Friends 'Til The
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I write a prisoner? If you are 18 or older, use their postal address listed in their ad and write
direct to them. You may also email your first message to as many prisoners as you wish.  We will print and
mail it for you, Then you will continue to correspond through regular US Mail.  Email
here and include the
inmates name in subject line. YOU MUST include your name and mailing address, so they can write you
back. When writing a prisoner, please include a little about yourself. For example, we will discard all
messages that don't have a message. e.g. - nothing more than an address. Tell them a little about you so
they feel they have something to reply to.

What is a DOC#? It stands for Department of Corrections. It is a number that the state gives a
prisoner. It is in their ad, and you must include it in their address for them to get mail. The Federal
Prisoners also have a number assigned to them that is very similar.

I feel nervous about writing a prisoner, what should I do?  Prisoners are just like people on the streets.
There are some good and some bad. ALWAYS use common sense!

How do I get a prisoner listed?  
Email Inmates name and address to us. We will forward an application
within 24 hours.

Can a prisoner get e-mail? Sorry, no. Prisoners do not have computer access.

I want to write a prisoner, but I am not 18 yet, can I still do it? Sorry, no. It is not just our policy, but
many prisons policies as well. You must be 18 or older to write a prisoner.

How many prisoners can I write? There is no limit! Pick as many as you can be a good pen pal to and write.
The only requirement is you have to be 18 or older.

My prisoner friend wants me to change their ad, can I do this? Sorry, no. Only the prisoner can make any
changes to their ad. They need to put their request in writing and mail it to our office. We do this to
protect the privacy of their ad and make sure no one changes it when they do not desire it.

How often are the ads updated? We ask the prisoners to let us know of any address changes, etc., and
make changes to the site on a daily basis.

Can inmates receive phone calls or make phone calls?  In many institutions they are allowed to make long
distance phone calls.  They are collect and are more expensive than regular collect calls.  The reason for
this is the prison makes a big profit on the calls.  They are also usually limited in length to around ten or
fifteen minutes.  You should be cautious in giving out your phone number as it can become expensive.  

What is the mailing address for Friends 'Til The End.Com?  PO Box 170336 Spartanburg, SC 29301-0025

It can be a lot of fun writing an inmate on a friend/pen pal basis.  We recommend not to send money to
inmates.  However, if you do, only send small amounts less than fifty dollars.  Usually they can make
purchases in the prison store on items such as shampoo, shoes, books, magazines, writing paper, etc.  If an
inmate asks for large amounts of money you should always suspect fraud and not be foolish.  These men
and women are inmates and are usually in prison for good reason.  

Very few people would be willing to share their time with these men and women who have
become the outcasts of our society.  The fact remains - they are human
beings.  When you read their stories and see their pictures you will
recognize that loneliness is one of the greatest challenges they face each
day.  Mail call may be the highest point of their day, communication is
essential in the rehabilitation process.  So, thank you for this selfless
act which is more than the price of a stamp.  It is an act of faith -
faith that you can reach out and make a positive difference in another
person's life. Studies have shown that those inmates who have friends or family on
the outside taking an interest in them have a much lower recidivism rate
then those who do not.  We hope these helpful hints will enhance this
letter writing experience for you.

Writing That First Letter

What to write in a first letter to a complete stranger? Many people ask
themselves this question, and for some it might even be a reason to let
their intention of writing a letter go.

Why, in fact, writing a letter to someone you never spoke to before is
easier then writing to a person you talk to everyday. What else do you
have to write, if you see that person so often?

Therefore we are providing some tips for writing a first letter. These
tips don't come out a book or anything, just personal experiences.

In your first letter, tell a little background about yourself - your
interests and hobbies, things like that.  Avoid sharing too much personal
information in your introductory letter.  Most prisoners are happy to
hear from you and are looking for words of encouragement.  You might
respond to something that was written in the inmate posting, such as some
area of interest they have.

Also ask questions. Show them that you're interested in who they are.
Asking what they're convicted for (if you don't know it) might be a
little too soon, not everybody likes to tell it (guilty feelings, or
because they are scared you won't write back after you know).

A first letter doesn't have to be very long, it's only an introduction.
Leave some things open, for the other person to ask.

If you don't receive a reply right away, be patient.  Mail moves more
slowly behind prison walls.  Many of these men are anxiously awaiting
contact from the outside world.  If you don't get an immediate reply, it
may not be that they are not trying to communicate with you.

Be sure your return address is legible.  Always print your name and
address neatly on the envelope and include it again in the body of the
letter in case something happens to the envelope.

Birthdays can be a lonely time.  If you don't have time for a lengthy
correspondence, remembering a prisoner on this particular day can have a
tremendous impact.  Their birthdays are displayed with most of the
inmate postings.

Greeting cards can be a good way to make initial contact.  There are so
many friendship-type cards available just to say "hello" to the
prisoner.  This can take the pressure off of you worrying about what to write
that first time.

You might want to include a photograph of yourself so the prisoner has
a "face" to put with the name.  Obviously, many of the prisoners are
forthright in stating they are looking for relationships, but others are
simply looking for a friend with whom they can correspond.  A photo
would be a nice gesture of friendship.

Do NOT include any unauthorized items.  This would create problems for
the prisoners.  Your letter means more to them than any gift you might
want to send them.

Follow-Up Writing

Maintaining an ongoing correspondence with a prisoner can be a mutually
rewarding experience.  As you get to know each other, your uplifting
words of encouragement can make their prison sentence more bearable.  You
can encourage them in their endeavors, such as training and school.

If you decide you would like to send a gift to a prisoner, be sure to
find out the prison's policy on prisoners receiving gifts.  This varies
from prison to prison, and your pen pal will be able to provide this

How can I help Friends 'Til The There are many ways we can use your help. Contact the media in
your area and ask them to do a story on the site, send links to our sites to friends, post information about
our site on bulletin boards, organize pen pal writing groups, but the most important thing is to write a
prisoner! That is why we are here and it is not possible without your help.

Do you have any questions you think should be here? Please Email them to us!