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

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


Hello all- 

Let me start off by saying I am brand new to writing or working with individuals experiencing incarceration on a personal level however I have experience in my professional line of work. In the last month, I found 3 individuals relatively close to my age (within 5 or so years) who I felt I could develop a beneficial friendship or support network with, my first response letter came today! This individual's bio was very short but in their letter, I noted elements of gratefulness in communicating and a desire to continue,- which is important to me as just because I would like to communicate does not mean they do!  However, there is limited mention of their hobbies or any plans. I recognize this is VERY early on but in doing some research learned he has 3 charges and is only 21, I am seeing his state has multiple resources in his prison that appears to be beneficial- work-related, education, mental health, or preventative and am just wondering if this something he has considered.  I would love to encourage steps that are in his best interest and especially at his own speed as we get to know one another but was wondering if there were any tips from individuals who have been corresponding longer than myself who may have some insight into opening up this conversation or in assisting individuals with rehabilitating services? Upon his release, he will only be 22-24 years old so I can not imagine ANY of these options would not be helpful. 

Thank you from a futuristic social service thinker! 


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Petra Swiss Miss
Petra Swiss Miss

Hi chey_nicole09

Welcome and good on you for writing and wanting to make a difference.
To me it sounds like your heart is in the right spot. But your wording sounds also (to me and with no accusation) very schoolish or academic. Like you're on resaerch for an essay rather then adivce for penpaling or your future pen friend.

Let me give you a view of how I see the US prsion system, before I get back to you.
The prisons are overcrowded. There are education, work and selfhelp programms available. And rightly so. Most inmates (with shorter sentences) have good access to them. For the system or society these are tools for inmates to better themself. And there, I think, lies part of the problem. "To better themself", be god fearing, getting closer to be a "propper citizen", if you pardon my sarcasm. Because after they get released the real hurdles start. Finding a job, housing, etc.
The U.S. releases over 7 million people from jail and more than 600,000 people from prison each year. However, recidivism is common. Within 3 years of their release, 2 out of 3 people are rearrested and more than 50% are incarcerated again.
That is just one of many statistics on this. Fact is, younger people with shorter senteces are more likely to end up back in prison. I don't jugde them or think they are lesser humans. I think they choose the path of least resistance. They go through the paces, that are excpected from them, in prison. Back on the street, after 15 minutes of fame (for having been in prison) it's back on square one.
If you look at the ads of the younger guys, a lot of them are bored and are looking for somebody "to pass the time till I get out", "shot the shit" and other quotes in that fasion. Nothing wrong with that. But prisons are big on hirachy; color and age, to name only the most obvious ones. It's easier to be cool and go with the flow, then going their own way. Growing as a person, believing in your self and your selfworth takes its time and a "place" where one feels safe. And at last, willingness.

And here I'd like to get back to you :o)
I don't know what you told your potential pp about your motivation on writing. My advise: Be honest and open. A person who is open and at eye level.
They get judged, monitored and schooled by others plenty enough. You may be surprised what comes back, if you deemed a person they can trust.
There is nothing wrong with friendly advice or gentle inquiries, after you established mutual respect. Leave you profession with the letter opener for the time being. I guess, you're not constantly consulting and advising your friends and family in their day to day lives too ;o)

All the best and happy writing :o)


Personally, I would be a bit hesitant to advise someone who you've just met. You've said you want to encourage them at their own speed and I would most certainly be very considerate with that. If you are not corresponding with someone on the basis of requested counseling help, I would develop a friendship and then see how it goes. 

I think young prisoners mostly lack friendship. Everyone and their mother is telling them what to do, how to improve, what they did wrong, what they should learn, how they can be better... And peers are not necessarily their best friends. To have a true friend, someone who accepts you for who you are and does not want to change you, or improve you, and who doesn't talk to you in your best interest, is a rare association. Personally, I think friendship will contribute much more to the well-being of a young pp than showing them improvement resources.