Providing support to inmates

Providing support to inmates

Providing support to inmates. 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.

Prisoners often identify the 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 worlds 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 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. Forf 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 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 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.



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