I've heard that male prisons, especially in California state prisons, tend to be incredibly segregated based on race, and that if you associate with people outside your race you're labeled a race traitor and beaten, thus losing protection from a group and becoming vulnerable. Non-racist folks who enter prison may leave racist because they were forced to adapt that way.
Anyways, how does this affect how prisoners see penpals? Do the inmate's general associates give a shit that he's writing to someone of another race? What if the inmate is forced to become part of a gang in order to "make it" inside prison? I would imagine they are very strict about no racial mingling, but would they care if it's just penpals? I've heard that inmates sometime share photos of their penpals. Can they still do that freely if their penpal is of a different race than him? (Using male pronouns because I'm not sure how much racial segregation are in female prisons.)
I'm Asian American and I just sent a letter to an inmate yesterday. It got me thinking about this situation. I'm partially worried that my race/name would hinder some potential penpal friendships, but I'm also just curious about learning more about prison culture.
If anyone has insight into this I'd love to know. Thank you!