Letters to a friend in prison
April 14, 2011 10:46 AM Subscribe
How do I respond to an old friends letters from prison?
posted by xarnop to Human Relations (44 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
An old childhood friend of mine is currently in prison for having a sexual relationship with one of his underage students. He was in his thirties, she was under the age limit. I know no other details, if it was consensual, if it was exploitive to her, if she thought it was awesome but her mom pushed charges against her will.
It's really challenging my feelings about age disparate relationships and the age of consent, which I have many mixed feelings about. When I was in highschool I was the girl in one of these relationships and it was largely nonconsensual and horribly abusive. I recognize that not all age disparate relationships are of a horribly abusive nature as mine was and I really want to be open minded to that (but am struggling about what's right here.)
Personally I feel like he should be in prison, but I have mixed feelings because of not knowing the details, and my own mixed feelings about how severe the punishment is which are what prevented me from pushing charges against the guy in my own personal situation.
He keeps sending me letters, the last one I just got and haven't opened. I don't know how to respond or if I should respond. I feel like saying, "I'm so sorry for what you're going through" and then I think, wait, but I think you should be in prison, and why the hell did you do that? And then I want to write, "Why did you do that?!! What was going on, how did this happen, you shouldn't have done this!"
And then I think, well he's already in prison, isn't he already serving his time? Is it helpful to tell him I'm really upset by what he did, especially when I don't even know the details of how bad it was, or if it was as horrific as my situation? Should I just keep ignoring the letters and letting him send them, or should I write something short like, "Hey.... "
(I don't even know what to say that would be short and light to someone in prison?)
Or should I write something longer and tell him I'm upset by his actions but also sorry that he's facing the consequences?
Thank you for any insights or ideas!!