Support a Prisoner with Our Inmate Pen Pal Program
One of the easiest and most effective ways to support an inmate is to become an inmate pen pal. Writing letters to prisoners is the basic step in helping those confined behind the prison walls. If you are looking to provide support to someone currently incarcerated, our prisoner pen pal program is the perfect place to start.
Many prisoners say that the most debilitating part of a prison sentence is isolation. Even a simple letter to a prisoner can help provide the emotional support they need to get through the day. When prisoners receive mail at a mail call or go online to find a letter, they feel supported. Becoming an inmate pen pal has a tangible impact that can improve the lives of prisoners and change the world. Not only do prisoner pen pals provide emotional support, but they also can help connect prisoners with the outside world. Many prisoners find educational, housing, and employment resources through their pen pals. They also find community support that they would have no connection to in prison. These enriching connections help reduce recidivism rates and make easier transitions for prisoners upon release.
What Can I Expect as a Prisoner Pen Pal?
Before discussing the basic guidelines and safety precautions of becoming an inmate pen pal, let’s talk about the basics. When you commit to writing letters to prisoners online, you should expect to commit to a friendship. You should only start corresponding with an inmate if you plan to continue the friendship. As long as things go well, you should commit to writing on a long-term basis. Failing to follow up with future correspondences can be incredibly disappointing to the inmate. While you should plan to commit to the friendship, make sure you also set clear expectations. For example, if the prisoner is interested in a relationship and you are not, clearly express that. Be upfront with how often you plan to write and stick to that schedule. Don’t make promises you can’t keep or create false hope that is emotionally damaging to your new pal.
Basic Guidelines for Writing to Prisoners Online
When you choose from one of our inmate pen pal profiles, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Talk about your expectations in the first letter. Even if it seems silly, clearly state why you decided to write and what made you pick them from other prisoner pen pal profiles.
- Provide your prisoner pen pal with the basic information about yourself but be careful not to give too many details. Minimize the amount of personal information you provide. You can start by giving your first name and last initial or talking about what state you live in rather than the specific city
- Don’t give them names of your close family members until you get to know your prisoner pen pal better.
- If you take your correspondence offline, consider using a P.O. Box to protect your anonymity.
- Be open and honest about what you are looking for and why you signed up to be an inmate pen pal. Put boundaries in place so that your friendship can thrive.
- If your prisoner pen pal crosses boundaries, be polite but firm. Let them know they have crossed the line and that you will stop writing them if they continue to do so.
- Don’t ask why they are incarcerated. This can be very degrading to an inmate. Instead, let them tell you on their own terms.
Whether you want to write letters to a prisoner or have a loved one who is incarcerated, our prisoner pen pal program is rewarding for everyone involved. Sign up an inmate to be a prisoner pen pal here or explore our current inmate pen pal profiles to start writing someone today!