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
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


Postcards For Sale

Postcards for sale

Prisoners' artwork postcards available for sale.

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


Welcome to Human Writes

Human Writes is a long established British organisation founded for the purpose of befriending prisoners on Death Row in the USA. Although based in the UK, we have members from many countries and our organisation is well known and internationally respected.

The organisation does not campaign against the death penalty as such as its main remit is friendship through letter writing. Human Writes is not linked to any particular political or religious groups. Many prominent public figures actively encourage and support the work that we do and we have become generally known and accepted by the US prison authorities as a reputable organisation, working within the parameters of their systems.

Friendship through letter writing

More than 3000 people are condemned to death in the United States, facing many years on Death Row before they are executed.  Many of them have been there for ten years or more and may be given several execution dates, sometimes coming within hours or even minutes of execution before the final one.

Many living under sentence of death have severe learning disabilities or are mentally ill; some have had an abusive childhood and a high proportion have had very poor legal representation.  We also remember that capital punishment in the US has famously been defined "Those without the capital get the punishment". 

Living conditions on Death Row in many states are harsh and dehumanising.  It is not unusual for people to be locked up for 23 hours a day or to suffer sensory deprivation.  Many of the prisoners are abandoned by their families and friends and some have no contact whatsoever with the outside world.  Receiving letters can make a huge difference to their quality of life; prisoners speak of us as their sunshine or their window on the world.  Above all, they value being able to have a normal conversation with someone and the feeling that someone cares.

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."

Human Writes Patrons

"The very essence of the death penalty is to tell people that they are somehow sub-human, not fit to live. Yet even those people I have represented who did what they were accused of - a surprisingly limited number - have always been much better people than their worst fifteen minutes, as are we all. Those who recognise this by reaching out to the men and women on death row are true heroes, though I suspect they gain as much as they give to the relationship."
Clive Stafford Smith OBE, Founder of Reprieve and Patron, Human Writes

"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