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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Toronto MU chapter.

Who doesn’t love a good ole-fashioned handwritten letter? Ever since I was a kid, I’ve enjoyed the whole process of writing lil’ notes and letters to family and friends. There was picking the type of paper I would write on, the colour pens I would use and what kind of decor and theme I was going for at the time. When someone receives something so personalized and handwritten, they really do get that head rush of addictive dopamine flowing through— at least, that’s how I felt. Letters are just built different ‘cause how do they lace so much crack into one piece of paper? Anywho, in this age of texting and DMs, handwritten things have gone a little out of style… that is unless you’re isolated from society and have no access to technology. 

I should preface this by saying I’m not using my prison pen pal to get off on some letter writing fetish I have, but it’s simply a nice little getaway from meeting and chatting with new/interesting people other than through Omegle, Instagram, Bumble and what have you. 

So, the website I used to find my very first pen pal was Canadian Inmates Connect Inc.— this website allows inmates all across Canada to be able to post a profile and short blurb about themselves. If you’re interested in writing to someone in prison as well, I suggest looking through all the inmates’ profiles and choosing someone with who you can see building a friendship. 

Now, it is mandatory to list the crimes they have been convicted for, and many are truly guilty of their acts. So, I suggest writing to those whom you feel completely comfortable and safe talking to— maybe even do some research on them before reaching out. The website also warns to never send money to them even if asked— it’s just a good rule of thumb to have. I, personally, never had this issue but it’s important to keep in mind. 

You’re gonna find an incredibly diverse range of people here. Most of them have been cut off from society for quite a long time and talking to them really opened my eyes to some unnoticed privileges we have just being able to live on the outside. An example of this would be my pen pal recounting all the technological advances they’ve heard about. They couldn’t believe it when there was word of built-in screens in cars as well as a talking A.I. who directs the roads for you. It really gave me some perspective, but that certainly was the goal going into it. 

One thing worth noting when writing to a prison pen pal is to not feel bad for them. Usually, they’ve come to terms with things and really are just trying to make the most out of life. From their blurbs as well as from writing to my prison buddy, they seem to share incredibly radiant personalities and inspiring sentiments. I think a much better mentality to have going into this is to appreciate their ability to embrace and adapt to their circumstances. 

My prison friend currently resides at a facility in Saskatchewan, and life over there is pretty different. We write about four times a month (the total between the two of us) and have been communicating for just about a year. There really is something special about getting to know someone through the mail. It’s the anticipation of waiting for a letter that instant messaging lacks. Obviously, texting is great, and I’m not anti-tech or anything, but letters, again, just hit different. We’ve built quite an unlikely friendship over the past year, and they’ve been a great person to talk to during the pandemic. It’s pretty funny complaining about being forced to stay home to someone who is literally locked up. As you may expect, they’re exceptionally understanding of it.

Lastly, I really do recommend this experience, but of course, choose your inmate wisely— I just got super lucky. I love my lil’ incarcerated Saskatchewan friend and I really do wish them the best in life. 


Katherine G

Toronto MU '23

Hi there! I will be one of the Her Campus Ryerson writers on the team this year. (:
Hi! This is the contributor account for Her Campus at Ryerson.