Have you ever written letters of encouragement to prisoners? It is such a rewarding experience!
In fact, I think it’s so rewarding that I’m going to share with you exactly how to do this! I’m even going to share with you examples of the encouraging letters I have written to inmates, so you will know precisely what kind of things to say to someone in jail!
I’d encourage you to write your own letters of encouragement to prisoners, especially if you want to have a long-term relationship with them. That way, they can be about your experiences and your life. Writing a letter to an inmate is not quite as hard as it may sound. You can talk to them as you would a friend.
In this article, I’ll spell out for you why you should take the time to be a part of this worthy cause, what to include in your letters, inspirational quotes for prisoners, Bible verses to use, letter writing tips for inmate letters, how to address envelopes when sending to a detention facility, and where to write to prisoners.
Plus, you’ll get to read my original letters and follow-up letters!
Why You Should Write Encouraging Words for Someone in Jail
Giving back is a very rewarding experience; you can make a positive change in the life of your pen pal inmate. Plus, this isn’t an opportunity you can only take part in during the holiday season. If you decide that writing letters of encouragement to prisons is for you, you can volunteer all year round.
Also, you never know how much your inmate might be needing the words you have to say. Many inmates are depressed and lonely and long for friendships outside of their prison walls. They need that encouragement that only your words can bring.
You are a person who is in a position to offer hope to these prisoners. Think about what it would be like if you were in that situation. If you are a Christian, you should share your faith with the inmate.
You could really turn someone’s life around! This is a simple, easy volunteer opportunity that you can take part in!
What to Include in Letters of Encouragement to Prisoners
In your letters to prisoners, you can include whatever you wish. I would recommend having a hopeful and positive tone. You just never know what the person you are writing to is going through! They may need some serious encouragement!
It’s not super simple to learn how to write a letter to someone in jail, but you can learn how to write someone in jail with practice. That means that you should write plenty of letters to your prison pen pals to master the art of writing and to develop your writing skills.
One idea is to mention funny stories or jokes when staying in touch with your inmate. Think of something that puts a smile on your face, and share it with your inmate pen pal.
This will help the conversation stay interesting when you converse back and forth, too. Just send a quick note here and there with a cute joke written on it. Not every letter has to be lengthy.
Whatever you do, make sure you don’t judge your inmate for the crimes he or she has committed. We all make mistakes.
They just need to stay motivated and focused, and you can help them with that by offering compassion in your letter to an inmate.
Some ideas of things to include are inspirational quotes for someone in jail, Bible verses, games you can play on paper, and anything else you can think of! Get creative and share something with them that might make their day!
Positive, Inspirational Quotes for Inmates
Here are some inspirational quotes to include in your letters of encouragement to inmates. You never know. Your positive attitude when you send inspirational quotes to the inmate may be exactly what he or she needed to hear.
When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the ones which open for us.
– Alexander Graham Bell
The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
If you have made mistakes, there is always another chance for you. You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.
– Mary Pickford
Life doesn’t let you go back and change things. All you can do is learn from the past and prepare for what the future may bring.
Fall seven times, stand up eight.
– Japanese Proverb
She didn’t know the path.
She didn’t see the way.
It didn’t matter.
She kept going.
She put one foot in front of the other.
She kept showing up.
She kept giving.
She kept trying.
And eventually, the path became clearer, and she found that she was indeed brave.
– Rachel Marie Martin
Find even more positive, motivational quotes for inmates with my free download, Motivational Life Quotes.
My Spiritual Letters of Encouragement for Prisoners
I send the following letters to prisoners who have recently been saved, or I send some version of this letter. Keep in mind that I wrote to women inmates, so you may have to adjust this message for men.
My Example of a Letter of Encouragement:
Dear [Inmate’s Name],
Congratulations on your decision to be part of God’s Kingdom! Keep your relationship with Him strong through prayer (talking to God), Bible reading (listening to God), having Christian friends or friends with the same morals (if you are able to), going to church (if you can), and memorizing scripture. I’d also encourage you to do Bible studies with other Christians if you can.
You will be in my prayers as you embark on the journey of life to our home in heaven!
