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Pen Pals: Can Prepare for Prison
For Gamers and Comic Book Readers

By Ed Wolf #229346

Introduction and afterword by Mr. Stinkhead.
Almost Halloween, so let's talk about things that frighten us. Being an adult, there's not much in this world that frightens me. I worry about taxes and my job and assorted crap like that, but dark closets and big scary people don't truly frighten me. Prison and specifically living with prisoners frightens the bejeezus out of me. My biggest fear is being wrongfully accused of something and doing time for it. The best way to deal with a fear is to address it, and learn more about. Dark closets aren't scary because we know what is in them. Though we don't know everything about prison, we can prepare for the unfortunate chance you have a government mandated vacation. Ed Wolf shares with us some things you should know before going away. You can read Ed's original letter, about being a gamer living behind bars here. You can also find Ed's contact info at the end of this letter. He'd love to hear from you.

In our society we have so many rules that eventually you are going to break one or two. Even if it' an honest mistake, you may still have to do some time. If you're a gamer or comic book fan, there are things you can do to prepare yourself for the time you will be locked up.

County Lock Up
If you have to go to your local county jail there is not much you'll be able to receive legally through the mail. Some county jails are more lenient than others on what, if anything, you'll be able to get. Most won't let any comics, magazines, or books in at all. If you know ahead of time that you're going away for awhile, there are some things you can do.

© 2003 ProfBoboPlaying RPGs
A lot of places, to this day, consider Dungeons & Dragons (and the like) to be satanic, and so they are banned. But notebooks and journals are allowed. Write down all of the info off of the cards and rule books into a journal. Once you're in jail, have someone mail them to you, and then all you have to do is copy them onto smaller pieces of paper and presto, you've got your favorite deck. [Ed note: As Ed mentioned, haha, not me, Ed the author, I'm Ed as in EDitor, as Ed mentioned in his earlier article, sometimes fights can break out over the authenticity of your hand written decks. Be sure to stick to what's published. You don't want to end up dead because you took some liberties with the healing factors of your Wood Nymph Potion]. There's not much good in hand copying comic books, so if your place of incarceration does not allow comics, you're kind of SOL.

State or Federal Prison

Prison is a different story. You're able to receive a lot more than the county jail. Outsiders can't necessarily send you just anything from the store because they have to pay people to search the contents. You can however receive shipments from and other approved online retailers because the state trusts these specific vendors not to send you shovels and files and blue prints hidden within the pages. You can order comic books (TPBs are best), magazines, games (without dice), books (except Dungeons & Dragons or any role playing games). Card game (like Magic or Spellfire) are also not allowed to be ordered.

There are ways around this restriction however. You can photocopy the books or cards you need. Be sure that when you copy the materials, the D&D logos are covered up and don't appear on the copies. The next step is to have someone send you 7-10 pages at a time until you've got all of your materials. Then all you have to do is find some players, draw up a campaign, and play. In my earlier article I mentioned that I have seen guys put a game spinner on an old world map, so our card game looks like a board game. We are allowed to have and play board games, so that keeps the nosey guards away.

I am not encouraging anyone to break the rules, but if you wanted to do it, that's a way it could be done. [Ed note:, their sponsors and all affiliated parties also do not encourage or condone the actions described within this article. This material is for entertainment purposes only.]

You'll Need Money
One important way to prepare yourself is to save up some money. In the County Jail, you have no way to make money, and you'll need it to buy all of your basic necessities. In Prison you can get a job, but most, like mine, only pay $.31 a day. 31 cents. Try making it on $6 a month, not gonna happen without suffering, or going without. Family and friends can send you money, but most of us hate to ask out of pride. It's a lot easier if you don't have to go to jail or prison at all.

Mr. Stinkhead Has a Bunch of Questions
Hey legal people... is the following true? I heard of a court case not too long ago, some pasty white guy, computer dude, was sentenced to time at Federal-Pound-Me-In-The-Ass prison, but petitioned it because they declared his imminent beatings to be cruel and unusual punishment... he was then allowed to go to a lower security facility with much similar, white collar criminals.

One other question to people in the legal world. I was not a big fan of the movie Cool World, but I did dig the fact that Gabriel Byrne's character was a comic book artist in jail. Is it legal, and are there means, that I could produce a comic strip, or something else artistic in jail, and mail it to a family member/publisher, and generate income from behind bars? That would be sweet.

One back-up I've always had in mind is doing tattoos. I know a lot of you, like myself, like to draw. You can earn money and make friends by doing tattoos for people. You can practice with the Shockwave Tattoo Studio I programmed back in the day. (Was done as a student, so it uses copyrighted images)

Ok everyone else (lawyers, you can join in too) now we need to find a game (card playing, or RPG, or whatever) that does not use dice, or appear outwardly demonic or satanic. I am on a quest now to find the perfect game for passing time while doing time. And then convince said game makers that that should be one of their selling points. I'll head up the advertising campaign. Stipulations: Let's play it safe and assume that the most ignorant and close minded people will have to feel that this game is not in the least bit satanic. It cannot have dice (could be used for gambling), or pieces like die cast figures that could be used as weapons. What games can you think of? Join in our message board thread about jail.

Please, please drop Ed a letter. He was a big pop culture junkie and misses being out of the loop. Simply write him a note about the latest movie you saw, some joke you've heard, or some TV show that just started. He'd love to hear from you, and he said he wouldn't mind sending his responses to the MPb PO box. (I'll foward it on to you or correspond it in an e-mail).

You can contact Mr. Wolf by sending a letter to this address:
Ed Wolf #229346
Lakeland Correctional Facility
141 First St.
Coldwater, MI 49036

If you want to write to Mr. Wolf, but don't have a P.O. Box, you can give him MPb's box address, and I'll forward you the response. You'll have to e-mail me to let me know about it however.

His favorite comics are Predator, Aliens, Terminator, Spawn, Venom, Fathom, all of Silvestri's stuff, Judge Dredd, all Chaos comics, Witchblade, Tomb Raider, Harley Quinn, The Darkness Battle Chasers, just to name his top faves.
Favorite Games: D&D, Spellfire, Magic: The Gathering. Alien Vs. Predator.
Favorite computer game: Warcraft.

Certain things are not allowed to be mailed. Paper clips, staples, small weapons, dice, flammable chemicals, etc. Pretty much you can only send letters and photos. You can send comic books and board games straight from More info about acceptable gifts can be found here.

We found Mr. Wolf using, where you can search and find a pen pal of your own. Ed would love to hear from you, he's a really nice guy, and was convicted of a non-violent crime. You can read Ed's original personal ad here.

Article copyright 2003, all images copyright their respective owners. If you're under 18, this site really isn't aimed at you, but you should get your parents' permission before contacting someone in jail. C'mon. Use the noggin.

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