TX prisoners in need of pen pals:
While we do not intend to become a pen pal service, we do encourage pen pal relationships. In order to be fair to the person you are writing and to prevent misunderstandings and the harm caused by them, we recommend that you always be clear about your boundaries and your expectations of the relationship. If there are charges you are not comfortable with, do your research before contacting someone. Reaching out to an incarcerated person can be a positive, life-changing experience for both people involved. Please see the links below for organizations that connect incarcerated people with pen pals!
Important Note: TDCJ changed mail regulations on 3/1/20.
The full changes are as follows:
- Prisoners will only be allowed to receive mail from general correspondents on standard white paper. Mail received on colored, decorated, card stock, construction, linen, or cotton paper will be denied.
- Letters sent to prisoners may not contain uninspectable substances such as perfume, stickers, lipstick, bodily fluid, powdery substances or artwork using paint, glitter, glue, or tape.
- Prisoners may not receive greeting cards of any kind, except during designated time periods around holidays.
- There is no restriction on the length of incoming or outgoing correspondence; however, a limit of 10 photos will be allowed per envelope.
To verify someone’s current unit, enter name or tdcj # here: https://offender.tdcj.texas.gov/OffenderSearch/index.jsp
TDCJ unit addresses and phone numbers: https://www.tdcj.texas.gov/unit_directory/unit_information.html
Want to send a letter by “email”? Some units now have tablets which allow messaging back and forth, for about 50 cents per message. Some people will also have access to phone calls and other services through the tablets. Register at securustech.net
Jpay.com offers the ability to type and send letters which are printed and delivered to those without tablets. Make sure you give a return address in the letter so they can write back! State prisoners do not have internet access.
To buy your loved one commisary items or put money onto their books, access: Ecomm Direct
Abolitionist pen pals orgs:
Study and Struggle, based in Mississippi, connects people to study together and build inside-outside relationships and solidarity. https://www.studyandstruggle.com/get-involved-1
Abolition Apostles is based in Louisiana and Texas and they correspond with over 1,000 incarcerated people currently. They are always looking to connect people! Find out more here: https://www.abolitionapostles.com/become-a-penpal
LGBTQ & Allies:
Trans Pride Initiative in Dallas is searching for people willing to write incarcerated trans and queer people. Connect on Facebook or Instagram to help or email email@example.com
See a list of Queer and Trans pen pals ads here from Austin ABC: https://txqtprisoners.wordpress.com/pen-pals/
blackandpink.org is a national organization supporting LGBTQ+ people in prisons
Note: Please note the sensitive nature of sexuality and gender identity inside of US Prisons. Being outed could result in threats and attacks from other prisoners, and repression from prison officials. It is best to let the person you write direct you on what is safe for them to discuss. That being said, our prisons are violently homophobic and transphobic and that is why LGBTQ prisoners especially could use outside support, which is often lacking from family members.
More pen pal sites: