Writing to a Prisoner- Would you do it?

SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
I'm just curious if any of you have done it or would do it?

Tonight I was watching "30 Days" with Morgan Spurlock, the guy who did "Supersize Me" and he was doing his "30 days" in jail. Seeing the men in there with nothing to do, no programs, no work, nothing, just sitting around, playing cards and sleeping, got me thinking about writing to a prisoner.

I've done it before, I wrote to a guy for several years but lost touch with him when he was paroled. I've been searching ads on prison pen pal sites and have found a couple that I may write to.

So, would any of you do it?
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Comments

  • SigiSigi Posts: 2,379Registered Users
    No, I probably wouldn't. I don't know why really, I just don't think I'd feel comfortable doing so.

    For security reasons, I'd rent a PO Box if you're going to correspond with a criminal.
  • PeppyPeppy Posts: 3,290Registered Users
    Seeing the men in there with nothing to do, no programs, no work, nothing, just sitting around, playing cards and sleeping

    See, that doesn't make me feel sorry for them at all. No, I wouldn't write to one.
  • wild_sasparillawild_sasparilla Posts: 4,306Registered Users
    Personally, I'd rather use other sources if I were to get a penpal, but that's just because it'd be...awkward to write to someone who can't even go out once in a while. It'd be like, ooh I saw this great movie - oh, nevermind, it, um, wasn't that great. You're not missing much.

    Anyway, whether or not I'd advise doing so depends on why the person's in jail.
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  • g-stringrannyg-stringranny Posts: 2,701Registered Users
    Never.
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  • gekko422gekko422 Posts: 4,869Registered Users
    Never.

    Ditto.
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  • RichardHeadRichardHead Banned Posts: 629Banned Users
    Only if it was a good looking chick and I could get conjugal visits.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    See, that doesn't make me feel sorry for them at all. No, I wouldn't write to one.

    I don't feel sorry for them. They made their bed and now they have to lay in it. I do, however, believe in second chances. I also think that it's probably good for them to have something to look forward to (letters), someone to talk with. I know that all prisons are different and that there are school and work programs and whatnot, but I think that everyone should have some kind of outside contact.
    Personally, I'd rather use other sources if I were to get a penpal, but that's just because it'd be...awkward to write to someone who can't even go out once in a while. It'd be like, ooh I saw this great movie - oh, nevermind, it, um, wasn't that great. You're not missing much.

    It's surprising just how much you can actually talk about. With my last person we talked about the programs he was taking and about his family, about what was going on in my life. He sent me pics of his sister, her kids, his Grams.
    Anyway, whether or not I'd advise doing so depends on why the person's in jail

    The site that I'm currently looking at lists the crime that they did, potential release dates and whatnot, as well as their ad and personal info. You can also go to the Department of Corrections website and get more info on the inmates crime as well as write to the DOC and request additional info on the person you want to write to.
  • RedCatWavesRedCatWaves Posts: 31,259Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    No, I'd never want to correspond with a convict.

    I find it very interesting, though, how many women seem drawn to incarcerated men. Some of the most notorious criminals have a bevy of women just dying to write to, be with, and even marry them. Scott Peterson, Robert Chambers (the Preppy Killer), the Menendez Brothers, etc., all practically have harems of women pen pals. What would attract a woman to that type of man? I don't get it.
  • SystemSystem Posts: 39,060 Administrator
    I find it very interesting, though, how many women seem drawn to incarcerated men. Some of the most notorious criminals have a bevy of women just dying to write to, be with, and even marry them. Scott Peterson, Robert Chambers (the Preppy Killer), the Menendez Brothers, etc., all practically have harems of women pen pals. What would attract a woman to that type of man? I don't get it.

    I'm not sure what the attraction is for a lot of women, or men for that matter. I'm certainly not looking for a romantic relationship or even an "on the outside" friendship. The pen pal that I'm looking for is from another country and will probably have a longer jail term. The chance of an "outside" friendship is slim. What I'm looking for is someone to correspond with, someone who looks forward to my letters. I've had pen pals before, ones that weren't inmates, and I search regular pen pal sites as well.

