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
Paul Gamboa Taylor
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

A Prisoner Testimonial : "Julian is the most wonderful person I have ever had as a penfriend and I am really grateful that you brought us together. He is trying to teach me your English cricket – what a bewildering game it is!"

Resources and Links

Useful Websites

Death Penalty Information Centre
Based in Washington DC, the Death Penalty Information Centre is a national non-profit organisation serving the media and the public with analysis and information on issues concerning capital punishment. Founded in 1990, the Centre produces in-depth reports and is an excellent resource to those working on this issue.

Amnesty International
This well-known organisation has worked for many years towards the abolition of the death penalty, amongst other humanitarian issues.

Journey of Hope
Journey of Hope (From Violence to Healing) is an organisation where murder victims' family members, death row prisoners' family members and those exonerated from death row join together to carry out public speaking engagements and speaking tours to address alternatives to the death penalty.

NAACP Legal Defence Fund
This organisation publicises a quarterly report entitled Death Row USA which provides comprehensive US death penalty statistics together with state-by-state information.

National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty
The National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty was founded in 1976. With its headquarters in Washington DC , NCADP serves its large network of over 100 state and national affiliates, providing them with technical assistance, training and strategic advice to end, limit or repeal the death penalty, state by state. The National Coalition is the oldest and largest anti-death penalty organization in the United States.

Death Penalty News and Updates
This website is compiled by Dr Rick Halperin, a former chairperson of Amnesty International USA and a director of Southern Methodist University, Texas. It contains a regularly updated variety of information on the death penalty and current issues surrounding it.

Useful reading

Death At Midnight
by Don Cabana
Published by North Eastern University Press

This is a personal account of the experiences of Donald Cabana, a long-term corrections official and previous supporter of the death penalty. His perception of capital punishment was radically changed following his years as a prison warden on death row in Mississippi and he became an outspoken opponent to capital punishment.

The Execution of Innocents
by Sister Helen Prejean
Published by Canterbury Press

The story of two prisoners, finally accompanied to their executions by the author, evidence that was never presented to the trial jury and Sister Helen's firm belief in their innocence.

Within These Walls
by Rev. Carroll Pickett
Published by St. Martin's Press

Carroll Pickett ministered to ninety-five men and stood alongside them in the execution chamber during their final moments. This book is his memoirs of those years and illustrates why he so strongly opposes the death penalty today.

The Death Penalty – A Worldwide Perspective
by Roger Hood and Carolyn Hoyle
Published by Oxford University Press

The fifth edition of this highly praised study charts and explains the progress that continues to be made towards the goal of worldwide abolition of the death penalty. The majority of nations have now abolished the death penalty and the number of executions has dropped in almost all countries where abolition has not yet taken place.

Just Mercy
by Bryan Stevenson
Published by Scribe UK

Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned and those trapped within the farthest reaches of the US criminal justice system. This book tells of some of those he has defended in the US southern states. It is a powerful book set against a background of poverty, racial bias and political dynamics.

Upon This Chessboard of Nights and Days
by Dana Allen
Published by Texas A&M University Press.

In this book prisoners on Texas Death Row share their feelings, hopes, fears and memories through a series of non-fiction pieces and works of art. It brings a unique insight into the realities of solitary confinement in a death row environment, waiting for an execution date to be set.

Hell Is A Very Small Place
by Jean Casella, James Ridgeway and Sarah Shourd
Published by The New Press.

A collection of first-hand accounts of life in solitary confinement in US prisons, supplemented by the writing of noted experts who explore the psychological, legal, ethical and political dimensions of such confinement.

Grace and Justice on Death Row
by Brian W. Stolarz
Published by Sky Pony Press

This book tells the story of Alfred Brown, who spent over ten years on death row for a crime he did not commit. The book follows the journey taken by his lawyer, Brian Stolarz, and his dedication to gaining his client’s freedom.

Executing Freedom: The Cultural Life of Capital Punishment in the United States
By Daniel Lachance
Published by University of Chicago Press

A powerful, wide-ranging examination of the place of the death penalty in American culture and how it has changed over the years. Drawing on an array of sources, the author shows how attitudes toward the death penalty have reflected broader shifts in Americans' thinking about the relationship between the individual and the state.

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