How to write an appropriate letter to someone in jail or prison

If you’ve never been imprisoned, then you can only imagine how lonely a cell can become. Prisoners are human beings, and just like any human, they yearn for contact with the outside world. The majority of them stated that knowing someone cares about them is what keeps them going. The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirms this with their research, which reveals that inmates—regardless of their gender—want to be accepted once they get out.

This is why there are so many prison pen pals out there. People want to help prisoners get back on their feet.

With the help of DoNotPay, you’ll be able to write a prisoner and show them that they’re not alone. DoNotPay will help you address a letter to an inmate correctly.

Writing to inmates is no joke—it comes with rules and safety precautions. Those rules, that are set by the prison, are different in every state. Before you send a letter to someone in prison, make sure you know everything about:

  • The general rules
  • The permitted content of the letter
  • The safety precautions

General Rules of Writing an Inmate in Prison

How to write an appropriate letter to someone in jail or prison

There are some general rules that you need to follow so that your letter reaches its destination. The rules about writing prisoners differ from state to state, but some universal ones are:

  • Write the full name of the prisoner
  • Include the prisoner’s ID number
  • Write your name and the return address on the envelope and in the letter
  • Choose the correct envelope size
  • Don’t put perfume on the letter
  • Don’t decorate the letter in any way
  • Make sure that, if you want to send a book, you order it from a bookstore that is willing to deliver it
  • Keep in mind that anything you send is going to be inspected by the prison officials
  • Don’t send hardback copies of books because they can be used to hurt someone

The best option is to look up the information on the website of the prison that your loved one is in. It should have detailed rules about which content is permitted.

Appropriate Content in Letters for Prisoners

The content of your letter will depend on the relationship you have with the inmate. If they’re a loved one, you’ll know what to write. The situation is different with pen pals who are strangers to you.

Many people shared that they don’t feel safe revealing their home address, so they provide their work address or the post office address.

Check out what your letter should and should not contain, especially if you’re writing to a stranger:

A question that isn’t appropriate in any case is the one about their crime. You should wait for your penpal to open up on their own.

What Are Some Safety Precautions You Need To Take When Writing to a Prisoner?

After some time of correspondence, you might feel relaxed and close to your pen pal enough to reveal personal information. You should be careful about what you disclose, though.

If they’re not someone you know well—a close friend or a family member—you should think twice about revealing information like your home address or anything that seems too detailed or compromising.

Try not to judge the prisoner and be as kind as possible, but keep yourself safe.

How To Write a Letter to a Prisoner by Yourself and Make Sure They Receive It

Follow these steps to write a letter to a prisoner and send it correctly:

  1. Review your letter for inappropriate content
  2. Find the rules and guidelines about what you can send to your inmate on the website of the prison they’re in
  3. Write the prison address, the inmate’s full name, and their prisoner ID—you can find it on the website
  4. Write your full name and the return address—if you don’t feel safe, make it your post office address
  5. Go to the post office and mail your letter

How To Write Someone in Prison and Send Them the Letter With the Help of DoNotPay

How to write an appropriate letter to someone in jail or prison

You need to know plenty of details before writing a prisoner, such as the correct address of the prison, prisoner’s ID, guidelines on the permitted content, and more. DoNotPay can help you write a letter to a prisoner without the trouble of surfing the internet for hours. You don’t even need to know the prisoner’s ID to send a letter via our app!

DoNotPay can help you:

  • Send a personalized letter
  • Locate an inmate
  • Receive a digitized version of a letter

How To Send a Personalized Letter to Your Loved One or a Pen Pal in Prison

To send a letter to your loved one or a pen pal, sign up for DoNotPay in your web browser and do the following:

  1. Select Connect With an Inmate
  2. Click on Send a Personalized Letter
  3. Enter the inmate’s full name and confirm it
  4. Locate the facility by state or city
  5. Type in the unit the prisoner’s in
  6. Write your letter

Our chatbot will enable you to add a photo to your letter, and we will ask you if you want to receive an answer from your inmate through DoNotPay. This is the third option— the virtual mailbox .

