Chris, (In case you're still following this discussion) what are the 'unsexy' jobs that you're talking about? I take it you don't mean prison administration ...
Dharma Companions, part of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship, has a backlog of prisoners who want a penpal.
Just google dhama companions and you'll get the email address as well as physical address.
Don't give up. Often an inmate can't reply because of lack of stamps or writing paper. It may be weeks or months before you get a return letter.
It would depend on the prison, and I'd be surprised to find one that allows that. Even jails are very iffy about that. It's often considered contraband, but often you can check out what various prisons allow through state DOC websites. I recently got a dear friend to begin writing another dear friend in Federal prison. The first friend managed to send me some stamps in the mail when I was in jail, and often I was allowed them. She just tried to do the same for my friend in Federal prison, and they sent the whole letter back to her. At least the jail would just confiscate the stamps and allow the letter. This prison reject all contents based solely on that.
Thanks Aaron. Does anyone know if organizations like Prison Dharma Network would be exempt so they could send an introductory letter with a return envelope? Maybe that is not as big a problem as some make it out to be when they said prisoners did not reply to their letters and they thought they did not have the postage.
For anyone who knows someone or has experienced prison, how much money does an inmate make per week at prison jobs and how much is needed to spend for necessities ?
I'm clueless about anything exempt. Maybe someone here will know that answer.
Regarding prison wages, they are typically very modest. Here in Va, inmates usually make around .25/hr, or less. I talked to one guy who had a "good job" making .50 or .60 cents an hour. I've heard of some Feds making under .20/hr, but the Feds also have some work programs that pay a few dollars an hour. I have another friend making more than $4/hr in a call center, in prison. So it really all depends, but most people I've talked to make under .50/hr.
Necessities? To each their own. Many prisons/jails have indigent statuses for those with no extra income, and I believe through that they are often provided some basic necessities, and stamps (or "free mail") may be included. It really all depends on what the prisons issue, and what the inmate feels is necessary. I can say this much, every little bit helps. Five bucks to me when I was in jail had more value than $100 does now, because I got it so rarely. $5 bought me a couple pads of paper and ink that could last me a month or two, and since writing kept me grounded, it was more important than extra food. I've sent some money to a few friends in prison--just $25 to a few guys, and $20 on a girl friend's j-pay. They were all very grateful. I should add they did not ask for this, nor hint at wanting or needing it. I also know them personally though.
John, I think my little ramble here has done everything but answer your questions! :-0