with money, a graduation lei, or any other form of money. Instead, put down the cash and focus on subjects like family members, friends, or pets.

Can you send a photo of a weapon?

Answer: NO. Weapons are not permitted in photos sent to inmates. This ranges anywhere from knives to guns. If it is classified as a weapon, don’t include it. When in doubt, leave it out. 

Can you send a photo of a person? 

Answer: YES. It is encouraged to send your incarcerated loved ones photos of friends and family. However, make sure the photo adheres to the other guidelines regarding the person’s appearance and the activities pictured. 

Can you send a photo of a person doing a thumbs up or peace sign?

Answer: NO. Do not send photos where a person is holding up any form of hand gesture. This is not limited to gang signs, but gestures like peace signs or a thumbs up as well. In most cases, you cannot cover up the hand gesture with an emoji. Instead, send photos where the subjects are not holding up any form of hand sign. To play it safe, you could crop the subject’s hands out of the photo. 

Can you send a photo of your pet?

Answer: YES. Photos of beloved pets are allowed to be sent to your incarcerated loved one as long as they adhere to other guidelines. 

Can you send a photo of your child?

Answer: YES. Children are allowed in photos. However, DO NOT send photos where a child is partially or fully undressed. This includes bathtime, diaper pictures, or swimsuit photos of an infant or child. Make sure any child pictured is fully clothed. This will ensure the safety of your child and that the photo will be allowed in the facility.

Can you send bathing suit pictures to inmates?

Answer: NO. Very few facilities allow nudity or anything that could be considered sexually explicit photos. To play it safe, make sure all subjects are fully clothed with no cleavage. Assure that the subject’s pose is not sexually suggestive, either. 

We encourage you to visit your incarcerated loved one’s facility website to verify individual rules and regulations. You are also welcome to reach out to us via email at support@pelipost.com with any questions. We’re here to help!

In particular, the LA County rules are very strict. Click here to learn about rules and guidelines specific to LA County.

Once you understand what kind of pictures you can send to prison, you can partner with PeliPost, or follow the process we shared on our blog.

21 Replies to “What Kind of Pictures Can You Send to Prison?”

  1. Hello,

    What happens after you have sent mail from Pelipost and you’ve never had any problems…. and all of a sudden now the inmate doesn’t receive your photos that you have paid for, and then you contact personal at Pelipost and they talk about mail restrictions that I have never heard about …. what do you do … from a paying customer ….


    1. Hi Temeka, We encourage our customers to look into their loved ones facility rules because they can change. We learn of most of these changes from our customers or returned mail. If you ever have any questions or need assistance looking into facility rules, you can contact our customer service team at support@pelipost.com and they can help you.

    2. Hi I’ve sent my pictures about 3 weeks ago on peli post & it says arrived . Does it usually take that long ? Or how do I know if they send them back ?

    3. Some prisons only allow certain amount of photos.. in Rhode Island it’s only 12….. Look into it. So after you have 12 if you want more you have to send some back home and wait for the mail with your new oics

  2. I know at Pelican Bay State Prison you CANNOT send pictures with frontal nudity. NO NIPPLES SHOWING, NO COOKIE SHOWING. Butt shots from the back and side are fine. If you do a frontal, just cover the nipples and cookie(milk and cookies)

  3. I never got my refund back for peliposts mistake you guys sent 21 pictures in one envelope and you never hsve me nothing back thats why I am switching companies

  4. I accidentally sent a picture of me smoking weed to an inmate in prison will that effect the persons case please lmk asap

    1. Hi, Thank you for reaching out. This most likely will not effect his case, but your photos will most like not make it to him due to the content in the photos. They will be returned to you.

    1. I sent my son a picture of his kids at the beach. Before I knew it I hit the button. Rilee had his shirt off, standing bye his Sister… Well I be in trouble ?

      1. Hi Cindy- you won’t be in trouble, but there is a chance that your loved one’s facility may return your photo order if it violates their guidelines. Each facility has different guidelines for photos.

  5. I find it truly amazing that a prisoner cannot receive mail that says the outside person believes they have been treated wrongly by government officials. Everyone has an opinion. My mail to an inmate who has already served over 20 years was returned without that person receiving it. My gosh–how truly cruel that is.

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