You can also choose a specific theme for your letter, like birthday, seasonal holidays, and other styles.

How To Locate an Inmate

If you want to locate your loved one or your pen pal, DoNotPay can help you. Follow these guidelines to find the prisoner:

  1. Click on Connect With an Inmate
  2. Select Locate Someone
  3. Type in the full name of the prisoner
  4. Enter the state the inmate’s located in
  5. Provide the details about the prisoner if you’re able to
  6. Tap on Proceed

If you don’t know the inmate’s ID or birthday, don’t worry—DoNotPay is still able to locate them for you.

DoNotPay Sets You Free From All the Administrative Issues

DoNotPay helps you get in touch with your loved ones in prison, but that’s not all that we can do. Do you have an issue with stalkers ? DoNotPay can show you how to stop a stalker or deal with an ex that’s stalking you . We can also help you get a restraining order .

DoNotPay can offer you assistance with an array of issues, and we’re constantly expanding our services. Find all of our app’s features by logging in to your account in any web browser .

CINDY BLANKENSHIP

29 SEP 2017

CLASS

Your letters to an incarcerated pen pal or loved one can make a positive difference. Letters from the outside let inmates in correctional facilities and detention centers know others care and can help them keep in touch with the world outside the gray walls. To ensure your letter makes it to mail call, carefully follow the facility’s rules regarding correspondence. Keep in mind letters may be screened.

Explore this article

  • Making a Difference
  • Bridging the Gap
  • Writing Love Letters
  • Getting Creative
  • Writing to Daddy or Mommy
  • Sending the Letter

1 Making a Difference

Those who maintain ties with family or friends or make friends through “write a prisoner” programs while incarcerated have a much better chance of success when they return to their communities. Writing letters can help achieve this, but before writing understand that it’s important to let the inmate know how often you can write. Mail call is disappointing when an anticipated letter doesn’t arrive. Inmates are already vulnerable to depression, and your letter may be the highlight of the day. So whether you can write every other day or only every other week, be up front about this. And keep the letter positive.

2 Bridging the Gap

You may initially find yourself at a loss for words. Instead of filling the silence by asking questions about the conviction or writing about the case, ask questions such as “How do you fill your days?” or “What interesting things have you found to do?” Let the inmate decide when to talk about how he landed there. Because incoming and outgoing mail is often read by law enforcement, don’t say anything that could be used against him. Instead share tidbits of life on the outside — how you spend your days, what the dog or cats did that was amusing and how the kids are doing in school. The point is to help bridge the gap to the real world with descriptions.

3 Writing Love Letters

If your other half is incarcerated, it can be very frustrating for the both of you, and you will surely want to send love letters. But keep in mind the facility that screens the mail may not deliver it if it is deemed overtly sexual. Most correctional facilities do not allow racy letters because they can add to the inmate’s frustration. You can send hugs and kisses in your letter, but don’t kiss the letter or add perfume. Letters with lipstick or anything else other than the ink or lead left by your pen or pencil are not typically allowed. To be sure, call the facility or check its website for more details.

4 Getting Creative

The facility may allow you to enclose photographs and printed material from the Internet or photocopies from books and magazines, provided their content rules are followed. Some inmates enjoy games such as word puzzles or ones they can play with the letter writer. Add humorous or inspirational quotes. If your loved one is in one of the minority of local jails that allow only postcards — read the Prison Policy Initiative’s “Return to Sender, Postcard Only Mail Policies in Jails” — consider having photo postcards printed — it may be the only way you can send him pictures of loved ones.

5 Writing to Daddy or Mommy

Nearly 3 million children have a parent behind bars, according to the Pew Research Center’s report on the introduction of a new Sesame Street character whose parent is incarcerated. Sesame Street’s website provides tips for caregivers to help children through this difficult time, including this on letter writing: If the child cannot yet write, invite him to dictate the letter while you write and to draw pictures to illustrate. You may also want to send photographs of the child and copies of things such as report cards and school work. If the child has a caseworker overseeing the communications, the mail may not be read if the caseworker marks it as “confidential.”

