Why would anyone want to form a bond with a prison inmate over prison pen pal websites? There are several reasons.
One of them is because they could help turn around someone’s life, for the good.
Oftentimes the sheer power of communication goes unnoticed. Studies show that inmates who are in touch with the outer world are less likely to re-offend.
There are, however, a lot of different reasons, why people have started signing up on prison pen pal websites. However, the experience for everyone is mixed.
Some say that the prisoners search for love or romantic connections–and some of the websites are built according to that.
Some say others are exploring possibilities for financial support.
Yet, some just want a heartfelt and genuine relationship with people outside.
Research done by Ph.D. scholar Juliet Horne and Professor Jacqueline Hodgson at the Warwick University in the United Kingdom confirms the benefits of those inmates who look for friendship – the lone academic research done on the matter of prison pen pals we are aware of.
The two researched on a program known as Prisoners’ Penfriends and through multiple questions and vigorous interviews figured out that the penpal acquaintance made the prisoners or inmates feel less lonely, helped transform their self-identity, provide them with a distraction, hiked their contentment, and boosted their hopes for a better life beyond the bars of a prison.
In addition to that, volunteers claimed how they experienced feelings of satisfaction and happiness keeping in touch or writing to their penfriends.
They saw the enveloped letters as an effective two-way relationship, which improved their outlook or overview of life in general.
What exactly are prison pen-pals?
Prison penpals are prisoners or inmates who exchange handwritten letters with pen-pals in the outside world.
Research shows that prison pen-pals of all genders, exclusively male and female prisoners who maintain and form positive contacts beyond the walls of the prison, pursue academic opportunities, better future, and life experiences, and look for normalization via friendship, relationships and more are less inclined to re-offend.
Writing a letter to someone is the first basic step of any sort of prison support. It is the way how we naturally connect; beyond space, distance, and even prison walls.
Many inmates often consider isolation and solitude to be the most difficult phase of prison life, and hence a prison correspondence, can provide, not just emotional support, but a lot more.
Whenever an inmate receives mail from the outside world, it proves to the other prisoners that someone out there cares for the person and if anything goes wrong, they would be held accountable.
It has a huge impact on reducing prison violence along with harassment.
Informing a correspondence, you are not only able to help reconnect an inmate with the outside world but also help link the prisoners to education resources, and support of the community which is not available in prison.
Points to Remember before Writing Letters on Prison Pen Pal Websites
You are welcome to write to inmates more often than not so that they get some connection to look forward to, but you must be careful and alert about the kind of information you give away.
Many inmates can pose a danger, so giving away too many details regarding your life can be tricky and risky.
Avoid providing them with your actual address, particularly on the eve of your new friendships or correspondence. The best alternative would be to use a P.O. box to receive emails from the prison. That way, you don’t have to sweat about stalkers once your inmate pen pals get out of prison.
However, before getting started with your letter, you need to find out who is available and volunteer for correspondence
How To Look For Male and Female Prisoners Pen Pals
Most prisoners are up for new friendships. Hence, you will have many new friends to choose from.
There are websites solely dedicated to finding compatible inmate pen pal of all genders.
Most websites do not charge a penny, and they provide names of the inmate pen pal along with profile photos, various pictures, and residential addresses.
We would suggest that you learn about the websites before choosing one and consider carefully any inmate pen pal you would love to build correspondence with.
The most famous websites to look for your inmate pen pal are:
Prison pen pals website includes profiles or accounts that can be searched via race, location, sex, religion, and age.
Each prison pen pal page includes a confession by an inmate pen pal, along with a varied motley of information – hair color, marital status, hometown, zeal for education, and many more. It also contains detailed information about their prison term and the number of prisoners listed.
However, you will have to register yourself on the platform to get the prison inmate’s address.
2. Wires of Hope
Wire of Hope came into being by the combined effort of two women, after the ladies corresponded with several inmates themselves.
The women became connected with various problems related to prisoners and the prison system.
They preferred to never use such words as “prisoners” and “inmates” yet those terms are used by people on the internet.
3. The Inmate-Connection
The Inmate-Connection site offers one page dedicated to prisoners listed in perfectly alphabetical order by their names.
Each page has the inmate’s address, so one can write to their new friend directly. You’ll also be able to get information like their crime and a confession they have scribbled, their dreams, personalities, and the sort of prison correspondence they are seeking.
Some look for romance, yet many inmates are in search of friendship and true friends. They seem transparent. Even though the list comprises inmates of both sexes, there are only a few women.
Inmates have turned to WriteAPrisoner.com since 2000 to find legal aid, mentors, employment after release, educational opportunities, housing options, counseling, and more resources.
They post photos, profiles, and positive contacts of inmates.
Once you choose a prison pen pal for correspondence, you get to send the first message, free of cost. Contact with your prison pen pal is maintained through programs like JPay and CorrLinks or postal mail.
However, Inmates are not allowed to access their WriteAPrisoner.com online profiles to make any changes, they can only use their account to communicate.
Inmates pay an amount for their pen-pal profiles. That income or amount is used for coordinating costs and the Scholarships, Reintegration Profiles, Welcome Home Kits, and many more non-commercialized Community Programs aimed at lowering recidivism and finally helping prisoners or inmates help themselves.
Who is Allowed to Send Letters to their Prison pen pal?
Anyone can send letters to their inmate friends.
The person however needs to have the correct residential address of the prison facility and actual information about a prisoner—name, surname, booking number, or ID.
Apart from visiting the cell of inmates, sending them letters is a great option to remain in touch.
Should One Visit or Call Their Inmate Pen Pal?
Incoming calls are not allowed in jail, which means one can’t call their prison pen pal.
One can give them their cellphone number (after registering online) and can request to receive a call if they prefer verbal communication. Please provide a contact number only if you’re completely sure that the inmate is not dangerous.
This advice also applies if one wishes to pay a visit to the prison. Inmates love it when loved ones visit them, but no one should view it as an obligation to do so.
Finally, what matters the most in forming a bond is forgiveness. To go past the barrier of grief and accept life as it is.
Forgiveness lies in a lot of varied things. It can take the form of a meaningful gift or a humane act of kindness. It can also be a process of healing and a voyage to discover the self.
Sometimes in a chaotic world like ours, it feels nice to have someone who cares for you and listens to your worries. You may even start looking forward to receiving letters from your inmate pen pal just as your inmate friend does.
Finally, communicating with an inmate pen pal can prove to be beneficial for society as well. It acts as a way of reformation for the inmates and lowers the chances of the inmate committing the same crime again.
Your honest efforts could turn someone’s life around and help them to move forward and change their lives.