Books and Prisons

I have been selling books online. Recently I have had two orders that have gone to prisons and I have had problems with each order. One book went to a federal prison in Louisiana. Two weeks after I mailed the book I recieved the book back from the post office. There was a sticker on the package that books could only be sent by bookstores and direct from publishers. On the first package I had only included my return address but not the name of my store. I have a batch of return labels that is only big enough for my street address, city, and state. I mailed the package and so far have not recieved that one back so hopefully the person recieved it.
The second book I mailed went to a county jail in Oregon. I recieved that book back with a sticker on it that the book was not an approved item. On that package I used my name on the return address but not the bookstore name. I am wondering if I had to have the bookstore name on to get the book through.
I wish the prisons would have just opened the packages and inspected the contents and then passed them on to the inmate. I am sure there are privacy rules but they could have done things this way. Prison to inmate: "We recieved a package that we think is a book but the package does not meet our labeling rules. We are going to mail the package back unless you let us open it."

I understand the need for security but prisons should do what they can to help get books into the prisons. A prisoner that is reading is a prisoner that is not causing trouble.


I found a Web site that lists some state's department of corrections policies on packages. I don't know when the site was last updated, but it gives a good snapshot on how state policies vary. I did notice that the majority of the states listed do require that books be sent directly from the publisher.

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