Krystal Damon


Birth Date: October 22, 1985
Incarcerated Since: June 24, 2014
Release Date: November 30, 2018
Home Town: Pocatello, ID
Ethnicity: Native American / Mexican
Religion: N/A
Height: 5′
Weight: 160 lbs
Wants To Write To: Anyone
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Open to Gay/Bisexual Contact: No
Will Write Overseas: Yes
Seeks: Friendship


Attention Attention!!

Beautiful Native American girl….

If you’re reading my ad, and I’m hoping you are, just know that I’m looking for a friend to share the thoughts of my heart.

My interests are learning how to start my own business and going to school to get a degree in marine biology.

I love the ocean, and I love the stars but where I’m from the most beautiful thing is the snow by far!

I’m very warm and loving, and I love to laugh. I’m looking for someone strong and confident to help me get through this mess. I’ll be waiting for your letter. Hope to hear from you soon.

Always, Krystal Damon

You email me at and put in my information (IDOC #87065), state Idaho – PWCC, Krystal Damon.

Krystal Damon #87065
PWCC – Unit 2-14b
1451 Fore Rd
Pocatello, ID 83204

Krystal Damon #87065

Prisoner Resource List

Prisoner Resource List

Books to Prisoners

These programs send books to California prisoners at no charge. There may be a long waiting period.

Books For Prisoners

c/o Groundwork Books

323UCSD Student Center, La Jolla CA 92037

Groundwork Books offers up to one per person, free of charge. Send your request, specifying your interests, and we will send you a detailed booklet for that area of interest. Subjects: politics, spirituality, feminism, dictionaries, culture, social criticism, and select novels. Stamp donations are appreciated but not required.

Books Through Bars

4722 Baltimore Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19143

Request books by topic and specific subject areas (for example: novels, self-help, American history, etc.) Very limited legal books. Donations, including stamps, are greatly appreciated. Please send information regarding prison regulations for reading material being sent in. Allow 3 to 4 months for delivery.

Books Through Bars—Ithaca

C/O Autumn Leaves Bookstore

115 The Commons, 2nd Floor, Ithaca NY 14850

An all-volunteer operated, community-based organization that sends books.

Book Through Bars- NYC

c/o Bluestockings Bookstore

172 Allen Street NY, NY 10002

Ships to prisoner’s nationwide. Mostly history and political books. Sometimes fiction and educational. Donations of stamps and money appreciated, make out to ABC No Rio.

Books To Prisoners

c/o Left Bank Books

92 Pike Street, Box A Seattle Washington, 98101

Does not ship to prisons that require all books sent to be new. May take up to 6 months.

DC Prison Book Project

c/o Quixote Center

P.O. Box 5243 Hyattsville, MD 20782

Sends donated reading material to prisoners and educates the public about prisoner education issues. 2 books per request. About 3 months to respond.

Gainesville Books for Prisoners

P.O. Box 12164 Gainesville, GFL 32604

Covers prisoners nationwide. Accepts requests by topic of interest only.

Prisoner Literature Project

C/O Bound Together Books

1369 Haight Street San Francisco, CA 94117

You may request types of books—not specific titles. No Christian, Islamic, horror, romance novels, or legal books.

Stamps or donations are greatly appreciated but are not required. Main types of books usually requested:

Dictionaries, ethnic studies, basic educational books.

Prison Library Project

915 C West Foothill Blvd.  PMB 128, Claremont, CA 91711

We offer books on self-help, personal and spiritual growth, wellness, and metaphysical books. No law books, technical, or GED, and no catalogue.

Book ‘Em

5125 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15224

Free books to prisoners in solitary confinement or who are Native American. Request by subject. A prisoner-published magazine, Hubris from Somerset state prison is available for a small fee.

Newsletters and Periodicals

California Prison Focus

1904 Franklin Street, Suite 507, Oakland, CA  94612
Community-based grassroots organization that works with and on behalf of prisoners in California’s control units. Quarterly newsletter called “Prison Focus” that is $5/yr for prisoners, free to California SHU prisoners. Other prisoners can send for one free sample copy.

California Lifer Newsletter (CLN)

P.O. BOX 687, Walnut, CA 91788

An informative, editorialized account of correctional,  administrative, judicial, political and parole news and events of primary interest to California inmates serving indeterminate prison sentences and their families. $18 or 3 books of postage stamps per year. Minimum 6 issues.


P.O. Box 97048, RPO Roncesvalles Ave.

Toronto, Ontario, M6R 3B3 Canada

Views, thoughts, and analysis from the hearts and minds of North American Political Prisoners and Friends. Free to prisoners.

Allied Resistance

c/o Kansas Mutual Aid

P.O. Box 442438 Lawrence, KS 66044

Monthly publication of prisoner revolutionaries dedicated to build a movement for a just and sustainable future. $1 or 4 stamp donation suggested. Ask for info about prisoner labor unions.

The Beat Within

275 Ninth St, San Francisco CA 94103

Our purpose is to educate readers inside and outside of the system. Prisoners may send commentaries, artwork, and poetry, directed towards teaching, inspiring, and giving hope. Prisoners may receive a free subscription, donations are appreciated.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)

1612 K Street, NW Suite 700, Washington, D.C. 20006

FAMM works to end mandatory minimum sentencing policies and publishes a quarterly newsletter called


Fortune News

c/o The Fortune Society

53 West 23rd Street 8th floor, New York NY 10010

Over the years, the News has grown into a forum for former prisoners and advocates to discuss personal experiences within the criminal justice system and map out strategies for reform.



c/o PA Prison Society

245 N Broad Street  Philadelphia, Suite 300, PA 19107

a monthly publication that provides an opportunity for prisoners and the residents to voice their opinions and concerns about criminal justice issues. Monthly publication available to prisoners for $3 per year.

Journal of Prisoners on Prisons
C/o University of Ottawa Press
542 King Edward Ave., Ottawa, ON, Canada, KIN 6N5
Academic journal publishes commentary and analysis on criminal justice and prison life by prisoners.

Justice Watch

1120 Garden St, Cincinnati, OH 45214-2123

Works to eliminate classism and racism from prisons.

Newsletter free to prisoners.

Las Calles y La Torcida

Chicano Mexicano Prison Project

PO Box 620095 San Diego, CA, 92162

Newsletter of the CMPP, a Project of Union del Barrio, with the goal of “raising the political consciousness of la Raza en la torcida.”

La Voz de Esperanza

922 San Pedro, San Antonio TX 78212

Publication of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center.

National Prison Project Journal

ACLU National Prison Project

915 15th St NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20005

$2/year for prisoners.

Prison Action News (PAN)

Anarchist Black Cross Federation’s quarterly newsletter focusing on the support and défense of PP/POWs.

PAN c/o Boston ABC, P.O. Box 230182, Boston, MA 02123

Prison Health News

c/o Philadelphia FIGHT

1233 Locust Street 5th floor, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Free monthly newsletter about prisoners’ and ex-prisoners’ health; published by ex-cons.

Prisoner’s Resource Clearinghouse, Inc.

2107  N. Decatur Road, Suite 113 Decatur, GA 30033

Publishes bi-monthly newsletter with information about

education, legal, medical and religious issues, family

support and assistance, political and economic

empowerment, and pen-pals. Write for subscription

information, unsolicited materials will not be returned.