6 Sending the Letter

Before sealing the envelope, ensure that your inmate’s name and booking number are on each page, in case they get separated during screening. Follow the facility’s rules carefully when addressing the envelope. Many jails require a name and booking number along with the address. Others also require the cell block. Do not add anything more to the envelope, other than your return address and postage. Due to contraband issues, the jail or prison likely won’t accept the envelope if there’s anything on it, such as a sticker or lipstick. If the inmate is required to supply his own writing materials and has no money, check with the facility to see how to put money on his books. Sending a stamped envelope is likely not allowed.

Table of Contents

How do you write an encouraging letter to someone in jail?

Tell him that you will be praying for him if you are religious. Or say that you are sending good thoughts his way. Include some jokes or riddles in the letter as well as stories that will lift his spirits. Encourage the prisoner to use his time in jail wisely.

How do you encourage someone who is incarcerated?

In your letters, it’s always a good idea to mention funny stories about you to someone in jail that you think will put a smile or bring a positive attitude as it’s really important while doing time to help them stay out of trouble. Sending inspirational quotes to inmates are also a good way to keep their spirits up.

What do you write to someone you love in jail?

One thing I wish for you to know is that I will never criticize you for the decisions you make. I will be there to listen and help learn (with you) so that you can grow into the person you were destined to be. I understand that everyone is different.

What do you write in a first letter to a prisoner?

What To Write to Someone in Prison?

  1. Recall nice memories.
  2. Tell more about yourself.
  3. Send jokes or anecdotes.
  4. Write about your everyday life.
  5. Talk about mutual interests.
  6. Ask questions about the inmate’s life.
  7. Mention friends and family members and talk about them.
  8. Inform the inmate about the news in the state and worldwide.

How do you start a letter to an inmate?

Start with a clear greeting– Dear…, Hi,…. My Beloved…, My Darling…… Seeing their first name in print is a rarity for prisoners. When you begin your letter with a greeting followed by their first name, it fills them with the warmth of friendship, love, and builds a connection.

Is it dangerous to write a prisoner?

Originally Answered: Is it safe to write letters to prisoners? Generally, yes. Just be careful not to give too much personal information about yourself and write inmates with the understanding not all of them just want a pen pal. Understand that a lot of inmates will just try and use you for things.

What time do prisoners go to sleep?

24 Hours in Prison

HOUR MINIMUM MEDIUM
8:00 return to dorm return to dorm
9:/b> remain in housing area
11:00 lights out; go to sleep
12:00-4:00 lights out; sleep

Do prisoners shower everyday?

Probably varies by state/prison but if you are regular pop you can shower every day. Inmates in segregation get to shower on a set schedule, usually three times a week.

What are showers like in jail?

Usually, showers are of the single-head variety, where the prisoner can close a shower curtain or close a swinging door for privacy. In some cases, shower rooms are present, which consists of a room with four or so shower heads for multiple prisoners to use at one time.

Can a judge throw out a plea deal?

Can a judge help? The judge can accept or reject a plea bargain. If she rejects a plea bargain she must allow the defendant to withdraw the guilty plea. Some judges will tell the attorneys what deal she would accept and some will not.

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10 Step Process to Write to Someone in Prison

Deliver hope to a loved one today

This simple 10 step process is the same one you will follow no matter where you need to send your letter: a state prison, federal prison, or county jail. Keep in mind that letters are one of the most coveted items to a prisoner. Letter deliver hope, love, and a connection to their loved ones. Once you have done this process, it gets easier to write a letter. So, my advice to you is to keep those letters going out to your loved one.

You have decided you want to write a letter to someone who is in prison, but you have no idea how to do it.

Writing a letter seems like it should be so simple, but it can become complicated very quickly. If you do not know what you are doing, your loved one might never receive your letter. The good news is that there is a process to help you make sure that your letter is received!

As you prepare to write your first letter, print off this process and check off each step to be sure you have followed all of the steps!

