I don't think I would respond to someone that I didn't choose to write to directly. It took me awhile to choose the ones I did and I choose them for specific reasons. I also do not plan on looking up things or getting information for my penpal either. I wouldn't want to do anything to jepardize my freedom! As for sending stamps and money, I will make that decision if and when the time comes. I don't really make a lot over what it takes to pay my bills so if someone is looking for a piggy bank they are pretty much out of luck.
We all have to remember that these people are in prison. Some are desparate and some just plain bored. If I was in prison and needed stamps, I may very well do the same thing. The only way to know if these people are not lying or scamming you is by time. This also goes the other way around as I'm sure there are people out there that target inmates as well. All 3 of my responses were very nice but I also know that one letter could change all of that.
After I read some of the comments on this article I did get a bit spooked. I then looked at it rationally and decided that I have the power to allow or stop this from happening. I firmly believe that some people should not be writing to prisoners and it may be more harmful to them then rewarding.