Prison inmates love to receive reading material including books, magazines, newspapers and catalogs to help pass time. With catalogs, prisoners may choose to purchase allowable items for themselves or look through the catalog and then have a friend or family member make the purchase for them. The item would be kept at a personal residence rather than being shipped to the inmate. Prisons have specific policies you need to follow so catalogs can reach their inmates.

Contact the publisher of the catalog. If this is a retail store, you may need to start by either calling, visiting in person or looking up the store's website. Find out whether or not the publisher has any policies against sending an inmate a catalog.

Fill out any forms that may be required to open a free account that will allow you to have a catalog sent out.

Provide the representative with the prisoner's full name, along with his prisoner ID number and address. Depending on the merchant, there may be a policy that states that catalogs can be sent out only to the person whose name is on the account. If this is the case, request a mailing address the prisoner can write to with a request to open a free account and have a catalog mailed back to her.

Finalize the request to have the catalog sent out by submitting the necessary paperwork either in person or via the Internet.


  • Call the prison ahead of time or review its website, if available, and ask about reading materials that prisoners in that facility are allowed to possess. Some prison facilities do not allow a prisoner to read sexually suggestive material, which would even include female lingerie catalogs that are intended to be received by female prisoners.


  • If you do not want the prisoner to know your true address when the catalog is sent out, make sure your billing address matches your mailing address and that it is not your physical home address. For example, ensure the billing address on your payment method matches a P.O. Box or private mailbox address you use to receive mail; your billing address will appear on the package that is sent to the prisoner by the publisher. Most prison facilities will reject any books or catalogs sent to prisoners by anyone other than the publisher.