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Helpful Tips for Writing to Pen Pals
1. In your first letter, include a brief description of yourself and your background. Do not share too much personal information. Discuss favorite foods, pets, places etc.
2. Let the inmate know how often you can write? weekly, monthly or more often.
3. If you aren't looking for romance, make this clear up front. Also let them know that sexually explicit language is not appropriate.
4. Re-read their ad and then inquire about something they have mentioned. Perhaps their love of art or dreams to travel etc.
5. Ask questions about them , not their crime. Get to know them for who they are, not what they did.
6. All facilities have limits on what can and can't be mailed in to a correctional facility. Search the web for your pen pals institution and read the mail rules.
7. Greeting cards are an easy way to just say "HI" without much effort and they make a huge impact. Be careful with embellishments though, some are not allowed.
8. It is wise to write only one inmate per facility. Writing to more than one at any institution could cause unwanted inmate rivalries.
9. Do not give an inmate your phone number unless you are prepared to receive collect calls. THEY ARE COSTLY!!!! There are inmate calling services listed online that can help you decide if you'd like to correspond by telephone.
Items you should NOT include with your mail:
No cards with yarn or ribbon
No Polaroid photos
No padded or laminated cards
No letters written in a foreign language
No stickers or adhesives
No post-it notes
No excessive magazine clipping or newspaper clippings
No pornography or nude personal photos
No images portraying smoking, sex acts, or gang related signs
No items with internet URLs or email addresses.