Here is the process of writing a letter to someone in prison:

  1. Look up the rules for letters. The rules might only be where to send the letter, but they might also be how big the envelope can be, how many sheets of paper you can send at once, or any other points that they have decided must be followed.
  2. Purchase embossed envelopes for sending your letters. I have never seen a prison or jail NOT accept a letter in an embossed envelope (the postage is already stamped onto the envelope, so no stamp is needed) I have consoled many family members when their letters with stamps came back to them because the prison would not allow the stamped envelope into the prison.
  3. Address the envelope completely. DO NOT ABBREVIATE ANYTHING BUT THE STATE. I do not know why this causes issues, but it does.
  4. Clearly write your return address on the outside of the envelope. I used a PO box or a business address for an extra layer of safety. I always included my real name—but not my home address.
  5. Date your letter. This is important for 2 reasons- first so your loved one knows when you wrote it and second, your letters back and forth become your family journey journal. You will want to know the dates after this experience is over.
  6. Start with a clear greeting– Dear…, Hi,…. My Beloved…, My Darling…… Seeing their first name in print is a rarity for prisoners. When you begin your letter with a greeting followed by their first name, it fills them with the warmth of friendship, love, and builds a connection.
  7. Share personal details about life on the outside. This can be events/schedules (like the sports schedules of your children), emotions you are feeling, an activity you did, or someone you recently talked with. Details about your life are important so that your loved one feels included in what is happening outside of the gates.
  8. Ask him about his life and what is happening inside the gates. Try to remember something they shared about a situation or opportunity and ask about it. “did you get that job you wanted?” or “were you able to work things out with your cellie?” Let him know you are interested in what is happening in his life and you were paying attention.
  9. Include an intimate close. By intimate, I mean saying something that means something special to the 2 of you. We always closed our letters to each other with …”We are ROCAT” To us that meant we are inseparable in our relationship, and a powerful force together. Find a phrase that matters to you and to him and use it every time. It will inspire hope and encourage him to continue to work at building his new legacy because he has people counting on him.
  10. Do NOT add anything to the envelope unless it is clearly stated in the institutional rules that you may include something with your letter. Some prisons allow pictures, blank paper, business cards or other small items in with letters; others do not. Back to #1—look up the rules.

Don’t forget to mail your letter as soon as you have finished writing it—he is waiting for the next dose of hope!

These steps will help you to write your letter AND make sure your loved one who is in prison will receive it.

SUSAN AYERS

29 SEP 2017

CLASS

It can be a difficult time if someone you know has been sent to jail. You may have mixed feelings of anger, sadness and a desire to support the person you know. One way to offer support is by writing a letter of encouragement to your friend or family member, letting them know that you are thinking about them and sending them your best wishes. There are a few things to know before you write a letter of encouragement to a person in jail.

Check with the jail or prison before sending any correspondence. There are specific rules that must be adhered to when it comes to writing to a prisoner. Never add anything to the letter that is not paper. This includes stickers, stamps, and Polaroid pictures. Always ask the warden or someone in the jail administration what the process is before sending a photo as you won’t want it to be confiscated or destroyed.

Write an upbeat letter to the prisoner. Be straightforward and honest about the fact that he is incarcerated.The prisoner knows that he is and it will seem odd if you ignore that fact. If you are sorry that your friend or family member is in jail, say so. Tell him that you will be praying for him if you are religious. Or say that you are sending good thoughts his way. Include some jokes or riddles in the letter as well as stories that will lift his spirits.

Encourage the prisoner to use his time in jail wisely. Suggest that he learn a new trade or read books from the prison library. Persuade him to become spiritual and work on any personal issues he may have had leading up to his arrest. Encourage him to take classes and further his education while in jail. He may even be able to get a college degree. Mention that some jails have support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and suggest that he attend meetings. If you are willing to help the prisoner when he is released from jail, state this in the letter. Be careful, however, not to make empty promises.

