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15 Gift Ideas for Inmates

15 gift ideas for prisoners tyro blog

Creative, prison-friendly gifts for your loved ones in prison

It was hard enough to buy gifts for Ron when he was home. When it he went to prison, it got even harder.  If you are wondering what you can get as a gift for your man, you have come to the right place!

Whether the gift is for a birthday, anniversary, holiday, or just to send some love and encouragement his way, I have you covered!

Here are 15 ideas for gifts for prisoners:

1. Embossed envelopes

Creating or purchasing envelopes for your loved one to use in prison will allow them to have  the freedom to mail letters and will remind them of your and their family every time they pick up a pen to write.

2. Money on their books

It is a lot to ask, but sometimes only a few dollars can go a long way. From purchasing audio books, education materials, clothing or snacks, setting aside event a couple dollars a month can make a difference in their life. 

Creating a home made card can allow for your children to create a long-lasting and personalized connection to your loved one. If you have children, this can be especially meaningful for them.

homemade gift ideass for inmates tyro blog

4. Write them a poem in fancy handwriting

Letters are a great way to give a lasting gift to your loved one. Letters and poems can be revisited on difficult days and offer solace when you are not able to be there physically for them. 

5. Send your loved one a picture of yourself

A simple photo can mean the world to your loved one in prison. This should be modest photo that will help them form a connection with you in the midst of their incarceration. 

6. Picture of their children

This is on e of the most powerful ways to keep your loved one focused and allow for them to keep their family in front of them.

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This is a practical way to show them you are thinking about them and can include the entire family. (check the institiution for rules)

8. Sundry box

(check with the institution for the rules – there a lot of things you can buy for him this way)

9. Pictures drawn by their children

For those who haven’t been incarcerated, we may take fro granted the little tinged like pictures, spelling assignments and letters that children love to create. The next time your children create one one these mementos, take a minute and mail It to them. You will not regret it. 

When you are particularly missing them, take a few minutes and write out a handwritten letter to them. Letters are a great opportunity to keep the connection with your partner strong over time. This letter should not be explicit as they are often screened by prison staff.

write him letters

Depending on the location and tope of facility, this may be challenging, but planning as prison visit wether its a surprise or planned will be an incredible blessing in their lives. 

Books are a great way to show them that you care about them and their hobbies. If you are interested in ordering them a book, ask them what sort of books there are interested in reading or ask them If there is a specific books they would like. 

An easy way to spark dreaming in your family is to create a Family Dream Board together.  You can do this by drawing during a prison visit, or you can do it at home and take a picture of it and send it to Dad.  If you do it at home, you can use pictures from magazines instead of drawing. Draw pictures of your dreams for your future with him and send him a picture of it.

14. Magazine subscription

setting up a magazine subscription can creating a long-lasting gift and allow for them to continue to receive magazines in the future. 

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This is a fun way to add some value to your prison visits and show your loved one you are  looking forward to connecting with them. 

Get creative and remember to follow the prison rules so he can get and keep the gifts you send to him.

I am rooting for you!


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  • Inmates Mom
    Posted April 12, 2019 at 3:33 pm

    I was looking for ideas, your article is short and useful

    • Catherine Tijerina
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 1:57 pm

      Great! Glad it was helpful 🙂

  • Bobby
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:36 pm

    My cousin is in prison and is turning 21 next week what should I get him?

    • Catherine Tijerina
      Posted May 3, 2019 at 12:48 pm

      Books, magazine subscriptions, music player or music for his music player, pictures of family, a card with a positive message, a card “shower” (getting as many family and friends as possible to send a card) are all things he will appreciate.

  • Will
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 4:43 pm

    What should I get my cousin who is in prison?

  • наградная продукция
    Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:00 am

    Well homemade card is good idea for your beloved who are in prison for some reason as it will help them to remind of your memories although you can also gift them some moral books which brings positiveness in their life.