Prison Legal News

P.O Box 2420, West Brattleboro, VT 05303

A monthly 56 Page magazine with: summaries and analysis of recent national and local court decisions on prisoner rights, from the prisoner perspective, articles from attorneys, including how-to litigation advice, news of prison-related struggle and activism in the United States and around the world, and distributes a wide variety of legal self help and criminal justice books. $24.00 a year.

Prisonworld Magazine

P.O. Box 380 Powder Springs, GA 30127

Free Pen Pal ads, VIP memberships with picture on MYSPACE, Trivia contests, resources and more. $15.00 or  40 stamps for one year subscription. Or $3.00 or 9 stamps for single issue.

Quiver Distro

PO Box 993, Santa Cruz CA 95061

Anarchist zines and other anarchist publications free to prisoners.

South Chicago ABC Zine Distro

PO Box 721, Homewood, IL 60430

Provides serious political educational zines, free to

prisoners. Works closely with many conscious prisoners

who are strong writers and artists to get the empowering

truth both inside and outside US gulags. All expenses out

of the group’s pocket. Donations, including stamps, are


Turning the Tide

PO Box 1055 Culver City CA 90232

Journal of Anti-Racist Action, Research and Education.

Voices.Con Term-To-Life Prisoners Converse

8490 Westcliff Drive, #40, Las Vegas, NV 89145

Newsletter published monthly by term-to-life prisoners and provides vital information by those who are experiencing the politics of parole. Can retrieve newsletter free online or for a year subscription send check or money order for $20.

Legal Self-Help

Anderson Publishing

Briefs of Leading Cases in Corrections; Constitutional Rights of Prisoners;and more.

1275 Broadway, Albany NY 12204

Write for a catalogue.

A Jailhouse Lawyers Manual

Columbia Human Rights Law Review

435 West 116th Street New York, NY 10027
Self-help guide used by prisoners to pursue appeals, post

conviction relief and civil rights actions. Main volume is $30. Also available for free online. Not updated since 2005.

Blackstone Career Institute

1011 Brookside Road, Suite 300

P.O. Box 3717Allentown, PA 18106-3717

Low-cost paralegal course by mail covering principles of civil and criminal law.

Jailhouse Lawyers Handbook

C/O Center for Constitutional Rights

666 Broadway, 7th Floor, New York, NY 10012

or C/O National Lawyers Guild
132 Nassau Street, RM 922, New York, NY 10038

Describes how to bring a federal lawsuit to challenge violations of your constitutional rights in prisons. Send $2 in stamps, check on money order. Takes several weeks to deliver. Download for free at

Legislative Bill Room

State Capitol Room B-32, Sacramento CA 95814

Free copy of US and CA constitutions and pending legislation.

Lewisburg Prison Project

P.O. Box 128 Lewisburg, PA 17837

Publishes a number of low-cost materials for prisoners: Legal Bulletins, Prisoner’s Guide to Federal Parole, and Due Process Standards for Admin Detention.

Nolo Press

950 Parker St. Berkeley, CA 94710-2524

Publishes legal self-help material such as Legal Research,

4th edition, which gives step-by-step instructions in

finding legal information. Write for catalogue.

The Paralegal Institute

2933 W Indian School Rd, PSV Mail Drawer 11408

Phoenix, AZ 85061-1408

Associate degree program. Accredited by Distance

Education Training Council. Registered with National

Association of Legal Assistants.

Prisoner Legal News
NLG Prison Law Project
558 Capp St., San Francisco, CA 94110
$7.50 for jail house lawyers, $10 for regular subscription.

The Prisoner’s Guide to Survival c/o PSI Publishing 413-B 19th St #168, Lynden WA 98264

A comprehensive legal assistance manual for post conviction relief and prisoners’ civil rights actions. 750 pages, soft cover, $49.95 for prisoners. Includes: Current legislation and court decisions affecting prisoners, actual-size example forms for Appeals, Habeas Corpus actions, Motions, Constitutional rights complaints for state and federal prisoners, and much more.

Prisoners’ Rights Union

P.O. Box 161321   Sacramento, CA 95816-1321

This group publishes over 40 self-help legal manuals available for $10-40 to prisoners. Also publish California Prisoner newsletter. Not sure if still going.

Prisoners Self Help Legal Clinic

35 Halsey St., Suite 4B, Newark, NJ 07102

Helps prisoners help themselves. Law interns working together with ex-offenders assist state and county prisoners as they independently assert their legal rights through petition and litigation. Publishes b-annual newsletter and has many helpful pamphlets. Focus on New Jersey.

Prison Legal News

2400 NW 80th St, #148, Seattle, WA 98117-4449

Monthly magazine edited by WA state prisoners. Review

and analysis of prisoner rights court rulings and news

about prison issues. Subscription rates are $24/year, Litigation Manual for $10.

Public Information Office

Supreme Court of the US

1st St., NE, Washington DC 20543

Free copies of recent decisions if you send case name and number.

Self-Help Litigation Manual
Oceana Press
75 Main Street, Dobbs Ferry, NY 10522
This excellent resource includes chapters on legal research, the legal system, an overview of prisoners’ rights, federal post-conviction remedies, law library requirements, civil rights forms, parole, how to litigate in federal courts, and more! ($30 for prisoners).

West Publishing Company
C/o West Group- A Thompson Company
610 Opperman Drive, Eagan, MN 55123
Publishes mostly expensive books. Write for info and request a price list for the ‘Nutshell’ series. Helpful ‘Nutshell’ series includes The Law of Sentencing, Corrections, and Prisoners’ Rights ($22.50) and Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell. ($23.50).

Legal Aid



ACLU National Prison Project

915 15th St., NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC  20005

The ACLU National Prison Project offers some general legal advice but is primarily involved in large class action lawsuits that challenge conditions of confinement. Provide referrals but they do not represent individuals.

Publications include National Prison Project Journal (quarterly), $2/year for prisoners; Prisoners

Assistance Directory (updated 2002); Status Report (of existing court decrees and litigation) $5 (sometimes unavailable); TB in Prison: The Facts for Inmates and

Officers, single copies free to prisoners.

California Indian Legal Services

324 F Street, Eureka CA 95501 (serving Del Norte County; other counties may have closer office)

This organization provides legal representation to low-income Native Americans. They do not usually handle criminal cases.

Centurion Ministries

221 Witherspoon Street Princeton, NJ 08542-3215

An investigation agency for people who are wrongfully convicted. Has stringent qualifying criteria and LONG waiting list. (1) We only consider murder or rape cases within the U.S. as well as Canada that carry a life or death sentence. We do NOT consider self-defense or accidental death cases. We will only consider a rape case if there is the possibility of using DNA testing to clear the convicted person. We do NOT consider child sex cases unless the case has physical evidence that could be scientifically tested to prove innocence. (2) You must be absolutely 100% innocent of the crime and have had absolutely no involvement whatsoever with the crime. (3) You must be indigent and have largely exhausted your appeals. (4) We are NOT lawyers and, therefore, we do NOT offer legal assistance to those who petition us for help. We CANNOT make referrals to attorneys. If the inmate does

fit ALL of our criteria, their initial letter to us should be brief, outlining the facts of the crime, and what led to their arrest for the crime.

