a close-up of a pen

Prison Pen Pals: Mental Benefits of Writing to a Prisoner

If you have a family member or loved one in prison, you might be struggling to feel connected to him or her. Writing your loved one while they’re incarcerated can have incredible health benefits for you and the inmate. Here’s what you need to know about having a prison pen pal. 

It Helps You Reconnect 

Yes, you could always call up your loved one to talk. But sometimes, phone conversations can be stilted and uncomfortable. Neither of you knows what to say, and when you’re calling an inmate, that silence costs money. Writing letters allows you to connect through writing. You each have time to express your thoughts on paper and taking a few minutes to write a letter shows that you care enough about each other to put pen to paper. 

Also, when you talk on the phone, you can multitask. That isn’t the case when you’re writing a letter. You give the task your undivided attention, and reading a letter also requires your full focus. Taking time to just communicate with each other will help you reconnect in a powerful way. 

It Helps You Express Feelings

Letter writing is actually the perfect way to express your feelings. Writing a longer note can help you delve into deeper feelings and emotions. This is very important if you’re harboring resentment towards your loved one about his or her incarceration. Writing these feelings down can actually help you repair your relationship. Taking the time to detail your emotions means each letter is personal and valuable, not just a throw-away phone conversation. 

The inmate will also benefit from expressing his feelings. Incarceration can be depressing, difficult, and feel interminable. Being able to have a deep conversation with another person and feel like your communication is still valued can be extremely meaningful for a person in jail.  

It Helps You Develop Empathy

When you have empathy, you’re better able to understand and identify what other people are feeling. Attending therapy at places like nyctherapy will develop you develop your empathy, which can help strengthen your relationships and make you a healthier person. Writing letters to a prisoner will help you better understand what he or she is going through. You’ll develop your ability to identify what he is feeling, even when you’re just reading words on a page. You’ll also be able to better express your emotions, which will help your mental health. 

A strong sense of empathy will provide you with the skills to consider others’ needs and provide compassion when it’s available. If you’re working on rebuilding your relationship with your incarcerated loved one, working on empathy with him is an excellent step in that direction. 

Your Pen Pal Doesn’t Have To Be Someone You Know

While writing to a loved one in prison is a great way to repair a relationship, you don’t have to have a pen pal you know. You can do a Mule Creek state prison search and find someone in need of a pen pal. This could be extremely beneficial to the inmate. He might not have anyone else to write to or any family members visiting. Just having a regular pen pal could help him feel optimistic and hopeful and will help develop his ability to care for and communicate with others. Plus, doing something good for someone else is always beneficial to our mental health. 

Having a prison pen pal can be extremely rewarding for both you and the inmate. Taking a few minutes out of your day to write a letter could make all the difference in both of your lives, especially if you’re attempting to reconnect.