May 18, 2018 |
Prison is a profoundly isolating experience for most. But for LGBTIQ people, it can be particularly tough.
The evidence shows that contact with others who identify as LGBTIQ can play a crucial role helping people overcome feelings of loneliness and despair.
Inside Out--a group that works with LGBTIQ people in prison--told us that the access to pen pal programs is the number one request they get from their members.
According to a reader and contributor to Inside Out’s newsletter who is now out of prison:
“The emotional support of having pen-pals to write to was one of the few things I had to look forward to while I was in custody. If this right had been taken away from me, I believe my depression would have been much worse, and it would have taken me considerably longer to reintegrate into society after I was released.”
But in Victorian prisons, the Deputy Commissioner is denying people their right to send and receive letters from pen pals.
This decision is cruel and unnecessary.
For most of us, smartphones and the Internet mean that human connection is at our fingertips 24/7. When we’re feeling lonely, bored or sad, a quick text to a friend can be all it takes to lift our spirits.
Without access to this technology, people in prison rely on things like pen pal programs to find that same healing connection.
We know that pen pal programs provide overwhelming benefits for LGBTIQ people and other minority groups in prison; reducing feelings of stigma, assisting rehabilitation, and giving people hope for fulfilling lives beyond prison walls.
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