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
Sammy Lupo
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 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 Carlos

Life Story

Where did life start for me? As I sit here on deathrow, I have thought about this over and over. I believe it's fair to say life started out hard for me and my family. Our status never changed, and I question that a lot. At first I didn't think a blind person could change or that you could change a blind person. People who are blind can change. For most they do not learn until it's too late. I am the oldest child of my family. Then comes my brother, who is also in prison. Then comes my sister. When I was born it was only my mother and I. My mother married this guy, sad to say, he was my father. My father walked out of our lives before I was born. What was the reason? I don't know and I have never asked my mother. I just know that I grew up without a father.

As far back as I could remember we were always on the streets. When my father left, my mother struggled. She was just 17 years old and never finished school. Family members would turn her away when she asked for help. I don't know why and I never really asked. After some time my mother met a man. He pretty much took care of us and soon we had a place to live. At first all was beautiful, but as always the devil comes out and shows his ugly face, planting his seeds of pain, sadness and hate with the love for destruction. By this time my brother was born. My mother wasn't a nice lady and she wasn't a small lady. When she would get mad, she would beat up my brother and me. Since I was the oldest, I always got the worst of it! She would hit me with anything and everything. She would beat me up as if I were nothing more than an unwanted dog. I can remember beatings when I was 5 years old.

To this day, I have always wondered why my mother would beat me as so. I never really asked her. I believe that I was around 8 years old when the seeds were starting to grow out of my heart. I was beginning to hate my mother. I never realized that till I landed in jail in 1993 when I was 18 years old. I hated the way my mother would beat up my brother and me. I hated it cause I was just a helpless child. I also wonder if she realized that. My mother and her man would love to go out drinking and partying all night. Since we were kids they couldn't always leave us at home by ourselves, so they took us to bars. Sometimes we would go in and other times we would stay outside in the car. Of course most of the time we would stay at home by ourselves.

At this time I was around 8 years old and my brother was 6. Being children many times we would end up at our neighbor's house. Cause when night came, everything looked so scary! We were scared and ran to our neighbor's house and of course they would take us in. But that came with a price. My mother always told us to stay in the house. When my mother came home and didn't find us at home, she knew exactly where to find us. She would pick us up and when we got home we would get a beat down for not staying home. My mother had a love for going out by herself. She would leave and be gone for days leaving us kids with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend would go crazy and mad. So, like a mad man he would look for my mother everywhere and he would take us with him.

I can remember one time when her boyfriend spotted my mother in a car. It was late at night and we were in a truck. My brother and I were asleep in the back. He started chasing my mother all over the street. My brother and I were rolling all over in the back of the truck trying to hang on to something. Luckily the truck had a camper. When he would catch my mother, he would beat her extremely bad. Watching this with my own eyes would really scare me to death. How could a person lose so much blood and turn so many colors and still live? I was an 8 year old child and I was scared to death. Many times as my mother lay on the floor with her eyes swollen shut and busted lips and blood all around her, I honestly thought that she wouldn't get up. She did get up. She would just clean up the mess and pretend nothing happened and protect her boyfriend when people would see and ask about what happened. I hated that man for beating my mother, and so another branch of hate grew out of my heart. I lost count as to how many times this happened.

One night he started hitting my mother and she ended up calling the cops. They took him away and my mother ended the relationship. She packed what she could and we were on the street again. My sister was already born by then. My siblings have different fathers. I don't think I was 9 yet when all of this had taken place. We stayed with relatives and a lot of times I could see it in their eyes they really didn't want us to stay with them. I could see the hate in their eyes, and so another branch of hate grew from my heart. We moved a lot because one knows when they are not welcome. We also moved a lot because we had no money, only what the government provides, which in Texas isn't much. So, we moved from one bad neighborhood to another. From one housing project to another.

Finally we settled down in the projects, but during all of this not much changed. My brother and I were left alone at home. My mother left with my sister and took her everywhere. Every once in a while she stayed with us. My brother and I pretty much did what we wanted. At a very young age we learned to handle our disagreements and problems with violence, especially against each other. Life really kicked off for me around the age of 11. I was already smoking marijuana. Being in the streets, by the age of 12 I was already sexually active, and getting into more and more trouble. At 13, I was arrested for the first time and it never ended. I think around the age of 14, my mother saw there was no changing me. But it was through her and the man she was with that I learned of violence.

My mother loved fighting and she fought like a man. She was always beating up other women and she loved it. It was also through her and her friends that I learned about drugs. As my mother looked at me and tried to tell me about not getting into so much trouble, I believe that she saw it in my eyes there was no changing me. She could tell me not to do something, yet I would still do it. I will never forget the words that she told me that day. She told me “If I knew you were gonna turn out this way, I would have never sold myself for you when you were a baby.” I guess she would have let me die. She was telling me that I wasn't worth anything, that I was a nobody. So my life jumped to a life of destruction.

Those words never left my mind or heart. I was a child who didn't know any better nor was I too bright. I never knew how much I hated and loved my mother until Thanksgiving 1992. My mother tried to hit my brother and of course we were all drinking and partying. But when I saw that, I lost it. Things got very ugly, but watching my mother trying to hit my brother…… all the years of abuse came rushing out of me. I had bottled it all up inside. I wasn't that helpless child anymore.

That day I whispered in my mother's ear, for her to never hit my brother again. I knew my mother was scared of me. She had stopped hitting me when I turned 12. I had become this young man with no conscience. Everything that I had been through made me this person. The violence that I was so scared of as a young child was now just a way of life. I hate that part of my life. I wish that I had become a better person when my mother told me those words, but I only got worse.

My life started in a broken home where violence was the answer. A home where hate grew. Where pain and hurt come before LOVE. Where I thought I was a real man. But I was only an emotionally unbalanced child with no guidance nor understanding of what love or life was and what a real family should be.

Of course my life nor story ends here. This is just what my broken home was like. Now let me tell you what the streets were like and how most of my fellow prisoners and friends minds were formed...


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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