Disability Rights Education Defense Fund

2212 – 6th Street   Berkeley, CA 94710

This organization provides legal and other types of referrals to prisoners with disability issues. They do not provide individual representation.

La Raza Centro Legal, Inc. Lawyer Referral

Northern California Innocence Project

474 Valencia Street #295 San Francisco, CA 94103

Mainly for Spanish-speaking clients. Handles all types of legal problems, civil and criminal. All attorneys located in San Francisco though no geographic requirements for clients.

National Center for Youth Law

405 14th St 15th Floor Oakland, CA 94612-2701

Does not handle individual cases. Works with lawyers who are directly representing residents of juvenile detention facilities, training schools, or other juvenile prisons. Publishes “Youth Law News” 6 times/year.

Penal Law Project

California State University-Chico

400 West First Street   Chico, CA 95929

This organization provides legal referrals and information packets on the following topics: Habeas Corpus, the 602 appeals process, Three Strikes, civil rights action, expunging a criminal record, and parolee rights.

Prisoner’s Rights Research Project

University of Illinois College of Law

504 E Pennsylvania Ave, Champaign, IL 61820

Project involves student volunteers, working under a faculty advisor and more advanced student supervisors,

who research and respond to legal research questions posed by indigent prisoners incarcerated across the country.

Prison Law Office

General Delivery   San Quentin, CA 94964

The Prison Law Office is a non-profit law office that offers free legal services to people in California prisons regarding conditions of confinement, and provides self-help legal manuals on various topics including parole hearings, Habeas Corpus, and suing a public entity. Sells the comprehensive California State Prisoners Handbook for $40 to prisoners and parolees.

Prison Law Project

University of California Davis

400 Mrak Hall Drive, Davis CA 95616

Law students assist prisoners with problems related to incarceration in California state prisons.

Prison Legal Aid Network

1521 Alton Rd. #366   Miami Beach, FL 33139

Low cost legal assistance for prisoners.

Project for Older Prisoners (POPS)

George Washington University National Law Center

2000 H Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20052

Students assist low-risk prisoners over the age of

55 in obtaining paroles, pardons, or alternative forms of incarceration; provide books for prison libraries. Other projects are the Prison Environmentalism project that is working to introduce recycling and environmental industries in prisons. POPS also runs a “Books for Crooks” program to help build prison libraries.

The Northern California Innocence Project

500 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, CA 95053-0422

Only handles cases where post-conviction DNA testing of evidence can yield conclusive evidence of innocence. The resources of the NCIP are extremely limited. Therefore, we only consider cases of California prisoners who were convicted in Central and Northern California courts and are seeking to advance a claim of factual innocence. In addition, cases must meet the following criteria: 1) The inmate must have been convicted in California state court of a serious felony or a felony involving a three-strikes sentence. 2) There must be strong evidence of the inmate’s actual innocence of the crime(s).The Project does not assist inmates with legal claims or procedural challenges.

Southern California Innocence Project

Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy

CA Western School of Law

225 Cedar St, San Diego, CA 92101-3046

Law students assist in the investigation of cases where there is strong evidence of innocence, write briefs in those cases, and advocate in all appropriate forums for the release of the project’s clients. Request an Intake Questionnaire by writing to the above address. Criteria: 1) Your conviction must have taken place in Southern California. 2) You must be able to claim actual innocence of the crime you were convicted for. 3) You have to have been sentenced for at least four years or longer. 4) You must have filed at least one appeal.

Health Resources

American Diabetes Association

ATTN: National Call Center

1701 North Beauregard St, Alexandria, VA 22311

Healthcare information about diabetes.

Jeff Dicks Medical Coalition

P.O. Box 343 Beechgrove, TN 37018

Advocacy for prisoners who need, and are not receiving, appropriate medical care.

National Health Prison Project

32 Greenwood Ave, Quincy MA 02170

Covers wide range of topics. Free subscription to prisoners. Will answer personal questions.

National Prison Hospice Association

P.O. Box 4623 Boulder, CO 80306-4623

NPHA helps to develop and implement hospice and better

end life care for the terminally ill prisoner. NPHA also

publishes a tri-annual newsletter.

National Prison Project of the ACLU

Prison AIDS, Hepatitis C and Medical Resources

915 15th Street, NW, 7th Floor, Washington, DC 20005

National resource center to provide educational materials and legal information about AIDS and medical treatment in prison. Know Your Rights Info about disabilities and medical care. Write for resource list.

Safer Society Foundation

PO Box 340, Brandon VT 05733-0340

Provide sexual-abuse prevention and treatment publications and operate a national referral line for those seeking treatment providers for sexually offending behaviors. This program is free and confidential, and open to all: offenders, family and friends of offenders, social workers, court and corrections personnel and therapists. Also answer general resource requests from prisoners, such as contact information on self-help groups and worksheets on information regarding sexual abuse, etc.

Just Detention International 
3325 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 340, Los Angeles, CA 90010

Information and advocacy on sexual abuse and exploitation of prisoners. Support and advice for victims

and targets of both sexes including info on psychological and health consequences, legal action, and survivor options. Note: If you are incarcerated, please feel free to communicate with SPR using legal mail, addressing your correspondence to Ms. Melissa Rothstein, Esq.

HIV/AIDS Resources



P.O. Box 6303, Rockville, MD 20849-6303

Health information specialists provide customized, confidential answers to your questions about HIV/AIDS clinical trials and treatment. Also offers materials on HIV/AIDS treatment, prevention, and research.

AIDS in Prison Project – The Osborne Association

809 Westchester Avenue Bronx, NY 10455

Brochures for HIV-positive people. Information hotline in English and Spanish. T-Th 3-8 pm. Collect calls accepted at 718-378-7022. Also provides transitional housing for recently released prisoners, substance abuse treatment, job readiness programs and case management for ex-prisoners.

American Foundation for AIDS Research – Publication Information Department

120 Wall Street 13th Floor New York, NY 10005-3908

Provide the latest information on HIV/AIDS. Publish fact sheets, issue briefs, and news.

HIV/Hepatitis C in Prison (HIP) Committee

1904 Franklin Street, Suite 507 Oakland, CA  94612

Organization that advocates for availability and use of harem reduction tools (syringes, condoms) being made available.

Latino Commission on AIDS

24 West 25th Street, 9th floor New York, NY 10010

Dedicated to providing prevention (through education) and training for treatment for all those in need with the HIV virus. Offers information and resources in Spanish.

National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC)

Prison Initiative

1931 13th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20009-4432

Helps developing leadership within communities of color

to address the challenges of HIV/AIDS. Publications written for chaplains and other prison service providers. Write to see if they will send copies of materials.

Poz Magazine
500 Fifth Avenue, Suite 320, New York, NY 10110-0303
Magazine about living with HIV. $20 per year. Ask if free subscriptions are available. May offer Poz en Espanol.

Test Positive Aware Network
5537 N. Broadway, Chicago IL 60640-1405
Bi-monthly national publication POSITIVELY AWARE and quarterly Spanish-language version POSITIVELY AWARE EN ESPANOL. $30/year.

