Basic Rules for Writing

  • 1

    Find out the rules of the prison where the inmate is incarcerated. They each have specific guidelines.

  • 2

    Write about yourself without giving too much personal information. Tell her about your hobbies, favorite foods or movies and your personal philosophies.

  • 3

    State the type of relationship you're willing to have with the inmate. If you don't want any sort of romantic or suggestive relationship, establish that up front.

  • 4

    Ask questions to keep the conversation going and to let the prisoner know you are truly interested in learning about him.

  • 5

    Include your return address. It's a good idea not to use your personal street address if you live in US. Open a Post Office box or correspond through a third party such as Prison Life or Write a Prisoner. It is okay to give your address if you live outside US.

  • 6

    Keep the correspondence going. Your prisoner will look forward to your correspondence.

  • 7

    Sending tasteful photos is acceptable in most cases, but be careful not to include photos or information about your children.


    • You must be at least 18 to write prisoners via most services.

    • Report anything offensive, threatening or uncomfortable that the inmate tells you.

    • Don't be discouraged if you don't get a prompt reply. Mail moves slower in prison.

    • Avoid writing to more than one inmate from a prison. This can create tension between the inmates.

    • Don't send prohibited items, such as pornography, spiral-bound items, maps or anything that could be used as a weapon. Check the rules before sending anything more than a letter.


      Remember also:   If your penfriend is on death row, he has been convicted of murder. It is up to you to research any potential penfriend online prior to writing to them. Some people cannot cope with certain crimes so it is best to avoid writing to someone if you do not think you can cope with their crime. These people have already been convicted, judged and condemned, They do not need anyone else to do so in mail.