Behind bars, yet he saved my life TWICE

in prison •  2 years ago  (edited)


This is a post that I felt so much passion to write about because I feel the person it is about deserves and less recognition for the changes they’ve made to my life. I hope to unpack some stigmas around the topic and hopefully open some eyes and mind about the United States prison laws. My story begins about four years ago, living in a bachelor apartment by myself in my hometown with not too many job prospects. I had just left my retail job due to stress and I left about 25 pounds of stress behind with that job as well. I begin frantically looking for new work, updating resumes and smothering myself worth issues with YouTube videos. Locational he I would try out some left field websites to spark my interest and one fine day I came along a few penpal websites, one of those being   

Red Flags

I Experienced the Red Flags Too Red flags immediately went up when I thought about giving my personal information to the wrong person and paying the price later. This transitional time in my life was also met with recklessness combined with curiosity and I probably would not have done it had I not had much to lose at the time. Begin to play with the search filters offered on the website and this is when I realize just how many inmates are currently housed in these American prisons. A person could scroll for days to select Due to unemployment, I had a lot of time on my hands so I chose five names at complete random. One inmate was 78 years old, he babbled about his days but I had much difficulty reading his letters. We exchanged some letters but I believe he passed away shortly after. Some inmates did not respond but the one who did continue to write even today.   


His name was Philip and he was 34 years old with two kids and a military background. This is the information I was presented with within the first letter. The wonderful thing about writing letters in paper form is that the person writing to you puts abundant effort into what they are writing and due to Reading slowly, you really get the chance to dig deep into your message.  Just forwarding to some integral parts, somethings in my life didn’t really improve. I struggled for an even longer amount of time to get employment and when I did it was very stressful, harassment in the workplace was usually involved, 12 hour shifts pushed the mind and body to limits that shouldn’t be legal. My family life is crumbling and I was kicked out of relationships and musical groups and sometimes this occurred simultaneously. My heart was broken time and time again with various situations. All of this is beside the point however. What mattered is I had this tangible, solid rock to carry me through the daunting hardships. When there was complete isolation, Phil seemed to call at just the precise time or a letter would appear in my broken mailbox to turn the day around. It wasn’t just my problems though, we needed each other. There were times I regret to mention, dark times where my thoughts were not in the healthiest order. There was times when I ended up in the hospital due to malnutrition or destructive, careless behavior.    

Maybe It’s for You? 

Perhaps you have felt this isolation before. Perhaps you are located in a part of the city off the beaten trail and you stay there because it is cheaper living accommodations. Perhaps you are far from friends with minimal transportation options or somewhere along the lines you just forgot to keep contact with some people growing up and now you are suffering the consequences. This may or may not sound familiar to you but if you are experiencing some and extreme loneliness or if you were going through somewhat of a transition in your life I definitely do recommend writing to inmates. It is quite the commitment but if you find an inmate that does like to write it is actually a worthwhile investment because they do not have the burdens of social media and technological devices or television taking away their attention span. When you get a letter in the mail, that letter is for you with hopefully all the best intentions.    

Here’s my quick guide to selecting a worthwhile inmate to write to: 

-On most of the inmate websites they give options for leaving a description. These inmates speak of starting a romantic relationship then there is a slight possibility they are actually just looking for somebody to pay their way in prison. Not once has my inmate penpal asked for money   

-Check the privacy policies and website settings or whichever inmate website you choose to go with. Ensure that the prison actually exists. Make sure that you aren’t getting scammed! I will leave some legitimate inmate writing links at the bottom   

-Make sure that the content of the letter is healthy. If your inmate is speaking of requiring money very early on, this isn’t a good sign. Interests hobbies entertainment politics if you are brave and current daily happenings are better than gang related issues. Stay safe.   

Phil is doing amazing  

Let it be known that Phil is doing an absolutely amazing job she is a model inmate and has begun his firefighter training in the eastern states. He is taking full advantage of the opportunities presented to him in hopes it will land him a better job upon release. Phil was first serving in Afghanistan prior to 2013 and when he returned to the states after his serving time he begin to experience Post Traumatic symptoms due to what he saw over in Afghanistan. The military did not provide any support to him when he got back to the states so he began searching for alternatives. This, unfortunately, is what led to his prison sentence and it sadly happens every day in the united states. Despite his rough and rocky past, he was able to pull himself out of his own distractive path and turn it into something wonderful.   I know that writing to somebody behind bars present some questionable feelings and some outward controversy but I wanted to put this here so that readers would know that one inmate did save my life on multiple occasions solely on the account of being there through the darkest times. I’m pleased to say those times are long gone but Phil’s company still remains. He has two years left before release. Perhaps if somebody is feeling courageous enough they might write an inmate you because despite having approximately 7 billion people on this planet, we still get lonely I need someone to talk to at times.   

Write an inmate links

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Mashallah this is a wonderful thing!

Thank you so much :)

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