BTG Inmate Penpal Rules


The following are rules that BTG send out to inmates along with their application form:- 

The Bridging the Gap Penpal Scheme is designed to help you keep contact with someone on the outside. We call our outside volunteers ‘Outmates’.

They volunteer to write to an inmate and they set their own guide lines on how often they choose to write. Mostly it is every time that an inmate writes to them.

We do not get any funding for this scheme, except small donations from some of our volunteers. So we have to set certain rules to try and keep our costs down.

Please respect these rules and the scheme will run smoothly and your letters will get to your outmate as quickly as possible

Some of our outmates choose to use our office address to receive their letters, please respect their decision.

So please read these rules and complete the enclosed application form, keep this leaflet, but return the form to us at the address either on the form, or on the back of this leaflet.

Thank you.

Remember this scheme is NOT a dating scheme.


      • These rules are in addition to the rules governing Inmates mail as contained in PSI 06/2011 – Prisoner Communications – Correspondence, a copy of which should be in your prison library.
      • You cannot specify a gender for your penpal.
      • You must complete the Penpal Scheme application form fully, if you do not it WILL be returned to you for completion.
      • The outmate, quite often, will not use their full name; and will only use a first name and an initial. Please respect this decision.
      • Do not ask for money.
      • A number of our outmates use our office address for their letters; we then put your letter into another envelope. That is why we ask that you do not send large envelopes; the sizes to use are either C6 or A5, nothing larger. We reserve the right to refuse any envelope that is larger.
      • Do not write really long letters that will make your envelope over 5mm thick or weigh over 100g.
      • Many of our outmates choose to use our office address to receive their mail, please DO NOT try and find out their home address.
      • Do not ask for their telephone number, this is a penpal scheme, not a phone scheme!
      • We do not have facilities for packages or parcels, so please do not send them as they will be refused.
      • Make sure you put the correct postage on your letters; we will not accept any letters that we have to pay a surcharge on.
      • Please tell BTG if you wish to discontinue or if your outmate discontinues writing to you and we will allocate you with a replacement.
      • Any books or newspapers must be sent in via a recognised publisher or shop, please do not ask your outmate to send these things in.
      • If you transfer to another prison please let BTG know.