I am looking for ways of getting young prisoners in America involved with the Japanese Anime/Manga hobby. 1% of the entire US population is currently incarcerated in the entire American prison system, a lot of whom are prisoners around the ages of 15-27, the average age of an anime convention congoer.
One major reason why we have a lot of young people locked in the prisons, is because they have no one to talk to. If you think locking up and executing people solves our crime problems... well, think again. It doesn't. What I am trying to say here, is that we need to support young prisoners in some way, as support is an essential part of the intended rehabilitation process. Without proper rehabilitation, a lot of young people who get released end up going back to prison. The huge load of prisoners is costing the taxpayers a lot of money, about $50 per prisoner per day in the average American prison. That's a lot of money coming out of the taxes that Americans pay to the US government.
I really do believe that Japanese Anime/Manga is a great hobby to introduce to our young prisoners. It can help them keep in touch with the outside world, a necessity to surviving the prison environment. What you can do to help is to use the old pen-and-paper (or your computer's Word processor) and write a letter to a lonely prisoner looking for a pen pal. Meeting a pen pal by letter is not as risky as it seems, because you're not actually visiting the prison. Tell your new pen pal about the hobby, because it would help them "see" the outside world if the pen pal is willing to let you mail them... manga, for example.
Here's a link to a web site where you can look for a pen pal to write to. It's Prison Talk, a community much bigger than Anime Online. They have a few forums and links to web sites about postings from inmates who are looking for a pen pal. They also have tips on what you can and can not mail to prisoners, organized by state.
Prison Talk - Prison Information and Inmate Support Community
I am also considering of working with Prison Talk to create a forum on their board dedicated to Japanese Anime/Manga, in hopes of getting more people involved in the hobby.