Many just wonder: 

What's the draw? Don't people without criminal convictions have a hard enough time getting dates? What would tempt a free woman or man to seek out and correspond with - and, as corrections officers say regularly happens, go on to date and even marry - an inmate?

This Article Posted by Jul 27th, 2009


Prison Pen Pals - That First Letter To A Inmate 


If you are looking to correspond with a prison pen pal there are a number of websites that will help you. These websites will give you a lot of information in different formats.


There are many reasons why people reach out to prison pen pals. Some do it because they are lonely and want to relate to other people who may be as lonely. Other people have a curiosity about what prison life is like, or what makes a person commit a crime. Still others feel that they can help make a difference in an inmate’s life by corresponding with them.


I have met a lot of religious people that contact offenders in prison(s) to help them with their religious activities. I have talked to a lot of people that have found this very worthwild.


You should know that when you correspond with an inmate in any prison, the mailroom would open and read every letter. You can’t mention certain things in your letter regarding violence, escape, drugs, etc. Also, you should never give an inmate to much information about yourself. Remember, they have friends on the outside, and if they know where you live may harm you or rob you. A good way to avoid this is to set up a P.O. box to send and receive your correspondence. Many prisoners are very talented scam artists and may try to get you to send them money. It’s not a good idea to get into that kind of relationship with any inmate. 


If you feel the need to send them something, make it gifts like books, etc.


The relationships can last for years or they can die out after a few letters. It’s hard to say until you actually begin corresponding.


Nowadays, the Internet offers ample opportunities for those who want to find pen pals all over the world. Thanks to those sites, you can have pen pals from the remotest parts of the world.

This is a sample Prison Pen Pal Profile from 

A sample of Prisoners looking for  Pen Pals from 

Prisons ban inmates from soliciting for pen pals

By Jess Gresko July. 29, 2009 2009 The Associated Press.


MIAMI- In her online profile, Paula Jones says she is 42, "nonjudgmental" and likes fishing, gardening and cuddling. There's a catch, though. Jones' picture shows her in her blue Florida prison uniform. She won't be out until at least 2010.


Her listing is posted on a Web site called She's looking for a pen pal.

"If you're looking for someone genuine and true, I'm looking for you," her profile says. "I'm just a stamp away."


By posting her profile, however, Jones is breaking a rule. Florida officials have banned inmates from having the listings, saying prisoners just create problems for their outside-the-pen pals.


Other states — Missouri, Montana, Indiana and Pennsylvania — have similar restrictions. Now lawsuits in Florida and elsewhere say the bans are unfair and violate First Amendment rights.


"The public knows when they're writing to these people that they're prisoners," said Randall Berg Jr., a lawyer representing two pen pal groups — including Florida-based — that have sued in the state. "Nobody is being duped here." president and owner Adam Lovell says the bulk of the people who use his site to write to inmates are from religious groups, military people stationed overseas and others affected by the prison. Fraud isn't as widespread as Florida corrections officials suggest, he said.


Jones, who is serving time in a women's prison north of Orlando, wrote in a letter to The Associated Press that she's not a danger to potential pen pals. She says she wants someone to write to for emotional support and to be less lonely.


"Not everyone has (ulterior) motives, lies or solicits," wrote Jones, who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession with the intent to sell. "Some of us ... even if it's very few are truly genuine and hope to meet someone good in our life."


But the Florida Department of Corrections doesn't want to take any chances. In 2003, the department changed its policy to prohibit inmates from advertising for pen pals or getting mail from pen pal groups. Inmates who continue to advertise can have privileges such as visitation or phone calls revoked.


The department made the change after receiving complaints from people who had been taken advantage of and from victims and their families who saw prisoners' ads, said Department of Corrections spokeswoman Gretl Plessinger.


"We're doing it to protect the public," Plessinger said. "Inmates can have pen pals — they just can't solicit for pen pals."

Other states make similar arguments and have now drawn similar lawsuits.


In Indiana, the American Civil Liberties Union is representing prisoners protesting the state's policy, which also prevents inmates from advertising on Web sites or receiving mail from pen pal organizations.


The ACLU also says it is working on a lawsuit over Missouri's policy and investigating the policy in Montana, where inmates may not receive mail from people who identify themselves as a pen pal.


For now, some Florida inmates are ignoring the ban and listing themselves anyway. The inmates communicate with the sites by sending letters in the mail, and sometimes family members pay the fees for the sites, about $40 a year for and other sites.


On, Florida members range from a 41-year-old who tells potential pals she's a 36DD to a 28-year-old who says he has had a "bumpy lifestyle" and is on death row for a crime he didn't commit.


Then there's a man spending life in prison for first-degree murder who has found another way around the ban.

"Please note that the Florida prison system is now locking us up in confinement for placing ads for pen pals," he writes on his page. "So if you respond to this ad please don't mention the profile."


© 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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