Writing prisoners? Anyone with experience or wanting to start?

ScumRag

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So I have a mutual friend currently "incarcerated" for behavior modification & though I've maintained a steady supply of mail to her, it's something I've been wanting to do (for others) for ages.

Does anyone have any pointers, and is there a possible site online where to obtain other addresses, inmate info, etc?

Thanks in advance
 
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MolotovMocktail

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This is something I've been curious about for a while as well. All I know is that there are very strict rules about it and if your letter breaks a rule it won't get delivered. Hopefully someone here will have some more info!
 
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ScumRag

ScumRag

me, hellarity, oak, ca. about 2006
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Nice, thanks.

I know the folx @ Slingshot/Longhaul in Berk do this on occasion but I'm out of the loop & Eggplant prolly wouldn't even remember me.

Still up for ideas
 

SlankyLanky

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get in touch with these guys:

http://www.bookstoprisoners.net/

they would know exactly what you can send because depending on where yer friend is, it could be way different. some jails/prisons have varied rules about whats kosher so try to get as much as info as you can. ide suggest asking about specific things like "can i send case info" or "can i send photos or magazine/internet printed pieces". alot of places only allow basic hand written letters and are very specific on how the envelope has to be worded. but prison guards are going to read every word of yer friends mail so dont send anything incriminating.
 
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ScumRag

ScumRag

me, hellarity, oak, ca. about 2006
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im totally not fearful of using my government name in regards to this. there's no privacy anymore. i KNOW i have a record. it's a good point, i understand it, but at the same time i'm not using my permanent address either... but if i were to be tracked for any reason, i have nothing to hide

thanks for the heads up tho
 
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ScumRag

ScumRag

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Oo.oooo

I get it now -- no i was asking about pointers for writing "other" prisoners not my friend

Its all good man no worries thx
 

A Simple Step Van

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I pen pal with prisoners. meetaninmate.com is where I went to start. It'll show you the inmates face and a little bio. There is a link on their bio that will take you to the official arrest record so you can find out what they are in for. Each state prison has different rules. For instance, I write to one in Texas and the system there has a ridiculously long (25,000+) list of banned books. You cannot send stickers, glitter, tape or staples etc in your letter. ie birthday and holiday cards. All that info can be found on the site. I just sent her a menu from a new place I was working at and it was rejected. You cannot send them stamps. But I can tell you that you will make someones day if you do write. Just don't expect a letter back right away because the inmate may not have a stamp to return a reply.
I've been to other sites but meetanimate.com is the oldest site and is well organized. ~ peace
 

lyzinga

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I would have enjoyed doing time a bit too much & wanted to stay had I received mail on the regular. You have no idea how appreciated your letters are, dude. High five.

I recently met a lady who started penpal-ing prisoners, well one in particular...several years later they're married & he gets out in a year or two. Pretty neat. But she said she found the ad at a church, in a prison ministry pamphlet. Don't know if that helps at all but 12 step groups like NA and AA and churches often have info about reaching out to those doin time.

I'm slow...there's you a website from the previous poster, probably most of them have gone digital by now.

In the age of email and text, USPS is struggling...all the more reason to keep inmates in mail. :)
 
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Very cool you are thinking about brightening up someones day at mail call. +1 to you. Fuck +100! My basic routine when on the hunt for a new pen pal:
- Google search the sites. You will find many. As Step Van stated meetaninmate is a decent one. I too have used it. WAP (writeaprisoner), have used it also and there is a great forum there also.
- So you are scanning the different sites and reading the multitudes of profiles. If one captures your interests, save the page. Personally I try to find 5 or so profiles that I think will be a good fit, then narrow it down. Read and re-read the potential pals profile. Read into it... do they have expectations listed? Go ahead and click on the "crime" link. Sure; you don't want to be judgemental, but who the fuck wants to end up corresponding with an offender sentenced for a child crime! Check that rap sheet.
- You've narrowed your choice(s) and are ready to fill the lines with words of encouragement and humor. Not quite yet... Go the website of the facility that your pen pal is incarcerated in. Check out the policy on inmate correspondence. Every letter and item you send will be scrutinized thoroughly. The days of stuffing an 8th in the spine of a bible are long past. Rules suck, but study them. Your pal would hate to miss out on anything you send.
Sorry for the long post. Hope you can find a good match and you both have a great time. If you are lucky you will become one of us who stalks our mail carrier in anticipation of receiving a letter. Now get your ass on it. Someone is waiting to hear from you!
 

Candice

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That’s an awesome thing to do some women and men have nobody I mean nobody in there and it would make there day to see that someone cares I would like to help also so when you get started let me know
 
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hourglasschip

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i'm a bit late to this thread, but for anyone still looking, here are some!

the Anarchist Black Cross is a good resource for political prisoners. here's a guide from them, most of which applies even for "non-political" prisoners (if such a thing even exists). they have a bunch of chapters and i think theyd be worth checking out.

Black and Pink is also an organization that does a whole lot of support and penpal arrangements for specifically LGBTQ+/queer prisoners. They have a pretty extensive penpal guide here, and in step 2 they have a whole friggin' database of people looking for penpals. it's wild.

for specifically political prisoners, there's a database called PrisonerSolidarity.net that i haven't really checked out but looks promising, and itsgoingdown.org typically has posts for prisoner birthdays i think. (here's the one for December 2018.)

i'm sure i'm missing a whole bunch of good resources, but that's what i got for now. hope it helps someone!
 

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