Prisonworld Magazine provides an avenue for inmates to throw out a lifeline to those who are willing and actually seeking to communicate with inmates. A simple pen pal ad, or showcase of poetry or even the sharing of a prison recipe has garnered hundreds of inmates the attention in which they so desperately need. Just as with any other specialized population, there are numerous candidates willing to get involved with inmate correspondence.
Organizations, private and non-profit, schools and universities and individuals who support Innocence Projects have been huge advocates for keeping inmates connected. Contrary to popular beliefs, everyone in prison is not guilty of the crimes in which they have been accused. An inmate serving a wrongly convicted sentence should have as much communication needed with anyone willing to fight for their innocence.
The three main reasons why inmates need pen pals are as follows:
• Connection – As a part of human mechanics, everyone has a need to make a connection. No one goes to work on a daily basis and does not communicate with co-workers. The need to share information, talk about family or current events, tell a joke, voice an opinion, or even look for approval is a part of the human psyche. Most inmates who spend 23 hours in confinement are missing the connection of one to another that nurtures the soul.
• Education and Information – Society is evolving at a mind boggling rate. For the typical inmate who serves two or three years, upon his release he will have missed a wealth of information that is vital to his survival and success in the outside world. The average inmate who serves a 10 year sentence is at a constant deficit with technology and job skills. The skills that may be learned in prison does not compare to what is needed to exist and compete in a technology advanced society. The learning curve is not in the favor of the inmate. An educated and technical savvy pen pal would fill the void of knowledge not provided within the prison system.
• Hope- Anyone being sentenced to serve time in a correctional facility needs hope. Incarceration does not have to be the defining factor in one’s life. There is life after incarceration. A pen pal can provide that ray of sunshine, plant some seeds of encouragement and hopefully upon the inmates’ release watch it grow into a productive citizen. Hope is needed for those wrongly incarcerated, especially those with Life, Life without Parole, or the Death Penalty.
History has shown that the right influence in an inmate’s life can make a tremendous difference. It has proven success for OJ Simpson, who is currently incarcerated in an Arizona State Prison, and the Menendez brothers, Erik and Joseph Lyle, who are currently serving time in California State Prisons.
Rufus and Jenny Triplett are co-Editors-in-
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