Address the letter properly so it arrives to the appropriate facility and gets into the hands of the prisoner. Clearly write the inmate’s name, any identification number and the address of the jail. Call the jail first and ask for this information so the letter won’t be delayed. Most jails allow you to include magazine articles or articles from the Internet, with the URL removed. Make sure the total of your letter and other pages does not exceed the amount that is allowed by the jail.

How to write an appropriate letter to someone in jail or prison

How to write an appropriate letter to someone in jail or prison

Coming up with encouraging words for someone in jail can be challenging, especially if you’re not sure where to begin or it’s your first time sending a letter to an inmate.

Keep in mind that just by you sending a letter means a lot because just hearing your name at mail call will definitely put a smile on your inmate.

Even if you just send a quick note like saying, “Hi how have you been?” would mean so much to someone you know incarcerated.

It’s a good reminder for them to know that they still have people that care about them and that they can talk to during the hard times.

Either way, you would want to send the right words to let your loved one know you’re there for them as well as words that will help keep their spirits high which can help keep a positive attitude while doing time.

What to write in a letter to a prisoner?

  1. Funny stories
    In your letters, it’s always a good idea to mention funny stories about you to someone in jail that you think will put a smile or bring a positive attitude as it’s really important while doing time to help them stay out of trouble.
  2. Encouragement Quotes
    – “Fall seven times, stand up eight.”– Japanese Proverb

– “It doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from. The ability to triumph begins with you. Always.” –Oprah Winfrey

-“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson

-“Embrace uncertainty. Some of the most beautiful chapters in our lives won’t have a title until much later.” –Bob Goff

– “Life doesn’t let you go back and change things. All you can do is learn from the past, and prepare for what the future may bring.” –Unknown

  • Inspirational quotes for inmates
    Sending inspirational quotes to inmates is also a good way to keep their spirits up.
    It helps them stay motivated and focused to finish any program they are attending to help them have the best success once they’re released.
  • Mention you’re not judging your inmate
    Writing about how you don’t judge your inmate can be a relief to them as they might now know what you’re thinking about them and can cause for your loved one to not be as open to you as you may like or your relationship be as tight as you want it to be.
  • Play games in your letters
    Playing games with an inmate in your letters can help keep the conversation fun and let them know you’re still interested in staying in touch. Below are a few ideas that you can start with:
  • Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 53: Frederick Hutson

    Part 1: Jamarlin talks to justice-tech pioneer Frederick Hutson, who founded Pigeonly to create communications products for inmates and their families that reduce the destructive impact of incarceration.

    • Tic tac toe
    • Battleship
    • Crossword puzzles
    • Guess the song (include lyrics for hints)

    Choosing how to send your letters to jail

    When you write a prisoner, online is usually one of the best methods for sending off a letter. It can save you time and can have your letters sent off from anywhere you may be without having to buy stamps or taking a trip to the post office to mail your letter to an inmate.

    It also helps you get the right format on the envelope when you address a letter to an inmate as the company will do all that for you and make sure the size of the envelope is the correct one.

    Most facilities will deny any kind of envelope if it’s not the right size or a plain white envelope.

    We understand that loved ones tend to move around a lot so if you’re unsure of your loved ones address or where he might be located then we suggest using our free inmate locator tool to find where your loved one is located and make sure your letter arrives at the right address.

    Conclusion

    At times you can feel like you’ve run out of things to tell your loved one and you want the conversation to stay interesting. We understand.

    But, as long as you keep trying out different things you think would work to keep your conversations from not dying out you should be OK.

    And as long your letters are sent the correct way you should have no problems having it being delivered to your loved one.

    We love hearing from our readers. Let us know if you have anything to add!

    This blog was originally published on Pigeonly.com. a tech solution to improve communities by building products that reduce the destructive impact of incarceration. In addition to low-cost jail calls, Pigeonly customers share photos, letters and more, taking the hassle out and providing an affordable, easy way to keep in touch with your inmate. This blog is reposted here with permission from Pigeonly Founder and justice-tech pioneer Frederick Hutson. Read the original.

