FAQ For Outside Participants
Q: Can I send money to my pen pal?
A: Yes! But sending money can be complicated logistically. People can only receive money from a handful of people on their “financial list.” If your pen pal asks you for money and you are able and willing to meet the need, you should speak with your pen pal about the best way to send money (the GDC has a form you can fill out here, but you should communicate with your pen pal first as only a limited number of people can be on someone’s financial list).
If you are unable to send money or you feel uncomfortable, it is helpful to be clear in setting a boundary. One way of doing this would be to say: “I’m unfortunately not able to send any money.” Or, even if you’re able to send money, it can be important to outline any relevant boundaries such as “I’m able to send this much money per month,” “I’m only able to send $_ at this time,” or “I won’t be able to regularly send money, but I can send $_ right now.”
Q: Can I buy my pen pal a tablet?
A: Yes! You can put money on your penpal’s books (see previous Q), and they can purchase a tablet.
Q: Can I send a book to my pen pal?
A: Yes! People who are incarcerated in Georgia Department of Corrections facilities are able to request approval for and receive up to four books each month. The important thing to know is that your pen pal will NOT be able to receive books that you send unless they request approval and receive that approval before the book arrives.
The best plan is to discuss the book you’d like to send with your pen pal, and then ask your pen pal to request approval for the book at the beginning of the month. This will give you time to hear from your pen pal about whether they have been approved to receive the book, and you will be able to send the book early enough that it still arrives before the end of the month.
IMPORTANT: You cannot personally send a book to someone in prison. The book must be sent directly by a third-party bookstore. If you are corresponding with someone in a jail, there will likely be different rules around what that person can receive depending on the facility – ask your pen pal!
More information about ordering books or sending other materials to your pen pal can be found on page five of the Georgia Department of Corrections Standard Operating Procedures regarding personal property.
Q: Can I purchase a magazine subscription for my pen pal?
A: Yes! Make sure you include their full address including GDC number. In addition to asking your pen pal for any specific magazines they’d like to receive, some suggestions include:
- National Geographic
- Bon Appetit
- The Week
- Prison Legal News
You can also directly send printed pages, newspaper clippings, postcards, etc to your pen pal!
Q: I want to do more! What else can I do?
A: Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get set up with any of the following ways to do more:
- Become a “super participant” – help with tasks like logging letters and other logistics involved with making GFL run!
- Join the slack! Email us for a link.
- Look out for action alerts in our monthly emails
- Follow us on social media and boost our posts and asks
- If you’re interested in joining the core organizing team and have been involved as a super participant, reach out to us via email or slack to set up a one on one!