By: Robert Morgan

One of the ways you can offer support to a friend or loved one who is incarcerated is to write them a letter. We know how difficult it can be when someone we know has been locked up, whether its for a long or short period, you and the person who is locked up may be experiencing a whole plethora of emotions with the anger, sadness and a feelings of utter loneliness being the most overwhelming emotions.

One of the ways to relieving yours and your loved one, friend or family members stress is to give them support by writing letters of encouragement, on a regular basis. When you let them know you are thinking about them it can make their day behind bars a lot brighter.

Before writing a letter be sure to do the following:

  1. Call the prison or check their website to make sure you are following all the mail rules.

  2. Never use crayons or colored ink pens on your letter. Just writing with plain black ink will

    ensure that your letter will more easily pass the jail or prisons postmasters muster.

  3. Do not add anything to the letter that is not paper. This includes stickers, stamps, and

    pictures. Make sure your stationary has not been embedded with any foreign matter such as decorations or metal. ( You will need to clear sending pictures through the prison or jail administration office).

  4. Do not add anything to the envelope without checking with the administration. Many prisons do not allow stickers or anything accept an address and return address on the envelope.

  5. Let you loved one or friend know how sorry you are they are incarcerated. Let them know you wish things were different.

  6. Try to never criticize your loved one or friend about the decisions that have led to their being incarcerated.

  7. Let them know you really want to hear from them and look forward to reading their letters.

8. Make sure they know that though they are in prison the both of you can grow together during this time and both of you will become stronger and better people in spite of what caused their incarceration.

9. Share a joke, poem or funny story, especially anything that will help put your loved one or friend at ease.

10. If your loved one or friend is a Christian let them know you are praying for them and if they don’t have it, give them information on Prison Fellowship, or Fishers Of Men. (The organizations are listed on our site in the resources for inmates and loved ones).

11. Write about what you are reading and encourage your loved one or friend to read books from the prison library or order inexpensive magazine subscriptions from

  1. Share with them how proud you are of them for anything they may be accomplishing while incarcerated. (school, work, volunteering, training, etc.)

  2. Encourage them to believe in themselves and that this experience will help them grow in wisdom and into being a better all around person.

14. They will appreciate knowing that you believe in them and that you will always be there to listen and encourage them.

15. Point out the good you see in them. Encourage them to share their goodness with other prisoners, as well as those who come to visit and those whom they write to.

16. Ensure your loved one or friend that they are not alone. You care for them and will be their to write to them and to lend an ear.

Always, try to write upbeat letters. Being in prison is never easy. Loneliness is the prisoners constant companion. Many of the men and women in prison have nothing to look forward to, some are locked in their cells most of the day and night. The sad fact is most prisoners never receive mail, hundreds of thousands of prisoners have become forgotten by friends and family, doing their time behind the fence, alone and lonely. Your letters will help in keeping your friend or loved one upbeat and positively moving forward during their incarceration.