Providing support to inmates
Remember that writing a letter to a prisoner is the basic first step of any kind of prison support. It’s how we connect: over difference, over space, and over prison walls.
If you are thinking of becoming pen pals with a prisoner and are looking for more information, then you have come to the right place. Our complete guide in the” inmate pen pal.com” will tell you everything you need to know.
Prisoners often identify isolation as the most debilitating part of a prison sentence. However, a prison correspondence can often provide much more than emotional support. When a prisoner receives mail at mail call, it indicates to the guards and other prisoners that someone outside is paying attention.When that happens will be noticed. It has a tangible impact on reducing violence and administrative harassment.
When you are developing a correspondence, you are able to help connect a prisoner with the world outside and help link them to resources, education, and community support not reachable in prison..
What can you expect
Before committing to becoming a penpal, there are a few issues to think about. We have put together a set of Expectations and Guidelines to establish communication with people interested in maintaining a certain relationship. Somehow we will review them periodically. It outlines a few things to keep in mind as you consider getting involved in our project, and we ask that you read it over before you begin. If you want to check some of our profiles, please click HERE If you still have questions after reading it, also check out our
Commit to a friendship
Please only initiate correspondence with the individual if you want to commit to corresponding. Do it on a more or less longer-term basis. For many prisoners serving long, receiving enthusiastic letters from someone promising to correspond regularly. However, failing to follow up with further correspondence can be incredibly disappointing and disheartening. You need to be Providing support to inmates. If you want to provide spiritual support for inmates click HERE. This need not be an intense time commitment. For instances, letters can be as long or as short as you want them to be. Please be upfront about the regularity that you will be able to write. If it’s only once a month, say so. Don’t make promises at the risk of creating false hope, and be clear with your level of commitment.
- Ask in your first letter how discreet you should be. Your penpal is going to know best what they need to keep themselves safe. Even if the precautions they tell you seem silly or arbitrary, it’s important that you follow their guidelines.
- Don’t assume someone is out just because of their posting. People will check your incoming mail more thoroughly than outgoing. Additionally they may have entirely changed prisons since submitting it and now find themselves in a different environment.
- If your penpal has a chosen name that is different from the legal name they are incarcerated under, address the envelope using the first initial and last name of the legal name and ask in the first letter how you should address it in the future.
- Check-in with them on your first letter and ask whether or not it is okay to send them resources, materials, etc, that are gay, queer, trans, or HIV themed or focused.
- One of the best ways of staying safe is to minimize and control the amount of personal information that you give to a prisoner. If you give out your full name and the town or city where you live, then you are very easily traceable. If you are considering writing to a prisoner then it would be prudent to be extra careful.
- Don’t get sucked into the charm… they just might be very good writers that may sweep you off your feet
- Don’t give the names of your husband, boyfriend, or children until you feel comfortable. Our pen pals don’t know what our husband, children, the family does for a living and I’ve been writing one for 5 yrs. I also will never send a photo of my husband, just in case.
- At the very minimum, you should use a PO Box to protect your anonymity and it is also may be advisable to use a pseudo name. If you cannot afford this service, then some churches may receive mail on your behalf if you explain the circumstances. But again, use only your first name bearing in mind that some prison rules may prevent inmates from sending mail out to just a first name.
- When you first write to a prisoner be open and honest about the reasons why you are looking for a pen pal, to who is serving a jail term. Also, put the boundaries in place so that your friendship can develop successfully.
- Just in case you don’t want a relationship or any sexual content in their letters, then make it clear. If you don’t want to send them anything or talk on the phone, make that clear as well.
- If you know they are in a relationship and you are just the penpal, respect that and don’t overstep the boundaries… even if HE/SHE is willing to overstep the boundaries… (explicit letters, phone sex, flirting…)
- If your pen pal crosses these boundaries be polite but firm and let them know they have crossed a line. And if they continue to do so then you will stop writing to them immediately.
4 tips for communication with inmates
1) In the experiences I’ve had I’ve always used a PO box. I just never wanted to give a home address to someone I’m in the process of meeting and getting to know.
2) It’s better to not give too many personal details about yourself until you are comfortable with the person.
3) I let them tell me about why they are incarcerated, I never ask unless they bring it up.
4) I never send money unless they are well known and I am comfortable with them.
Providing support to inmates