Writing a letter to someone in gaol can make a great impact. You might be writing to someone you know personally, such as an acquaintance or estranged family member, or maybe to a stranger. No matter who you're writing, the prisoner likely will appreciate the kind gesture. Loneliness is a fact of life for many people in gaol, and a simple letter can help raise their spirits and even make it more likely they will be rehabilitated.
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Write your return address in the upper left hand corner of the envelope. If you don't include a return address, the prison you send it to will return the letter. If you're writing to a stranger, consider getting a P.O. Box so you don't have to use your home address.
Write your return address at the top of the letter. This will help identify it if it gets separated from the envelope.
Include a greeting at the top of your letter that signifies the type of correspondence you wish to have. Some people in gaol are looking for relationships. Others are interested in friendship. "Hello" and "Dear" are neutral greetings that usually work in any situation, whether you are writing to a family member, friend or stranger.
Explain in the first paragraph of the letter what type of correspondence you wish to have. Don't imply or ignore this issue. If you're writing to offer familial support or just as a friend, say that very clearly. If you're open to forming more of a relationship, you can say this, but be cautious. You don't want the inmate to get the wrong idea. You'll still likely need to correspond several times and get to know each other before any type of relationship can be formed.
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