    Listen to GHOGH with Jamarlin Martin | Episode 54: Frederick Hutson

    Part 2: Jamarlin talks to justice-tech pioneer Frederick Hutson, who founded Pigeonly to create communications products for inmates and their families. They discuss how he raised capital, the importance of focus, and spending too much time perfecting the product before launch. They also discuss Jay-Z’s blueprint for parting ways with team members via his break-up with Damon Dash.

    When an inmate has a chance for parole, it’s a really big deal. Honestly, it’s all you think about. At least it was for me. When I was sentenced to thirty years in prison (two fifteen-year sentences, running concurrently), I had the chance to get paroled after a serving fifteen percent of my sentence, or 45 months.

    Not long after I arrived at WERDCC, I was given a letter that contained the month and year of my parole hearing, or what we referred to as “my date.” It was a little over two years away, so in the meantime I had to work, go to classes, and stay out of trouble.

    When I finally got to see the parole board, I was granted my minimum release date – exactly 45 months after I arrived in prison. There were a variety of reasons why I was able to get my minimum date. They included the fact that I stayed out of trouble, I was a first time-offender, and they believed my chances to re-offend were low.

    Walking out of that prison after just four years instead of 15 was the best day of my life.

    Not every state has a parole board; not every state gives their inmates an opportunity to be paroled, but if your incarcerated loved one has the opportunity for an early release, you can help make that happen by writing a letter of support.

    When someone is paroled, it means they are technically still in the custody of the state, but they are serving the remainder of their sentence outside of prison walls.

    A parolee has to regularly check in with their parole officer. They also have to have a job and a place to live. Parolees are required to follow all laws, stay away from drugs and alcohol, and many are ordered to go to some kind of treatment or therapy.

    Eventually, my case was overturned by the state supreme court and my sentence was erased. That means I am no longer on parole, and I am a free citizen once again. But, I digress. This blog post is all about helping someone get their freedom back, so let’s get to it. Keep reading to find out how to write a letter to help get someone out of prison.

    In today’s blog post, I will cover the following topics:

    • The power of a parole support letter
    • Letter formatting is IMPORTANT
    • The content of your parole support letter
    • Who should write parole support letters?

    The power of a parole support letter

    When your loved one is dealing with their criminal case, there’s not a lot of legal help you can give them. From arrest to trial (if they have one) to imprisonment, it’s a hard thing to watch. But that’s often your only option.

    However, if your incarcerated loved one has the chance for parole, you will get the opportunity to speak up and help them regain their freedom. When an inmate goes in front of the parole board, there are a lot of factors to consider. One thing that can have a big influence is letters of support from people on the outside.

    A powerful, well-written letter can be a deciding factor that determines if your loved one will get their parole granted. It’s not something to be taken lightly. You can use this letter to bring humanity into the situation, so the board sees your inmate as a person. Not just a criminal.

    Letter formatting is IMPORTANT

    In a world of texting and emails, many of us have forgotten how to write and format a proper letter. Heck, some of us probably never even learned how. However, when you are writing a letter to the parole board to help get someone out of prison, this detail absolutely can’t be ignored.

    I can not stress enough how important it is to format your letter properly. If you want to be taken seriously, you have to do it right.

    First, your letter should be typed on plain white paper or personal stationery. If you are writing as a business professional, a letterhead is definitely encouraged but not required.

    To properly format your letter, type the date in the upper right-hand side. Four lines down, type your greeting on the left side of the page. Here’s an example:

    February 21, 2021

    Dear Honorable Members of the Parole Board:

    Remember to use correct punctuation and proper capitalization. Your greeting should be worded exactly as I have written it above. As you write your letter, each line should be single-spaced. There should also be a blank line between paragraphs.

    There is no need to indent your paragraphs, just start them from the left side of the page. When your letter is finished, close it with “Sincerely” followed by your name typed four lines below. This will give you enough room to sign the letter. Also, make sure your closing, signature, and name are on the left side of the page.

    Be sure to proofread your letter for spelling, punctuation, and grammar mistakes before sealing it in the envelope. When addressing your envelope, be sure to find the right address for the parole board that’s handling your loved one’s case. You can easily do that with Google. Also, remember to include your name and address in the upper left-hand corner.