    • Catherine Tijerina
      Posted May 3, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      Great ideas!

  • Laura
    Posted January 31, 2020 at 10:22 am

    My soon to be husband has done 23 of 25 years and is in Prison. We will be married later,, but have me exclusive for 4 years. Learning each other as we have had been amazing and we are very much connected. I wanted to ask if you might suggest a book on relationships. Something that could be astrology based or not. But something that we may both learn something about expressing ourselves through communication? It seems we are both leaders and to coincide and respect each other’s way of communicating has been difficult at times, and I thought a good book may help- thanks!

    • catherine
      Posted June 17, 2020 at 9:40 am

      I am so sorry I missed your comment! We wrote a book called, High Five, Love Never Fails and it has 5 solid principles that will help you. I can send you the link to a free ebook if you would like. We also offer Couple Communication classes that are awesome! Check out for training dates. We will be providing that course on tablets inside of prisons very soon so you both could take that class.
      Here are also some good books:
      The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman
      His Needs Her Needs by Willard F Harley

  • JayAnna Hicks
    Posted June 14, 2020 at 10:59 pm

    What can you get for your dad that is getting OUT of prison?

    • catherine
      Posted June 17, 2020 at 9:25 am

      Great question! His own full size hygiene items- toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, are all needed items, but cologne is something he probably hasn’t been able to have in prison. Also, new clothes, pajamas, or a wallet are all great gift ideas. If you get him a wallet, put a gift card in it and take him shopping 🙂

  • JayAnna Hicks
    Posted July 13, 2020 at 11:32 am

    Thank you so much!!!!

  • Sylvia Nancy
    Posted October 27, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Hey dear, Thanks a lot for sharing such a list of unique gifts ideas for inmates. Finding a perfect gift is not an easy task at all. You are helping people to get the best gift ideas. I love your writing style and presentation. I am also a gift lover. That is why I know the different types of gifts choice for different occasion and persons. In that case, I am also trying to help the people to get the best gifts ideas for their beloved person to present them in different occasion. You are requested to visit my blog how it looks like and also does not forget to leave your valuable feedback. Thanks again.

  • Alana
    Posted September 10, 2021 at 12:33 am

    My boyfriend just went to prison. I am so lost. They took his cell phone. He doesn’t even have access to Wifi. I have never been inside a correctional facility before. I’m doing research and trying to learn what I can send or bring to him. I called the warden general number, but no one called me back. Anyone on this forum has advice, I would be so grateful

    • Catherine Tijerina
      Posted October 21, 2021 at 5:51 pm

      I am so sorry you are in this situation. Most prisons do not allow any technology except for an institutional tablet that has a closed wi-if system. If he has that, he will be able to set up an email account. Otherwise, you will only be able to communicate via letters, calls and visits.
      Check the website for a list of items he is allowed to have.
      I am rooting for you-

  • Candice Dailey
    Posted November 12, 2021 at 7:23 am

    My boyfriend is in prison. I’ve done all of these and they are great ways to keep him smiling. For Christmas I took a picture of him and did selfie pictures of day to day things such as going to the grocery store, car wash, taking walks, etc. Made a paperback book. I also use an app called Ameelio to send them free post cards and prison recipes. He absolutely enjoys everything!

    • Catherine+Tijerina
      Posted March 2, 2022 at 11:22 am

      AWESOME!! I love your creativity. Thank you for sharing 🙂

  • Catherine+Tijerina
    Posted March 2, 2022 at 11:26 am

    He won’t be able to take anything you get him with him into prison. Spending time together and creating great memories is the best gift you can give to someone who is about to go to prison. Take him to his favorite restaurant or make him his favorite meal with his favorite dessert, or binge watch his favorite TV show with him and pile on the snacks, go on a long hike and enjoy the sense of freedom that he will return to when he is released from prison.
    Whatever you do, your show of support in this difficult season will leave a lasting impact on him.

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