Human Writes is a non-profit, humanitarian organisation which  befriends people on death row in the USA
There are prisoners on Death Rows all over the States who are in need of help to live like a human being for the time they are here.
Prisoners' Art
James Robinson
 
Articles By Human Writes Members

Thoughts on being a Human Writes penfriend.

In Memorium of Prisoners Executed in the United States
In memoriam of prisoners executed in the United States

Prisoners executed in the United States in 2016

I Just Want To Stay

"The volunteers of Human Writes seek to hold out the hand of friendship to men and women facing the death penalty. I am pleased to encourage them in their writing"
Most Reverend and Rt Hon George L Carey, former Archbishop of Canterbury

"No matter its circumstances, dying is one of the most important things we ever do. I applaud all who offer compassion and hope to those facing death, especially in the terrible circumstances of Death Row. May God bless your work."
His Eminence Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster

Prisoners' Art
Notelets for sale

Prisoners' artwork notelets available for sale.

 
A Prisoner Testimonial : "You asked if all is well between us and are we still good friends. In one word Absolutely. Monica has come to be a very valued friend, she is patient and kind in her responses as well as quite timely and consistent. Truly she is a rare blessing in that so many come only to go shortly after. She has stayed and stayed steady."
 

Art and Writing From Death Row

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An Essay By Marcus in Georgia

Doing Time

I find it very amazing learning from people outside prison including penpals' perception of life inside prison.  A certain naivete is expected when they've never been to prison, or visited prison.  Many haven't even known anyone that has gone to prison.

From my perception, prison is a microcosm of society.  It is a community with institutional laws and restrictions, albeit to my taste, much too many restrictions.  Inside or outside, the golden rule do unto others as you'd have them do unto you benefits all.

Some think all we do is eat, sleep and watch TV.  I can't speak for others, but that would be too boring for me.  I like to keep busy doing constructive things, having good conversation, a few hearty laughs, then relax at the end of the day.

I have always been a goal orientated person.  I remain so today.  Setting goals, short term that lead to long term goals are a way of motivating me to work toward achieving something worth while.  They can range from personal such as changing certain behaviours and attitudes that will make me a better, wiser or stronger person, or professional or vocational goals such as i.e. completing a course, G.E.D. (High school Equivalency Diploma) for those who lack one, Bible study, learning a foreign language, or improving reading and writing skills et al.

It requires discipline and work to accomplish anything worth while in life.  I happen to be a dreamer and a visionary who believes all things are possible with God.  People outside of prison sometimes find it whimsical how busy a lot of women and guys are in prison.  Especially those who write and read voraciously, which certainly describes me.  Time flies for me and for all who keep busy making good use of their time.

My theory is the whole man/woman (being)needs to be exercised, engaged and stimulated.  By that I mean the spiritual first.  Also the physical, mental, emotional well being, and the intellectual.

The spiritual: I like to get up very early (3.00-4.00)  before everyone else gets up and stirring around, while it's still quiet and spend my first 2-4 hours with God. In prayer, study of scriptures, writing spiritual pursuits and meditation.  Worship/sing to the Lord/praise.  This sets the stage for a blessed day.  I liken it to filling up one's (spiritual) gas tank for a long arduous journey.  You certainly don't want to start out on empty.  My joy, peace and love levels are filled. The anointing (Holy Spirit) is bubbling over.

Next is usually the physical.  I work out different body parts on respective days.  It's imperative to exercise, diet or eat as sensibly as possible to maintain good health.  I see the body similar in many ways to a c 4r.  I f you abuse them without performing maintenance, fluid levels etc it will break down.  They break down naturally as they or we age.  It keeps the heart and lungs healthy.  The mental/intellectual - challenge the brain to learn news subjects, your interests as well as areas you're not interested in.  Reading, chess, crossword puzzles, anything that will stimulate learning.  I indulge those things plus study Spanish and other disciplines and academic pursuits.  That will stimulate and challenge my brain to think/concentrate.

