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
Virginia Caudill
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

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An Essay By Anon.

The Point of One Death Row Prisoner

I am luckier than most men here. I have really good lawyers now for the past 1-2 years. I trust them with my life - for the first time in the almost 20 years I have been here, I can trust my lawyers! And I have a little help from those few I can really call friends, they care about me and I try to show them that I care about them too.

But there are those here that don't have friends/family that help - while no one can say any one should support them just because they are on the row - there are many many out there that are against the death sentence, that is great and we need your support to fight it and we are grateful for all that ya'll do on our behalf.

But at the same time, there are men on this death row and other death rows all over the States that are in need of help to live like a human being for the time they are here. Only being able to come out of a small cell about the size of most bathrooms for 5 hours per week is really bad for a man, but when you add that to a man not being able to have anything to lift his spirits, nothing to look forward to, but doing without - then you end up with a man being depressed and willing to let them kill him, just so he doesn't feel as if no one cares about him at all....

While many people want to do away with the death penalty and are fighting so very hard for that, they need to also keep in mind that there are human beings on death row now that could use a little human contact and kindness. Could you spare 1 or maybe 2 hours per month??? There is someone here right now who would love to hear from you and it would mean the difference between joy and depression to them... Thank you for your time.

A death row prisoner - Mississippi........ Distinction: Remorse and Reconciliation The State and the average citizen perhaps see us as monsters, yes - most of us are deeply aware and affected by what we have done. We are living the most terrifying moments of our lives and, as we face our mortality, there is no way we can avoid our humanity. We remain members of the human race with all that that implies despite what we have done, despite how we are seen. When you see us as evil incarnate, when you deny that we can truly be remorseful, it is possibly also a reflection on yourself in the first instance as our thoughts and judgements are on us.

Remorse begins while there is life, not 45 seconds before death. The road to remorse begins where we left off in society. It is there that reflections and introspection overwhelm us, crushing our life and bringing us back to new life and the understanding of our weakness.

It takes every breath and a thousand tears of sorry to carry the shame. We are the wolves that stole the lamb and took away the world as promised for just and decent folks. In our time, in this hell of steel and dying bones, we reach out to say 'forgiveness is yours for the giving', please open your hearts and arms to those who have done you and themselves harm.

We come to the wall of shame and there is no rest for a remorseful heart, a broken spirit, desperately seeking enlightenment for the renewal of the spirit and the soul.

When man celebrates the breaking of the down trodden and of those who have lost their way he hurts himself. Reconciliation, seen by many, but not by all, as a weakness, allows for the release of the demons of hate and brings healing. We would gladly open our hearts to those who have been victimised, including our families, given half a chance.

Reconciliation would stop the cycle of blame, hate and vilification, which fuel this system and injures this society. We are tried and true in our desire to reconcile.Remorse is here on death row while reconciliation appears to be out of reach.

Nevertheless, we embrace the fundamentals of all things decent, beginning with the opening of our hearts to those who would come in and see the colour of our humanity for themselves.

A death row prisoner, Alabama

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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