I will add some quotes and scriptures that have helped my walk with God – from the Bible and the book, Who Has Your Heart? (That book was written by Emily E. Ryan. Be sure to check out her book for more valuable information for single women).
He simply wrapped His arms around me so tightly that I finally stopped fighting on my own.
Check out the chick in Proverbs 31. She is what every Christian woman longs to be and what every Christian man longs to find.
Ruth is a wonderful example of a Christian with commitment and dedication.
Hebrews 11 is a chapter on faith and is full of information on great believers who did amazing things!
Seek God because only He knows exactly who we are!
Knowing who your Father is means knowing the Fruit of the Spirit – the Promises He offers His children (us):
- Comfort – Matthew 5:4
- Companionship – James 4:8
- Direction – Psalms 32:8
- Forgiveness – 1 John 1:9
- Joy – John 15:11
- Rest – Matthew 11:28
- Security – Romans 8:31
- Wisdom – James 1:5
God’s garden has everything we need to be sustained in this life!
Because of God’s grace, your sins are forgiven; He supersizes grace and gives us the righteousness of Christ; God’s grace not only erases the whole chalkboard, it also writes down all of the righteous thoughts, intentions, and actions of Christ on your chalkboard. It’s a FULL exchange! Our sins are exchanged for Christ’s righteousness!!
Just start reading the Bible! The WORST thing you can is not read the wrong thing but rather not read at all… The Bible is ALL inspired by God. Sometimes, the words that touch our hearts the most are the ones we find tucked away in the chapters that are seldom highlighted from the pulpit at church.
Enjoy prosperity while you can, but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God. Remember that nothing is certain in this life. – Ecclesiastes 7:14
God comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. – 2 Corinthians 1:4
If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall. The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful.
He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. – 1 Corinthians 10:12-13
I have hidden Your word in my heart that I might not sin against you. – Psalms 119:11
Here are some ideas for Bible reading to get you started:
- Read a chapter of Proverbs a day – they are little nuggets of truth you can apply to everyday life!
- John is a great book for the foundation of your new faith!
- Hit Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians for quick energy in your daily life!
- The book of Psalms is perfect for troubling times and to find a great deal of comfort!
One big suggestion I have is for you to journal your thoughts and reactions to your Bible reading. It’s like writing a letter back to God, thanking Him for the ways in which He spoke to you, and for explaining how a verse helped you understand a situation you are going through right now.
Memorizing scripture gives you ownership of the Bible. It transforms your thinking into His thinking when it’s His words that are echoing in your mind and not your own…
God can speak directly to you even in those times when you cannot have your Bible by your side…
If you do your part in memorizing scripture, He will do His by bringing to mind those valuable verses at the precise time you need them! How awesome is that?
Don’t forget to pray!
Communication is essential. Imagine how much the Lord wants to hear our thoughts – the thoughts of His creations! To keep from getting distracted during prayer, write it out in a journal.
Pour out your heart as openly and honestly as you can. Tell Him where and why you hurt. Just wring your heart out like a sponge until there is nothing left.
Thank Him for blessings, and tell Him what He means to you. Praise Him—Marvel, at His holiness. Your grief will turn into joy!
You could close your letter with something like this:
Please write to me if you wish to stay penpals. I’d love to hear from you, and you will be in my prayers! In Him, [Your Name].
Follow-Up Letters of Encouragement for Prisoners
If your inmate writes you back, be sure to answer any questions they may have and help them if you can. Provide concrete advice if they are having problems with the help of the Bible or a qualified counselor. Remember that they may not have access to those things.
Now, you can ask follow-up questions if they answered your original questions, so fire away!
This is the structure of my follow-up letters of encouragement for inmates:
Dear [Inmate’s Name],
I just wanted to say hello again! Also, I was so happy to hear back from you.
[Address any questions or problems they may be having here.]
[Include a little about what is going on with your life now.]
I hope you are doing well and staying strong in your faith! Don’t forget to read your Bible. Listen to the Lord and pray or journal to Him – talk to God! He is your friend.
Let Him know how you feel. This way, you can create a bond, a relationship, a friendship with Him. He loves you and longs to hear you talk to Him.
