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

A Prisoner Testimonial : "You are so right, people like Helene don't come along too often in this crazy world. I just replied to her letter. She stood by my side when darkness set upon me and gave me warmth when life felt so cold. I'm forever grateful for her love and support."

Art and Writing From Death Row

< See more Art and Writing

A Poem By Ojahre

Death Row Arrival

You arrive not knowing what to expect,

Functioning only on your preconceived notions that are tales of truth and falsehood,

It's impossible not to take in the age of the prison.

The sagging and dying walls that crumble with decay from years of abuse.

"Escort" is the word screamed while you walk the yard accompanied by two C.O.'s and your hands in restraints.

Prisoners face away from you but turn their heads to sneak a peak at a deadman walkin'

Caught up in your own thoughts you briefly ponder what is goin through their minds,

Because their eyes tell of a frightening thought.

In your short walk to the row, a C.O. may sarcastically point to where the chamber is located,

To start the process of psychological breakdown,

Once on the row, you are stripped butt naked and sent through a ritual of exercises

To degrade you and instill their authority,

All the time proudly wearing their armour, for fear of becoming the executed,

You walk to row of the condemned to approach your dungeon of a cell,

With an outer door to keep you absolutely solitary.

You walk into this dungeon converted into a cell,

It is cold with a still darkness,

Once uncuffed you remain poised, until you hear the outer door close

Which makes it even darker, quieter and isolated.

After becoming familiar with your surroundings,

You settle into an eire thoughts of past, present and future experiences,

And lives that may have and will occupy this cell.

Though I was a solitary body in my dungeon,

I could detect the smell and feel the presence of others that walked in and out of that cell,

Wondering who had survived and died, who shitted and pissed, ate and farted,

Slept and had deep thoughts such as mine in this small cell.

The Quiet cell is its Christened name,

A cell that reveals its age sorrowfully

A cell that screams volumes of every kind, even when no one is present

Though it appears Quiet

Ojahre Dhoruba, California

< See more Art and Writing

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