Can You Bring Anything to Prison with You When You Go In?

Can You Bring Anything to Prison with You When You Go In?

Yes. If you’re heading to prison, you can bring certain items. There are also items that you can’t bring and that you shouldn’t bring. It’s important to answer these questions now so you’re prepared for the intake process.

What can you bring to prison?

In general, prisons let you bring items you actually need. These include things like the following:

  • Your identification
  • Prescription eyeglasses
  • Necessary medications
  • A list of addresses and phone numbers for friends and family
  • Legal documents
  • Some money
  • A wedding ring if you’re married
  • A religious necklace
  • Rubber or foam flip flops for the shower

In some situations, there may be other items you can bring, too. But these are the most common.

what can I bring to prison wedding band
Image courtesy of Denny Müller via Unsplash.

What can’t you bring to prison?

There are a variety of items that you can’t bring to prison as well. Most of these are common sense. You can’t bring any illegal substances or anything that you can use as a weapon. But prisons prohibit other items as well. Common examples include the following:

  • Alcohol
  • Explosive devices and substances
  • Flammable liquids
  • Illegal drugs
  • Tobacco
  • USB storage devices
  • Weapons (or anything you can use as a weapon)

Just because something isn’t on this list doesn’t mean it’s allowed. Most prisons won’t let you bring in anything beyond the necessary items listed above. But there are some items you will have to decide whether to bring on your own. Consider the following “should” and “shouldn’t” guides.

What should you bring to prison?

Any of the items listed in the “What can you bring to prison?” section above are ones you should consider bringing. You should bring flip flops, for example, to use in the shower. This will help prevent the spread of fungus and disease.

You should also bring some cash. Your ability to do so will depend on your resources. And some prisons may not allow cash during the intake process. But prisoners need money to buy items from the commissary. You can receive money, such as an inheritance or money from investments while you are in prison. But otherwise, it is difficult to make much money while you are inside.

A reasonable amount to bring is up to $200. Depending on which prison you’re heading to, you can likely bring money in the form of cash or money order. Your friends and family can usually send you money as well. 

Commissaries sell items like food, dental-hygiene products, cosmetics, clothes, and recreational items. Most individual prisons provide information about their commissary products online. For example, FCC Coleman in Florida provides a list with prices for items ranging from stamps to lotion to headphones.

If the prison rejects any item you bring with you, a friend or family member can pick up your belongings for you.

What shouldn’t you bring to prison?

You obviously shouldn’t bring any prohibited items to prison. But there are less obvious items that you should avoid as well. While it might be a good idea to bring some cash, excessive amounts aren’t a good idea.

And, while you can bring your wedding ring, that doesn’t mean you should. This is especially true for rings with valuable stones or that are otherwise worth a lot of money.

The Takeaway:

There are some items you can take with you to prison to make your time a little easier. But prisons also prohibit certain items as well. And the simple fact that you can take something doesn’t mean you should.

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