Adam Lovell was born in 1977 in Pennsylvania. He has lived in Florida since 1986 and was employed as an ocean lifeguard/EMT before founding WriteAPrisoner.com in October, 2000. Various prison ministries were the first to use the Internet to find pen pals for inmates. Lovell conceptualized WriteAPrisoner.com as a site that would allow free world adult citizens the opportunity to connect with inmates while offering full disclosure of the reasons for incarceration. As he researched the realities of prison life and the high rate of recidivism, he focused on positive approaches to helping inmates help themselves. Learning that many inmates lose all contact with the outside world in a relatively short time and that positive communication was recommended by Departments of Corrections as a way to boost morale, build healthy relationships and even reduce recidivism, Lovell focused on reaching a wide audience of potential pen pals via the Internet. He began advertising in prison papers such as Prison Legal News so inmates could learn of the service and working with religious groups and civic organizations to reach potential pen-pals.
Lovell’s role as an advocate for prisoner rights has increased over the years. He endeavors to work with the prison system, Departments of Corrections, and civic groups with the primary goal of reducing recidivism. In his 10+ years of operating WriteAPrisoner.com, Lovell has become concerned with the full life cycle of inmates as individuals. He recently launched CrimeFreeKids.com with the hope of keeping young people on the right track and out of prison. He believes self-responsibility is the first step toward success in all endeavors – for inmates who wish to return home and stay out of trouble and for young people facing tough decisions and challenges, sometimes with little or no guidance.
“I’ve seen friends and acquaintances down through the years make good and bad choices,” Lovell said, “and I’ve seen the consequences. WriteAPrisoner.com is a place where inmates who are taking responsibility for their actions can meet positive and inspirational people to serve as role models, friends, even mentors.”
As he focused on the lifespan of inmates, Lovell conceived such profiles as Counseling Profiles, Educational Profiles, Employment Profiles, Housing Profiles and Books Behind Bars, which provides educational materials to prisons. He provides scholarships to children impacted by crime, hosts a forum (since 2002) where friends and families of inmates can share advice and inspiration, and continues to author a series of self-help publications that are free to inmates interested in getting their lives back on track. Topics include Parenting from Prison, Credit Repair, Going to Prison, Returning from Prison, etc. All are geared toward helping inmates take responsibility and help themselves. He is the author of Self-help Guide For Inmates, which specifically addresses the issues faced in an inmate's cycle in all stages of prison life.
One of Lovell’s favorite books is Going Up the River: Travels in a Prison Nation by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Hallinan. “Every American should read this book. It puts America’s prison dilemma in perspective. Compared to the rest of the world, America has a real problem with incarceration. The loss of human potential is incalculable.”
The site is Lovell’s passion, and he dedicates all of his efforts to anticipating changes in technology and the needs of society, which includes inmates, their friends and families, and the free world adult citizens that support the site’s mission. Lovell believes the service he provides restores dignity to people who are in desperate need of it. “Imagine a place so desolate that a single letter can turn your whole month around. Many prisons no longer have the resources to rehabilitate. We can help take up the slack in that area by creating and sharing materials to help inmates get their lives on track and by promoting positive pen-pal friendships. Many inmates are wanting and very capable of change. WriteAPrisoner.com and our pen-pals help provide opportunities for that change.”