I would like to send a letter to a childhood friend who has ended up in prison. He is turning 30 in a few days. His sentence is 18 years and he's served about 3, I think.

I have discussed this with others and have been warned about being put on government lists of "known associates." I don't know any specifics but I'm pretty sure he was in some sort of gang or at least was associated with felons.

In any case, is there a way, legally, that I can go about this to keep my name/address safe from gangs/big brother? I was thinking perhaps going through a lawyer but I know they read the mail so I doubt they would give him mail from someone who hasn't stated their name. My other thought was perhaps seeing if there is some sort of sponsor program or something where my intentions are stated before hand (to be a positive influence) so I don't get on watch lists.

Any advice is appreciated.

  • Depends on jurisdiction and prison he's in
    – Trish
    Mar 30 at 21:43

Some prisons will reject anonymous mail. For example, https://www.co.washington.or.us/sheriff/jail/contactinmate/upload/inmate-mail-guide-wcj-128-v-12-14.pdf :

Postcards and letters must include first and last name and return address.

I would recommend investigating the policies of the jail your childhood friend is imprisoned in; the precise policies probably vary by jail.


I am not familiar with any prison/jail mailing system that requires the sender of inbound mail to an inmate to verify their identity with documentation or ID of any kind. If you're communicating via email, create a sudo email account and message him from there. If it is going through the postal mail, the only issue with not putting your actual birth name and address is that it would be lost if for some reason it was not accepted by the jail.

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