    It may seem a little selfish, but an inmate doesn't have a whole lot to do and is more inclined to write a longer letter and write more often. I love to write letters and have a few friends that I write to but it seems that we don't exchange letters that often. Life gets in the way, people have kids, families, jobs that take up their time and they don't have time to write real letters anymore.
  • fraufrau Posts: 6,130Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    maybe if he embezzled millions, yeah. i could learn something. your every run of the day criminal, nah.
  • PoPo Posts: 2,607Registered Users
    I write to one almost everyday. He's a friend of mine I've known for years (pre-incarceration).

    I wouldn't write to someone I don't know, but I would participate in a card exchange. You just send birthday cards, Christmas cards, etc. Some people have no family and haven't recieved any correspondence in years. And I'm not even talking about murders or rapists, either. I've never done it, but I think because there's limited contact with the inmate, most people feel more comfortable doing that.

    If you're interested, pm and I'll send you the link to a site that hosts one (they host regular inmate pen pals, also).
    3c/4a
  • YolyYoly Posts: 253Registered Users
    I've done it before, I wrote to a guy for several years but lost touch with him when he was paroled. I've been searching ads on prison pen pal sites and have found a couple that I may write to.


    This is exactly why I wouldn't write to one. That is a one-sided friendship and once they get out in the real world you are forgotten.

    He's a friend of mine I've known for years (pre-incarceration).


    If this were the case, then yes. I've done it with a friend of mine. We were friends before, during, and we still are friends.
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  • medussamedussa Posts: 12,993Registered Users
    Night_Owl wrote:
    It may seem a little selfish, but an inmate doesn't have a whole lot to do and is more inclined to write a longer letter and write more often. I love to write letters and have a few friends that I write to but it seems that we don't exchange letters that often. Life gets in the way, people have kids, families, jobs that take up their time and they don't have time to write real letters anymore.

    It sounds like there's some emotional need you are trying to satisfy. Could that be the case? You don't have to respond. It's just something that struck me about that part of your post.

    I loved writing too. I have a pen pal that has become more than a pal. She's like family. We started writing when I was 13 and she was 14. It has been 24 years. We talk on the phone a few times a year and we exchange emails. We've been in each other's weddings. So, I'm all for having a pen pal. But I'm not keen on having a relationship with someone who is incarcerated. I'd be more inclined to participate in something like Po mentioned, though. Sending cards seems harmless. Sharing my life through letters is something else.
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    I do feel bad for some people in jail. I think the concept of jail is inhumane and there are many people there who shouldn't be. It doesn't really help to rehabilitate people. My Parish has a prison visitation program and I have participated in that to have masses and prayers with the inmates. That said, I wouldn't write to one because of the environment that jail is and what it turns people into - I would be concerned for my safety and that of my family. So I would be leaving a lot of details out of the letter, mailing it far from my home, not being honest... I wouldn't want to mention my childrens' names or where I work or anything like that, and would evade the question if asked, so what would we talk about?
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


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  • solangesolange Posts: 2,539Registered Users
    No - wouldn't do it.

    It appears to be a very poular thing to do. I searched for an pen pal website fro my kids to find other kids to write to and I had tons and tons of hits for different prison pen pal websites.
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  • EfrizzabethEfrizzabeth Posts: 8,792Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I write to an inmate, my cousin.

    Though we're third cousins we were close before her conviction & I have faith we'll stay in touch after her parole.
  • PartyHairPartyHair Posts: 7,713Registered Users
    Peppy wrote:
    Seeing the men in there with nothing to do, no programs, no work, nothing, just sitting around, playing cards and sleeping

    See, that doesn't make me feel sorry for them at all. No, I wouldn't write to one.

    No kidding. That sounds like a freakin' vacation to me.
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  • SpringcurlSpringcurl Posts: 8,002Registered Users
    If they're a relative maybe. If they're strangers, no way.

