MUST BE 18 OR OLDER - MUST READ TERMS OF SERVICE You Are On: Precautionary Measures
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Precautionary Measures Taken by WriteAPrisoner.com

WriteAPrisoner.com takes a number of measures to inform our viewers, safeguard the public, and redirect traffic to appropriate agencies whenever necessary. In addition, WriteAPrisoner.com has a zero tolerance policy for anyone found misusing our service. We encourage you to take a moment to browse through the precautionary measures we take and the resources available to you on our site:

  1. A link is provided on our homepage titled “Inmate Locator”. It provides a complete list of each state’s official Department of Corrections website as well as a direct link to the state's online inmate locator, if applicable.  We also provide a link to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website with a direct link to the Federal Online Inmate locator.  In addition, we provide a list of tips to help viewers locate inmates through these sites.  
    Reference:  Inmate Locator

  2. We provide the following link on our homepage titled “Detecting & Reporting Fraud.” It lists the most commonly known postal scams, and it provides a link directly to the United States Report Postal Fraud form.
    Reference:  Detecting & Reporting Fraud

  3. Inmates are expressly forbidden from mentioning anyone by name in their profiles, referencing victims, conducting business, or placing profiles with adult content. All profiles are regulated and edited if necessary before being placed online.

  4. We provide a "Fraud Affidavit" to report fraudulent content, and we take immediate steps to enforce our policy of banning any inmate who attempts to defraud the public from participating in our services.
    Reference:  Fraud Affidavit

  5. Any inmate found misusing our service or violating our Terms of Service is blacklisted from our site and entered into a database that prevents him/her from ever placing another profile on our site. 

  6. Our Frequently Asked Questions page contains the following questions and answers listed below. The FAQ page is accessible from every page on WriteAPrisoner.com.
    Reference: FAQs

    General Questions about WriteAPrisoner.com:
     5) How can I find out more about the prisoner I am corresponding with?
    Visit our Inmate Locator section where we have compiled all data on locating inmates, as well as a complete list of contact information for all available State, Federal, and County facilities. You can also contact prison officials by writing to the same address as the prisoner's. Just put "Prison Administration" in place of the prisoner's name. Include a letter that explains what you are inquiring about.

    9) Why do you post the inmates' crimes on their profile, and is this information verified?
    We post the crimes so that pen-pals have full disclosure about the person they are writing. This information is supplied directly by the inmate and verified by WriteAPrisoner.com when that option of verification is available to us. Complete information can always be obtained by contacting the prison directly. The crime we place is generic and rarely includes all offenses. Its purpose is to give the viewer an idea of the crime. However, for full disclosure, viewers are encouraged to visit the DOC, Federal, or County website using the link provided on each inmate's profile.

    17) I believe that an inmate on your site is attempting to defraud the public by placing false information on his/her profile, or I know an inmate who has been taken advantage of by someone out here. What should I do?
    WriteAPrisoner.com has put together the following category to help report and understand scams: Detecting & Reporting Mail Fraud

    20) An inmate has placed a false photo on WriteAPrisoner.com. What can I do?
    If the option to verify the photo was available by the government at the time the photo was posted, then we verified and approved it. We do not consider old photos fake photos; some inmates only have access to old photos. Although we try, we can never determine the authenticity of every photo. However, if it is blatantly false, and we can verify this through a government entity, the photo will be removed, and we may remove the inmate's profile as a result of it. If the photo being used is of you, take a picture of yourself with your name clearly visible written on a sheet of paper, and contact us.

    Listed under Placing Inmate Profiles on WriteAPrisoner.com:
    2) Does WriteAPrisoner.com work with minors?
    No. Under no circumstances will we work with anyone under the age of 18 years old. While we strongly support family and friends maintaining contact with underage persons incarcerated, we will never facilitate mail for minors. If you would like information on helping incarcerated minors, please visit a website that we have designed just for this purpose, CrimeFreeKids.com.

    8) Why do you have so much information up about mail fraud? Is this common amongst inmates?
    No. In fact, fraud amongst our members has been almost non-existent. We provide this as a precaution.