I know you are living in a difficult place right now, and I am truly sorry. I don’t know what it’s like, but I do feel for you.
Remember that whatever doesn’t kill us can only make us stronger. That quote has helped me through some difficult times.
Here are a few Bible verses that may help you stay strong in your faith.
Whenever you go through deep waters and great troubles, I will be with you. When you go through the rivers of difficulty, you will not drown!
When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up! The flames will not consume you. For I am the Lord, your God. – Isaiah 43:2-3
Teach me your ways, O Lord; I will walk in Your truth! – Psalms 86:11
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. – Ephesians 4:29
For we walk by faith, not by sight. – 2 Corinthians 5:7
Do not worry about anything, but pray and ask God for everything you need, always giving thanks. – Philippians 4:6
Let us come near to God with a sincere heart and a sure faith because we have been made free from a guilty conscience and our bodies have been washed with pure water. – Hebrews 10:22
Worry is a heavy load. – Proverbs 12:25
If you would like to write back, I am open to becoming pen pals!
God Bless You!
Letters of Encouragement for Prisoners – Bible Verses
Here are some Bible verses that I would handwrite for inmates. I wanted them to have instant access to the Bible in case they did not have one near them.
God who comforts the downcast, comforted us. – 2 Corinthians 7:6
Trust the Lord with all your heart, and don’t depend on your own understanding. Remember the Lord in all you do, and He will give you success. – Proverbs 3:5-6
Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. – Isaiah 40:31
How happy is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in His ways! – Psalms 128:1
If you do not stand firm in your faith, then you will not stand at all. – Isaiah 7:9
You cannot serve both God and worldly riches. – Matthew 6:24
Wait for the Lord; be courageous and let your heart be strong; wait for the Lord. – Psalms 27:14
In all the work you’re doing, do the best you can. Work as if you were doing it for the Lord, not the people. – Colossians 3:23
If you do nothing in a difficult time, your strength is limited. – Proverbs 24:10
By sharing these Bible verses for prisoners, you can show support and confidence in their ability to get through this difficult time. Show them that just because they are incarcerated doesn’t mean they have to give up! There is hope, even during times of confinement.
Tips for Writing Your Letters of Encouragement for Prisoners
Don’t add anything extra to your letter (don’t include anything in the envelope). The letters you send to the inmates will be inspected and read by the staff, so be sure to not include anything you don’t want read by someone else or anything incriminating for you or the prisoner.
Just use plain white paper and envelopes. This way, you can be sure your mail correspondence will be received by the intended recipient. Otherwise, they may think you are trying to smuggle something into the prison via the postal system.
If you want it to get to your prison pen pal, just still with the plain stuff. I would recommend you use blue or black ink only, as well.
It is much more meaningful if you handwrite your letters. This way, you can show the prisoner you took the time to write out the words you want to say to them.
I read that if you want to purchase a book or Bible to send to the inmates, you should donate money to a bookstore and have them ship the book directly from their store.
It’s always best to check with the pen pal program or detention facility prior to sending any mail to make sure you are following all mail rules and regulations the way you need to.
Where to Send Letters of Encouragement for Prisoners
There are many online programs you can use to send your letters of encouragement to inmates.
I would suggest that you first check with the local churches in your area to see if they have prison ministry programs available. You can then go through the church to send your letters of encouragement to prisoners.
That is how I got started. If you want to learn more about some prison ministries in the Oklahoma area, here are a few churches that have this ministry available.
As far as I could tell, you can join these programs even if you are not a member of the church or don’t live in this area. Check each one out for more information on how you can get involved.
There is a Free Inmate Locator Tool on the Federal Bureau of Prisons website.
How to Address Your Letters of Encouragement for Prisoners
According to Pigeonly, you should add your address in the upper left corner of the envelope, like you would a normal envelope.
You can address the middle of the envelope like this:
Inmate’s First and Last Name, #Booking Number
Name of Detention Facility
City, State ZIP CODE
John Parker, #55555555
Ford County Jail
123 Ford Avenue
Tyler, TX 12345
Have you written letters of encouragement for prisoners in the past? Are you looking to get involved in this ministry? What is your take on this subject? I’d love to hear from you!