Penn2Paper is a platonic prison pen pal service. We came together as a collective with a shared commitment to working against the harms perpetuated by the criminal legal system and to breaking the silence and isolation that occurs when folks are incarcerated. We are dedicated to social justice, anti-racism, and freedom.
Penn2Paper began working together in February of 2021, and went live with the program in the summer of 2021. We have created matches all over Canada and continue working to create lasting, impactful connections.
We believe in the right to dignity and humanity for all.
These are the values that guide our decision making. By following these values, we strive to create and sustain an environment of safety, empowerment, collaboration and growth.
Accountability and Repair
We believe that this type of work flourishes in places of complexity, difficult conversations, learning, listening and accountability.
Low Barrier Participation
We strive to have this program accessible to anyone who wants to be involved: volunteers and participants alike. This means being aware of (and accommodating) those for whom English is not their first language, difficulties with reading or writing, or mental health concerns.
No One is Disposable
We work with all people. On both sides, participants and volunteers, all are welcome.
We acknowledge that much of the work that centres prisoners and prison justice has been heavily critiqued for erasing the experiences of survivors and those impacted by harm. We commit to centring those impacted by harm while dismantling the victim/perpetrator binary.
Mistakes Are Allowed
We acknowledge this work cannot flourish in places of fear. We strive to move away from the perfection mindset and accept and acknowledge that we will all make mistakes and that we can (and will) repair and heal.
Inclusive Community Building
We work hard to create a safe and inclusive environment for participants and volunteers. We seek to create a community of support for one another and, as facilitators, take responsibility for prioritizing the emotional wellbeing of both our participants and volunteers.
At Penn2Paper we acknowledge the ways in which CSC (Correctional Services of Canada) specifically engages in and perpetuates ongoing colonization through the use of the Land as a place to imprison Indigenous people; systematically breaking apart families, and isolating people from their communities.
At Penn2Paper, we acknowledge that decolonization is a process that requires humility, flexibility, honesty, and accountability. We commit to listening and learning, using what we hear to grow, change and adapt. When invited to do so, we commit to amplifying the voices of the people already doing this work, specifically marginalized communities, racialized people, women, family members, and many other unrecognized and unpaid supports. And, most importantly, we commit to using our voices and our privilege to stand up, speak up and disrupt especially when it is uncomfortable to do so.