Hepatitis C Resources



Hepatitis C Support Project

P.O. Box 427037 San Francisco, CA 94142-7037

Provides a free information booklet, as well as a free

newsletter, HCV Advocate.

National Hepatitis C Prison Coalition

911 Western Avenue, Suite 302, Seattle, WA 98104

For anyone who has questions about hepatitis. Brochures and information about treatment.

Pen Pal Programs

We have tried to list only programs that are free. None of these programs can guarantee that you will find a pen pal, but some prisoners have been able to find pen pals through programs like these. Because the need is so great most prisoners will wait a long time before connecting with a pen pal. When placing a pen pal ad, indicate whether you are allowed to write to other prisoners. In addition to this list there are many Internet sites where inmate can place ads, often for a fee.


Pelican Bay Prison Project

C/O Stephen Kurtz

413 Interamerica Blvd. #1BC- 2323  Laredo TX 78045

Web site for Pelican Bay inmates, send ad (no photos).

PO Box 1664, Voorhees NJ 08043

Prisoner’s can become a part of the family by simply entering their information into our member directory. You may ask anyone with internet access to load information about you into our database. There is no charge for this service.

Reaching Beyond the Walls
PO Box 6905  Rutland VT 05702
Web-site displays photos and requests for pen pals. Send Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope.

Worldwide Friends

C/O Terry Dollison, PO Box 14, Harrah OK 73045
This free internet service is ONLY for Native American and First Nation prisoners.

Pen Pal Program
PO Box 17500 Washington, DC 20041
Free pen-pal program for prisoners with at least 24 months remaining on sentence. Not sure if still going.

Pen Pal Project
187 Francis Ave. Pittsfield, MA 01201
For gay and lesbian prisoners in all states. Send $2 in stamps.

Religious Based Pen Pal Services



Angel Care and Be Blessed Ministries

PO Box 5191 Harrisburg, PA 17110-0191

Anonymous Christian pen pal ministry caters to the physically sick, spiritually hurting, abused and incarcerated Christians and non-Christians.

Jewish Prisoner Services International
C/O Dov ben Sender, Pen Pal Coordinator
P.O. Box 46786, Seattle, WA 98146-6786

Only verifiably Jewish prisoners may participate. Only verifiably Jewish adult civilian pen pals may participate. Only same gender pen pals volunteer are assigned to correspond with prisoners.

Christian Pen Pals

PO Box 2112 Statesville NC 28687

Christian-based. Long wait but variety of writers. Send contact info, date of birth, sentence length, educational level, religion, other preferences.

Christian Pen Pals/Pen Pal Connection

c/o Jesse & Beth Michael
P.O. Box 2112 Statesville, NC 28687

Inmate Pen-Pal Connection
PO Box 73 Syracuse NY  13206-0073
Christian based.

Art and Writing



Art Behind Bars
P.O Box 2034 Key West, FL 33045-2034

The Mission of Art Behind Bars is to contribute to society through the donation of inmate artwork to non-profit organizations locally and nationally.  The goal of this mission is to support the community through the direct donation of prison art, art projects and the donation of funds raised from the sale of artwork.

Captive Imagery, Inc.

3300 NW 185th #129, Portland OR 97229

Gallery and Web site that features art by inmates for sale.

Originals received from our clients are placed up for auction in their respective categories on our website. Bids are accepted for a period of seven days, at which time each original is sold to the highest bidder. Inmate artists are welcome to send us up to five samples of artwork (photographs, photocopies, or originals), however, we generally do NOT return samples. If we agree to represent you, we will send you the necessary information.

Cell Door Magazine

12200 Road 41.9, Mancos CO 81328

Written for an internet audience by prisoners or people who are family members or friends of prisoners. Our goal is to develop an audience who reads The Cell Door Magazine for its educational and entertainment value and quality, learning in the process that prisoners are intelligent, personable, talented human beings. We will definitely consider all submissions. We publish art, poetry, essays, news, opinion, fiction, humor, and inmate cases.

The Journal of Prisoners on Prisons

c/o University of Ottawa Press,

542 King Edward Ave. Ottawa, Ontario, 61N 6N5 Canada

Drawing on writing from prisoners across the world, the JPP allows those most knowledgeable about the realities of prison life and most closely affected by those realities to speak out.. Creative writing, personal stories, artwork, academic, and legal arguments, contribute their perspective to a wide range of contemporary issues related to crime, justice and punishment. Published annually. Submissions: Prisoners and former prisoners are encouraged to submit papers, collaborative essays, discussions transcribed from tape, book reviews, and photo or graphic essays (no fiction or poetry).

PEN American Center

c/o Prison Writing Program
588 Broadway, Suite 303 New York, NY 10012

Provides a handbook for writers in prison for small fee. Sponsors annual prison literary contest in fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and drama. Deadline is September 1st. Send cover letters and copies, not manuscripts. Connects writers with mentors who can assist with editing and advice.

Prison Art Project

PO Box 69586, Seattle WA 98168-9586

Maintain a Web site where prisoners can sell their hobby, craft and artwork. Send pictures or small samples of work (not originals) and asking price to address.

Prison Focus c/o California Prison Focus

1904 Franklin Street, Suite 507, Oakland, CA  94612

Quarterly publishes stories, poetry and news from behind US walls.

Prisons Foundation

1600 K Street NW, Suite 501, Washington DC 2000

Produces monthly catalog of prisoner art “Art for Justice”; maintains walk-in gallery and occasional events. Write for info.

Thousand Kites

91 Madison Ave, Whitesburg, KY 41858

Radio show with the goal of broadcasting news and personal stories from prisoners. Send poetry, news, stories or ideas for shows. Poetry collection project.

Critical Resistance Radio

1212 Broadway Suite 1400   Oakland CA 94612

Radio show with the goal of broadcasting news and personal stories from prisoners. Send poetry, news, stories or ideas for shows.

Shot Caller Press

8316 N. Lombard Street, #334, Portland OR 97203

Annual contests where winners will be published or receive prizes. Past contests have included tattoo art or “true stories.”


PO Box 153, Noblesville IN 46061

Sells prisoner art on an on-line auction house. Write for information but do not send art until instructed. Reminder, you must get permission from your warden to participate in any money generating activity.


C/O Dominique Davis

1624 West 31st Street, Jacksonville FL 32209

Newsletter that accepts articles, poems and writings for possible publication. Goals is to dispel negative stereotypes about prisoners.

Real Cost of Prisons Project

5 Warfield Place, Northampton MA 01060

Political and analytical commix and essays and other writing by prisoners who are incarcerated can be submitted for posting on their web site.

Gay, Lesbian, Bi-sexual, & Transgender Resources

Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders Pub.

30 Winter Street Suite 800 Boston, MA 02108

Information for prisoners nationwide, HIV and prison issues, will refer out non-New England prison issues even though mostly New England focused.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender & AIDS Project

American Civil Liberties Union

125 Broad Street, 18th Fl. New York, NY 10004-2400

Helps prisoners who are facing discrimination because

they are transgender, lesbian, gay, bisexual or Transgendered. Mostly conducts legal campaigns they believe will have wide-ranging impact on GLBT people nationwide.

