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About Pen Pal Ads

What makes your service different from that of other Pen Pal companies?

Friends Beyond The Wall, Inc., was established in 1999 by family members and friends of incarcerated individuals, with the sole purpose of promoting positive rehabilitation through the interaction of correspondence, giving prisoners a bridge to the outside world. Because we have family members and friends who are prisoners, we understand what prisoners go through on a daily basis and know how valuable contact with the outside world can be. We also keep our prices affordable and give all the features of a Deluxe ad with basic pricing. In addition, we offer two and three-year ads for those individuals who will be incarcerated for some time and would like to save money.

How does the Friends Beyond The Wall Pen Pal web site work?

Prisoners (or their family or friends) pay a small annual cost to place the prisoner's personal web page ad on the Internet, with a photo and text profile outlining their likes, dislikes, hobbies... whatever they would like to share to introduce themselves to the visitors of their ad. Visitors to our web site never pay for addresses, and can write to as many people listed on our web site as they choose.

We offer the most technically advanced web site for prisoner pen pals, with unparalled features. (Note: New York 'State' prisoners are not allowed to receive emails). All ads are placed in the following locations:

How many customers on your pen pal site actually receive responses?

As of June 2010, our current response rate is 87%, and we have forwarded more than 10,000 email responses to our customers in the last 12 months (this does not include mail sent directly to the address listed in their ads!). Following our free Ad Tips & Suggestions is key to receiving responses!

What features are included with your Deluxe ad?

See Ad Features and Pricing

How can you afford to give the features you offer in your ads for such a low price, when most other Pen Pal companies charge so much more for the same features?

Staff members at Friends Beyond The Wall, Inc., all have one thing in common....we ALL have family members or friends who are incarcerated). We all know what our family members and friends have gone through (the lonliness and isolation). With this in mind, our primary goal from the beginning was to offer a quality product, at an affordable price for those working with limited funds.

Our personal web page ads have been professionally designed. Many of the options that other companies charge a great deal for, do not cost that much to produce (they'll hate us for telling you that, but it's true). We want to provide the best service with the most available options, at the most reasonable pricing for our "friends." The quality of our ads speak for themselves. We invite you to compare our ads (color, design, layout, etc.) to those provided by other services (see ad example).

How do I suggest to my friend or family member what is best to include with his or her ad to obtain the maximum number of responses?

See Ad Suggestions and Tips for Responses

If I know of a prisoner who wants to be made aware of your products and services, would you be willing to forward them a brochure and order form?

Yes, please email us with their name, DIN #, and full mailing address, and we will be happy to forward the information to them (if you know of more than one prisoner, please send us as many names as you would like us to take care of). This request may also be sent to us in writing at:

Friends Beyond The Wall, Inc.
Poughkeepsie Plaza • 2600 South Road • Suite 44-244
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601-7004

Materials are forwarded within 24 hours of receipt!

What is a DIN # (I see this as part of the prisoner's address).

A DIN # is a Department Identification Number (also referred to as DOC #--Department of Corrections Number). This number is given to represent the prisoner within the prison system, similar to a Social Security Number for someone on the outside. This number MUST be included on any mail you send to a prisoner. Mail not containing this number will most likely be returned to you.

Should I be nervous when writing to a prisoner?

Most prisoners are honest in their search for someone that can brighten up their days. We are happy to report that we have only received several complaints from web site visitors since our site first started in 1999. Prison days are very long and life there is very lonely for many who do not have family or friends that visit them or whom they can call. Most simply want a friend, someone they can reach out to through correspondence. Mail call is a sad hour of the day when the officer delivering it walks past you. Just as with anyone on the street, you want to use common sense and good judgement.

If you are nervous about providing your home address, perhaps think about using a PO Box.

Can prisoners receive email in prison?

Prisoners do not have access to the Internet, with the exception of certain Federal inmates who now have access to email via CorrLinks. Our customers' mailing address is listed in their ad, and we also allow our web site visitors to send emails for first-time responses. We will print an email letter received in our office for them, and forward it on to them on your behalf. Simply click on the 'ENVELOPE' graphic located in each ad to send an email response. Email forwarding is available for all states with the exception of New York, due to 3rd Party Mail Rules.

What method of payment do you accept?

Facility Checks • Money Orders • Cashier's Checks (no personal checks accepted)

See pricing and ordering information for details on ad pricing.

How do I go about placing an order?

If the prisoner would like to place the order and make the payment, just email us with their name, DIN # and complete mailing address, and we will be happy to mail them a brochure and order form.

If the prisoner wants to send the application, but you would like to send the payment, they should check the box on the application indicating that payment will be arriving separately.

If you would like to place the order AND send payment, simply go to Place An Order. This page will provide you both with a link to the pen pal application and order form.

Can family members or friends pay for an ad on a prisoner's behalf?

Yes. The family member can forward payment with the completed application and photo to our office, OR they can have the prisoner send us the ad and photo, and check a box on the application that states that payment will arrive separately. Please note that processing and publishing of the prisoner's ad may not take place until all of the components of the ad have taken place (order form, ad, photo and payment).

How long does it take for a prisoner to be listed in the Friends Beyond The Wall Web Site once the ad is received by your office?

Ad processing and publishing on the Internet is done once a week, and generally takes between one to two weeks for publication 'from receipt' for the incarcerated person's ad to appear on the Internet. We process ads as quickly as we can, depending on volume of new order requests received.

Can family members or friends make changes to the prisoner's personal web page ad?

ALL changes to a prisoner's ad must come in writing with a signature from the prisoner. Since they are our customer, they are the only individual that has the power to make changes to their ad. There are no exceptions to this rule, unless our customer has listed you as his outside contact with his original pen pal application, or by letter with his signature.

Is there an age requirement for writing to prisoners?

Yes. You must be 18 years of age to write to a prisoner. This is not our rule...this is the law. If you are under age 18, you are not allowed to utilize any features of this web site.


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