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Writing from UK to US

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Ruby94
Ruby94's picture
Writing from UK to US

Hello 

I am looking for some general advice about writing to my first penpal, I am from the UK writing to the US and was wondering what I should include in the letter (address etc) I have tried to do research online but can't find much on rules etc. The last thing I want is for my letter not to reach the person who i'm writing. 

 

Any advice or tips is greatly appreciated

Many thanks

Ruby 

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

Hi Ruby94, 

Do you mean you're going to start writing postal letters to a pen pal you've choosen already? Or are you going to use an electronic system like JPay or Corrlinks? 
If you mean postal (snail) mail then firstly - every prison accepts different things. If you tell me which prison I might be able to find their mail guideline for you. 
But general things about writing postal mail to get started - handwritten in blue or black ink on white lined or plain paper, or if you're typing a letter, same thing, stick to black ink on white paper. Do not include any stickers, tape, glue, glitter, perfume, lipstick kisses, coloured pen or anything but paper inside the envelope. Those self sealing envelopes are the best. You can always ask your pen pal as a bit at the bottom of your letter to tell you what you're allowed or not allowed to send as they will know best. For example 4/5 years ago I was allowed to send my PP greeting cards, but I they won't allow them anymore :( 
For the address, write the full name of your pen pal and their DoC number example: Jonathan Doe #3288290  (I always put my pen pals number underneath their name on a different line, cause it isn't part of his name) then the prison address as stated on the website. Make sure all the spelling and numbers are exactly right, mail can get sent back for mixing up just one number. For your return address you want to put your full name too, just first and last name, and then the address you'd like the prisoner to reply to (PO Box, your home address etc.) I always put my return address on the back of my envelopes, but in America they put it on the front on the top left hand corner. Either is fine. I would include your address at the bottom of your letter, as well as the return on the envelope, just to be sure. Some places don't give inmates the envelope so just be on the safe side. But that's only the first letter, since they'll look after it after that if they want to continue to be your pen pal. 

It looks like a lot at first, but it's not that bad really. If in doubt, ask your PP. Happy writing! 

Ruby94
Ruby94's picture

Hey, thank you for your reply - it was really helpful! 

 

Ruby

SophieB95
SophieB95's picture

Sorry to jump in but was wondering about stamps on envelopes. Can you put them on? I've tried searching it but cant find anything. Was thinking about sending a letter as I've sent emails to 2 different people and havent had a reply. Many thanks

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

Hi Sophie, 

Yes! You can put stamps on envelopes. Since I live in NZ, my post system has airmail stickers that go on international mail, and then a $3.50 stamp (or stamps that make up $3.50). So I put the NZ airmail sticker top left corner of the envelope, and stamps on the top right hand corner. Just lick and stick lol :D 

You sent some emails through write a prisoner? If you're overseas you could be waiting anywhere from two weeks to three months for a reply. They're printed off and sent via the post and you get a handwritten reply to those "emails" so you might not have no replies, the replies just might be in transit. Patience is the key virtue for prison pen pals :) 

SophieB95
SophieB95's picture

Thanks a lot for your reply. I just got a letter back this morning was so excited when I realised what it was haha

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

Sophie - woohoo! That's great news! First letters are like the best kind of letter haha. All that anticipation, and in my own experience it's always been so worth it. 
I hope it was a good one and that maybe it's the start of a beautiful penship :) 

SophieB95
SophieB95's picture

Couldnt of got a better one, so glad I didnt sit for hours and choose another. Thanks

VioletGrey
VioletGrey's picture

Sophie that's really good to hear that it's going well! I'm currently waiting on a reply from a new-ish pen pal too, we had a bit of a slow start due to Covid, transfers and letters being rejected for new rules that the prison didn't tell anyone... but I'm hoping it'll be before Christmas! 

martinex6
martinex6's picture

 

Hi guys, I hope it's oke for me to ask a question here in your conversation. I'm still new too. I wrote an email through this website and got a reply in three weeks. Now I'm already waiting 4 weeks for a response on my second letter and I'm getting so impatient haha. But so that's normal? It can take even longer than that? I'm also writing from Europe. Thanks xxx

 

 

 

Farfromhome
Farfromhome's picture

I'd say that 4 weeks isn't highly unusual especially at the moment. 
If you mailed directly from your country the 2nd time then it will take longer. It sounds like you were lucky enough to send your email on WAP right near the date they mail out on and bare in mind that they are mailing from within the USA. 
Average time I've found (from 10yrs of writing and in the UK), pre-Covid, is approximately 6 weeks from when you send your letter to you getting a response. 
About a week to get there. A week to be processed by the mail room. A week for the inmate to write. A week to pass through the mail room. Then a week to get to you. 
So many factors can delay this further though. 
Hope this helps!

martinex6
martinex6's picture

Thank you so much. That's a very clear explanation! I just have to be a little bit more patient haha :)