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The information below and included links will support you in writing incarcerated folks.
I been writing incarcerated people for over a decade. I have penpals and some folks I send letters to with no response. Unless incarcerated folks ask specificially for penpals they will not write back. I reach out to some Incarcerated people whose stories interest me and ask them to be my penpal. My penpalships last about 2 Sun cycles (years). If you tell an inmate you will penpal them commit to writing them for 1 Sun cycle (year).
I do oneway coorespondence for incarcerated folks asking for letters, for their birthdays, for the holidays, for a campaign and to bring myself joy! For these you can put Black and Pink address or an Anarchist Black Cross group instead of your home address if you want.
The process is fairly simple with the biggest hurtle being how you send it. A document by Black and Pink of general letter writing instructions and frequently asked questions.
How to write incarcerated folks: you can respond directly to what they shared in their letter, tell them about your life, send your hope for health and safety, be empathetic, understanding, positive, and affirmative, and help to break down the walls that invisiblize the struggles people experience while locked up.
What we can do to support you: We offer genderqueer Person Of Culture paper, pens, envelopes and/or stamps. If your penpal requests books, calendars, images or something else sendable that you need support getting to them, reach out to us. This is a great directory for other genderqueer incarcerated folks support organizations.
Lists of addresses to get you started. To find more reach out to abolition and radical groups.
Wire Of Hope Pen Pal List – Queer Incarcerated – Firefighter Incarcerated – Kamau Sadiki, Black Panther is requesting letters.
Ruchell Cinque is the longest unjustly held politically incarcerated being.
Learn more about grand juries and how they effect our liberatory communities.
I have no experience with these systems that both supporters and incarcerated folks inform me are great ways to email and send money. There are a few platforms that provide these services and the best way to figure out what works for those incarcerated, that you want to connect with, is asking them directly.
Each prison is different although they all have some restrictions. For your first coorespondence use ball point pen on white paper in a white envelope to get your letter to its destination. If your intention is to be penpals or send more items (pictures, books, calendars) ask the incarcerated specifically what and how they can receive speciality items. Follow their instructions to send additional materials.
USE these Writing + Coloring tools
- Colored pencils, any color
- ball point pens any color
- rubber stamps & ink pads
- white printer paper or lined paper
- white envelope with your full name (can be alias) and a return address
- do NOT use these, due to common & ridiculous prison rules:
- tape & glue (anything with adhesive, like stickers)
- construction paper
- any explicit sexual content/images
- references to illegal activity can (and most likely will) get a prisoner into trouble.
As always we value you!
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4 thoughts on “Writing Incarcerated Folks”