Locked Out

c/o Prison Book Project

P.O. Box 396 Amherst, MA 01004

A resource list for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans prisoners. Please, include a self-addressed envelope with postage. No requests for legal aid or pen pals.

Lesbian and Gay Insurrection (LAGAI)

3543 – 18th Street Box 30, San Francisco CA 94110
A grassroots organization doing direct action and education for radical social change from a queer perspective. Produces the bimonthly newspaper ULTRAVIOLET. Free to prisoners.

Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

PFLAG National Office

1828 L Street NW, Suite 660 Washington, DC 20036

Radical Faerie Digest

PO Box 68 Liberty, TN 37095

Offers Brothers Behind Bars – a free pen pal listing for

prisoners. Inquiries and submissions should be addressed to “Prison Pages. RFD”. RFD offers a discounted prisoner

subscription rate of $10 a year (some prisons, however, will not accept RFD due to content). Free gay/bisexual/transsexual pen-pal ads.

Out of Control Lesbian Committee to Support Women Political Prisoners

3543 18th St Box 30 San Francisco, CA 94110

Excellent quarterly newsletter with information relevant to political and lesbian prisoners.

Transgender, Gender Variant, & Intersex Justice Project

342 9th street, Suite 202B, San Francisco CA 94103

An advocacy group dedicated to ending the human rights

abuses of transgender and gender variant individuals in

prisons. Prisoners can send confidential legal mail to the above address.

For Prisoners With Children

Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents (CCIP)

PO Box 41-286  Eagle Rock, CA 90041

Provides education, information, reunification services, and therapeutic support to incarcerated parents and their family, to prevent intergenerational incarceration.

Family and Corrections Network (FCN)

93 Old York Road Suite 1 #510, Jenkintown, PA 19046

Publications written for families with incarcerated parents.

Friends Outside National Organization
PO Box 4085, Stockton, CA 95204

Provides case management services, parent education and conflict resolution workshops for inmates incarcerated in the state correctional facilities. Visitor services include emergency clothing exchange, transportation to institution from public transportation locations, snacks, childcare and activities and a place to wait during visits. Write to see if they have a visitor center at your institution

Legal Services for Prisoners with Children

1540 Market Street, Suite 490 San Francisco, CA 94102

Information and referrals for prisoners with questions about family law; no individual legal aid. Incarcerated Parents manual free for prisoners.

Pro-Family Advocates

P.O. Box 17892 Long Beach, CA 90807

Works on family issues, such as family visiting.

Newsletter subscriptions are $10.

General Prisoner Advocacy

Critical Resistance

1904 Franklin Street, Suite 504, Oakland, CA 94612

Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. We believe that basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure. Work is part of global struggles against inequality and powerlessness.

American Friends Service Committee

Criminal Justice Program

1730 Franklin Street, Suite 212, Oakland, CA 94612

AFSC promotes alternatives to incarceration, educates the public about new justice paradigms, and puts a human face on prisoners through story-telling, artwork, and demonstrations. Criminal Justice Program conducts research and evaluation of existing criminal justice policies, develops public education materials, and sponsors art exhibits, publications, and speaking opportunities which help get the word out.

Anarchist Prisoner Legal Aid Network

818 SW 3rd Ave. PMB 354 Portland OR 97204

Brings attention to the plight of all prisoners, with an

emphasis on Anarchist and class war prisoners.

California Prison Focus

1904 Franklin Street, Suite 507, Oakland CA  94612
Human rights prison advocacy group that is working to

improve the conditions in California, particularly the SHU.

2955 Kerner Blvd., 2nd Floor San Rafael, CA 94901

Centerforce provides services for incarcerated individuals, and their loved ones through direct services at San Quentin, CCWF, VSPW,  and Cal Medical Facility. Transitional services for formerly incarcerated individuals in the Bay Area of California.

Citizens United for the Rehabilitation of Errants

P.O. Box 2310 Washington, DC 20013-2310
CURE (Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants) is a membership organization of families of prisoners,

prisoners, former prisoners and other concerned citizens. CURE’s two goals are to use prisons only for those who have to be in them and for those who have to be in them, to provide them all the rehabilitative opportunities they need to turn their lives around.

Critical Resistance

1904 Franklin Street, Suite 504, Oakland, CA 94612

Critical Resistance seeks to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. We believe that basic necessities such as food, shelter, and freedom are what really make our communities secure. As such, our work is part of global struggles against inequality and powerlessness.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM)

1612 K St. NW, Suite 700 Washington, DC 20006

National advocacy group that focuses on mandatory

minimums and offers a bi-monthly newsletter,

FAMMgram. Guide for family and friends about advocacy and reentry, information about commutations and types of cases FAMM uses to challenge laws.

Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes (FACTS)

2981 S Figueroa St, #209, Los Angeles, CA 90037

An organization that works to amend California’s three strikes law.

National Inmate Resource Directory

Epoch Publications

P.O. BOX 97940, Phoenix, AZ 85060

Resource Guide for inmates to businesses who supply institutional series and products throughout the U.S. Able to print directory available

National Jericho Movement

P.O. Box 1272 • NY, NY 10013

The Jericho movement is a political prisoner support group working towards prison abolition.

Pen Friends and Services

PO Box 4076 Amarillo TX 79116

Maintain resource guide which is updated quarterly. Send Self-Addressed Stamped Envelope.

Prison Activist Resource Center

PO Box 70447, Oakland CA 94612

The source for some of the info on this list, additional

publications, fact sheets.

Prisoner Express

127 Anabel Taylor Hall, Cornell University,

Ithaca NY 14853

Writing projects, pen pal program, group study/distance learning projects, may have books available.

Prisoner’s Guerilla Handbook to Correspondence Programs in the United States

c/o Prison Legal News

2400 Northwest 80th street, suite 148 Seattle, WA 98117

212 programs outlined, free programs for the blind, prisoners tuition rates and discounts, 200 plus diploma/associate/baccalaureate degrees, 60 plus graduate degree programs, 25 cross-referenced indexes, bar exam qualified law schools, bonus articles on correctional education. Regular Price: $24.95 plus $3.00 discount for prisoners.

Native American Prisoners’ Rehabilitation Research Project

2848 Paddock Lane, Villa Hills, KY 41017

Offers many services for Native American prisoners,

including legal and spiritual support, tribal and cultural

programs, and direct contact with prison administrators.

The Red Heart Warrior / Red Heart Warriors Society

PO Box 4362, Allentown PA 18105

RHWS is sponsored by the Lenape National Restoration Movement (LNRM), but is open to red-hearted warriors

of every tribal or ethnic background. May publish a newsletter.

Stopmax Campaign

American Friends Service Committee

1501 Cherry St, Philadelphia, PA 19102

National campaign to stop the use of solitary confinement and related forms of torture in US prisons.

National Veterans Legal Services Program

Contact: Intake Section

P.O. Box 65762    Washington, D.C. 20035

Services: Provide information on Agent Orange

benefit issues for Vietnam veterans and referrals for veteran-law issues only. Self-help guides on Agent

Orange, Gulf War, and VA Claims: $7.50 for one and $5.50 for each additional. Publish the Veterans

Benefits Manual, a comprehensive guide to veterans’ law. The Veterans Advocate, a newsletter of veterans law and advocacy ($50/year for incarcerated veterans: $80/year for lawyers, government); and Manual on Military Discharge Upgrading, $95. Correspondence training course for veterans’ advocates, $75 for prisoners. Please call to verify all prices. Prices are subject to change.

