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Old 12-27-2015, 05:23 PM
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TawnyStar TawnyStar is offline
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I've only written 2 inmates ever. Both have become multi-year penpals. So I took choosing them for correspondence seriously - and researched well beforehand. Both are long-term prisoners with horrific violent crimes (multiple murder & a career criminal who committed armed robbery). I knew I wasn't getting a choir boy.

Crimes I would not accept: crimes against women or children because while the above is already emotionally difficult, these would be too hard for me.

However both had displeasing facets to their crimes, that I had to learn to forgive. I do not condone their crimes of course. I know them both well enough to speak freely about it. They are both guilty. And they both regretfully lost huge amounts of their lives because of it.

Other things I personally looked for & paid attention to:
* Long sentence = I wanted long-term penpals. (LWOP and 28 years)
* Crime committed young = I trust people a lot less who committed crimes older and should've gotten more skills/resources from aging and maturity. Youth invokes the probability of underprivilege and lack of experience.
* A lot of time put between them and their crime = this was really important to me. I wasn't interested in someone who was in that space just last year. I wanted the more mature person who had grown and showed maturity past their crime. (17 yr old and 20 year old, both are now near 40s)
* High intelligence = This was important to me for a relationship built on conversation
* Non-religious/atheist = This is similar to me and I knew I didn't want to have conversations about god as I feel it cuts off any further introspection or intuition (in the type of conversations I want to have).

Racism in prison doesn't bother me (one is part of STG activity, Security Threat Group) although I'm abhorred by it in the free world. Prison is a different environment and people are often separated socially by race. In the one who is involved in that activity I find it more to be of a social adaptation (he's an extrovert & spent most of his life incarcerated). I recognized he was involved in prison racism before I wrote him. Many inmates shed that identity when they're allowed to return to the free world & he's a likely candidate. My other one is an introvert and not very social at all, ergo has no interest joining a group, racist or not.

My choice structure certainly would not work for everyone, as is clear it's my own personal needs/opinion. Goes to show that it's different for everyone, and tailor made for each correspondent.

For me, I think researching and being honest with myself about what I wanted made good matches and brought exactly what I was looking for. This is all IMHO.

Last edited by TawnyStar; 12-27-2015 at 06:02 PM.. Reason: clarification error
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