A Death Row Pen Pal


Ms. Malone
This was on the radio the other day, but because i was heading to town to sign on i didn't get to hear it all. What i do know is that there is an organisation in the UK which sets up a pen pal system with inmates on death row in the US; when you are assigned your pen pal you don't know what crime they have committed, but if you ask your pen pal they are allowed to tell you.

Could you have a death row pen pal?

Would be comfortable writing to a person who has killed another human being?

If you could have a death row pen pal, you got to know them and you asked what they have done; would you still be comfortable writing to them?

The woman on the radio said her pen pal was a charming person, that he'd been in trouble and in and out of prison all his life, and he claimed he was wrongly accused of a murder that had happened when he had once escaped from prison; which was why he was on death row. She still writes to him and would like others to take on a pen pal.

The presenter on the other hand admitted he wasn't so forgiving of people and couldn't write to a person on death row - and unfortunately i had to leave my car at this point so i couldn't hear callers responses.

While i think it'd be interesting to have a pen pal on death row, i think some of the reasons for them being there would put me off. I couldn't be a pen pal of someone who had raped several women or children before killing them; but i might be able to talk to someone who had shot someone else in a robbery gone wrong.

I suppose i'm 50-50 on it really :-/


Sally Twit
I'm fascinated by criminals to be honest. I have a lot of books where people talk openly about the awful crimes they have committed. Some of the people talk as though they're proud of what they've done, some people talk as though they can't help it, some people are deeply sorry for what they did etc... I think I would do it because of the fascination I have in criminals, more so murderers.
I hope I'm not coming across as though I am happy they're in prison and did something awful... I would just like to get inside their mind to find out what drove them to it. You know?


Ms. Malone
The criminal mind is really interesting; i watch Most Evil on Discovery when i can, and the psychology behind crimes is fascinating. It would be one reason why i'd like to have a pen pal; but then again some crimes are just off-putting :lol:


Registered Member
lol, we do the same, here...(watch crime TV programs).
...Initially I wanted to be a Criminal Psychologist but my step-father talked me out of it for the simple fact that he knew I'd have a difficult time separating my feelings from certain crimes, he said I was too sensitive. And looking back on it, he's right, I am very sensitive when it comes to particular things like children, animals and the mentally challenged. He used to be a Det. Lt. in the State Police and was in charge of narcotics and murder investigations. He was quite open (when he could be) about his cases; it was quite interesting to say the least.

Anyway, I really think that if I were to be a pen pal with someone behind bars I'd definitely have to choose who I'd write to; I mean there's no way I'd want to create a friendship with a paedo.
As long as I can duck out any time I like and end the communications, I would most probably do it, yeah. I'd find it really interesting even though I've never considered/never would consider studying criminal psychology further than the very basics. I would willingly write to and receive letters from anyone in a high stress circumstance who needed a release. That doesn't mean that I'd be in it to help out the criminal, just that I think it would be fascinating to be the 'target' for release.

On the other hand, it's not something I would just randomly sign up to do. I'm sure there's lots of downsides but I'm not all that sensitive when I can help it, so hopefully I could deal with knowing the crime they committed. My biggest problem would be just generally feeling creeped out about the whole thing. Kind of hard to explain, actually. Guess I'm 50/50 as well.


Registered Member
Hmmmmmmm, tough one. It would be fascinating to get an insight of not only a criminal, but someone who knows they're forcibly going to die soon. However, talking to a child molestor, a rapist, someone who beat their spouse to death... I don't know if I could do that. Particularly if they were friendly, it would be hard to reconcile the two images. Also, if they were proud of their crime, I don't think I could write back.


Son of Liberty
I agree that the criminal mind can be interesting and I do enjoy reading books that delve into their psyche, but I wouldn't be a pen pal with any of them.


Registered Member
i agree that the criminal mind is very interesting, I've always wondered whether they are just like normal people, that have had something triggered, or, whether they are born, slightly different, which makes them inclined to do it,

i don't think i'd be able to write to somebody, knowing that they are going to die, even if it is because of their own actions.


Registered Member
I've had a death row pen pal. We stopped writing each others, I don't know why.

I think than if one has a right sentence (and not a death sentence, since I don't think it's right), then he also have the right to be a new man once the imprisonment finishes, or if it's forever, during his life inside prison.

I think I'll study to become a prison psychoterapist (I'm studying psychology).
I'm going to work with people you would never want to meet... and I'm not proud of it but I think it's something that should be done by somebody.