Alliance of Incarcerated Canadians/Foreigners in

American Prisons (AICAP/AIFAP)

International Affairs Office

2 Bloor Street W, Suite 100, Toronto,

ON, Canada M4W 3E2

Write for information.

Religious Resources


American Bible Academy

PO Box 1490  Joplin, MO 64802-1490

A.B.A. is dedicated to providing high quality, advanced Bible correspondence courses to the incarcerated, at no cost, through the Inmate Scholarship Program.

Catholic Home Study Service

PO Box 363 Perryville, MO 63775-0363

Offers free correspondence courses on the teachings of the Catholic Church and the Bible.

Catholic Worker

36 East First Street  New York, NY 10003

Free bimonthly newspaper, founded by Dorothea Day. The Catholic Worker Movement is grounded in a firm belief in the God-given dignity of every human person.

Higher Ground Foundation
2185 Eagle Boulevard, Holland, MI 49424

Christian Inmate News available for $10 per year.

International Bible Society

1820 Jet Stream Drive Colorado Springs, CO 80921

Bibles and Christian literature in English and Spanish.

Prison Fellowship Ministries

PO Box 17500, Washington DC 20041

PFM is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization which ministers to prisoners, ex-prisoners, victims and their families, and promotes biblical standards of justice in the criminal justice system. InnerChange Freedom Initiative, Angel Tree, Pen Pal Program; the Inside Journal.

Barre Center for Buddhist Studies

194 Lockwood Rd., Barre MA 01005

Free Theravada Buddhist tradition books.

Dharma Companions

P.O. Box 762, Cotati, CA.  94931-0762
Companions offers free Buddhist books, pamphlets, used magazines, and some tapes to all inmates, study groups, and prison libraries. Also offers “mentoring” correspondence program for inmates who are practicing Buddhism in prison without a teacher.

Liberation Prison Project

PO Box 31527 San Francisco, CA 94131- 0527

Free Buddhist books, prayer and practice materials,

subscriptions to Mandala.

Prison Dharma Network

PO Box 4623, Boulder CO 80306

Buddhist books and Buddhist pen pal program.


The Aleph Institute
9540 Collins Avenue, Surfside, FL 33154

Jewish Religious Educational materials, pen pal program, religious freedom advocacy and more.

Jewish Prisoner Services International
PO BOX 85840, Seattle, WA 98145-1840

An international organization that provides religious

services and materials to Jews in prison and their families throughout the world.


Human Kindness Foundation

PO Box 61619 Durham, NC 27715

Free interfaith spiritual newsletter sent 3 times a year.

No pen pals available.


Covenant of the Pentacle Wiccan Church ATC

Prison Ministry

PO Box 23033 New Orleans, LA 70183

Correspondence courses available-fees and application apply.

Pagan Educational Network

PO Box 586 Portage, IN 46368

Offers membership with a payment plan. Publication Water available for $4 (stamps OK).


Alavi Foundation

500 5th Ave, 23rd floor, Suite 2320 New York, NY 10110

Free Koran for Muslim prisoners.

The Islamic Center

2551 Massachusetts Avenue NW Washington, DC 20008

Muslim Prisoners Support Group

P.O. Box 6001, London, United Kingdom, SW15 4XA

Our aim is to serve Muslim prisoners by providing them with essential services and aid including legal instruction, financial, family and religious support.

Native American

Native American Indian Inmate Support Project

8 Dallas Drive Grantville, PA 17208

A group that supports the introduction of Native American religious ceremonies and programs in prisons.


Siddha Yoga Mediation Prison Project

SYDA Foundation – Prison Project

PO Box 99140 Emeryville, CA 94662

Free In Search of the Self long-term correspondence course; material sent to prison libraries; Siddha Yoga instructional programs in prison; continued services to released inmates.

Women’s Support Resources

Aid to Children of Imprisoned Mothers

906 Ralph David Abernathy Blvd. SW Atlanta, GA 30310

An advocacy group for incarcerated mothers. Although social services are only provided in the Atlanta area, AIM can provide helpful information for all women in prison who have children.

California Coalition for Women Prisoners
1540 Market St., Suite 490 San Francisco, CA 94102

Visiting women in prison, The “Fire Inside” newsletter, annual protests, advocacy, education and outreach, and support for former prisoners. Free Battered Women project.

Families With a Future

100 McAllister Street

San Francisco, CA 94102

Families With a Future (FWAF) is a network of advocates dedicated to keeping incarcerated women united with their children. FWAF helps arrange visits between children and their incarcerated mothers.

Inmate Family Council at VSPW
PO Box 374 Hayfork, CA 96041

Provides information on visiting, packages, and other programming issues.

Justice Now

1322 Webster Street, Suite 210 Oakland, CA 94612

Justice Now is the first teaching law clinic in the country solely focused on the needs of women prisoners. Interns and staff provide legal services in areas of need identified by women prisoners, including: compassionate release, healthcare access, defense of parental rights, sentencing mitigation, placement in community-based programs.

Law Center for Women Prisoners

1790 30th Street, Suite 280 Boulder, CO 80301

This organization provides legal information and advocacy to women prisoners who have been

victims of sexual abuse, medical malpractice, or have legal issues regarding their parental rights.

National Clearinghouse for the Defense of Battered Women

125 South 9th St #302, Philadelphia, PA 19107

Legal and other assistance for battered women charged with crime and to their defense teams. Resource library of articles available.

Osborne Association Attn: Beverly Grant

36-31 38th Street Long Island City, NY 11101

Publication — Parenting From Inside/Out: The Voices of Mothers in Prison ($12.00) written by women who participated in the “Parenting from a Distance” program

Out of Control Lesbian Committee to Support Women Political Prisoners

3543 18th St Box 30 San Francisco, CA 94110

Quarterly newsletter.

Sinister Wisdom Inc.

PO Box 3252 Berkeley, CA 94703

Publishes work by lesbians only – prose, poetry, essays,

graphics, and book reviews. Free to women in prison.

Women in Prison Health Packet

Oberlin Action Against Prisons

P.O. Box 285 Oberlin, OH 44074

A health manual free to women in prison.

Women’s Prison Book Project

c/o Arise Bookstore

2441 Lyndale Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55405

Write with book request. Serves women in all states except Oregon.


Write A Prisoner through CONPALS!

Write A Prisoner through CONPALS!

by Regular Mail

The fastest and surest way to make contact with a prisoner is to write to them directly, by regular mail. For this purpose all inmate prison addresses are provided at the end of each ad.

Writing directly really is the best way. Your letter will usually arrive more quickly and has less chance of being refused by the prison mailroom (in some states we experience difficulty forwarding email messages). Also, most inmates would prefer a handwritten letter over an email.

by Email Forwarding

If you see a form on the inmate’s page when you scroll down, you can fill out that form and send an email message to the inmate that we will then download and forward for you the following Monday. For prisoners who have the Basic webpage, we will only forward the first email message from you to any prisoner and prisoners cannot email you back; any correspondence thereafter between you and that prisoner must be by regular mail.