    Having known some people who were incarcerated, I know that they're very good at writing exactly what a stranger wants to hear (they're very sorry, they were framed, etc.).
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  • KateRobertsKateRoberts Posts: 286Registered Users
    No
  • PeppyPeppy Posts: 3,290Registered Users
    PartyHair wrote:
    Peppy wrote:
    Seeing the men in there with nothing to do, no programs, no work, nothing, just sitting around, playing cards and sleeping

    See, that doesn't make me feel sorry for them at all. No, I wouldn't write to one.

    No kidding. That sounds like a freakin' vacation to me.

    I agree. MOST people in jail deserve to be there. So what if they're not having fun? If they wanted to have fun, friends, and freedom, they shouldn't have done whatever they did to land in jail. No sympathy here.
  • sariroosariroo Posts: 1,958Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    I would not actively seek out someone to correspond with who is incarcerated unless they were a friend or relative of mine that I communicated with outside of prison. I'm not sure that I would ever be lacking for social outlets or personal relationships in my own life that I would feel a need to do this.

    Those people are there serving time for a crime. I'm sure it is difficult to be away from friends and family but then again, it must be really hard sitting on your a$$ for hours on end watching television and pumping iron. :wink:
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  • PartyHairPartyHair Posts: 7,713Registered Users
    I think rather than writing an inmate, perhaps the OP could find a penpal who is in the military serving overseas. I think that would be a better outlet in many ways.
    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*

    Rock on with your bad self.

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    *~*~*~*~*~*~*~*
  • MeghuneyMeghuney Posts: 4,263Registered Users
    I did. But it wasn't like you think. A number of years ago, there were a group of men in a nearby city of Jasper who beat a Black man and drug him until his head and other body parts came off, (maybe you all remember this). One of the men was not sorry at all and even said as much.

    I wrote to him in jail. I wrote his ailing father as well. Apparently, his father was on his deathbed and finding out that his son did this gave him another heart attack. I don't know what possessed me to write to them. It was the summer before I went off to college. I got a letter back from the father but not from the other guy.
  • iris427iris427 Posts: 6,002Registered Users
    No, I wouldn't.

    I would be afraid to introduce myself into the life of a criminal. There are enough people on the streets who could potentially hurt you in some way (like the person that broke into my house a couple of months ago :evil: ), why would I go looking for someone who is a criminal?

    I'm sure there are some people in prison who were decent people that just made a mistake. But how do you know whether your penpal is a good person or a sociopath?

    I like the idea of writing to someone in the services instead.
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  • internetchickinternetchick Posts: 6,191Registered Users
    No. I am perfectly capable of developing healthy relationships with people. I don't need to resort to writing to prisoners.
  • PoPo Posts: 2,607Registered Users
    Inmates are people. Unless you still don't consider them people when they get out of jail.
    3c/4a
  • AmnerisAmneris Posts: 15,117Registered Users
    Po wrote:
    Inmates are people. Unless you still don't consider them people when they get out of jail.

    :idea:
    Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali


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  • DarkAngelDarkAngel Posts: 2,671Registered Users Curl Neophyte
    At this point in my life, I would not do it for a number of reasons but I can definitely understand why it is something that you would like to do. I hope that you get what you need out of it and find someone who appreciates your letters.
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  • M2LRM2LR Posts: 8,630Registered Users Curl Connoisseur
    I think it depends.

    With the OP's reasoning, NO, I wouldn't write in that case.
    :rambo:
  • CGECGE Posts: 1,911Registered Users
    PartyHair wrote:
    Peppy wrote:
    Seeing the men in there with nothing to do, no programs, no work, nothing, just sitting around, playing cards and sleeping

    See, that doesn't make me feel sorry for them at all. No, I wouldn't write to one.

    No kidding. That sounds like a freakin' vacation to me.


    What she said.
    I used to have a signature but it disappeared and I just couldn't be bothered writing another so please feel free to ingore this.

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