How To Write Someone In Prison 2020 (Updated)

hello everyone so today we're gonna be

making a video slash podcast of how to

write someone in prison so I made a

video about this already if you want to

check it out but I'm gonna do an updated

one so I made one in October of 2018 and

basically that was after a few maybe

like a month or so of writing someone in

prison already so yeah I feel like my

kind of journey writing someone in

prison has been a little different from

some people because it mainly started

because I visited a prison and I went on

a tour of one and you can see that video

on my channel as well but I went on a

tour of one and I met some people who

lived there and then I decided to write

because I was listening to the air

hustle podcast and you know at the end

of one of the podcast there was someone

who was like make sure you write people

in prison you know we really look

forward to your letters so okay I'm

gonna go into it and I remember my

friend saying as well to like our group

that visited the prison was to make sure

if we if we write people in prison like

we stay committed and follow through and

at that point I was ready to be

committed and follow through so before

we get into this I want to make sure to

say me personally I use certain

terminology and I think other people

should use this terminology a professor

taught me to use this terminology so

basically when you're talking about

someone in prison instead of saying

prisoner inmate you say someone who

lives in prison because this is their

home you say someone who's in prison and

you just make sure to say person first

because it's good to remind people that

these are people first I will do a

separate video on more like interesting

prison industrial complex facts because

I think when people think about prison

they think about very vicious like evil

crimes when in in all reality about is a

very small percentage of people who are

actually in prison who've committed like

serial killer very violent evil crimes

that some of you may deem unforgivable

so I think that it's important to put

that in the forefront when you're

talking about like millions of people to

not judge

that group based on how society wants us

to um you know we have to think for

ourselves and form our own opinions so

that's one thing and then after that

what did I want to say that's my first

thing but the next thing I wanted to say

was oh you had just share a little story

so many of your project why do you even

care about the prison industrial complex

in the first place I how did you get

started caring about it so I was pretty

much a typical average kind of person

who prisons and jails are out of sight

out of mind so you don't think about it

and you you let society scare you based

on people who've been to you know prison

or jail you make them you see them as

these like scary people you have to stay

away from cuz I'll hurt you and they

need to be locked up behind cages

because you never know what they'll do

so that was pretty much me up until 2016

the presidential candidate campaign

started and Bernie Sanders was running

and I remember he said like he had a

short video on like how why the prison

industrial complex is so negative and

how many people we incarcerate in this

country because a lot of people know

that you know we incarcerate 2.2 million

people in the United States but that

fact is actually at any given time so

that right now right now this second 2.2

million people are in prison but in

reality when you look at it from a year

span each year that's about 13 million

people who have gone to prison are come

in and out of prisons or jails so

prisons are long-term facilities and

jails are for people who have like a

year-long sentence so that's the

difference between those phrases but

people use them interchangeably which is

pretty much fine if you if you're not

sure which one you're referencing so

yeah when I seen these videos almost

like oh my gosh this is crazy this is

ridiculous and of course I learned about

the disparities when it came to black

people in this country how like one in

three black men are likely to go to

prison or jail and one in 14 I believe I

know is it well I think it's one of 14

no no I think it's 1 in 14 latin ex

women but it's like 1 in 8 or something

like that for black women so yes I

started learning these statistics and I

was like wow this is like criminal

justice like issues are literally like

again modern-day slavery and it's

something that creates violence in

already vulnerable communities and when

you think about it it's very cute cruel

and unusual no matter how you look at it

and like that's our eighth amendment so

so many things that go on in prisons

should literally be unconstitutional but

people allow these things to go on

because it's majority black people so

it's like the epitome of a racial

justice issue it's the epitome of making

sure that black people have some kind of

dignity in this country is really

abolishing the prison industrial complex

as we know it so that's why I got really

deep into it and that's why I was like

you know what if I care so much about

this issue let me talk to people who are

actually still experiencing this and get

their thoughts because I'm not gonna be

this self righteous person who thinks I

know what other people deserve so that's

why I wanted to write someone in prison

because it's like it's almost like when

like a white person like they don't have

any black friends or don't have like a

diverse group of people who they talk to

and they learn from so that's kind of

why when you know I wanted to write

someone in prison again because it's

like you know it's like a responsibility

you should be able to talk to people of

all different walks of life so but again

I don't I people don't really know I

write someone in prison unless I tell

them I'm not like oh you know my friend

in prison I'm not that type of person

but I think it's just good to gain that

knowledge in perspective okay

so that's kind of my schpeel my story my

background I didn't really share too

much of that in the first video so I

wanted to do it here and I rewatched my

first video to make sure that too many

things don't overlap but I'm also

