How We Started Our Prisoner Pen Pal Program

Orange Grove Friends Meeting

July 30, 2019

Here’s how we started our prisoner pen pal program. One of our members set out blank Christmas cards for us to sign while we chatted after Sunday service. He gave us a list of prisoners in solitary confinement in California prisons. I don’t know where he got the list.

Some of us addressed and signed a few cards and put the return address of the Meeting House (church) on the envelope. Two prisoners wrote me back. I replied. Other members of the congregation had the same experience. That was the start, and the program has mostly spread by prisoners telling other prisoners about it. Also, some of our congregation are involved in an in-prison workshop called Alternatives to Violence. The facilitators for this program tell prisoners about the pen pal program.

At any one time, we correspond with 20-30 prisoners. That’s in a congregation of about 150 people with about 70 people regularly attending Sunday service.