View Full Version : Graterford & Gifts?

11-27-2004, 09:22 PM
I have a friend of my son's who is in Graterford. I've been able to send him books and magazines from the publisher, but can't figure out if he would be allowed a food gift from a vendor like Harry & David's, or candy or whatever.

Can anyone help me?


11-28-2004, 11:03 AM
My fiance is at Graterford,the only food they can purchase,as far as I am aware is from a list they are given.They have different lists handed out during the year,last month they got lists to order meat and cheese in time for Xmas,but it is all bought by the inmate,not from outside.
They can only spend $30 at a time too,which is not much at all.

I think one of the lists they get is the NAACP,whatever that is.

11-30-2004, 10:02 PM
All Pennsylvania STATE prisons do not allow packages or gifts of any kind to be sent into inmates. However, the state of Pennsylvania DOES deal with certain vendors that the inmates may make outside purchases from. In order to do this, the inmate must get an approval form for the items (limited) he wishes to recieve. Once approved, they will allow the item to be shipped in, however, it must be ordered by the inmate, and paid for by the inmate. It must also come directly FROM the vendor.

We have always purchased B's things in this manner, his keyboard, shoes... Once the approval form was in, I simply sent him the money to be put in his inmate account for him to pay for the items when he ordered them. Pennsylvania is very strict on mail issues.. as an inmate, the only items you are allowed to recieve from friends and family in the mail, is letters, cards, money orders, and nothing else. While many state prisons do allow clothing boxes and food packages and stamps and envelopes sent in (packages twice a year), Pennsylvania inmates are yet to have that luxury.

12-01-2004, 03:36 AM
It is possible, at least at SCI Pine Grove, to pay for the purchase yourself, without paying for a money order going into the account, and then the inmate paying for one to go to the vendor. I have done this numerous times with the Access Catalog. They will send you a copy of the catalog, or they are also online. My son fills out the inmate purchase request, and there is a place to mark that it will be paid for by someone else. Then he tells me exactly what item, size, etc. it is. I can pay online or over the telephone with my debit card. I even used my son's own debit card once, although they are not supposed to accept inmates' cards.
Also, you can have any book (except porn w/penetration, guns, etc.), new or used, sent from any publisher or bookstore, without doing the inmate purchase request. Your loved one never needs to know that it's coming. Other than a gift subscription to a magazine, this is the only way that I know of to send someone a gift that is a surprise. I order used books from Amazon Booksellers all the time & have them sent directly to my son. When he first received his technical violation & went back in, he was distraught at having to drop out of college. I ordered him replacements of several of his college texts at less than $5 each, and he has been working on them ever since. Last Christmas, I ordered him a leather-bound Bible with his name engraved on the cover. I'm not 100% positive about the policy in the first paragraph being state-wide, but I know for sure that the book policy is.

12-01-2004, 04:44 AM
You can send new books to Graterford,the only used books that might get in are ones bought direct from a store
you can try and have them sent in,but you can't buy them from one of Amazon's private buyers,i.e somebody selling an old copy from home,it is not allowed,I tried it recently.They get returned to the seller.

I am not sure if it is just death row and the RHU,but I know they are not allowed any books that show porn of any nature,it will get turned away even if it is just a picture of buttocks or nipples.

I sent in a cartoon drawing which showed a woman,obviously made of playdo,but because her butt was showing,it was returned.

The only things I have come up with as gifts for him(apart from books and money),were not actually of use,more token gifts.
I named a star after him and he got the certificate etc,my son bought him a piece of the moon and an acre of mars,I also sponsored a killer whale for him and he got all that information.

They are really strict about what you can and can't get into the prison via mail now.

I wish used books could get in,it would save a fortune.

12-01-2004, 05:28 AM
You mentioned a son. Depending on how old he is, you might want to try sending artwork. I have 11 and 4-year-old girls still at home who my 24-year-old incarcerated son adores. We have sent everything conceivable made out of paper, paint and crayons. Handprint Turkeys, Reindeer, and a Wreath, cut-out snowflakes (they have patterns for really intricate ones on the internet at ), even a valentine basket woven out of heavy paper that I found the pattern for in a magazine. The catch is no glue, no paste, no tape, no stickers, no glitter (and no staples if they are in the hole). My son (he's adopted)'s biological little sister sent a letter here for him one time, and it's a good thing she did. She had it covered with stickers -- I had to color xerox it before I could forward it to him. I held my breath on that basket getting in, but it did. Other, seemingly innocent things have gotten rejected, leaving me reading through the regs for the umpteenth time to try to figure out why. (I have never had a problem with the used books from Amazon Booksellers getting in -- and the regs specifically say used is OK -- maybe I've been lucky that the people had a name for their company that looked legit.)
The other thing to send is pictures, pictures, pictures. The last I heard, my son has something like 9 albums full. He says it makes him feel like he still has a life out here. He prefers regular photographs, but when it's just digitals of the kids fooling around or when he's in the hole and is only allowed so many photos, I just print them in the letter. That doesn't seem to count against his limit for the hole.
As far as the porn goes -- I don't know this from my son, but because I used to work there, and was friends with the guy who had to censor the magazines. They are allowed to have subscriptions to magazines (if they are over 18) with nudity, but no penetration. Anything sent from home (a pic of you, or a clipping) has to be fully covered by opaque material, below the nipple line. Why they are allowed to look at girls in Playboy, but not their own wife, is beyond me.

12-01-2004, 10:25 AM
bethbupp.. I was referring to actual things you can purchase and send in yourself.... there is nothing you can send in yourself. Books, yes .. you can have them sent in, mags, yes, because they come from the publishers.... and yes, there was also a time when something ordered from a vendor was paid for by me, but of course, I put his name on the money order and order form when filling it out and sending it in to musicians friend, AFTER he had the approval... and it WAS NOT me sending the actual item in, it was the vendor...... but as far as sending packages to the inmate in prison, with whatever you want in it.. that is NOT allowed, no packages are allowed. I was referring to the question asked. You CANNOT send packages to inmates in Pennsylvania yourself.

12-08-2004, 06:28 AM
Bethbupp...can you please give me the website for the catalog that you order his items from?

12-08-2004, 06:48 AM
Bethbupp...can you please give me the website for the catalog that you order his items from?
The website for the Access Catalog is .
Your loved one still needs to put in a request to purchase the item, and you need to order the exact same item. It just saves me time and money for my son to say, "Mom, I need the light bulb on pg. 49", and I pay for it online at the same time that he puts in the request, rather than I snail-mail him a money order, and he snail-mails Access a money order.