expanding on new things so I think that

when you're writing someone in prison of

course you have to consider your age

ever since I posted that video I've been

getting people who email me the end

me and stuff about this topic so um

I want to make sure that I'm addressing

that as well so one time there was

someone who was 16 who like emailed me

about writing someone in prison and I

basically told them like to use their

best discretion and you know whoever

they're trying to write you know do it

but like you know reach out for help for

people who actually know you like I

don't know this person so there's but so

much I can tell you and I was also kind

of telling them to do their research

because they were like how do you do

this how do you do that and I'm like all

of these things you can google it so

just make sure you um are at a age where

it makes sense like if you're 16 and

you're trying to write a lot a family

member then okay go ahead but if you're

16 and you're trying to write someone

you don't know maybe like X your parents

about it and stuff so that you're not

getting into any risky behavior by doing

that and of course if you're like over

18 you can still get into like risky

behavior but hopefully your discretion

is better by that age so the next thing

is your address so some people may feel

uncomfortable giving someone in prison

their address so you could always use a

peel box when you use the peel box of

course you pay for that but also you

might want to think about writing

someone who's like not in your immediate

living space or living area so jails and

prisons are usually pretty far but for

example if you're looking to write

someone then consider okay maybe I want

to write someone like really far from me

like across the country or in a

different state or whatever so that you

don't ever have to really worry about

like them use them coming to your

address kind of like without being told

to without warning so you can do that if

you live in an apartment building I know

my apartment building I don't have to

put my address number if it's like my

name on it then they'll know kind of

like where I live there but I do put my

information on it because the people

that I have written so far I don't want

say I trust them but I'm like they've

all been people who had really long

sentences and they've been people who

I'm like I highly doubt they're going to

be like come see me because all the

people I've written so far I've written

to people they have been in California

and their sentences have been pretty

long and like they have a lot more to

worry about than me okay

so that's kind of like my thing and

that's kind of my way of processing

whether to be fearful about my address

or not then you want to course look at

why they're in prison I've seen one

video on YouTube about some woman who

the guy she was writing I guess didn't

tell her the real reason why he was in

prison like on the website she found him

on I guess the reason wasn't real and

then when she googled him she saw the

actual reason why he was in prison and

that scared her a little bit more so you

might want to think about that when you

read people's websites and descriptions

on on why they're looking for a pen pal

you know use your best discretion and

see how you want to go about it from


again I'm not the type of person where

and this is weird but this is kind of

just where I'm at in life I give people

the benefit of the doubt and if someone

was to prove me wrong I'm not gonna

blame the whole that entire group of

people so if I was to write someone in

prison and God forbid they came and like

came to my door harassed me or try to

hurt me okay then you know that wasn't a

good situation but I'm not gonna blame

everyone else I could possibly write and

I'm just gonna take that as a siddha

one-on-one situation so there's a lot of

people who are not in prison or jail and

never been in a prison or a jail who can

do that to people

so that's kind of where I'm at in life

um trying to be the bigger person in

these situations not even the bigger

person but just give people the benefit

of the doubt and not let that stigmatize

a whole group of people okay

also when you write someone in prison

don't be self-serving like really

consider what that person thinks like

don't do it for your own self-righteous

reasons don't do it so like use this

information negatively like do it to

really get to know someone to keep

someone company and also to be able to

share about yourself and get someone

else's perspective like you can really

learn a lot from this from the situation

about yourself right

someone and sharing certain details with

them and then they like look back at it

they'll tell you their opinion on you

know you and what you're saying you

might be like oh that's not who I

thought I was or you know it could just

be a good reflective process so I

definitely say you know don't be so

surfing our self-righteous and give that

person all the respect that they deserve

because they are human being with

autonomy somewhat you know the prison

limits it but they have a brain like

they think they feel you know so next

thing is don't make any promises and

stay consistent so when I say don't make

any promises don't be like oh my gosh

like you know we're gonna try to get you

out of here and um you know I'm gonna

send you all this money and blah blah

blah like don't make promises like that

just be real honest and like when things

get uncomfortable just say it don't try

to make it better by saying okay like I

work really hard to get you out of there

like no let just feel that discomfort

that that person might never get out of

prison and just deal with that

discomfort and hopefully use that in

your advocacy so that's one and then

also stay consistent so if you want to

commit to writing that person once a

month like say like you get the letter

at the beginning of the month and you

make sure to send it in by the end of

the month do that because you know you

don't want that person just you don't

want to fall off from that person and

never hear from you again

also for me I think it's always hard

because you get the letter and you're

like where do you start like when you