Remember: Most prisoners do not have access to the Internet and cannot email you! You must provide a complete return mailing address (snail mail address that includes street address or po box and city, state, and zip code) when writing or sending email messages. Any messages that do not contain a complete return mailing address will be deleted.

Some federal prisoners have access to Corrlinks, J-Pay, AccessCorrections, and GettingOutSoon, and can communicate with you by email through these systems. See instructions for using Corrlinks

Do not attempt to put prisoners you know in touch with prisoners on this site! This represents inmate-to-inmate contact and it is prohibited in most institutions. It also represents an attempt for a prisoner to benefit from our service without paying for it. This is unethical and strictly prohibited. These messages are caught and deleted so please do not waste your time sending them. If you know of a prisoner who wants to receive penpals through our service request a brochure or sign them up online to get them started receiving mail.

If you are gay/bisexual/transgender, you are welcome to write to any prisoners on the sites whose ads indicate that they are open to that kind of contact. Please review their ad first to make sure that they are.

Being A Prison Pen Pal; Guidelines for Corresponding with Inmates

Being A Prison Pen Pal

Guidelines for Corresponding with Inmates

Addressing Letters & Envelopes
Ceasing Correspondence with an Inmate
Conviction Information
Fake & Old Photos
Faith & Religion
False Information
Friends & Family
Giving Your Address
Helping a Prisoner with their Case
How Long Before Receiving a Reply
Mail Fraud Detecting & Reporting
People Searches
Receiving Money from Inmates
Romantic Relationships
Sending Money to an Inmate
Sending Photos to an Inmate
Setting Boundaries & Taking Care of Yourself
Talking About Their Crimes
Third Party Contacts
Tips for Writing Inmates
Writing More Than One Inmate

Addressing Letters & Envelopes

Always put the inmate’s first and last name, prisoner ID number, and complete mailing address on anything you mail to them. Leaving off the prisoner ID number will usually cause the letter to be rejected by the facility and returned to you. Use this inmate’s name, ID number, and complete address on both the envelope and letter. If the letter should become separated from the envelope, both the inmate’s facility and the U.S. Postal Service will still be able to get it to the inmate.

Ceasing Correspondence with an Inmate

If you are receiving contact from an inmate or inmates that you do not wish to have contact with, write them and tell them so. If that doesn’t immediately end the problem, contact the prison and tell them that you do not want to receive mail from the specific inmate or inmates contacting you. Blacking out your address, blacking out the address bar on the front of the envelope, writing “Return to Sender” on the unopened envelope and putting the envelope back in the mailbox will result in the unopened envelope being returned as “undeliverable.”

Conviction Information

All information on an inmate’s profile has been provided by the inmate who placed the ad or from a third party, such as a friend or family member of the inmate. CONPALS makes no claim of having verified that information. We do not require inmates to list their crime of conviction in their ad. For full conviction and other information about the inmate, you are encouraged to visit the Department of Corrections website that has custody of the inmate. There you may be able to see the inmate’s record in its entirety. Not all Departments of Corrections have this information online, but more are becoming available all of the time and the information can often be obtained by contacting the facility where the inmate is housed.

Fake & Old Photos

CONPALS does not verify inmate photos before publishing them. However, if we discover that an inmate has published a fake photo, the photo will be removed and in many cases the entire ad will be removed. If an inmate does publish a fake photo, it will usually be of someone who is very physically attractive. This is something to keep in mind when replying to ads with appealing photos that cannot be verified.

Old photos of an inmate are acceptable for publication; many inmates are not able to provide recent pictures of themselves.

Faith & Religion

Some inmates on our site are seeking people of their own faith to correspond and pray with. Some inmates or inmates of unorthodox faiths may not have access to other people of their faith, and thus turn to sharing prayer through correspondence. For the sake of appearance, some inmates are more comfortable sharing their religious beliefs with people outside of prison. The Advanced Search Engine in our site allowed you to search for inmates who share your faith or religious beliefs.

False Information

Go to Contact to report false information you find on an inmate’s profile on our website.

Friends & Family

Many estranged friends and family members find relatives on CONPALS, people they have lost contact with over the years. While the Basic webpage does not allow you to email inmates that you already know, exceptions are made for estranged friends and family members of inmates (excluding minors, however). Your support of your incarcerated family member or friend is critical to their survival in prison and their success upon release.

You may search for friends and family members not listed on CONPALS by going to the Inmate Locator though we cannot forward your messages to them.


If the prisoner doesn’t specifically ask for them in their profile, write and ask before sending any items. Most of them will be happy just to receive your letter. Institution rules about sending gifts vary from one facility to the next.

Giving Your Address

We recommend that you use a P.O. Box or other such rented mailbox for your communication with an inmate, at least until you get to know them and feel comfortable giving them additional information about yourself. You do not have to give your home or business address if you have P.O. Box or other mailbox.


Your correspondence with an inmate begins as a pen pal friendship, but it can become more. You may become their mentor. You may become the most influential person in the inmate’s life. Many inmates lose all contact with the outside world. You are in a unique position to encourage positive behavior and reform. Outside contacts for inmates serve a much different purpose than those inside. Inmates will typically share more of their concerns with outside contacts, because it is not perceived as a weakness like it is in prison. You can help by providing a sympathetic ear and steering them away from trouble. Oftentimes, prisoners vent in letters about other prisoners, staff, conditions, regrets, etc. We recommend that you do not engage in negative or detrimental talk about the prison staff or other inmates. However, letting them share their thoughts in their letters to you can serve as a healthy outlet for inmates. As your friendship grows, try to help the inmate stay positive. If appropriate, introduce the conversation of counseling, further education, and employment if they are to soon to be released. Friends can make a positive difference in the inmate’s life!

Helping a Prisoner with their Case

Sometimes a prisoner will ask you to become involved with their case. Whether you decide to or not is up to you. The toll that can take on you in terms of time, money and energy, to say nothing of your emotions, can be daunting. So you should consider that before committing to such an undertaking, and never hesitate to set boundaries for yourself. Remember that prisoners are appointed attorneys to appeal their cases for them and there really is nothing you can do to help them in that regard. You are not responsible for them being where they are and you are not responsible for getting them out.

Media attention for a prisoner who claims to be wrongly convicted is usually difficult to get and has little if any effect on the outcome of their appeals. In all likelihood, you would spend a lot of time and effort trying to draw attention to their plight and see nothing much come from it. Contrary to what an inmate may believe or tell you, judges are not swayed by media coverage. They only want to hear from the lawyers. You should never try to contact the court or a judge on behalf of an inmate.

Many prisoners dream of a “big win.” Even in the occasional instance when a prisoner does win on appeal, a monetary award is unlikely to follow.

If a prisoner tries to push you to do something you don’t want to do and does not respect your wishes, then don’t hesitate to discontinue contact with them, and perhaps find another inmate to write to.

How Long Before Receiving a Reply

Please be patient. Institutional mail typically moves several working days slower than normal mail. Mail is rarely lost as long as it is addressed properly. International mail can take up to one week longer for delivery. If you emailed an inmate using our email forwarding service, the messages are printed and mailed to the inmate the following Monday so be sure to take that into account when waiting for a response.

