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Penpal is scaring me

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AviiVP's picture
Penpal is scaring me

Hi All,

So I'm new to this whole thing, and I decided to do it because I wanted to put some good into the world, connect with people who want (platonic) connection, etc. I wrote a man about a month ago and got two letters back this week, dated about 6 days apart. He wrote about how he is a nazi (his words, not mine), and asked a couple of times if I was a "Norsegirl." Nowhere did I mention anything romantic, in fact, I thought I had made it pretty clear that I was looking for someone who wanted to be friends. He went on to rant about Jewish people and Black people and "the Fuhrer," and then went on to write a couple of pages about how when he gets out, he would like to take me camping and "snuggle and hold hands and maybe do more...hee hee" (again, his words, not mine). To be perfectly frank with you, I am wildly unnerved by this, particularly since he now has my address. He apparently wrote a friend of his in Germany to email me several photos of himself, shirtless, in his cell (which the friend did). I feel very exposed, even considering that I knew the risks prior to writing, and feel completely stupid as to how I could not have spotted this in him, even though there was no indicator of either the romantic intention or the horrible, terrifying lifestyle this man lives. I am afraid for my life and the security of my location. Am I overreacting? And should I write him back to tell him I no longer wish to speak to him, or not write to him at all? I feel like either decision could lead to horrible consequences, and am truly stuck. Also for technical clarity, he is incarcerated across the country from me and is serving 26-life, currently eligible for parole. Any advice will help, thank you. I feel really sad and scared right now.

Tricia720's picture

Harassment in any form can be annoying, unnerving, and even downright scary. Harassment coming from a jail inmate or prison inmate is sometimes more frustrating because it comes through the mail or telephone and you may feel that there is nothing you can do to make it stop. Here are a few tips on stopping inmate harassment.


Mail Harassment

Handling mail harassment from a jail or prison inmate is similar to that of telephone harassment. Be clear in your statement that you do not want to receive mail from the inmate. Do not respond to the inmate’s letters, no matter what they say. If the harassment continues, report to the jail or prison with your complaint. The facility will then make sure that no mail leaves the prison with your name or address on it.

The main difference between handling telephone harassment and mail harassment from an inmate is that you need to keep documentation in the form of letters that you have sent and received from the inmate in question. When you write to the inmate for the last time to tell them that you do not want to receive letters from them in the future, keep a copy of that letter to show to the correctional facility staff when you make your complaint. Also, make sure to keep letters that you receive, particularly if they contain objectionable or threatening content, because the staff may be interested in documenting those items as well.

An issue to consider when it comes to mail harassment from an inmate is that they may get creative and find loopholes through which to contact you. This often manifests itself through the inmate sending a letter to someone else on the outside and asking that person to forward the letter to you. Because most facilities only scan through the correspondence and check the mailing address and name on the outside of the envelope, it is next to impossible for them to catch “illegal” mailings of this nature. Report letters that slip through the cracks so the jail or prison staff can tighten the inmate’s restrictions.

Hopefully these tips will help you deal with jail or prison inmate harassment issues. Remember to keep your cool, cease all contact on your end, and keep a line of communication with the correctional facility staff open at all times.

If you fear for your safety once he gets closer to his release, I would definitely call the local police department and report the situation. There technically isn't anything they can do until he is out in the free world.

Tricia720's picture

Also if he is in another country I wouldn't stress too much. Most inmates getting released out on parole will typically have a parol officer that requires them to check in at random times/days. Plus 90% of them have nothing to their name including money. So he would have no way of traveling across the country in my opinion.

Anne marie HH
Anne marie HH's picture

Ditch him and forget him, he ll loose interest and won t bother you. Out of interest - what state?