When you are romantically involved with an inmate, finding ways to celebrate traditional holidays and events can be difficult. Often the first year of your loved one's incarceration can be too emotionally painful to even contemplate celebrating anything, but as time passes you may feel that you want to mark certain days in a special way. Valentines Day is the perfect occasion to get creative. No matter how tough your loved one, they will appreciate one or more of the following ideas while they are in jail or prison. These can all be adapted for a male or female recipient.
The type of cards, gifts and other expressions of love that you can send to your inmate will depend on the rules and regulations of the state or country that they are in. You should always check on the relevant web site, or call the facility and ask to speak to the mail room staff to be sure of any restrictions on what can be sent to inmates. Most will not permit any item that has been glued or stapled together, which can seriously limit your attempts at making a Valentine's Day card or gift. You should never try to send in items that are not permitted by the facility, or to circumvent the mail room to get items to the inmate; these are known as contraband and can mean the suspension or termination of your correspondence with the inmate. In some cases it can also be a criminal offence.
The most simple way to mark Valentine's Day is with a shop-bought card. Avoid cards with musical centres, or with anything attached by a ribbon or cord and these will almost certainly be removed by the mail room and may cause your card to be denied as contraband. If you have little or no artistic ability, a shop-bought card is perfectly acceptable: remember it is the thought that counts. If you want to make things more special, you could send 14 cards instead of one, perhaps sending them so that your inmate receives one small one each day until Valentine's Day, when a large card arrives. There is no way to guarantee that any piece of mail will arrive on a particular day, but your inmate will quickly realise what you are trying to do and most will play along by only opening one per day.
If the jail or prison allows it, you can scent your cards before sending them. There are several ways to do this. If you are going to spray the scent directly on to the card, do so before you write in it and let the scent dry. This prevents the spray from making your writing ink run. Alternatively, you can put the scent onto your hands or wrists and then rub them over the card. This should transfer enough of the scent to last a couple of days in the mail. If the facility will not allow "unidentified substances" on any mail, you can try spraying scent on a tissue or cotton wool ball, and sealing it and the card inside a plastic food bag for a day or so.
Depending on the facility rules, sending photographs may be an option to show your inmate some love on Valentine's Day. Many men do not want explicit photographs of their wives and girlfriends while they are in prison, and many corrections departments do not permit pornography of any kind. However, photographs of you in suggestive and not too revealing clothing are usually a great and welcome surprise. This is also an opportunity for you to enjoy yourself; have a girlfriend help you take the shots and do your hair and make-up. Find some suitable lingerie or outfits, naturally in red or black, with perhaps a long-stemmed rose between your teeth or a glass of champaign. You could go for different themes, perhaps focusing on a particular fantasy you know your loved one has. Fun themes include Japanese Geisha, Playboy bunny, school teacher, gypsy, and generally anything with very high heel shoes. A bath full of bubbles or a friend's classic car also make great "props". Remember that the hint of what is underneath is usually more exciting than seeing too much skin.
If sexy photos are not your thing, putting together a Valentine's Day envelope or package could be the answer. You can make your own word search, either by hand or by printing one off from the Internet, and include lots of Valentine-related words for your inmate to find. You can cut out heart shapes from red and white paper and put in the centre of each a reason why you love your beau. Cut out some love-related articles from newspapers and magazines, and include some art prints or photos of things in a heart shape such as red candies, cloud shapes, or a bunch of red roses, or anything else romantic.
If you are a talented writer, or even if you just want to try, you can write a poem or short story for your inmate on a Valentine's Day theme. If you know that they read a local newspaper every day, you could place an advertisement for them to see in the Celebrations section or perhaps in any dedicated Valentine's Day feature the newspaper may be running. Alternatively, if they listen to a particular radio station or show, you could request a record and get their name read out on air. Most inmates can receive books and magazines through approved vendors, so sending a book on a love-theme is a nice gesture.
All of these have been tried and tested with excellent results. With any luck, your inmate will be home again before you have used each of the Valentine's Day ideas listed above, but if not, simply start at the beginning again and work your way through.