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Pen Pals

I have been thinking about getting a pen pal. Yes, in the old-fashioned way. When you used to sit at your desk and take a piece of paper and a pen and actually write to someone. Actively use your penmanship skills and put your thoughts on paper. No keyboard. Just plain wrist action.

And not any pen pal, mind you. I've thought about writing to someone in prison. The Prisoner Correspondence Project puts LGBTQ+ prisoners in touch with their communities outside of prison. And I think that's something that should be supported. Not only from an humanitarian point of view, but also because we all know that the prison pipeline skews heavily towards minorities. Many of those people who are devoid of freedom today are in that situation partially due to the cards society has dealt them.

I would like to contribute (even at a minimal level, like writing a letter) to the idea that one person is going to feel less lonely, less abandoned, less despondent. I cannot imagine the despair that being in prison (yes, I know, supposedly, they are criminals being rehabilitated or punished) would bring to a person. Add to that the fact that this person is LGBTQ+ and they are confined to a very hierarchical and rigid situation where power plays a very important role and agency does not exist and you have the perfect cocktail for abject misery. They are at the bottom of the pecking order in prison. So writing to one of these people would feel not only as an exercise on humanity but also as an application of class solidarity.

The only thing that is stopping me is that I realize I have some scruples. Yes, I admit I have biases. I am a somehow private person and giving away information about me (in this case my address) to someone who is in prison does not sound like a very easy decision. I know, maybe binge watching Law and Order SVU does not help to my sense of safety concerning prisoners, and I still demure.

I think I am going to explore more the possibility of writing to someone using the PCP, though. In the same way that I stand on my little virtual soapbox here and write these entries, I could dedicate half an hour once or twice a month to bring a little bit of my world to someone who can measure their in ten steps. It's the least I could do.





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