Write a Prisoner and Possibly Find A New Friend?

Writing to a prisoner has become extremely popular lately especially amongst the popular social media app Tik Tok.


Elicia Ramu

The crime side of Tik Tok has become extremely popular lately and is a place where the motto “Write A Prisoner… Change a life” can easily be applied as a lot of people have been creating new friendships with prisoners across the nation and even further.

Elicia Ramu, Editor

Welcome to the Prison side of Tik Tok. Where if you are 18 or older you can sign up to become pen-pals with a prisoner in a state or even country of your choosing. Writing to prisoners came to be a thing around 2002 and since then has continuously disappeared only reappeared. It wasn’t until Britney Spears’s song “Criminal” became popular amongst popular social media app Tik Tok that a new trend revolved around being pen-pals with inmates reappearing, starting a new trend that has folks both interested in what’s going on and terrified for others safety. 

The website used to make this trend popular is writeaprisoner.com. With a motto saying “Write A Prisoner… Change a life” this website has to be one of the coolest websites to see as it lets you choose to write to someone from anywhere in the states to even people overseas or in foreign countries. Even if you don’t write someone it’s a cool website to even just scope out and look at as the website still lets you go and take a look at different people’s bios and it lets you get to see different people. The only catch though is that if you find someone you may want to write to you need to sign up and be 18 or older.

To make things even cooler the website helps you to narrow down who you want to write on based on specificities like sex, age, ethnicity, and religion. So if you’re looking for a specific type of person you have the option to narrow down the list of people to write to. Or if you want to write to anyone you have that option too.  

When it comes to writing to a prisoner, however, there are some tips and tricks that will come in handy. Although I have never written to anyone. I did look around the website and come across a page that has tips for writing to a prisoner. The page was very helpful as it had lots of different things to say about when writing a letter and what you should say, and do, and what you can and cannot include in your letters (if you want to put anything extra in). 

One of the most interesting things was when the page stated: 

“Don’t write to more than one inmate from one prison at a time. It’s just not a very good idea. From previous experience, we have found that many times a person that writes to more than one inmate in the same facility can create a rivalry between inmates.” I didn’t know that this was a thing but it’s good to know. 

If you want even more tips and tricks I also came across another article called “The Ultimate Guide to Prison Pen Pals” published on blog.penvibe.org. With this article, I got to see a lot of interesting facts that are very helpful to anyone who is considering the idea of writing to a prisoner. 

 Most of the article consisted of things like thinking if this is a good idea by asking yourself why you want to write to a prisoner? Why prisoners may want pen-pals? The benefits of having an inmate pen-pal. Along with just overall safety and tips are given to those from people who have done this before.

While continuing to search around the webpage I also came across the FAQ page which also stated they stated a lot of important information and answered a lot of questions that people had. One thing that they stated when asked what their page is, was: 

“We were originally established as an organization to help prisoners receive letters from free world pen-pals by providing the inmate a place to invite pen-pal correspondence. Since then, we have expanded our services to include many features aimed directly toward reducing recidivism and raising awareness.”

The FAQ page continued to say: 

“The prisoners pay us to post their pen-pal profiles. You, the public, can write to inmates free of charge. We never charge you anything to use this website. Additional services such as resume profiles and housing profiles are free to post.” when asked how their website works. 

To make matters even more fun, there are multiple ways to make this trend work and to connect with different prisoners. Options include postal mail, email, phone calls, and even visitation. That’s multiple different ways to stay in contact with a pen-pal. 

If you’re not sure who to write to, don’t sweat it because Tik Tok has you covered: All you have to do is search up things like “Write an inmate”, “ Criminal Trend” or even “#prisonerpenpal” and you’ll have hundreds of videos popping up. If you use that or even just go to the website you’ll probably find someone to your liking.

Writing to a prisoner is a new Tik Tok trend that is slowly rising and becoming more and more popular. To some people, it may seem dangerous but I think that it sounds really cool and can be a lot of fun. The website is a cool website that has a good idea of connecting prisoners to the outside world. A lot of prisoners have a giant struggle with re-entry after spending some time in prison so being able to be connected while incarcerated is neat to see. On top of that, some people just made a simple mistake and are trying to get themselves re-invented while looking for some friends. I without a doubt think that this is a cool trend and a cool idea to try out in the future once 18 or older.