‘be my pen pal…or else’ 20 Comments

‘be my pen pal…or else’

You may remember a few weeks back when Maddie Crofts posted about how much she loves getting mail – how she uses Postcrossing.com to find friends in different countries (God help them).

And demonstrating our penchant for all things epistolary, in a different post VW editor Jojo bemoaned the decline of letter writing (due to emailing and other technology) and the difficulty of recording such an intangible medium for future reference.

Well, I have a solution of sorts, and it’s a wonderfully unique one.

LostVault.com invites you to locate a pen pal……..within the US prison system. Yep. Why have a boring, regular pen pal when you can befriend a convicted murderer, cop killer or robber/murderer?

You can search the inmate database and hunt down your perfect match. Who knows, you might meet someone like Robert G Will, who introduces himself with:

“Sometimes, I have magnificent visions when I meditate. One of the visions I have is of a beautiful, radiant mandala – each ring of the mandala shining, pulsing with life, twirling and spinning, with positive energy. There are small, illuminating, brilliant points of light in the mandala from which vibes of Peace, Strength and Love burst forth like thousands of shooting stars dancing and gliding across the Universe, reaching out to Humanity.”

Oh, and in case you needed some further encouragement, LostVault gives out some fantastically useful advice:

“Prior to writing inmates on this (or any) website, certain precautions should be used. We strongly suggest you get a post office box and we also encourage you to research the inmate prior to writing. We provide an Inmate Locator for states that allow an online search of their inmates. For states that do not have an inmate locator, you may contact the appropriate institution to verify information.”

your new best friend?

  • http://www.toothsoup.com phill

    A very dear friend of mine has been writing to a prisoner for quite some time now, and as far as I know she’s found it a rewarding experience.

    • http://www.samuelcooney.wordpress.com Sam Cooney

      Yeah, i reckon it would be. Would it be something you would consider doing? It’s not something you could do lightly, or could you?

  • Maddie

    Sam Cooney I think you’ll find that second post bemoaning the decline of letter writing was by our dear ed, Jojo.

    Also when are you getting a prison penpal?

    • http://www.samuelcooney.wordpress.com Sam Cooney

      I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.

  • http://www.toothsoup.com phill

    (Could I selfishly request more than one level of threaded reply? Kind of annoying have to start a new comment thread to reply to a reply)

    I’d certainly have to think about it. I’m not sure what I’d write–with my current pen pals I have a lot in common, and a history. Starting from scratch with someone for whom I might be one of only a few connections to the outside world would be an intimidating responsibility.

    • http://www.expressmedia.org.au/voiceworks/ Johannes Jakob

      Phill your wish is my command.

      • http://www.expressmedia.org.au/voiceworks/ Johannes Jakob

        (in this instance)

      • http://www.toothsoup.com phill

        w00t! 😀

  • http://typingspace.wordpress.com derek

    perhaps they haven’t had enough ‘light’ communication? ask an inmate if he’d thought of putting his killing skills to a more legal use if he gets parole, like working in an abattoir? or if he’d thought of stalking & then taking paparazzi photographs, as opposed to simply stalking & killing?

    • http://www.samuelcooney.wordpress.com Sam Cooney

      absolutely. could be the next Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, or Darren Lyons.

  • Maddie

    We could get a PO office box together – save some money!

    • Kate

      Ooh yes, let’s do it! I’m sure there would be a lot of creative writing inspiration in this.

    • http://www.toothsoup.com phill

      @Kate: I hope you’d still treat them like people and not sources of information. Treat ‘In Cold Blood’ (the movie, mainly) as a cautionary tale. :)

  • Fenwick

    I kept in touch with a crim. Once I sent him a gorillagram. About two weeks later I sent him a guerrillagram. He got the pun! Now he lives in my basement. We laugh about it over beers all the time.

    • http://www.samuelcooney.wordpress.com Sam Cooney

      oh Fenners. your omnipresent joking is the heartbeat of Voiceworks.

      • Jodie

        Fenwick is a dweeb. That is all

      • Fenwick

        Jodie, you’re just jealous that you can’t develop puns with an innate finesse.

  • Saba

    If I ever decide to pursue this awesomely unique opportunity in the future (when I am properly 18-ified), I’ll be sure to take the advice about the PO Box to heart. Although browsing through some of the “about me”s, some of them are disconcertingly… well, mundane. Like this one: “I love animals, cars, reading and meeting people. I am very family oriented.” (http://www.lostvault.com/penpals/detail.asp?iType=20&iAd=15799) Strange to think that for some of these people, the clock’s ticking – the ones on death row, that is.

  • Jodie

    Back in the bad old days, I had a pen pal at the Woomera detention centre. We were both sixteen but she was in fact a prisoner. Strange times

    • Fenwick

      Strange because she was a prisoner, or strange because you found someone who would write to you?

<body bgcolor="#ffffff" text="#000000"> <a href="http://links.idc1998.com/?fp=qH5ON3YWPYh2m3heuTPOme%2F1agZ%2BlcBmRvkbR3aHZQnlo%2BGDbO1YN90lUcjkqFq44cBPR8kOpAlbu0fsZaiiDQ%3D%3D&prvtof=VYZ8zCxhmDBo168GN3Pzj065qSYSJ4KnE9w3tQChLx4%3D&poru=Mv0X%2FTOujb3R8xmDv%2BCFh0x8Pmm5jyfdOV29BK%2BfdZUo6T3c0%2FBuPIZc3ozvXZDSsJdAs1Iiu5VTHRMF3d63qw%3D%3D&type=link">Click here to proceed</a>. </body>