How to Write to Female Inmates

Writing to a female inmate is a thoughtful way to assist an incarcerated women in feeling she is valued by society. A female prisoner is often ignored or neglected by her former friends and family. Receiving letters from the outside world can make her feel she has a future upon release. Letters help the inmate keep a positive outlook, and work toward a better life.

Choose a reputable inmate pen-pal organisation. Disreputable organisations sometimes allow people to take advantage of inmates. Respectable groups do exist.

Browse the directory of inmates that are allowed to receive letters. The listings generally list an inmate's prisoner number, a general description of the type of crime she committed and a photo.

Decide what kinds of crimes you are comfortable hearing about. Your pen-pal will likely discuss what she's done. Use this as a basis for choosing the recipients of your letters.

Follow the guidelines of the organisation and the prison when writing to the inmate. The organisation usually provides these rules on its website. They commonly include provisions against soliciting details of the crime, sending money, contacting long-lost relatives and beginning a romantic relationship.

Include some information about yourself in your letter. Discuss your hobbies or interests, and respond to some of the interests the inmate lists in her profile. Be patient in waiting for a reply. The inmate is likely anxious to respond, but mail service is frequently slow in prisons.


Inmates only received printed mail, but organisations often provide an e-mail address you can use. The organisation prints your e-mail and mails it to the inmate.


Do not give the inmate your home address.

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Things Needed

  • Internet access

About the Author

Jessica Briggs began writing professionally in 2011. She has written for high school, college and law school newspapers such as "The Justice" and "The Hoot" at Brandeis University. Briggs holds a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a joint Juris Doctor and Master of Laws in international criminal law and justice.

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