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3 Ways to Support Prisoner Pen Pals

Many people develop prisoner pen pal relationships as a way to support those who are incarcerated. Sending letters to prisoners is a great way to help them through their isolation inside the prison walls. Like any pen pal, there are certain things to keep in mind when writing to a prisoner online. There are several ways you can connect with inmates looking for pen pals.

1. Write to Someone You Know

If you know someone who is currently incarcerated, consider writing to them to provide some emotional support. If they are interested in corresponding with you, you can start a prisoner pen pal relationship. Reach out and ask if they would be interested in communicating while they are there. Explain your intentions and why you are interested in writing back and forth. Some prisoners may not want to correspond, and that is okay. It is their choice. Before you start a relationship, make sure you have good intentions for writing. Receiving letters is a great way to boost prisoners’ spirits. But you don’t want to leave them disappointed. Make sure you set clear expectations and boundaries and follow through with your promises. The last thing you want to do is end up causing more harm than good. If you are going to write someone you know, you’ll need to get their mailing address. You can talk to someone close to them or contact the prison to ask for the inmate’s specific address. Be sure to include all necessary information when addressing the envelope, so it gets to the right place.

2. Find Prisoner Pen Pals Online

Another way to connect with an inmate pen pal is to use an inmate pen pal registry like Friends 4 Prisoners. We provide profiles of inmates looking for a pen pal. You can browse through photos of current inmates and learn more about their interests. Be sure to choose an inmate with the exact expectations as you. You don’t want to pick someone looking for a romantic relationship when you are looking for a friend or someone to mentor. In your first letter, introduce yourself and provide some basics about who you are. Be careful not to give any information that is too personal. You can describe your hobbies, interests, and a short personal description. However, stay away from giving out your full name and address. Introduce yourself as if you are meeting someone for the first time. Add some words of encouragement and mention some things you found in their profile that sparked your writing interest.

3. Continue the Friendship

Finally, the best thing you can do once your relationship continues is to keep the correspondence coming. Remember to be open and honest. Treat your inmate pen pal with courtesy and respect. If at any point you want to stop communications, let them know. Don’t simply cut off your contact. This can be very disheartening to inmates. Give your prisoner pen pals something to respond to by asking questions in your letters. This will help break the ice initially and keep the conversation going long-term. Be careful not to ask about why they are incarcerated. Instead, discuss your hobbies, interests, favorite activities, books, and music. Let your pen pal share that information with you when they are ready. Steer clear of more serious questions until your relationship progresses, and you both feel more comfortable with one another. Be patient. If you don’t get a response right away, don’t give up. Remember, the mail is slow for prison inmates, and their internet time is limited. Their emails are screened before being distributed, so it can take much longer for you to get a response. Take some time to research the prison’s guidelines for correspondences. Watch your language in your letters and stay positive. As your communication continues, do your best to remember special occasions. Birthdays can be lonely for inmates, so try to send a special letter if they share their birthday with you. This can be incredibly encouraging. You can also send cards or letters on special holidays.

Do You Want to Support a Prisoner Pen Pal? Check Out Our Prisoner Profiles Today!

If you want to support an inmate pen pal, you’ve come to the right place! Our program connects individuals with prisoners looking for a pen pal online. You can browse through our current prisoner profiles here.

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.

Do You Have a Loved One Who Is Incarcerated? Sign Up to Be a Prisoner Pen Pal Today!

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!

Things to Remember with Becoming Prisoner Pen Pals

Writing letters to prisoners is a great way to make a difference in the lives of others. As the trend becomes increasingly popular, many people wonder what goes into becoming an inmate pen pal. Let’s explore! Before you sign up with an inmate pen pal, here are a few things to remember.

  • Choose an inmate who has similar interests to you. This will help you build a conversation.
  • Your primary goal should be to encourage the inmate while struggling with the challenges of being isolated from society.
  • Set clear expectations and make sure you are on the same page. You don’t want to pick someone looking for a romantic relationship if you are not interested.

Rules of Writing Letters to Inmates

When you decide to become prisoner pen pals, there are some basic rules you should follow.

  1. Find a Reliable Inmate Pen Pal Resource
    There are quite a few inmate registries online that provide profiles of inmates looking for a pen pal. Make sure you find a reliable resource. Spend some time reading through the inmate profiles to make sure you can find someone who fits your interests and expectations. You can browse our inmate profiles here.
  2. Introduce Yourself
    Once you choose an inmate, take some time to introduce yourself properly. Introduce yourself as you would do with someone you just met. Tell them why you are writing and what made you pick them from the other profiles online.
  3. Start Simple
    Before you dive right into the main content of your letter, write a simple greeting. Talk about your excitement to begin your inmate pen pal relationship. A simple greeting helps your pen pal transition into the letter slowly. It’s a conversation starter. While you don’t need to repeat their name throughout the body of your letter, make sure to address them by name at some point. Keep it friendly. Even if you are curious, don’t ask the reasons for their incarceration in your first letter. This could be a red flag that stops your inmate pen pal relationship before it starts.
  4. Discuss the Basics
    Provide your prisoner pen pal with your basic information without going too far into detail. Start with your name, age, sex, and location. Don’t provide your address at first. You can start by telling them what state you’re from. As your relationship develops and you are sure that it will continue, you can begin talking about things like your occupation, family, and other interests.
  5. Use Precautions for Your Safety
    You should always put your safety first. If you are young, talk to your parents before writing. Don’t reveal any personal information until you get to know your inmate better. Even then, be careful what you divulge. Avoid providing information such as your address, phone number, place of employment, and family names.
  6. Talk About How You Found Them
    Many inmates sign up with multiple pen pal websites, so you should tell them where you found them. Discuss any personal information in their profile that made you want to write. This will help them understand your connection.
  7. Be Specific with Your Intentions
    Most people who write to prisoners online have a specific reason for doing so. Maybe you want to make a new friend, mentor someone, or need someone to talk to yourself. Don’t come on too strong at first if you want the relationship to progress.
  8. Close the Letter by Clearly Stating What You Want
    A great way to finish your letter is by thanking them for reading. You don’t want to make them feel obligated to write back, so avoid things like “I’ll wait to hear from you” or “write back soon.” Sign your name and provide a safe way for them to contact you back.

Find Your Prisoner Pen Pal Today!

Now that you know the basics of writing a letter to an inmate, are you ready to find your perfect prisoner pen pal match? Browse through our FAQs page to answer your questions and check out our current prisoner profiles to find an inmate pen pal who sparks your interest.