If you choose to write, or are already writing one, an inmate housed in a Florida DOC facility or one in Missouri, it would be wise not to mention in your
correspondence you made the connection via a pen pal site.  The DOC there can be harsh on inmates for having pen pal listings.
This page is a general guide for when you finally decide you want to open a line of communication with an inmate.

Inmates, after all, have been adjudicated by the state as criminals. The inmates you see on this site will be behind bars for the worst violent
crimes to those crimes which involve no violence.  Always be careful just how much of your life you are willing to share with an inmate.

After you have made your decision to write a particular inmate, we suggest you write a one-page letter stating where you viewed his listing
[except in the case of Florida and Missouri], that you found what the inmate had to say was interesting to you, some personal information like
sexual preference, age, physical attributes, your state of residency, hobbies and interests. We do not suggest you mention that you are
seeking a loving or sexual relationship. We feel that kind of statement is for way down the line when you feel comfortable with the inmate.
Making that statement early on may encourage an unscrupulous inmate to play to those feelings in his writings to you.

What about my mailing address and contact information? We always suggest using a U.S. Post Office box or a postal box with one of the
private companies. DO NOT PROVIDE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION: Your physical address, home or work telephone number,
job location or employer, your financial situation [i.e., income, stocks, bank accounts, etc], names of relatives, account numbers and other
such personal and vital information. Do not identify your job description in such high profile fields as medical, legal, government, military,
accounting, broker, etc. The reason being that it would probably not be too difficult for an inmate, or his buddy on the outside, to retrieve
personal information about you using just your name and a job description, lets say, like attorney, doctor or accountant.

Should I send the inmate a photograph of myself? Here again, you have to weigh your individual circumstances to answer that question. Let's
say you are in Podunk, KY. You are an accountant and the town has a population of, oh say, 20,000. The inmate you are writing is in the
Kentucky big house. Armed with that information, your job type and photo, it would not be too difficult for an accomplice of the inmate to figure
out who you are and put the squeeze on you. Get the idea? Now in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles and similar big cities it would be a bit
more difficult because of large firms employing specialties; but not too difficult. Large metro areas have associations and locators for such
specialties as doctors, dentists, lawyers, accountants, druggists and the like. And of course there is always the big yellow book of the
telephone company.

Any suggestions on sending an inmate money? This is a tough one to answer. Some states have jobs done by inmates for which they receive
a small stipend which is credited to their inmate account to purchase items at the prison canteen. These coveted jobs are not open to all
inmates. Other states do require inmates to work in the "prison industries," but the state does not pay them any stipend. Each state and
institution is different on how they handle these matters. Our suggestion is that you resist any request to send an inmate money until you feel
secure that the inmate is indeed sincere and forthright. Most institutions will not allow inmates to receive packages or unused stamps. Please
check with the institution before you waste your time, money and effort.

Can I check on the inmate's background? You can go to
this page for a list of links to the various state departments of corrections and the
U.S. Bureau of Prisons.

The state information will range from nothing available to detailed information. The federal Bureau of Prison's information about an individual
inmate is limited in scope. Of course, none of that information will tell you the person's sexual orientation.
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