California Coalition for Women Prisoners

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Interested in being a penpal for an incarcerated woman?

Action Committee for Women in Prison
July 2003 report

In December of 2001, we began a campaign to find pen pals for older women serving long terms at the California Institute for Women in Corona, California. A year later, we expanded our project to two more prisons. They are located in central California (Chowchilla). As of July 2003, a total of 65 incarcerated women have been hooked up with pen pals. Our "outside" pen pals are women who range in age from 21 to their mid 80's. They live all over the U.S. We hope you will consider joining them! There are currently 18 women in prison on our list who are waiting for a pen pal, plus many other "inside" women who we would like to invite to join this program. Please contact us so YOU can choose YOUR pen pal from our list.


"Writing to a woman in prison is a very meaningful act. I believe that both she and I are blessed by our communication, gradually creating a bond which is very precious to both of us. In the midst of her limited life and in the middle of my often frenetic one, our exchange of letters is a small island of caring exploration. Little by little we offer each other pieces of ourselves and our daily lives like tiny windows on another world."

"I am enjoying my pen pal experience. She is very interesting and tells me about her life, her family, and how she spends her days in prison."

"We continue to have a lovely relationship. It is almost like Christmas to find her letters in my mail box. She just sent me the paperwork to fill out so that I may go and visit her in person."

"My pen pal and I are very slowly getting to know one another, which is understandable, after 22 years of her being in prison. I look forward to hearing from her. The nice part is she always makes a reference to what ever I write. This is a phenomenal pursuit of basic "love of one's neighbor."

"God truly guided me in finding my pen pal. She was not my first choice, but wow! We have commonality already. God will bless our pen pal relationship."

"My pen pal's simply written letters never cease to inspire me. She has given new meaning to the words: courage, tenacity, and remarkably, faith."

How to become a penpal to a woman in prison

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California Coalition for Women Prisoners
1540 Market St., Suite 490
San Francisco, California 94102  •  USA
(415) 255-7036 ext. 4  •