how to write a letter to help get someone out of prison

How to Write a Letter to Help Get Someone Out of Prison


Have you ever thought of helping someone get out of prison, but you’re unsure how to go about it? Writing a letter could be one of the impactful ways. Letters can be potent tools when used in the correct context. In this guide, we’ll delve into the specifics of how you can write a letter to help someone get out of prison.

Understanding the Purpose of the Letter

The two primary types of letters that can be written to help someone get out of prison are character reference letters and support letters for parole.

Character Reference Letter

A character reference letter provides insight into the personality and character of the individual in prison. It paints a picture of the person beyond their legal issues.

Support Letter for Parole

A support letter for parole, on the other hand, focuses on expressing support for the individual’s request for parole. It serves as a testament to the person’s rehabilitation potential.

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Things to Consider Before Writing

There are several important considerations before you start writing this kind of letter.

Understand the Recipient

Your letter will likely be read by the parole board or a judge. Hence, it’s crucial to maintain a respectful and formal tone throughout.

Know the Person You’re Writing About

In-depth knowledge about the person can give credibility to your claims. Know their strengths, weaknesses, and specific details about their life before and during imprisonment.

Steps to Writing an Effective Letter

Now that you’ve prepared, it’s time to delve into the actual writing process.

Step 1: Start With a Formal Salutation

Address the letter formally to the correct authorities. If you don’t know the specific names, ‘To whom it may concern’ will suffice.

Step 2: Identify Your Relationship with the Prisoner

Your relationship with the person matters, as it can lend credibility to your claims. Are you a friend, family member, or employer?

Step 3: Talk About the Prisoner’s Positive Traits

Highlight the individual’s positive traits. This could be their commitment to family, work ethics, or personal achievements.

Step 4: Include Specific Examples

Including specific examples can substantiate your claims. These examples can be instances that illustrate their positive traits or acts of kindness they’ve demonstrated.

Step 5: Express Confidence in the Prisoner’s Reform

Express your confidence in the prisoner’s ability to reform and contribute positively to society after release. This shows faith in their potential for rehabilitation.

Step 6: Conclude and Sign the Letter

Conclude by restating your support and sign the letter with your full name and contact information.

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Tips to Make Your Letter More Effective

Keep your letter concise, personal, and honest. Use a polite tone and ensure your letter is free of grammar and spelling errors.

Common Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid overly emotional pleas and stick to factual information. Also, steer clear of harsh criticisms of the legal or prison system.


Writing a letter to help someone get out of prison is a delicate task that requires empathy, sincerity, and understanding. Follow the steps above to construct a potent, effective letter.


Q1: Can anyone write a letter to support a prisoner’s parole? A: Yes, anyone who knows the prisoner personally can write a support letter. This includes family members, friends, employers, or community members who are familiar with the prisoner’s character.

Q2: How long should my support letter be? A: The letter should be concise yet comprehensive, typically one to two pages long. The aim is to provide a clear picture of the prisoner’s character without becoming too lengthy or repetitive.

Q3: What details should I avoid in my letter? A: Avoid making emotional pleas, criticizing the legal system, or discussing any legal details you’re not certain about. Keep the focus on the positive aspects of the prisoner’s character.

Q4: Can I discuss the person’s crime in the letter? A: You may briefly acknowledge the crime, but the focus should be on the individual’s character, positive traits, and potential for rehabilitation.

Q5: How should I send my letter once it’s written? A: Once the letter is written, you should send it to the appropriate authority, such as the parole board or judge. Ensure that it arrives before the parole hearing or relevant court date.

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