The mental is closely connected with the emotional.  The mind, what one thinks about, affects the emotional state.  Therefore it's very important to think on the things that are positive, healthy, virtuous,  true, lovely, of good report and praiseworthy as the apostle Paul teaches in Philippians 4.4-9.  This helps my thinking to remain positive.  Also avoid as much as possible stress and stressful situations.  I realize some situations are impossible to avoid.  Just being incarcerated on Death Row itself is very stressful.  Nevertheless there are situations and circumstances we can control or avoid.  Prayer helps me tremendously  because I give my burdens, cares and worries to God and I no longer hold onto  them.  When I getup off my knees, I've given them to Him.

One of my mottos is: If I'm doing anything supposedly for fun and pleasure and it becomes too stressful, I don't need it.  Stress and worrying not only adversely affect the mental/emotional well being but the body as well.  It's been proven to  cause heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, weakened immune system and many other maladies in the body, even nervous (mental) breakdowns.

Meditation on scripture, on God or other pleasant things, helps also.  Forgiveness to those who have mistreated, or did you wrong, helps the mental/emotional as well, because it releases the hate, anger and vengeance in your own mind and heart and releases peace in your own heart/mind.

Last but not least, sharing joys and sorrows with those we love and care about helps, whether it's people on the outside or inside.  Just human contact, a hug, touch on the shoulder.  If you feel down, pray for and/or help encourage someone else; or do something kind for others.  It helps lift my spirits immeasurably.  Visits and letters from people who care about us, our supporters are an invaluable priceless asset.  It instils hope.  Love makes a man/woman know we're not alone in this world.  Despite our trials ahead or the climate we live in, regardless how cold, it's a great comfort to know you are not alone.  If  you're loved, you're never alone.  Love is the blanket that keeps me warm, levitates me over and above my circumstances.  It's the most powerful energy source in the universe, stronger than hate, death, war and prison and transcends every ocean, sky, distance, time and prison bars.  If you will only embrace it and let her embrace you.  She is healing balm for your troubles, she'll give you peace in war, joy in pain, extricate you from the doldrums of hate and set your mind at ease.  God is Love.

In closing, bad things happen to the best of us, and good things happen to the worst of us.  The measure of a man/woman is not the negative things that befall us, but how we respond to adversity.  Do you run, hide or blame the world, for not trying to overcome, repent,  grow,  be/do better, change, turn your situation around?  Or do you look adversity in the face, face your fears, accept responsibility where applicable, and say "I was wrong, I'm sorry, what's done is done, I can't change the past, but I can change the present and the future by changing my attitude and mindset and doing better today." Today is all we have.

Tomorrow is not promised.  Enjoy life, but live it responsibly.  Think before you act.  Keep love, patience, tolerance, and forgiveness in you heart.  Treat people like you want to be treated.  Be the best person you can be.  Enjoy your life regardless of your lot.  But don't forget to help and serve others.  This is living life to the fullest, we all are doing time.  Remember, the measure of a man is not the tragedy that befell him but how he responds to adversity.  What is life? But a vapour. It appears and vanishes away.

Marcus A Wellons, Georgia





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Human Writes Patrons

"As a journalist who has lived and worked in the United States, the horror of death row is one of the issues that never leaves you. The thread of humanity that Human Writes manages to sustain with men and women on death row is a profound contribution to keep alive the hope of life. Capital punishment is now on the retreat in America, but the numbers awaiting their fate are still very considerable. I am very honoured to have become a Patron of Human Writes and will hope to do my best to put my shoulder to the wheel".
Jon Snow Broadcaster and journalist, Patron, Human Writes

"In such an inhuman system small moments of human contact make a big difference. That's why I support Human Writes and why I would encourage you to do the same."
Gary Younge, Author and US-based feature writer for the Guardian, Patron, Human Writes

"I know what it is like to live in a cell for decades and feel that the whole world hates you. I never expected to be able to live again as a contributing member of a community. Prison life was precarious and unpredictable but I met people who worked there who wanted to help me and people like me - and I'm lucky that I live in a society graceful enough to offer me a second chance. At least I had hope. Hope for many of the people supported by Human Writes has all but been extinguished. Letters to people on Death Row let them know that however low they may have fallen, they are still human beings. They still have value and are worth caring about and letters might just help to keep hope alive. That is why I am honoured to have been invited to be a patron."
Erwin James, author and Guardian columnist, Patron, Human Writes