Prisoner Express Online Volunteer Guide

We're so glad you're joining us here as a remote volunteer!

This article goes through each of the steps you need to volunteer remotely by sending prisoners letters.

📌It's important that you follow these instructions step by step to make sure that letters arrive properly. Questions? Please email us at prisonerexpress@gmail.com.

Step 1: Make sure you're a registered volunteer with Prisoner Express

You need a volunteer number. This was provided when you registered on our volunteer form. If you still need to register and get a volunteer ID number, you may do so here: http://bit.ly/pe-vol-signup

If you forget your number, find it here: bit.ly/pe-vol-num

Step 2: Write a response letter to a prisoner's work

Browse our online archive here to see prisoner's journals, poems, art, and essays and find something that speaks to you. Write a friendly letter back to its author.

Make sure to write your PE Volunteer Number in your correspondence and let the receiver know to include this number in any correspondence they send back to you.

📌 This is important because if someone responds to your letter and you used Prisoner Express as your return address, it will be arriving at our Prisoner Express PO Box (see below) and we will need this number to return a scan of their letter to you.

Step 3: Address your letter's envelope - Return Address

For the return address, you can use Prisoner Express' address or use your own return address to receive the letters directly. If you use Prisoner Express' address, we will receive any response letters and scan them to make them available for you to read online.

Use this address if you wish to use Prisoner Express:

DAL/Prisoner Express
Center for Transformative Action PO Box #6556 
Ithaca, NY 14851

Step 4: Address your letter's envelope - Destination Address

For the destination address, first use our Names and Address Table here to find the prisoner's full name, prisoner id, and address.

Tip: You can filter for the author using the filter feature to find them and their address in the table.

Use this format for the Destination Address:

John Smith, 1234567
(Pre-Address from the Table if available)
123 Street
City, State Zipcode

NOTE: If you see that the prisoner's address is a prison in WI, NC, PA, or FL, follow the special instructions below for their destination address.

How to use the table:

Instructions for addresses of prisoners in FL, PA, NC, or WI: 

  1. Determine if the prison is a state prison. The state prisons require special steps for the destination address, while federal prisons use the normal address found in the table. You will know it is a federal prison if the prisoner's id is 8 digits long (excluding dashes). If it is a federal prison, proceed as normal and use the address from the table.
  2. If it is a state prison, do not use the address from the table! Use the exact address from the list below that corresponds to their state:

FL:

(Last Name), (First Name), (ID Number)
PO Box 23608
Tampa, FL 33623

PA:

(First Name) (Last Name), (ID Number)
Smart Communications 
PO Box 33028
St Petersburg, FL 33733

NC:

(First Name) (Last Name), (ID Number)
(Pre-Address from Table above)
PO Box 189
Phoenix, MD 21131

WI:

(First Name) (Last Name), (ID Number)
(Pre-Address from Table above)
PO Box 189
Phoenix, MD 21131

Step 4: Post the letter

You're all set! Just put one stamp on your envelope and take it to your local post office to send it to the prisoner.

Step 5: Log Your Correspondence

📌 This is extremely important to the success of this volunteer program!

By keeping track of correspondence, we're able to track how effective we are in our programming and make sure that all of the people who have contributed to our programs receive a response.

>> Click here to log your response

The form will ask you to select the item from our digital archive you're responding to. It matches your volunteer record with the prisoner's writing and helps us tremendously.

Thank you!!!

Thanks for reading this guide, and thanks for being part of this program!

Please leave a comment below if you have any questions or suggestions to improve these instructions!

~ Gary