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The world is huge with over 7 billion people living on the planet. Technology such as email and cell phones have made communications very easy. Who requires more contact than incarcerated prison pen pals? Although inmates cannot have cell phones, they are still human and many of them live in devastating isolation, agony, and loneliness, which is the worst punishment for any human.
Keep in mind that convicts can be guilty or innocent of crimes that they’re detained for including murder, robbery, drugs, etc., or on Death Row. Some prisons and jails believe that someone’s mistakes should not deprive them of contact with others who are not incarcerated. Many inmates love to be kept up-to-date about what’s going on with family, friends, and loved ones.
Cell Block Legendz also believes that inmates should not be shut off from outside communication and provides a platform of inspiration, information resources, and merchandise for the family, friends, and loved ones of inmates at Cell Block Legendz. Here, you will find many amazing blogs and inspirational articles with incredible real-life tips and feedback.
Writing and sending mail is a low-cost and reliable mode of communication with inmates. Handwritten mail from family and friends can mean the world to them. Daily internal mail delivery can be the most anticipated and exciting time for prisoners. Some correctional facilities allow handwritten or typed letters along with photos. Federal, state, and local facilities where inmates reside may have different criteria when writing and sending mail to inmates.
Be sure to check online correctional facility guidelines or call ahead to get specific rules about what is or isn’t acceptable when sending a prisoner mail. Certain items are not allowed in mailings. Envelopes may have to be a certain color, nudity is forbidden in pictures, and the facility may prohibit gang insignias or profane and foul language. Some inmates can’t receive postage stamps, envelopes, or paper because they can purchase them from the commissary store.
So, you thought it was an epic idea to get a prison pen pal or pen friend after your cousin told you what a legendary relationship she’s developed with a prisoner she found through an online prison pen pal service. You’ve written your first letter to your pen pal and already, they are asking you for nudes and if you’ll marry them (in that order) (Lol). You’re shocked.
You aren’t sure if you should return the next letter from your pen pal or pack up and move in case they get released and decide to drop by, unannounced. So, you decide to end the communication altogether.
On the flip side, things can go quite well with you and a prison pen pal. You’ve looked up their case and they don’t have any violent or sex abuse convictions. You love the tone of their letters, they are not insisting that you meet, and they are not writing about sex or asking you for money.
You may develop a great friendship over time that may or may not lead to a romantic relationship, love, or marriage before or (if and) when they get released. It happens. Just realize what you may be getting yourself into after your long-time romantic prison pen pal comes home.
…Or, you may discover that your prison pen pal experience did not quite turn out what you expected it to be.
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Prison pen pals can be looking for friends, and jobs upon release, to get their GED, or college degree, enrolled in a training program, or to find a place to stay. Take the time to get to know your prison pen pal(s) (whether they are a woman or man), get to know each other, and be honest and clear about your intentions.
Know what your purpose is before you get a prison pen pal and set boundaries between each other upfront. If you have a looming concern about giving out your home address to your prison pen pal, then consider using a Post Office box and/or alias to correspond with your prison pen pal. They probably will not care if you send them a postcard or birthday card from a Post Office Box. It will probably just make their day that they received mail, especially from you.
If you ever worry about the safety of using your home address, there are pen pal services like jPay that do not show your personal information. Don’t give out your phone number to a prison pen pal whom you do not wish to converse on the phone with. Keep in mind that the cellmates of your prison pen pal can get ahold of your information and if their relationship negatively changes with your prison pen pal, then your information can be misused by their cellmate.
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There are many interesting and awesome aspects of having a prison pen pal. You may discover the following benefits by writing a prison pen pal:
An Educational Experience:
Having a prison pen pal can be a fabulous and educational experience. As you get to know the inmate, you can get the perspective of someone who may be viewed as a community outcast and learn some things that you did not know about them before. An inmate can share with you his or her daily challenges and the realities of prison life. Convicts can teach you a bunch of great information like prison rules that are different than the outside world. Information is very valuable, regardless of source or topic. A person should appreciate any knowledge they can get concerning a place that is a world of its own. It can be a blessing in disguise to learn different perspectives from inmates when it comes to survival tips and acquiring mental resiliency.
Prisoners are humans, too:
You may find it hard to believe or relate to, but inmates are humans too. Before becoming incarcerated, they led a regular life just like you and me. Being pen pals can help you discover what made them take a step outside of the legal line that significantly changed their lives.
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Being there for someone:
Prisoners must deal with isolation and risks to their safety and well-being. No matter how minor or major the crime is that they committed, isolating an inmate can be a cruel punishment. Your companionship helps them throughout the tenure of their sentence when you write to them. One day, they may be released, and you can earn a great friend whom you helped get through tough times. In this way, you both can interact better and develop a bond.
Interacting with a prison pen pal can bring about social awareness when we share our experiences with others, including our youth. It is a very nice way to spread knowledge about prison in our society. The art of valuing people who may be deemed to be social outcasts in the community and the required discipline in answering their letters are also learned. Sharing pen pal experiences with youth can provide them with the proper mental growth and allow them to understand certain situations that can lead them to become law-abiding citizens in the future because of their knowledge of the pitfalls that incarceration can yield and help them become more familiar with the judicial system.
Some of the prisoners can also be wrongfully convicted inmates who have no one to write to and are lonely and victimized in every way. Writing to random prisoners can give them mental support as having a partner to communicate can help them overcome the mental torture. Keep in mind that a prison pen pal who is nearing release may stop communicating with you altogether even after you thought that there was a close bond between you.
Any open communication that a prison pen receives can remove barriers. Writing a letter to them can help people to positively interact and even encourage each other. Prisoners can become inspired by you to lead productive lives during their incarceration, which can create a positive environment all around.
Communicating positively with a prison pen pal may help their mental health when they are given a platform to communicate with others on the outside. They may develop trust in you if they feel like they are given a free pass to express their innermost feelings. Exchanging letters and befriending a person on the inside can help to boost morale while also helping them to preserve their sanity.
Overall, being pen pals with an inmate can be beneficial and uplifting. It helps in spreading awareness, perspective, and social information. The main goal of pen pals is to develop a friendly and honest relationship with a person living a different life than you in a different environment.
Prison pen pals may be able to receive care packages, funds, magazine subscriptions, and/or new books. There may be stringent protocols that need to be followed for overall correctional facility safety while sending these items. However, it is still a positive step to developing and building a friendly and honest relationship. Inmates may have committed crimes, but they should be allowed contact with the outside world. Taking the time to communicate and interact with a prison pen pal may help them to get started on a greater and noble path.
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