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letter to uncle in jail

hi my grandma wants me to write my uncle a letter and he is is jail but i never really had a bond or relationship with him so i am scared and i dont know what to say

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Writing to someone in prison is a little different than writing to your friends or family who aren’t. When you’re writing to someone you haven't spoken to much it can be difficult to know what to say. Remember that you don't have to write to anyone if you don't want to. It might also take more time to get to them and for them to write back.

When you send a letter to someone in prison it will probably be opened and read by the prison staff. This might mean you feel a bit uncomfortable saying anything too personal so it's okay if you want to keep what you say more factual. Your uncle should be able to write back but it depends on the level of security in his prison as well as what else’s going on for him at the time.

Knowing what to write when you don't have much of a bond with someone is hard. It's probably best to start by telling him what's going on for you. You only have to share things that you want to - you don't have to tell him anything private that you wouldn't want him to know. It's okay to keep things distant until you feel more comfortable. Try to think of things you can ask him - it can be about his day to day life at the prison but could also be about him as a person. What did he do as a job? What are his favourite sports teams? The more you ask him, the better you can find things you have in common.

Remember that you don't have to write at all if you don't want to. Your grandma may feel like she wants you to write, but that isn’t a pressure she should put onto you if you don't want to. It's always okay to say no, or ask someone else to write for you.

I hope that this has helped you to understand more about what to say. If you’re still feeling stuck about what to write, we have a letter template you can use to get started.

Remember you can always talk to a Childline counsellor for support.

Thanks for your letter.

Take care,


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