Shine Hot Shots, Inc started it's online presence, HotShotInmates.com as a way to provide a platform for inmates and also as a way the public can get into the hearts and minds of an inmate before making a decision to correspond with them. In prison there are good people and there are bad people, as there are anywhere else in the world. Your personal judgement of character should always be on and working.
Some prisoners are looking to skeem for money and are out to manipulate whomever they can to achieve this, while others are genuinely looking for friendships, relationships or just someone on the outside to show them a little attention. Although it's impossible to truly know what's going on inside of a persons head until you get to know them, I do believe that reading a prisoners' stories, articles, and poems, or seeing a piece of artwork created by them will have it's advantages; it should be a great benefit for those of you who want to correspond with a prisoner. Knowing what to look out for along with common knowledge can save yourself money, heartache and a headache in the long run.
The Federal Law Enforcement And Security Arm Of The U.S. Postal Service released this statement regarding Prison Penpal Money Order Scams. "Singles in search of romance are increasingly turning to personal ads. But so are criminals looking for an easy mark. Prisoners' personal ads have proliferated in recent years, and some prisoners may be looking for genuine contact with life outside their prison walls. However, many ads placed by prisoners are part of a sophisticated... Read more.
We at HotShotInmates.com provide services which helps towards the war on recidivism and working consistantly trying to ease the minds of inmates while planting the seed of hope to fight against this vicious cycle.
Here are a few simple guidelines below for you to follow when corresponding with inmates.
1. Examine your motives. Offering another person some encouragement and hope through conversation is the goal. Do not try to meet your own needs and wants without getting to know the inmate and they're intentions.
2. Never send money. If an inmate asks you for money, you should say no. If you say no and they ask again then you should rethink the situation and the inmate’s motive. Scams are prevalent with prison pen pals. Always check the prison regulations before sending anything other than your letter to the prison. Most prisons will not allow stamps to be sent in with letters.
3. Do not contact family members or other inmates on behalf of your pen pal. Families may have no contact orders. The request may be a manipulation of the pen pal to get something done that is illegal.
4. You must be very careful what you put in a letter. Write about current events, what’s happening in your life and how the Lord has worked in your life but don’t give out your children’s names, schools, and other personal information you wouldn’t want broadcast to complete strangers.
5. Find ways to offer encouragement and give hope. Many inmates have not had the social interactions that would have taught them how to make good decisions or help them solve problems.
6. It isn’t necessary to ask them what they did to get to prison. It is public information. You can find it using the links listed below, or it’s as close as a phone call.
7. Use caution and common sense before sending photos of yourself and/or family to a prisoner. Most prisons do not allow polaroid type photos. Check the rules and regulations for that particular prison before sending any photos.
8. Don't rush the relationship you are developing with a prisoner. Allow them to discuss their life on their own initiative. Dedication and time will help build positive long lasting relationships.
9. Write regularly at least several times a month. Prisoner's look forward to mail call and will be extremely happy to hear from you.
10. NEVER write more than one prisoner in the same prison. If you choose to have more than one pen-pal try to assure they are located in another state. This helps the development of trust between you and your pen-pal. It also protects the prisoner from becoming "jealous" of your other relationship.
11. Be patient waiting on your pen-pals response, some prisoners are limited financially. If you become concerned feel free to write them another letter. They are NOT limited in their mail intake.
12. Don't make promises you can't keep, prisoners will hold you to a high standard.
According to the Bureau of Justice latest census of jails data, there are 3,365 prisons in the US to date.
Federal Prison Directory - List of all federal institutions & inmate locator
State Prison Directory - List of all state DOC institutions & inmate locator