Many long-term prisoners receive neither visits nor mail. Letter writing is a much-needed outreach that requires a minimal amount of volunteer time, and really helps to lift the recipient’s spirits. This is an opportunity for ministry for people of all ages and abilities, and is, in fact, a type of pastoral visit.
The volunteer “pen pal” decides how often to write and whether or not to continue the correspondence. Training is offered to the volunteers, and the prisoners who receive letters are given guidelines for appropriate topics for correspondence. Mail is returned to the volunteers via a post office address and not directly to their homes. The Prison Ministry forwards the mail to the volunteer’s church or home.