Many people that you will be corresponding with are in facilities that are not gender affirming, so pen pals should ask the name and pronouns the inmate prefers when addressing letters. While many of the people on the Black and Pink list are living at least somewhat openly about their trans/queer/LGB/gender-nonconforming identity, ask them first if you can openly discuss these identities and whether or not it’s okay to send them resources and information directly and overtly linked with these communities. Do not speak down to, discriminate against, shame, or condescend any correspondent you are communicating with.We are about building relationships and validating that our struggles as people of color, activists, sex workers, youth workers, immigrants, anti-capitalist, trans, queer, gender-nonconforming people are intricately connected with prison abolition and prisoner liberation.The most important thing is to just be yourself.” “Be honest about what type of correspondence you are looking to engage in (upfront), whether it be personal (platonic or romantic), legal/activist- oriented, networking, card-sharing, gift-giving etc, any combo of the above.” “Be honest about how often you can write.” “Understand that because of the U. Overall, be clear and direct about this.” “Realize that a lot of us are going through living hell in here, isolated and cut off from family and friends, so a lot of times we will write and just need to “vent.” It’s ok don’t panic …
Writing with folks in prison can often lead to a deep education about what incarceration means that one might not have been expecting.
It’s important to have support systems to deal with the stories of trauma you might hear.
If for any reason you are not comfortable, or can no longer engage with your correspondent, please let Black and Pink know. Here’s the format to address a letter to a prisoner!
Please remember to include your return address on the envelope and the letter itself.
In Spring 2014, incarcerated B&P family members shared some things they think free world family members should keep in mind when writing to a Pen Pal. “Don’t be afraid to really open up and tell us about yourself.
We’re still people, and we crave connections with others too.
You can (and should) write the letter itself to your pen-pal’s preferred name.
When you receive an email from Black & Pink with your pen-pal’s address, these lines will be separated with ; . Gerry Richards #F05B56) Cell/Bunk Location (if given after the number, eg.
If this is just a trial/temp thing, be upfront about it.
A lot of us don’t get much mail and are grateful for what we do get. the prisoner you would write to is probably poor which could lead to some common problems, such as A) Free world people offering money and books in their initial letters when they don’t really mean it, giving false hope to the prisoner, and B) prisoners thinking they have to “play” you for money instead of just being honest.” “Advice on how to handle the issue of money: A) Decide before you write to a prisoner whether or not you can/will assist them with money.
Know that prison guards often read the mail and, unfortunately, can censor things. Some prisons will refuse to accept letters addressed to people if they are using a different name then what was legally assigned to them.