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.

  • “I am so thankful that I found [you] because the information and support I have received from you has kept me positive and confident in who I am. The letter of support from Amber, the newsletter, the openness of the materials I have received has helped me understand and accept that I am not alone. I am not weird. I am not a freak. But most importantly I am not alone. I have felt so trapped and so alone for so long.”
    -Shane


  • I had no idea what to expect. If they'd write back, if they'd hate me... But I wrote, and I kept writing. She responded, and kept responding. We've been writing for a year and five months now, and I can hardly explain to you how much this experience means to me, and how much I believe it means to her. She's had a rough life, and a rough time inside, and this experience has opened my eyes in a million ways while allowing me to provide even just verbal support from thousands of miles away. I just wanted to write you and thank you. I can't imagine my life without this person's letters.
    -Hannah


Before You Begin

Questions for You

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, also check out our Frequently Asked Questions

Read Expectations and Guidelines

Next, send us a message at info@prisonercorrespondenceproject.com answering the following:
1. Have you read and considered the Expectations and Guidelines?
2. Would you like to read through the postings, or be matched with whoever has been waiting longest?
3. Would you like to be informed of events we host and take part in around Montreal?
4. How did you first find out about the Prisoner Correspondence Project?