    Listed under Writing Inmates on WriteAPrisoner.com:
    2) What if I'm not 18, can I still write a prisoner?
    No. You must be at least 18 years of age to even be viewing this website. If you are under 18, please EXIT now. Minors attempting to contact inmates via our service will be reported to their Internet Service Provider. If you are under 18 years of age, you can jeopardize our service and the inmates who use it by visiting this site or making contact with inmates.

    5) Do you have any suggestions for writing my first letter to a prisoner?
    Yes, we do have a few suggestions for establishing a lasting friendship. Please read our Point of Contact page for some tips for writing prison pen-pals.

    8) An inmate I am writing to has asked for money. Do you have any suggestions?
    There is some confusion as to why we allow inmates the option to seek donations on WriteAPrisoner.com. We do not encourage you to send money to an inmate at any time. Many inmates are indigent, and we fully understand that they may ask people on the outside for money once correspondence is established. When an inmate posts a profile on WriteAPrisoner.com, it is a condition of listing the profile that they disclose if they are seeking donations. You, as a potential pen-pal, are provided full disclosure of this before you write. Institutions provide all basic necessities to inmates (e.g., food, clothing). In many cases, even educational programs and materials are free to inmates. Donating money is a decision that can only be made by you. Remember that you chose to write to an inmate, not sponsor one. You are not obligated to send money, nor do most inmates ask for money. If this makes you feel at all uncomfortable, don't do it. If the inmate is requesting a donation for something that seems unusual, please contact us before sending money, and we will address any concerns you have. A few dollars can go far in prison, but you should never send large sums of money under any circumstances, nor should you ever send cash. Many pen-pals will send $10.00 or so on birthdays or holidays to the inmate they are writing. Inmates can use money in prison to purchase a variety of items including better quality hygiene products, art supplies, postage, phone cards, and food in some cases. They can also use money from their account to purchase magazine subscriptions and books. You can also ask questions about this on our forum. There you will find many seasoned pen-pals who are willing to share their experiences and make suggestions. The bottom line is, don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, and report anything that you suspect as unethical or illegal. For more information on reporting and researching postal fraud, please visit: Detecting & Reporting Fraud.

    13) What do the "Verified Crime" and "Verified Photo" images mean on inmate profiles?
    The Verified Photo and Verified Crime images appear when WriteAPrisoner.com was able to verify that information through a government website. When an inmate does not have these verification images displayed, it simply means that we are unable to verify them. It does not mean that we believe the inmate is being deceptive, only that WriteAPrisoner.com was unable to confirm the information through a government website. While we do take these precautionary measures when available, we always encourage you to verify the information as well by using the links provided. 

  7. Every single inmate placing a profile on our website is required to list his or her crime with the profile. In addition to this, we provide a link to the Department of Corrections housing that particular inmate on the inmate’s personal webpage. Pen-pals can then observe any precautionary measures that the state recommends prior to establishing correspondence with inmates. In fact, we encourage this, and that is why we have gone to such great lengths to provide so much information to the public.

  8. We provide a form on every inmate’s personal webpage to report misconduct as well as technical problems. Our staff thoroughly researches all concerns and appropriate actions are taken when necessary.

  9. We include the following message in our Welcome Packet, which is mailed to all inmates when they first begin to use our service:

    Mail Fraud/Postal Scams -
    Any member found deliberately misleading pen-pals in order to extort money may face legal repercussions. Although problems have been all but non-existent with our members, there have been a few reports of inmates who have sought to deceive the public by providing false photos, lying about their sexual preferences, or by requesting donations under false pretenses, such as claiming to need money before being released, claiming to need money for non-existent educational services, etc. Anyone caught perpetrating fraud will have his or her profile removed, be blacklisted from WriteAPrisoner.com, be reported to the administration at his or her institution, and be subject to prosecution by federal authorities under Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341 for mail fraud. We work hard to safeguard our reputation and yours. We provide detailed information regarding the possibility of fraud for our viewers at: http://writeaprisoner.com/fraud. Postal crimes/scams have also been perpetrated against some of our inmate members. If you are the victim of mail fraud, please contact us immediately and we will send you information about reporting the crime. Or, ask prison staff to visit the link above. You are also now in receipt of your profile printout. If you feel that there is any content which is incorrect or misleading, please contact us immediately so we can correct it.

