While minors do legally correspond with inmates every day, minors are prohibited from using our service either during their incarceration or as a non-incarcerated pen-pal. When we are contacted about a minor contacting an inmate through our website, we often find that the minor did not actually use WriteAPrisoner.com to make contact. There are many ways people can obtain an inmate’s contact information outside of our website. Our policy strictly prohibits minors from contacting inmates or from even accessing our website. When a pen-pal emails an inmate on our website, certain information is recorded, such as the Internet Provider Address and Internet Server. This information can be used to contact and pinpoint a user’s Internet provider. If a minor contacts an inmate, we send a letter to the resident of the house notifying the adult. We also send the inmate a letter acknowledging that we are aware of what has transpired and request he/she ceases contact with the minor, in the event they have not already done so. If an inmate on our website violates this request, he/she will be removed from our website and barred from rejoining. In addition, the account used by a minor is permanently blocked from accessing our website. This is almost a non-existent occurrence. Our clients are not seeking correspondence with minors. An inmate’s mail is already much more regulated than a normal citizen’s mail, and they realize this will only bring more problems. If your child is seeking information on crime and prison, we have created [CrimeFreeKids.com] to address this just for kids.
We have provided some tips to prevent your child from accessing adult websites (click to view).
- Become computer literate. Today’s children are especially Internet savvy, so it’s important that you learn how to block objectionable material.
- If your child is accessing the Internet via a family computer, install parental control software. Similar options are available for today's smartphones.
- Set rules and guidelines for Internet use by your child. Go over these rules with them to ensure they understand the rules. It’s also a good idea to post the rules near the computer as a reminder.
- Place your computer in a common area, such as the kitchen or living room. This makes it easier to monitor your child’s computer activity.
- Set up a shared email address with your child, so you can monitor email messages and other online activity.
- Never use your child’s real name in his/her screen name or email address. Also, make sure your child knows never to share personal information such as name, school name, location, address, and phone number.
- Maintain an open line of communication and encourage your child to tell you if he/she has encountered an uncomfortable online situation. Take any such claims seriously and praise your child for coming to you with this information.
If an inmate has contacted a minor in your care, please do the following (click to view).
- Use a permanent marker to cross your address out. Write "RTS" for return to sender on the envelope, and place this envelope back in the outgoing mail. Do not open it.
- If you believe the minor established contact with the inmate through our website, please complete the form below.
- Block WriteAPrisoner.com from your child's phone or family computer so they are unable to access it again.
If you do believe a minor has used our services to contact an inmate, please fill the form below out to the best of your ability.