HARRISBURG - Officials have added photo books to the listing of personal mail items inmates may receive.

“Since we changed our inmate mail policy due to serious drug contraband issues, we know that family and friends of inmates were unhappy with the quality of the copied photos our mail processing vendor provided. That’s why we’ve been working to find an alternative that allows for better quality photos while still conforming to our security policies,” Corrections Secretary John Wetzel said.

Rules for friends and families to send photo books to inmates include:

Each photo book is limited to a maximum of 25 photos. Any photo book containing more than 25 photos will be returned to sender.

Each photo book only may be soft-bound. Hard-bound photo books will be returned to sender.

Each photo book must originate from an original source/third-party vendor. Any photo book not originating from an original source/third-party vendor will be returned to sender.

Each photo book must be mailed individually from the original source/third-party vendor to the DOC’s Security Processing Center using this address:


Security Processing Center
Inmate Name/Inmate #
268 Bricker Road
Bellefonte, PA 16823-1667

Once a photo book clears the Security Processing Center, it will then be shipped to the appropriate state prison mailroom, which is the same process for sending other books to inmates. At the facility, each photo book will be inspected to ensure the photos comply with DOC policy – specifically, photographs containing obscenity, explicit sexual material or nudity, as outlined in the policy, are prohibited. If a photo book contains one prohibited photo, the entire photo book will be returned to sender.

Individuals may continue to send photos via regular mail through Smart Communications, where the mail is processed and scanned and then the scanned images of the mail, including photos, is sent to the appropriate facility mailroom for printing and delivery to inmates.

The addition of photo books is another example of adjustments the DOC has made to improve contact between inmates and their families and friends. In March, the agency announced that every state prison visiting room would have arts and craft supplies available for inmates to use to interact with their children during normal visiting hours. In addition, the inmates may take the crafts back to their cells after visits end.

The DOC also continues to research ways to incorporate original photographs into DOC policy.