  10. We provide Public Forum Information for every state that allows users to ask questions and share region specific resources and/or information.
    Reference:  Regional Public Forum

  11. We provide a screen tip next to the "Seeking Donations" option on every inmate's profile that outlines how money can be used in prison and warns viewers never to send large sums of money to an inmate.  We also instruct viewers to contact us prior to sending an inmate funds if the request seems unusual, unethical, or illegal.

  12. Before corresponding with an inmate, visitors must visit our Point of Contact section, which provides all information and precautions to take when writing an inmate. We provide a link to our Point of Contact section at the only actual contact point for inmates on WriteAPrisoner.com.
    Reference: Point of Contact

  13. We provide a "Photo Verified" image on an inmate's profile when we are able to verify the picture using a government website (e.g., DOC). A message is also posted stating that we have verified the photo to the best of our ability.

  14. When a pen-pal establishes contact with an inmate via our email forwarding service, we send a query email to the pen-pal 50 days after initial contact to follow-up on their correspondence. While we collect information to better our service, we also include several precautionary follow-up questions regarding the potential desire for the pen-pal to end correspondence and whether or not the inmate has solicited donations. If the pen-pal alerts us to the fact that they wish to end correspondence or that they have been asked for money, we deliver the following messages:

    Ceasing Correspondence with an Inmate:
    If you are hearing from an inmate/inmates that you do not wish to have contact with, write and tell them so. If that doesn't immediately end the problem, contact the prison and tell them that you do not want to receive mail from the specific inmate/inmates writing. Also, you can take all letters from the inmate/inmates that you receive, black out your address, write "RTS" (return to sender) on the envelope, and put them back in your mailbox. The mail will then be returned as "undeliverable."

    Donations to Inmates:
    There is some confusion as to why we allow inmates the option to seek donations on WriteAPrisoner.com. We do not encourage you to send money to an inmate at any time. Many inmates are indigent, and we fully understand that they may ask people on the outside for money once correspondence is established. When an inmate posts a profile on WriteAPrisoner.com, it is a condition of listing the profile that they disclose if they are seeking donations. You, as a potential pen-pal, are provided full disclosure of this before you write. Institutions provide all basic necessities to inmates (e.g., food, clothing). In many cases, even educational programs and materials are free to inmates. Donating money is a decision that can only be made by you. Remember that you chose to write to an inmate, not sponsor one. You are not obligated to send money, nor do most inmates ask for money. If this makes you feel at all uncomfortable, don't do it. If the inmate is requesting a donation for something that seems unusual, please contact us before sending money, and we will address any concerns you have. A few dollars can go far in prison, but you should never send large sums of money under any circumstances, nor should you ever send cash. Many pen-pals will send $10.00 or so on birthdays or holidays to the inmate they are writing. Inmates can use money in prison to purchase a variety of items including better quality hygiene products, art supplies, postage, phone cards, and food in some cases. They can also use money from their account to purchase magazine subscriptions and books. You can also ask questions about this on our forum. There you will find many seasoned pen-pals who are willing to share their experiences and make suggestions. The bottom line is, don't do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, and report anything that you suspect as unethical or illegal. For more information on reporting and researching postal fraud, please visit: Detecting & Reporting Fraud.

  15. When someone attempts to email an inmate on our website, they are forced to enter their Date of Birth to confirm their age. If they indicate that they are under the age of 18, they are redirected to our children's site, CrimeFreeKids.com. Once sent to CrimeFreeKids.com, we programmatically remove their ability to click the "Back" button.

Additional Precautions Regarding Minors

When a pen-pal emails an inmate on our website, certain information is recorded, such as the Internet Provider Address and Internet Server. This information can be used to contact and pinpoint a user’s Internet provider, such as AOL or Yahoo. If a minor contacts an inmate, the minor is reported to their hosting company, and we send a letter to the resident of the house notifying the adult on record of what happened. We also send the inmate a letter acknowledging that we are aware of what has transpired and to cease contact with the minor. In addition, the email address from which the message originated is permanently blocked from sending any further messages to our site. This is almost a non-existent occurrence. The inmates are not seeking correspondence with minors. They realize this will only bring more problems. An inmate’s mail is already much more regulated than a normal citizen’s mail.

To learn more about the steps we take to keep kids safe online, as well as ways you can help, please visit:  Keep Kids Safe

 


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