Last October, Antwuan Dixon went to jail and I decided to write him a letter.
I’d never met or communicated with Antwuan before, but I wondered if I could interview him from his jail cell. Having never sent a letter to anyone in jail or prison before, I wasn’t even sure my letter would reach him. But hoping for the best, I came up with some questions, and left plenty of blank space for possible Antwuan gold.
If you’ve never written a letter to someone in jail, it’s pretty easy:
1. Go to the corrections website for whichever state or county the facility is in and enter the inmate’s name into the search bar to get their inmate ID number.
2. Put the ID number next to the inmate’s name on the front of your envelope, along with the facility’s address.
3. Slap on way more stamps than necessary so the letter won’t get returned (I used eight stamps for a 9”x11” envelope, but I also steal stamps from my office so…).
4. Make sure the ONLY thing inside the envelope is your letter.
The last point is the most important. I put Jenkem stickers in with my letter, and two weeks after I sent it I found it back in my mailbox with a printed notice inside telling me what can’t be mailed to jail.
Some more interesting things that cannot be mailed to an inmate include:
– Stamps, stickers, and post-it notes
– Maps or bus schedules
– Paper clips
– Locks of hair
– Flower petals
– Instructions or letters of encouragement to participate in murder, rape, or rioting
– Pages from coloring books
Apparently, stickers can be used to hide contraband like drugs or used as a weapon to kill someone. (ex: If you were considering placing Jenkem stickers over someone’s nose and mouth in order to suffocate them to death). As for flower Petals or locks of hair… I have no clue.
After removing the
contraband stickers and re-sending the letter, I tried not to get my hopes up. Then, a few weeks later, I opened my mailbox to find a reply from Antwuan. He didn’t answer my questions, but he seemed genuinely glad to hear from me.
By the time the letter arrived, Antwuan was out of jail and I didn’t know how to get back in touch with him, so I filed the letter away as a skateboarding memento. Recently I remembered it and decided it was worth sharing on its own, so peep below for a beautifully handwritten letter from the one and only, Antwuan Dixon: