Can I Pick up an Incarcerated Person’s Belongings from Prison?

Can I Pick up an Incarcerated Person’s Belongings from Prison?

Sometimes. You can physically pick up an incarcerated person’s belongings from some prisons. However, for people in federal prison, this is not an option.

How do I get my loved one’s belongings from federal prison?

You cannot physically pick up an incarcerated person’s belongings from federal prison. There is no official process to do so. However, you can still get your loved one’s personal property via mail.

Your loved one may arrive at prison with things they cannot take in. In this case, officials will seize these items. According to BOP policy, they can do two things with these items. Either they destroy them, or they mail them to an address that your loved one chooses at their expense.

Image courtesy of Pope Moysuh on Unsplash.

How can I make sure my loved one’s belongings get sent to me?

There are a few things you can do to make sure your loved one’s belongings make it to you safely.

  1. Discuss the plan with your loved one. If possible, talk about the plan with your loved one before they go to prison. That way, they will know what to do during intake.
  2. Make sure they have the correct address. Write down your address, including the ZIP code. Give it to them to carry with them to intake.
  3. Put funds in their commissary account. The BOP will not pay to ship your loved one’s items to them. Therefore, you must make sure that your loved one has enough money in their account to mail you a package.

If my loved one is incarcerated in state prison, how do I pick up their belongings?

The BOP will not let you pick up an incarcerated person’s belongings. This is also true in some states, such as Arizona. However, in many state and local facilities, you can.

One example is Florida. In this state, if an incarcerated person has items they cannot bring into prison at intake, someone can pick that property up. Then, the incarcerated person must choose a person to do this.

In most cases, the process is fairly simple. There are a few common rules.

In many states and counties, you can pick up an incarcerated person's belongings.
Image courtesy of Macau Photo Agency on Unsplash.
  • An incarcerated person must choose who they want to collect their things. They will use an official form to do this.
  • You will need to show a photo ID to verify who you are when you arrive.
  • In most cases, there is an “all or nothing” rule. You cannot pick and choose what you take. Either you take everything, or you take nothing.
  • You must pre-arrange a time to pick up their belongings with the warden. This can be done over the phone.
  • There will be a 30-day period in which the facility will hold any belongings. If you do not collect their things before this ends, their property will be destroyed.

The Takeaway:

In some prison systems, you can pick up an incarcerated person’s belongings. When that is possible, the incarcerated person will need to designate you to collect their things. You will need to follow a few simple rules to do so.

However, in the federal prison system, you cannot pick up an incarcerated person’s belongings. If your loved one is going to federal prison, they must mail their belongings to you at their own expense.

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