Dear Diamond on Prison Pen Pals

By Diamond | Jun 30, 2016

Dear Readers,

Diamond got a letter from a man who is serving a long sentence in the Maine State Prison. He is asking Diamond if there is anyone out there who would write to him as a pen pal. Here is part of his letter:

Dear Diamond,

I would like to make acquaintances of any gender, age, race, or nationality for non-romantic purposes. I am interested in meeting open-minded people who are interested and willing to have meaningful dialogue. Topics of discussion that interest me, but are not limited to, are: world events, politics, race relations, life experience, history, philosophy, prison life, and criminal/civil law. I am a student of psychology and welcome anyone that seeks an alternate opinion or feedback on issues of a personal nature to correspond with me. I am constantly evolving and focused on my personal growth and self-development. Thank you in advance for assisting me in my efforts to meet new people in which I share my views and vice-versa.



At first I wondered if it is safe to write to a prisoner. So I looked into it and saw that this man is registered on a prison pen pal site which lists his crime and other details about him:

This pen pal program requires a person’s real name, real age, and a real identity. Next I called the prison and was told that pen pals are allowed. If you want to consider writing to a male or female inmate, you must understand that this is NOT a dating site. It for PEN PALS. Then go to the website mentioned above and look at the two sections called “Why-Write-a-Prisoner” and “Point of Contact.” It will guide you with tips on how to do so safely. You will also find the list of prisoners, men and women, who are participating. Most of them are looking for someone who is willing to write and willing to listen. Use common sense and follow the guidelines that the site provides.

Some of the basic tips for writing to an inmate are:

- For your return address, Diamond recommends using a P.O.Box # instead of a street address.

- Be honest and friendly BUT— keep a level head about what you are doing. Regardless of what they are incarcerated for, prisoners are human beings who should be treated with courtesy.

- Be a friend and a possible mentor. A good pen pal can be a positive influence on someone.

- Send a greeting card to start with. It can take the pressure off what to write in the first contact.

- Tell a little about yourself— your hobbies & interests, for example. Don’t include anything too personal.

- Be patient. If you don’t get a response right away, understand that the mail system is slow in prisons.

- Clearly print your name and address AND the inmate's name and number on the envelope and each page.

- Birthday cards are really appreciated because it’s a lonely time. You will find the inmate's birth date on his/her page on the pen pal site.

Diamond’s father often talked about the Seven Corporal Works of Mercy, which he followed to a ’T’ in his lifetime. They are the acts by which we help others:

Feed the hungry.

Give drink to the thirsty

Clothe the naked.

Shelter the homeless.

Visit the sick.

Visit the imprisoned.

Bury the dead.

Writing to an imprisoned man or woman is a type of visit. But remember! Carefully follow the safety guidelines.

With grace and peace,




Dear Readers,

Readers have written to Dear Diamond because they want to meet someone. Each week Diamond will post an event or two that’s appropriate for single folks.

Here is an ongoing one with plenty of time to plan. Just get out there and mingle, folks. You just never know who will be there.

Sunday Jams at Sail, Power & Steam Museum in Rockland,

1:30-4 p.m. Bring your voice or instrument, or come listen.


Monday Jams at St. George Grange Hall,

Wiley’s Corner, 7-9 p.m. Mondays to Oct. 31. Country, gospel, folk, sea songs. Free; donations help pay hall fee.

Advice appearing in Dear Diamond is for entertainment only and does not reflect the views of Courier Publications or its editorial boards. This column is not intended to replace the services of medical, financial or legal professionals.

Contact Dear Diamond:

Ask Dear Diamond your question. Diamond responds to all who write in. Participation in Dear Diamond is always anonymous and free.

Snail mail: 91 Camden St., Suite 403, Rockland, ME 04841


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