Poems Written by Inmates - Thomas Alexander Porter

Why Write to Inmates?

In February 2021 I started being a pen pal to inmates, and as I mentioned in my previous article Writing to an Inmate, it has opened a whole new world for me and changed my perspective on many things. I am writing these articles to get attention for this topic and to raise awareness that inmates are still human beings and prisoners rights are human rights.

Why write to inmates? Because they are human beings who have made a terrible mistake and deserve redemption just like you would want forgiveness and redemption for a horrid thing you may have done in your life. Don’t we all deserve forgiveness?

I find that the whole justice system is based on continuous and prolonged revenge and not on forgiveness and rehabilitation, and in truth, what does that say about our justice system? Is it working …? Hm, I could write an answer to that, but that’s a whole other article, which will come soon.

For more info on this topic, please watch the following video and if you like it, help us with a like and subscribe 🙂

Thank you!


Let me know if you have any comments or questions.


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  1. Wow Lila, you have also opened up my eyes about a world I know nothing of. I am always intrigued by true crime and watch a lot of shows, movies, books, podcasts on the said subject. Little have I ever thought about writing to inmates. What an interesting idea. Loved your video as well.

    I’m curious to know how you could ensure that the letter you write gets received by the specific inmate it is addressed to?

    1. Hi Sasha,

      They should get their letters, it just takes time before they receive them, since they get passed through the mailroom first. It is important to write the inmate number after their last name on the envelope. Handwritten letters may take a long time, but some prisons also have an email system (at a small cost to the sender). That is obviously much faster, but the emails don’t arrive right away as we know it from our emails in the free world. Those emails are also monitored, and – depending on the word count – may take between an hour or several hours (and in my case it has even been more than a day) before your pen pal gets your email or you receive your email from your pen pal. Mail can’t be withheld, though, as far as I know, but then again, it’s also still a learning process for me.

  2. I have to honestly say that I have never considered doing this but now that I have read your post, I am.  The video makes an interesting point:  No person should be judged solely on their worst action (or their worst day!).  People are incarcerated for many different reasons, sometimes because they lead a life of crime and sometimes because they made one mistake, one error in judgment.  And we’ve all been there.

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      True, we’ve all been there, made a terrible mistake we regret or that haunts us until today. 

      Thank you for considering being a pen pal. It’ll make a huge difference to someone’s life 🙂

  3. Hi Lila. Very important article. We all make mistakes, and we all will answer for them after our death. And role of prison is not revenge but to rehabilitate and give second chance to be valuable member of society. And there are many success stories, but unfortunately our system is not supporting people who want to change. And I can imagine that such simple human gesture like writing a letter may give these people strength and hope to fight for better life.

    1. Hi Cogito,

      Yes, our system still isn’t supporting people who want to change or have changed. It is focused on an eye for an eye on a continuous basis and that says a lot about our system – and the ones who impose and support it – as well, doesn’t it?

      Thank you for your comment!

  4. Hi Lila,

    Everyone indeed deserves a second chance no matter what they have done, and it’s sad to see that our so-called justice is built based on revenge. People should not be defined by the things they have done in adolescence. Instead, we should be defined by the decision we made.

    I never thought of writing to the inmates to help them re-connect with society, which gives them so hopes and motivates them to fight for better lives. Maybe it’s time to encourage people to do so.


    1. Hi Matt,

      Several months ago I didn’t know about this either. It has changed my perspective on many things and opened my eyes about the “justice” system.

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