Skip to main content

Must read Terms of Service & Privacy Policy and be at least 18

Must read Terms of Service & Privacy Policy and be at least 18


So for context i’m 22. I’m in college & I figured trying the whole writing to an inmate thing would be interesting and out of my
comfort zone.

I rented a P.O. box for safety purposes & didn’t mention it to my family. However, despite sending a couple of letters using my p.o. box, one letter was recently sent back to my family’s p.o. box with my name under it.

I feel stupid because I didn’t realize that could happen. I lied and said i’m doing it for research purposes, but because I don’t want to hide it from them anymore, I’d rather just cut contact with the pen pal that sent it to the my family’s p.o. box. They’re strict and religious, so I don’t want to push their buttons with this.

Does this seem rationale to cut contact and ghost? I feel bad for initiating it in the first place, but i’d rather not be in trouble for it & not waste anyone’s time anymore with it. My family’s reaction to it was normal ( as in why I’d do something like it), but this whole thing has been bothering me. What should I do?


Hey slimshady111, I’ve been at this for a while and can relay the following:

100% of people in prison are… people. It’s true. Most often, they’re looking for someone on the other side of the wall to hang out with – on paper, or maybe through an e-something-or-other service, or maybe even on the phone as time goes by – someone who can “tether them to their own humanity” (as told to me by someone who used to be on the inside and put it to me in those exact words when he got out). He also said, “you have no idea how much it means” (to have someone on the outside you can count on and be yourself with – as opposed to the mask of bravado one must wear on the inside). I see this whole pen pal gig in many ways, but chief among them is this: that it’s two human beings sharing their most valuable resource – their time.

And so, it seems you’re at a decision point. College is full of those. Examine your motives, weigh the variables, and chart your course. But please don’t just cut and run. A proper goodbye would be the polite way to handle things if you choose to.

That said, I get the whole out-of-one’s-comfort-zone thing. I was there myself at first. And while that’s all nostalgia or naivete I’ve gotten past, it’s valid and legitimate (and conquerable), and I respect you for saying so.

Re: a family member’s reaction to something being “normal”, well, at this point, for me, “normal” is time well spent with some of the most amazing people I’ve met – who just so happen to be in prison.

Your mileage may vary.
Best wishes


You should talk to your family about wanting to do this for yourself. It’s not fair to your penfriend to drop him/her like a hot potato like that and you should have done enough research before you picked up a penfriend.