People living in cages can easily get depressed, who would have thought? Prisoners are forced to live away from their social support, family/friends might not visit often, they might not get along well with cellmates. Humans are social animals, we need connection to survive. After being forced through the justice system, prisoners deserve better. One of the things we can do to help is write to them, here are the basics on how to do that!

Before you get to writing here’s some things to know:

Be aware that some prisons restrict the number of letters a prisoner can write/receive, so you won’t always get a reply. Prisoners might also not have access to stamps or envelopes (you can try sending stamps with your letter).

Letters can be read by guards before being given to the prisoner, so don’t write anything you wouldn’t want them to see. Don’t draw any imagery that could be considered “gang related” (the anarchy symbol is included in this unfortunately).

Make sure you include a return address, some prisons won’t accept letters without them (it doesn’t have to be your address). Use clean plain paper and new envelopes. Don’t glue any pictures to your letter.

When writing for the first time, try and keep it short to avoid overwhelming them. Tell them facts about yourself, who you are, what you do, etc. Let them know about your political views if you want and let them know you support their actions. Lighten things up with stories, don’t be afraid to talk about fun things you’ve done or your everyday life, prison life is boring and hearing about the outside world livens it up.

Looking for prisoners to write? The Unoffensive Animal website has a list under “Prisoner Support”. We also offer the ability to write a letter online that can be sent by us with a donation to cover the costs.

Get out there and make a new friend!

*This PDF is a good resource for extra info, and it’s also where I picked up most of these tips: https://bristolabc.files.wordpress.com/2011/07/writing-to-prisoners.pdf


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