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Attention: open in a new window. E-mail

Encouraging Dave Hinkson by Mail



David Hinkson 08795-023
USP HAZELTON
U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 2000
BRUCETON MILLS, WV 26525

Thank you to those who have an interest in corresponding with and/or praying with Dave. Below are are facts regarding Dave Hinkson's present living conditions followed by mailing instructions/regulations.

(You may look up this prison for more info or to speak with the mail room should you want to know about something specific you can mail.)

The prison disallows speaking about what goes on at the prison. But what I have below is from their own web site then from correspondence with Dave. There is nothing that is written that isn't already disclosed by the prison itself.

Please use a ruler or tape measure to size off a 6'x10' foot area. Maybe not that exact shape, but 60 square feet anyway. Just sit there. Now think on this:
  1. All cement
  2. Cement bed with thin mattress
  3. A small "sink" with not running water available, but just dripping.
  4. Cement bathroom
  5. No windows to know what time of day it is, no fan or scented candle or air freshener.
  6. Thick double metal doors- no bars- can't see out.
  7. In this space you will use the bathroom, brush your teeth, wash your face maybe, sleep, watch a 13" black and white TV with earphones to have sound, look at cement, hear nothing except bringing food or cell checks, or taking to shower twice a week (handcuffed to go to the shower), handcuffed and shackled to see visitors through thick glass and using a phone.
In this space you may write letters, receive mail that has been read and censored, look at cement, breathe, watch TV, fill out disposition papers of mail received (20 letters allowed at a time in cell), pray, wait.

This prison was designed for the most dangerous men in this country. The rules are strict. There are some areas where prisoners see one another - Dave is in solitary confinement where he can't even hear anyone else.

Mail regulations:

Must have name and return address on upper left of addressed envelope. Do not use stickers on the envelope. Only stamps.

Cards are fine but nothing that could come off- no stickers, glitter, embossing, raised parts that are attached, only printed cards. Post cards are fine.

Letters are fine- again, stationary without any removable parts, raised areas, stickers, embellishments of any kind.

Newspaper clippings.

Articles if not more than a few pages.

Some articles from the internet but can't be copyrighted materials. ISP's must be cut off anything that shows them. I cut off URL's also but write at the top that this article or hymn came from such and such a site off the printable section - the mail room censors then can know I am aware of the rules and didn't break any. Comic strips (Dave likes Snoopy)

No business cards or separate items except things like devotional pages are alright as long as they aren't copied first- only the original page torn from a booklet, calendar pages, no brochures or anything with advertising, nothing about the prison, some political things are alright but nothing that could be misinterpreted as threatening.

David Hinkson 08795-023
USP HAZELTON
U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 2000
BRUCETON MILLS, WV 26525

Dave likes hymns, www.Cyberhymnal.org  offers some hymns in printable form. They can be included. As above, just write a note at the top where this came from. He doesn't have a hymnal right now and doesn't want one because he has the 3 books he wants - he likes having the words though so letters are a great way to remind him of hymns.

Dave may have magazine subscriptions but he has the ones he wants already. He may have 3 books at a time, but also, he has the books he wants for now.

People care yet they don't always know what to say. . . just be you. Tell of your concerns for him and say something encouraging. He likes when someone prays with him - so write out what you are praying as though you are there with him. He is a funny person - not very much funny right now, but he still laughs. Funny, tasteful cards are great. Telling funny personal stories are great. He loves to talk nutrition and health care - tell of something interesting you learned or maybe something you are dealing with.

Dave is depressed and angry now. Any sane person would be I'd think after not seeing daylight for years and not even getting to go to the cement cell that's for exercise. Not even leaving a windowless cell but a couple times a week for a shower would down the best of people. Don't be afraid to say "you can't imagine what this is like for him." None of us could, really. But we can a bit if we take the time. Tell of verses that you found encouraging in a rough time in your life (maybe don't need to tell of the details of the rough time but can mention you've struggled for relief from grief or pain before). Maybe tell what someone said to you, or what you saw that helped you through. Maybe you remember times nothing helped and it was just the fact that God was there working this out and you had to wait. And let him know you are praying for him for relief and release.

Dave loves pictures - you can cut out pictures from magazines or send some of your own. He likes animals so maybe you have pictures of your pets. Think about not seeing outside for so long - hearing about everyday mundane things does help, and it shows him you are truly thinking what this would be like for him. Pictures of even pastures and horses or cattle, or just anything interesting around where you live or places you're been - that helps take his mind to other places when his body can't leave. Only send 2-3 pics at a time and double check for proper postage so it doesn't come back.

People assume someone so bright wouldn't care about everyday things. Yes he does. And Dave has been deprived of everyday things for years now. Go ahead and tell about running errands, your work, raising kids, and other ordinary things. If you went to the store and were shocked at the price of something, mention it if you want to. It will help Dave have even the tiniest sense of how things have changed to help him not be so culture shocked when he gets out.

Dave likes being asked questions. He doesn't say but I'd imagine that helps him know someone cares and is really talking with him instead of writing in a hurry. Yes, sometimes just a card with signing it, but for those who can write letters- make them count with personal interest in Dave and how it might be like for him.

Pray for Dave, his wife, his children, his parents, his employees, his friends, and for the Lord to show the rescue and relief quickly that Dave can bear up under this and his family also. If your congregation has a prison ministry or other one where ones would write to him, please tell them about Dave. Keep his address handy so if you come across someone who would encourage him then you can give the address right then.

Dave may not always write back. He does get some mail, but just think- he is there with cold cement for hours on end. The one thing he will persistently say, is he needs mail.

It wouldn't hurt to look at the address for Dave's folks and drop them a note that you care and are praying. They get worn also and are awaiting the Lord's rescue.

Thank you for caring.

David Hinkson 08795-023
USP HAZELTON
U.S. PENITENTIARY
P.O. BOX 2000
BRUCETON MILLS, WV 26525