Mail Fraud, Detecting and Reporting

18 U.S.C. 1341, makes it a Federal crime or offense for anyone to use the United States mails in carrying out a scheme to defraud. A person can be found guilty of mail fraud only if all of the following facts are proved: 1) That the person knowingly and willfully devised a scheme to defraud, or for obtaining money or property by means of false pretenses, representations or promises; and 2) That the person used the United States Postal Service by mailing, or by causing to be mailed, some matter or thing for the purpose of executing the scheme to defraud. VisitU.S. Postal Inspection Service and FBI Contact Page for more information and to report fraud.

People Searches

Never offer to perform a people search for a prisoner.

Receiving Money from Inmates

Never accept money orders, cash, check, etc. from inmates. Money orders can be faked, and cash can be counterfeited. Never accept money from someone else on behalf of an inmate. Never send money to someone else on behalf of an inmate.

Romantic Relationships

CONPALS is primarily a pen pals website, although inmates do seek romance, legal assistance and art & business endeavors through our service. We feel it is best to seek friendship only from an inmate and not get romantically involved, and we advise inmates to seek friendship only in their ads. However, many people who write to prisoners do become romantically involved with them. Even if their ads focus on seeking romance, you can still write to them offering friendship.

You should be aware that if you are writing to a very good looking inmate who is seeking romance, it is unlikely that you are the only one writing them. Good looking people tend to get a lot of mail.

Male prisoners are lonely and can easily become infatuated with a woman. You should be aware, however, that many romantic relationships between prisoners and people they meet while incarcerated fall apart quickly after the inmate is released. The stress of being on parole and getting re-established can place a heavy strain on the relationship. And many prisoners have been known to up and disappear as soon as they are free L, despite what they have promised.

Sending Money to an Inmate

Inmates are allowed to seek donations on CONPALS Many inmates are indigent and may ask people on the outside for money once correspondence is established. Institutions provide all basic necessities to inmates, such as food and clothing. In many cases, even educational programs and materials are free to inmates. Donating money is a decision that can only be made by you. Remember that you chose to write to an inmate, not sponsor one. You are not obligated to send money, nor do most inmates ask for money. If this makes you feel at all uncomfortable, don’t do it, especially if the inmate is requesting a donation for something that seems unusual. A few dollars can go far in prison, but you should never send large sums of money under any circumstances, nor should you ever send cash.

Many pen pals will send a few dollars on birthdays or holidays to the inmate they are writing. Inmates can use money in prison to purchase a variety of items including hygiene products, art supplies, postage, phone cards, and snacks. They can also use money from their account to purchase magazine subscriptions and books. Don’t do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, and report anything that you suspect as unethical or illegal.

Sending Photos to an Inmate

If you send an inmate a photo, follow these guidelines: 1) Write the inmate’s complete name and DOC number on the back of the photo. 2) Always send copies of photos. Originals may be lost. 3) Never send Polaroids. They will be returned. 4) Do not send anything sexual or violent in nature, and do not send anything that could be interpreted as gang affiliated. Use common sense when sending anything to an inmate, or you may unintentionally get him or her in trouble. It is a good idea to ask the inmate for specific instructions regarding the sending of photos. There may be limits on the number of photos that can be sent at one time.


Do not discuss prison security with an inmate, even jokingly. Prison staff could misinterpret the conversation, and the inmate could get into serious trouble.

Setting Boundaries & Taking Care of Yourself

There may be times when you find yourself stressed or feeling unduly burdened by your contact with an inmate. If this happens, it is good to take a step back and consider the situation. You matter, too. Remember to take care of yourself, your loved ones, and your affairs first and foremost. Sometimes a prisoner may make excessive demands of you. You should never feel that it is incumbent upon you to provide anything more for them but friendship and on your terms. Remember that it is not up to you to solve an inmate’s problems, nor can you in most cases. An inmate’s basic needs for food, shelter, and medical care are taken care of. A situation may arise in which you decide it is in your best interest to stop communicating with the inmate altogether, and that is okay.

Do not correspond with an inmate or anyone that you don’t know if you are experiencing mental or emotional difficulties. It can be harmful to both you and the inmate.

Talking About Their Crimes

It is recommended that you not ask the inmate about their crime(s) of conviction. When they are ready, they may offer that information in their correspondence with you and at that point it would be okay to talk about it with them.

Third Party Contacts

Never contact someone else on behalf of an inmate. Never perform people-finding services for inmates. Never include correspondence from someone other than yourself when writing to an inmate as doing so is usually against prison rules and it may put someone else at risk.

Tips for Writing Inmates

INITIAL CONTACT: In your first letter, tell a little background about yourself, such as your interests and hobbies. Avoid sharing too much personal information. Prisoners are happy to hear from you and are looking for words of encouragement. You might respond to something they have written in their profiles, such as a love for the outdoors or some other area of interest.

PATIENCE: If you don’t receive a reply right away, be patient. Mail moves more slowly behind prison walls. These men and women are anxiously awaiting contact from the outside world. If you don’t get an immediate reply, give it time.

ADDRESSES: Be sure that both your return address and the inmate’s name, ID number, and address are legible. Always print your name and address neatly on the envelope, and include it again in the body of the letter in case something happens to the envelope. Put your pen pal’s last name and correctional ID number on each sheet of paper or the back of any photos that you enclose. This ensures that pages won’t get lost when the mail is opened.

BIRTHDAYS: Birthdays can be a lonely time. If you don’t have time for a lengthy correspondence, remembering a prisoner on this particular day can have a tremendous impact. Their birthdays are displayed with their profile information and prisoners can be searched for by date of birth on our site through the Birthday Search Engine.

GREETING CARDS: Greeting cards can be a good way to make initial contact and inmates appreciate them. There are many friendship-type cards available just to say “hello” to the prisoner. This can take the pressure off of you about worrying what to write that first time.

PHOTOS: You might want to include a photograph of yourself so the prisoner has a face to put with the name. A photo is a nice gesture of friendship.

IN YOUR CORRESPONDENCE: Be open and honest but use good judgment and common courtesy. Inmates are human beings not novelties. They are people and should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of the crimes they are incarcerated for. Please be considerate and thoughtful in your words to them.

Try to be a friend at first, and perhaps a mentor later, to the inmate you write. During incarceration, a good pen pal can be essential in helping inmates to meet the challenges they face and prepare for the future. You can provide a positive connection for them to the outside world. Because communication with the outside world is essential in promoting a healthy attitude for inmates, your letters can have a major impact.

Maintaining an ongoing correspondence with a prisoner can be a mutually rewarding experience. As you get to know each other, your uplifting words of encouragement can make their prison sentence more bearable, and in many cases, it can have a positive impact on their transition back into society when that day finally arrives. You can and should encourage inmates in their endeavors, such as work, school, therapy during incarceration, maintaining positive family relationships, etc.

Writing More Than One Inmate

You should not write to more than one prisoner at any one facility. You may create a negative situation for the inmates by doing so. There are many inmates from all over the country posted on CONPALS, so there is no need to write to more than one prisoner at a particular location. Also be aware that prisoners are often moved from one facility to another within their state and within the Federal Bureau of Prisons system, so it is not a bad idea to write to only one prisoner in a particular state and only one federal prisoner at a time.