Some quick tips for writing letters to an incarcerated loved one

Writing letters is one of the simple things you can do to help your incarcerated loved one. We’ve talked a little bit about this in previous blogs, but wanted to take some time to delve into this a little further.

We know it can be difficult sometimes to decide what to put into your letters. You may also wonder what the prison rules are regarding writing letters. So, we’d like to take a few minutes to go over these things.

What should you write about?

There are several things you can do with these letters. You can offer advice, words of encouragement, share stories about your life, and fill them in on what’s going on with other friends or family members. You can also ask them questions. Things like “How are you feeling?” and “What are you doing to keep busy?”

What prison rules should you be aware of?

You need to know that the prison will definitely have rules about what you can and can’t send. They’ll also have rules about how the letter is addressed. You need to consult the prison your loved one is in for the specific guidelines, but here are a few that are pretty typical:

  • There are restrictions regarding the number and size of the photos you send. Each prison has its own rules about how many photos you can send and what size photos are allowed.
  • No glitter, stationery that’s scented, stickers, or items that aren’t made of paper. And no books sent directly from you. These are typical rules you’ll see at many prisons. On a side note, books can often be sent from sources like BAM and Amazon.
  • There will be a limit to how many pages you can send. You’ll find most prisons have rules regarding how many pages you can include at one time.

Again, these are just some basic rules that typically apply. However, you need to consult the prison directly to find out the specific guidelines to follow. Also, keep in mind you’ll need to address the letters correctly with the prisoner number included in the address.

Letters are a great way to stay in contact with your loved one. They can help your family member or friend feel more connected with the outside world, less isolated, and provide them a positive outlet. Make it a goal to write them often.

[Monalisa Johnson is a licensed and ordained minister of the gospel and a certified life coach as well as a mother and entrepreneur. In no way is anything that she writes, speaks or shares considered medical advice or clinical therapy. Consider all that you receive to be life coaching and guidance.]

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