receive your letter back and they write

you it's hard because like you'll have

multiple questions in the letter so you

have to write it out or type it out I go

back and forth between typing and

writing I always ask whoever I'm writing

like do you mind if I type it do you

mind if I write it so just all those

things it could be hard to stay

consistent if you'd like working 9 to 5

or whatever but if this is what you're

gonna do just know that this person

might want to write you and be friends

for like a year this person might want

to write you for only like three months

so make sure you give them more of that

choice unless you really can't do it and

you have to tell them like hey you know

I know we've been doing this for three

months but I really can't sustain it

anymore then have that conversation

don't just go someone basically

also figure out your boundaries so many

people might not want romantic letters I

know I don't so I think you could also

try to fill that out by how you choose

who you're gonna write because some

people are really like open in their

BIOS like hey I'm looking for a romantic

relationship some are like you know I'm

just looking for a friendship so if you

know that your type of guy is like I

don't know five six light-skinned with

like red hair if you come across a

profile like that don't choose it you

know like if you if they act just if you

you know they asked to see a picture of

yourself send something like a facebook

profile don't send like an Instagram

Instagram picture you know choose it

wisely or send that link didn't picture

and not like you know tinder picture so

use your discretion like that don't try

to attract this person in seduce this

person you know and if they are doing

that to you let them know that that's

your boundary and that you may have to

stop writing them like so I think this

situation will she really make you more

mature and make you more direct with

things that you like and you don't like

yeah and I just want to stress use your

best judgment do your research I

definitely want you all to use the

comment section as a way to recommend

people to write at recommend places

where people can write because that's

where I found my second pen pal somewhat

Thomson on my video I said can you write

my brother and I did and I've been

talking to him since I think like

October last October the initial guy

that I was writing that I was talking

about on my first video he recently got

out of prison I think the dis not last

December the December before that and

he's been out of prison I've been like

listening to some of his updates on ear


I believe he has a public Facebook he

recently commented on one of my youtube

videos telling me to email him so I

emailed him and we had a small

conversation he's thinking about

starting a YouTube channel so yeah I

would say if you want to learn more

about writing someone from ear Hustle

just stay till the end but definitely

look in the comments

and I'll try to do something on our Noir

on my website maybe making a landing

page for people I recommend you writing

from my own research and yes so just

stay towards the end of the video to

figure out more ways you can write

people in prison okay so when it comes

to like literally what you put in your

first letter this is some of the things

you do but you can ask them how many

people they're writing so see if they've

have written people in the past how was

their experience you can ask them just

how like how much they want to share how

much they want you to share so literally

ask them like all of your questions that

you would ask someone who you need

advice from because that person deserves

to know like what you're thinking about

like if you're worried like sometimes

when I'm writing come on I'm writing I'm

like hey you know I really want to talk

about like some of the things that I

like and don't like in life but I feel

bad about doing that when I'm like not

in prison and you are so you can ask

them those questions and they'll be like

you know I don't mind like I want to

hear about what people are going through

out outside the next thing is talking on

the phone I don't think I'm there yet

talking on the phone with someone in

prison just because I don't even like

talking on the phone that much to people

in everyday life but I think I can

definitely get there to just have a

brief conversation on the phone I don't

know what we would talk about on the


but um yeah maybe when I start writing a

woman I think I would prefer some phone


okay and just some other tips when you

write your letter make sure to put a

date on it like at the top of your

letter or something just so that the

person and you can keep track of the

dates and I mean that on the physical

letter not on the envelope and you know

just keep in mind of things that you

feel like you would be worried about so

like their day they get out of prison

where they're located because like if

that's something that really bothers you

you can do things to avoid those

situations yes so I don't have I don't

know why I don't have actual envelope

with me but I'm gonna use this piece of

paper okay so if you're watching this

then you can see I have a piece of paper

in front of me and I'm gonna show you

kind of where you would write so when

one corner you're gonna put your name

and your address and then in the middle

you're gonna put their name and address

and then on the other side you're gonna

put this stamp so and if you need help

like you can literally Google Images and

then you close the letter and you just

put it in an outgoing box you buy stamps

from the post-office and stamps are

pretty cheap and sometimes you might

want to send the person you're writing

extra stamps and if you are not sure

just send them extra stamps anyway and

then when you receive a letter back

they'll say thank you for the stamps

just keep sending them or you don't have

to send me stamps so there's things

where if you're worried about it just do

it and then figure it out later

and then the worst case scenario is that

you write someone and they just don't

write you back and then you just go to a

new person so if you would like to

figure out how do you write someone so

