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Crime, law & justice

Contact an incarcerated person by mail

Service overview

Incarcerated people can receive mail from friends and family members. Some restrictions might apply to your mail. These rules keep contraband out of Philadelphia’s prisons.

To send mail to a person who is incarcerated, you need:

  • The address of the facility they are in.
  • The incarcerated person’s ID number.


Letters, cards, or postcards

  • Use only pencil or pen to write your message. Do not use crayons or markers.
  • Write your letters on plain white paper. Colored paper, construction paper, or other specialty papers are not permitted.
  • Send your letters in a plain white envelope.
  • No more than two decorative stickers are allowed on each envelope.
  • Do not include any glitter on the card or in the envelope.


  • Photos must be 5 in. x 7 in. or smaller.
  • Photos must not feature nudity, weapons, money, or drug use.
  • Incarcerated people are allowed to have up to five pictures.

Books, magazines, or newspapers

  • All books, magazines, and newspapers must come directly from third-party sellers. Acceptable vendors include Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Philadelphia Inquirer, etc.
  • No hardback books are allowed.


  • No packages are allowed.

Where and when

Use the following format to address your mail:

John Doe PPN#123456
7901 State Rd.
Philadelphia, PA 19136