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Getting a Penpal

Letter Writing as Allies

Writing a letter is the basic first step of any kind of prison support. It’s how we connect: over difference, over space, and over prison walls. Prisoners often identify the isolation as the most debilitating part of a prison sentence, but a prison correspondence can often provide much more than emotional support. When a prisoner receives mail at mail call, it indicates to the guards and other prisoners that someone outside is paying attention and that whatever happens will be noticed. It has a tangible impact on reducing violence and administrative harassment. In developing a correspondence, you are able to help connect a prisoner with the worlds outside and help link them to resources, education, and community support not reachable in prison.

Before You Begin

Before committing to becoming a penpal, there are a few issues to think about. We have put together a set of Expectations and Guidelines that was written in dialogue with members of the project on the inside, and is reviewed with them periodically. It outlines a few things to keep in mind as you consider getting involved in our project, and we ask that you read it over before you begin. If you still have questions after reading it, you can also check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Questions for You

Next, send us a message at answering the following:

1. Have you read and considered the Expectations and Guidelines?
2. Would you like to be informed of events we host and take part in around Montreal?
3. How did you first find out about the Prisoner Correspondence Project?