Find out how to send books to prisoners at HM Prison Reading? If you have friends or family who are in prison then you will understand just what a book means to a prisoner. Prisoners have countless hours of free time on their hands and sending books to a prison inmate can help occupy that time.
Follow These Rules….
Most prisons in the UK will not accept books from local bookstores. You need to ship your books direct from a national bookstore. Prisons will not accept books from friends and family of the prisoner. You have to ship direct from a major national bookstore like Amazon.
We highly recommend that you shop for books on Amazon, the world’s largest bookstore and most importantly that you only view books for sale by Amazon themselves (other third party merchants can also sell on Amazon.com) to ensure your books correctly. Other online bookstores and even many third party sellers on Amazon.co.uk are known to cancel orders to prisons or to not pack them according to prison requirements. Do not have the books shipped to yourself and the forward the parcel onto the Prison. Books should be shipped direct from Amazon to the Prison to maximise the chance they get accepted.
Only Ship New Books to Prison
To ensure security most prisons will only accept new books in brand new condition. There must be a delivery note attached to the package that clearly lists all the books included showing them as new books and listing their individual prices. Many prisons also operate a size restriction so if you intend to send large books then check with the mail room at HM Prison Reading first.
Address the Shipment Correctly
Her Majesty’s Prison Service will only accept book deliveries at HM Prison Reading when they are addressed correctly to the prisoner.
Any parcel needs to clearly identify the prisoners name and their prison number. Shipments should be addressed like this:
Prisoner Name – Prison Number
Do Not Ship Hardcover Books
Very few UK prisons will accept hard-cover books so unless you have a confirmation direct from prison authorities at HM Prison Reading or someone has confirmed in the comments section below that hardcover books can be received at this prison it is safest to always ship softcover books. Be sure to avoid staples, cardboard, spiral binding as well as additional items like bookmarks, etc
No Violence or Nudity in Books Sent to Prison
Prison authorities will almost always reject any books with nudity or any sort of violent themes. Whether you are sending fiction or non fiction steer clear of any books with the following to minimise the chance your books is rejected:-
- Depictions of nudity, obscenities, suggestive images, or other offensive materials.
- Depictions of weapons, gang references, criminal activity, codes, or markings.
- Depictions containing writings, images or references that may incite violence, riot, racism.
Every Prisoner Has a Limit on What They Can Receive
You should always check with the HM Prison Reading mail room before sending many books but a good general rule for shipping books to prisoners is one parcel per month containing no more than 10 books. If the prisoner receives more than their limit any further book shipments may be rejected. This includes any deliveries they have received from other friends or relatives. Don’t forget to check with the prisoner to make sure that they have not already received their allowance already that month. Don’t forget to read the comments below to see if anyone has found that the rules for HM Prison Reading are any different.
Do Not Send a Magazine Subscription to a Prisoner
Although most prisons will allow you to send books to prisoners magazines are not allowed. Magazines must be purchased by the prisoner in th canteen as each prison has a relationship with a local newsagent.
If you want to send a magazine to the prisoner that they are unable to get themselves through the canteen we suggest you contact the HM Prison Reading mail room and discuss the process.
Checklist for Sending Books to Prisoners:
- No hardcover books
- Send direct from Amazon UK to the HM Prison Reading
- Always ship new books only to Prisoners
- Do not ship Magazines to a Prisoner without confirmation from the Prison Mail Room
- Always address it to the Prison's PO Box if they have one
- No violent or nudity themes
- Stay within the HM Prison Reading delivery limits
- Always check if an inmate can receive a magazine subscription
- If in any doubt call the HM Prison Reading Mail Room
- Share your experiences below
- Go and find some books now!
We Highly Recommend You Purchase Books For Prisoners From...
Amazon UK send books every day to prisons right around the UK and they represent the best way to make sure your loved ones get the books you send them at HM Prison Reading.