    The content of your parole support letter

    When writing a parole support letter, the first thing you want to do is introduce yourself in the opening paragraph. Tell them your name, your title or position if you have one, and your relationship to the inmate.

    In the second paragraph, you can go into detail about your relationship with the inmate. You can discuss positive experiences you’ve had with them, and share their positive traits that you’ve witnessed. You can even include examples.

    In the third paragraph, tell the parole board that your inmate is a good person, and you are confident they are not a threat to re-offend. Show your support for your loved one, and explain how you and others in your community are prepared to help. Essentially, this is the part of your letter that is your testimony on behalf of your inmate.

    One of the biggest concerns the parole board will have is that the inmate will return to their old life with their old circle of friends and influences. Telling them that the inmate has a supportive group in their corner can help address this concern.

    Finally, wrap up your letter by explaining why everything you wrote is the truth. Give your final argument for why your loved one should be paroled. Describe the changes and improvements you have witnessed.

    If the inmate has a job waiting for them when they get out, let them know. Advise them of educational opportunities, and let them know all about the support network the inmate will have. Also, if you know of your loved one’s post-prison goals and plans, mention them.

    Who should write parole support letters?

    Everyone in an inmate’s life who has anything positive to say about them can write a parole support letter. This includes family members, friends, former co-workers, and bosses. Teachers, counselors, mentors, and coaches are also great sources for support letters.

    When you are writing a letter to the parole board to help your loved one get out of prison, the most important thing to remember is to be truthful. If you aren’t sure your loved one is ready to be released, don’t write a letter saying they are. The consequences of that could be awful.

    Have you ever written a letter to help someone get out of prison? Let us know in the comments below.

    About the Author Natalie

    Natalie earned her Bachelors degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas, and has worked in television and radio during her career. When she was a 19-year-old sophomore at KU, she got her first on-air job as a sports reporter for a CBS-TV affiliate. In 2013, she was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the possession and production of marijuana. She was released in 2017. We’ve kept her last name off of our website so that she does not experience any professional hardship for her contributions.

    SUSAN AYERS

    29 SEP 2017

    CLASS

    It can be a difficult time if someone you know has been sent to jail. You may have mixed feelings of anger, sadness and a desire to support the person you know. One way to offer support is by writing a letter of encouragement to your friend or family member, letting them know that you are thinking about them and sending them your best wishes. There are a few things to know before you write a letter of encouragement to a person in jail.

    Check with the jail or prison before sending any correspondence. There are specific rules that must be adhered to when it comes to writing to a prisoner. Never add anything to the letter that is not paper. This includes stickers, stamps, and Polaroid pictures. Always ask the warden or someone in the jail administration what the process is before sending a photo as you won’t want it to be confiscated or destroyed.

    Write an upbeat letter to the prisoner. Be straightforward and honest about the fact that he is incarcerated.The prisoner knows that he is and it will seem odd if you ignore that fact. If you are sorry that your friend or family member is in jail, say so. Tell him that you will be praying for him if you are religious. Or say that you are sending good thoughts his way. Include some jokes or riddles in the letter as well as stories that will lift his spirits.

    Encourage the prisoner to use his time in jail wisely. Suggest that he learn a new trade or read books from the prison library. Persuade him to become spiritual and work on any personal issues he may have had leading up to his arrest. Encourage him to take classes and further his education while in jail. He may even be able to get a college degree. Mention that some jails have support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and suggest that he attend meetings. If you are willing to help the prisoner when he is released from jail, state this in the letter. Be careful, however, not to make empty promises.

    Address the letter properly so it arrives to the appropriate facility and gets into the hands of the prisoner. Clearly write the inmate’s name, any identification number and the address of the jail. Call the jail first and ask for this information so the letter won’t be delayed. Most jails allow you to include magazine articles or articles from the Internet, with the URL removed. Make sure the total of your letter and other pages does not exceed the amount that is allowed by the jail.