Because I once was an avid pen paler, I have had several people ask me about writing to prisoners. I wish to respond to those questions here, to benefit others, who might have the same questions in the near future.
Q. Have you yourself ever written to prisoners?
A. Yes, several in fact.
Q. Did you have any kinds of problems with the prisoners, like them wanting nude photos or you to talk sexual to them, or anything along that nature?
A. I laid down ground rules from the get go. I explained I was married, and had children. I also explained that I felt I was writing them, to help them pass the time, which I “sort of” felt bad for them. Being away from their families and what not. Not that I approve of them doing crimes, try to understand what I am saying here. But yes, I did have one who insisted on still trying to pursue me sexually, I stopped writing, he continued, and I went to his warden. After that, he wrote again threatening me, I copied the letter and sent it to the warden, and never heard from him again.
Q. What made you want to write to prisoners?
A. I am and always have been interested in law; I in fact majored in it in School. I wanted to know what made these criminals do the things that they did. I never wrote to murderers, or child molesters. I wrote to several convenient store robbers, a stalker who later turned into a peeper, a wife beater, and several other domestic violence cases.
Q. What do you suggest to anyone interested in writing to prisoners?
A. I suggest that you use a P.O. Box. Not your own home residence address. I suggest you don’t tell too many personal things, like describe your home, and the whereabouts that you live. Especially if you are writing to a nearby prison. I also suggest that you lay down ground rules, and keep yourself distant. If you are single, do not be gullible, and fall in love with the person. Yes, they will promise you everything. And yes, they can sometimes marry you while they are incarcerated. But you truly need to keep your head on straight. They will use you for commissary and whatever else they can talk you into sending them, that they are allowed to have. Please, please, use common sense.
Q. Why do people NOT want to write to prisoners?
A. A lot of people fear the unknown. And TV makes it out to be a lot worse than it is. AND many prisoners do have a one track mind. They only want to get even, or do more injustices to another. That’s why I say, if you decide to write one, use caution. There are some who are wrongly framed; time and time again we have found that people are set free because we, that’s right I said WE as the judge and jury, have put the wrong person away. Sometimes, we can’t be certain. The evidence in the crime, isn’t always there.
Q. Have you lost any pen pals because you decided to write prisoners?
A. Yes, people thought I was a disgrace, an embarrassment. And to be honest, one of the people I decided to write, I wrote because I honestly felt he/she wasn’t guilty. Turned out-they weren’t. This makes me right, and the people judging ME and the prisoners wrong! My gut instinct led me to that prisoner, seen them on TV, and wanted to write them, looked them up, and them found them!
Q. Do you still write prisoners today?
A. No, I still have a P.O.Box though! I rarely pen pal though, too. Time is limited. However, if I ever deem it necessary to write one again, I will. I have no problem in doing so.
These are the questions many of pen pals, and friends and family have often ask me, and I thought it would make for an interesting article, and benefit others. Because after all, sometimes even prisoners do need friends. And like I said, they aren’t always guilty. We might like to think they all are, but trust me, they aren’t.