there's so many different prisons and

jails and there's different platforms

where you can find someone to write the

one of the most popular ones is right at

prisoner calm the guy that I'm writing I

think they may have people paid to put


profile on there and it's literally a

picture of them and it's like a bio and

it tells you like you know just other

interesting facts about them like their

height and stuff like that and I think

that it even tells you like their

birthday or something so they it's put

tells you all that stuff so you can

literally scroll through thousands of

profiles to figure out who you're gonna

write so you can either do that which

I've never done that I haven't had to

and then the first time when I started

writing the first guy was writing and

you hear more about that in my first

video is that I basically just went to

the show notes of ear Hustle where they

like thanked the people who spoke on the

show so sometimes you can hear someone's

interesting story there and then write

them so basically I got his first and

last name I went to the San Quentin

website and I think I went to like find

an inmate I put in his first and last

name I found his like his inmate number

so then I put his first name his inmate

number and the location of the prison

and mailed my letter basically so that's

how you can find someone on your own

that you would like to talk to from the

air hustle website which I think would

be really cool if you all did that like

going on the air hustle show notes

picking a name based on like well you

know how they participated in that

podcast episode saying hey like I really

like podcast number seven I really liked

when you said such-and-such and I wanted

to know if I could write you like be

creative like really do those things the

same way you would write someone who

like you would DM someone you liked on

social media like oh hey I liked what

you posted today or something is the

same way but a little more effort of

course and you just send them the letter

so that's what I did and again I'm

thinking about doing something we're on

our noir I maybe make a blog post of

people you can write based on like

people I found on air hustle but I again

don't wait for me to do that work for

you if you would like to you can do that

now it's free easy and accessible so

yeah right a prisoner comm is one of the

ways you can find someone or you've gone

ear hustle search their name on the

website on the

st. Quentin like website to find their

inmate number and again I don't like

using those words but I'm using them so

you could find it easy on the website

and yeah that's pretty much all you have

to do to find someone and I would say do

that but again my the guy that I'm

writing now asked me to find someone to

write his cell mate so I did hopefully

the people who DM me that they were

interested on Instagram did write the

person if not he'll tell me and yeah I

could read you a part of my letter that

my person sent to me his name is Ivan

said hey Tiana nice to hear from you

it's been a while hope that all as well

with you

I'm currently yes so he said I'm I

currently find myself writing you in the

middle of a lockdown we've been like

this since October just prison stuff in

the way the way he writes is so like

just extra like everything is every

first letter is a capital and it's just

hard to read um so if you write someone

who has very poor handwriting you might

have to break it to them like I don't

think I can do it is then he says anyway

I've been here catching up on my

personal stuff it's hard to say but I

enjoy these times because like I always

mentioned to you I'm busy all the time

so yeah that's one of the things he

tells me about how he's really busy

because in Pelican Bay prison they now

have what's called they have programs

and this prison used to be a really

really bad prison but not saying that

it's any better but they have programs

now where people who live there they can

like a ten like GED classes and blah

blah like these things fill up fast so

it's not like a free-for-all like they

all have this option and they need to be

all doing it but like no sometimes they

have to wait for it and stuff like that

so yes he's in prison for a life

sentence for something that he did not


but he you know shared some stuff about

his life where there were crimes he did

do but like never went to prison for

them so it's just like yeah pretty much

sucks he's gonna be going through the

appeal process so hopefully that works

out for him and yeah I've told I've told

him about like my thoughts on prisons

and stuff like that and you know he

appreciated hearing that from me he even

tells like his tell me about some of the

things that I say in my letters so I

sent him another letter like last week

so he's probably just now getting it

he's probably reading it around this

time probably will be sending me

something by the end of the week so

maybe next week I'll probably get

something from him so yeah and I sent to

him in his like cell made a postcard

so hopefully late like that I basically

got some from when I intern on the hill

and I got it of the Capitol like snowing

and like the Capitol during the

nighttime the Capitol building so

hopefully they like then they get to see

like some of my world but yeah that's

pretty much all I could tell you all I

really hope that you all consider

writing someone it's really not that

deep it's really not that deep meant

that not that hard I try to express that

to people some people really have

apprehensions about it and I'm just like

I don't know everything I said in this

video is pretty much all the things I

would say to anyone worried about the

process just do it you have to like do

things and fail and do things and you

know realize what you could have done

better so yeah if you're really stuck

and you don't know how to start then

you're never going to start like you

just got to do it it's never gonna be

the right time so just do it so

hopefully that answers what people are



and yeah if you need any more help just

watch videos on YouTube a lot of videos

on you are pretty old that's why I

wanted to do this update one but yeah I

hope you enjoyed thanks for watching and