Safety Tips When Writing Inmates
Like any relationship, inside or outside of prison, you should always use your best judgment when getting to know someone new. We understand the importance of taking precautionary measures when corresponding with inmates, and have put together a list of safety tips and best practices when doing so.
You Can Be Anonymous
When writing inmates via postal mail, you may be wondering if it is safe to share your name and physical address with someone you don’t know. Although it may be perfectly fine, we do not suggest it. We encourage you to use a fictitious name, at least initially, and recommend setting up a P.O. Box for the return address. You can also check with local churches to see if they will let you use their address, as many churches are supportive of free citizens providing support to those incarcerated. This adds a couple layers of personal identity protection and keeps your home address unknown. If you choose to reveal other details in the future, you can do so when you feel comfortable.
One thing to be mindful of is that you must still provide a valid return address and a name. The correctional facilities screen incoming mail and will only deliver letters to inmates that have a return address and name shown on the envelope.
When you’re first establishing a pen-pal relationship, it’s important to write out your purpose, take caution, and only share information you are comfortable sharing with anyone initially.
Include questions that allow the inmate to define their purpose as well, along with any boundaries, in their reply. It’s always a good starting point to understand what both of you would like to get out of a pen pal relationship. Then you can build the conversation and relationship from there.
Don’t Be Afraid to Cease Correspondence
While free citizen pen-pals play a critical role in helping inmates get exposed to greater information, have a happier, more positive mindset, and gain more stability, some inmate’s may have other intentions when corresponding with free citizens.
If you feel the inmate’s mental state is unsound, he/she is being aggressive, trying to take advantage of you or someone else, asking for your illegal participation in something or any other red flags, you should cease correspondence, and report the inmate if you feel it is necessary. Certain email services like Corrlinks and Jpay allow you to block inmates as well.
Be of Age
At InTouch, you must be at least 18 years of age to visit any part of our website. If you are under the age of 18, please leave our site immediately. This requirement is for the safety of minors and those incarcerated that are a part of our community.