For a lot of people, jewelry is the key to their self-esteem, pride, and self-expression. If they are not wearing jewelry for themselves, they are wearing it for a cause or because it was a gift. So many would wonder if inmates get to wear their jewelry while in prison.
Unfortunately, prison is a punishment that comes with many strict rules that drastically alter daily life. Can you, however, wear jewelry while in prison? Yes, you can wear jewelry in prison, but you have very few options.
What Kinds of Jewelry Are Allowed in Prison?
Inmates are only permitted to wear plain wedding bands with no stones and/or non-metallic necklaces with religious significance. (For example, a Cross or the Star of David.) Furthermore, their jewelry cannot be worth more than $100. While incarcerated, some prisons provide catalogs from which inmates can purchase prison-approved safe religious jewelry.
This is due to the fact that prisoners can use or steal wedding bands as currency and use necklaces as weapons. Other types of jewelry, such as earrings, nose rings, and tongue rings, are not permitted. They can also be stolen and used as currency, but they are most importantly considered weapons. Many people are upset by this, but it is ultimately the prison’s responsibility to keep you safe and in good behavior during your sentence.
Can Inmates Make Their Own Jewelry?
While prisoners are subject to strict rules regarding the jewelry they are permitted to bring into and wear while incarcerated, this does not prevent them from creating their own contraband jewelry. They can make these pieces out of almost any material, but they mostly use scrap plastic. They will occasionally find colorful pieces to incorporate into the jewelry.
No, all of the jewelry made by my prisoners is illegal. Some prisons have programs that allow you to craft things as a job, depending on the prison you’re in. Many prisons are involved in manufacturing, and many of the products you buy today are manufactured in prisons!
Here is a link to check out some prison-made jewelry selling on Etsy.
What Other Things Do Prisoners Make?
Prisoners manufacture things for companies and themselves.
Products for companies;
- Books for the blind
- Park benches and picnic tables
- Military supplies
- Old Ikea products
- Baseball caps
- Blue Jeans
- Law enforcement equipment
- McDonald’s uniforms
- Honda car parts
- Call center work
- Starbucks packaging
- Processed meat
- Circuit Boards
Bootlegged products prisoners make (contraband);
- Shiv (Sharpened object to hurt others)
- Pruno (Prison wine)
- Tattoo Guns (Made from pens)
Can A Visitor Wear Jewelry To Prison?
Most prisons will not have a problem with jewelry that can pass through a metal detector without being detected. In addition, most facilities will not require you to remove your wedding ring set, but this depends on the facility. While they will allow you to enter the visitation area if you are wearing something very flashy, such as dangling earrings or a nose ring. For visitors, they usually don’t mind plain ball or stud piercings. They try to keep things as orderly as possible at all times, so they are very strict about what visitors can and cannot wear.
What Other Things Are Visitors Not Permitted To Wear?
While visiting a loved one in prison, generally the following things are prohibited;
- Headwear (Hats, hoods, caps, Du-rags, anything not religious)
- Men must wear long or short sleeve plain shirts. Coats and Jackets are allowed but they may require you to hang it up before going into the visitation room. (No logos, tank tops, visible body hair)
- A woman cannot be showing any upper body skin whatsoever. Its best to stay ultra-conservative on this one, or they will not let you in. Clothing also cannot be see-through.
- Avoid clothing with lots of pockets
- No rips or frays in jeans
- All shorts and dresses need to be at the knees or below.
- No leggings, yoga pants, sweat pants
- No PJs (They won’t let you in)
- No open-toed shoes
What Can You Send to People in Prison?
While you can’t send prisoners jewelry through the mail, there are some other things you can send. Many people find that sending care packages to their loved ones while incarcerated can help a lot with missing them. There are plenty of companies that pre-assembled care packages that are in the safety code for prisons, but these can be very expensive.
- Letters and Messages (Do not include stapes, paperclips or perfume)
- Photos (Some inmates can only have so many photos at a time, no bigger than 4 x 6)
- Books, Magazines, and Newspapers (Soft covered books, acceptable reading material, must come directly from a retailer such as Amazon)
- Celebratory cards (Birthday, Christmas, etc.)
- Non-perishable food
What Is Contraband in Prison?
Contraband in prisons is defined as anything that is not purchased through the commissary. What complicates matters is that there is both dangerous and non-dangerous contraband. For example, if you purchase something from the commissary and it is later removed from the commissary, it is now considered contraband.
Common contraband includes;
- Extra clothes
- Food in a cell
- Cell phones
- Bodily fluids
- Anything altered from its natural state
- Tattoo equipment
- Gang paraphernalia
- Pornographic materials
If you are caught with contraband, your sentence can be extended based on your prison and what you had. I am in no way encouraging you to send contraband, make contraband, or have contraband while in prison.
So, while incarcerated, you are not permitted to wear or possess jewelry other than the permitted non-metallic jewelry representing marriage or religion. If you’re looking for one-of-a-kind jewelry, consider having it made in one of your local prisons! While prisoners are being punished, they still have the right to express themselves creatively, and you could make someone’s day by purchasing their products!
Furthermore, it is quite surprising how many items are manufactured in prisons. However, I would like to point out that the majority of the prisons that produce these products are private institutions (not federally ran). In most cases, prisoners who make these products are not compensated well for their efforts.