In short you don’t. We are not asking you to pay to write to a prisoner. We charge an annual subscription to help towards the cost of providing members and the prisoners with a level of continuing service.
Part of your subscription goes towards the production and mailing of the newsletter, which is impossible to do without your subscription. It is an important part of LifeLines. Each issue is eagerly anticipated by the men and women on the Row and enjoyed by our membership as a means of keeping in touch and up to date.
All LifeLines members and prisoners are supported by volunteer State Coordinators. As a new member you will be given the name of a prisoner from our waiting list by the membership secretary. You should then hear from a coordinator, who will update you on rules and regulations pertaining to the state to which you have been allocated. Your State Coordinator should be your first contact should you need any help or have any queries during your correspondence – although you will have access to the Facebook group and perhaps other social media, the State coordinator will be up to date with any developments. This helps to prevent confusion in the case of rumours. The coordinators also report in each issue of the newsletter (the Statelines) to help keep everyone informed of any developments within their state. Although coordinators are paid a nominal sum towards expenses, everyone who works for LifeLines is a volunteer.
We also hold a conference annually, with speakers often travelling from the US. These may include: lawyers, exonerated prisoners, family members of victims and of the executed – they are an excellent and informative way of learning more about the experiences that our penfriends have to go through. Subscriptions make this possible.