4 Good Places to Find Prison Pen Pals

Learn About Them Through friends. If you know someone who is incarcerated or has a family member incarcerated, ask for the name of an inmate who might like having a pen pal. This is an excellent way to meet pen pals because they can give a personal recommendation.

Use Pen Pal Sites. There are several of them online. You plug in the age and gender of the kind of pen pals you’d want. Most sites will provide you with information about the inmate’s crime, the length of their sentence, and when he is eligible for release.  Many sites also list the inmate’s religious preference and give him a space to write what type of pen pal he is looking for, what his interests are, and anything else he wants potential writers to know about him.

Contact Churches. Many churches have pen pal missions. Church members take on assigned pen pals, develop friendships and write to them for years. If your church doesn’t have such a program, perhaps you can start one.

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Connect With Prison Employees: If you know someone who works in the system, ask him for the name of an inmate who needs a pen pal. Though most guards are not friendly with the inmates, prisons also employee nurses and others who might know of someone who is not receiving mail.

Video: Getting involved

Final thoughts: When you first start writing to your new pen pal, make it clear that you can provide friendship and letters but you cannot send any money. Once you start, make a commitment to keep writing unless you and the inmate truly do not mesh. If you decide to stop writing, let him know so he doesn’t worry that something bad happened to you.

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writes about inmates, jails, prisons, courts and the lives of people who live and work within the United States Criminal Justice System. His mission can be summed up in a single word; transparency.