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 Carlos Trevino

Broken Social Skills

I can sit here and tell you the stories of many many many lost souls and how they/we end up in prison or even deathrow. Throughout my time of being in prison, and on deathrow, most of the stories I hear are just about the same. On a rare occasion I find someone who had everything and yet still ended up in here. And so it's easy to fall into this place. But for most of us in here never had that chance at life..

Growing up most of us grew up in a bad neighborhoods, ghettos, projects, government housing or whatever you wish to call them. Where most people wouldn't step into, unless they lived there. Unfortunately most of us here had no where else to go. And stepping out of our hoods wasn't sunshine either. For people were fast to let you know you didn't belong outside of your hood. You would get funny stares, pointing the fingers at you, whispering something about you. Or simply giving you a look of pure hate. I hated going places with my mother when I was a child. I could always feel those stares from people. But it was those same stares that planted another see of hate in my heart. Lord only knew how fast that would grow. Even as you read this, its happening to some child out there..

It all begins at home. Most of us come from broken families. Where most of the time there is only one parent, the mother. Which is very hard for her. She probably works, comes home, cooks, clean wash clothes and by the time she knows it it's the following day. Being a single parent of one child. And being this busy you can't keep your eyes on your child at all times, much less when there is more than one child. And so because life demands money, a parent or parents are hardly at home. Then we come from families that are abusive mentally, physically, and sexually. These abuses happen on a daily basis. Then you have parent(s) with drug addictions. As children we live through this. It becomes a way of life. We start off emotionally unbalanced. We hide & never speak of the things going on in our homes. But if a person would only see with a heart, the signs would be everywhere. Instead those stares of hate, brings out another leaf of hate within the heart....

As we turn to the streets, we meet other children just like us in our hoods. These children become our new family, they fill in the void we carry in our hearts. The love we don't get at home. And so a street gang begins. If it has not already formed. That comes with a price. We are instantly introduced to drugs, if we aren't already doing them since we learn it from home. In these drugs we find an answer to our problems. To forget what really happens around us. But as children we don't have a clue that drugs are only a temporary solution. And so a greater problem begins, “addiction”. What began as something cool or as a solution, ends up controlling your life. In one form or another...

Violence is almost started as soon as we learn to walk. Violence is our daily bread. I can't remember ever being in the hood, at someone's house and someone was not fighting. As children we were taught, as most Americans, that if someone hits you, you hit them back. As children we fight with our brothers and sisters, with our neighbors etc. Violence would start instantly when a child is emotionally unbalanced. We find violence is the answer to life. Never realizing that at home we are taught to handle our problems with violence. Almost immediately when we hang around with other children violence starts. One, we fight to prove ourselves to our new family. (That's the price) And it's a cycle. Those older kids were put through the same test. Today tomorrow next month next year the younger children will be put through the same test. The blind leads the blind.

At some point other children from different hoods come and beat us up. Sometimes we are stabbed, sometimes shot. And many times children don't make it to see another sunrise. When any of this happens. The following day, weeks, months or even years, more children are hurt or killed for retaliation never falls short and many times the price is very high. We never stop to think that all we do is hurt and kill each other. We defend and protect our hoods, territories when we own nothing in them. We never stop and realize that those kids in the other hoods are just like us. We only destroy what little we have. And we never build anything positive. Nothing!

While all of this is happening we steal and rob violently, to get drugs. We sell drugs to stay high, make ends meet or for weapons for our new family. Everyday we wake up to this environment as children we are taught these social skills. So life itself becomes a way of survival. It becomes a survival like the wild. The animals prey on each other. The young animals are taught right away of predators. The young animals grow up learning how to survive. And all it knows is what its taught, survival. It's the way of the wild. If you were to see a young bear caught in a bear trap, and you were trying to help this bear. When you got near this bear, chances are it will try to get away from you. Or the bear will attack you. The bear is using his survival instincts. And doesn't know any better that you're trying to help it. And so as children we adapt to our environment. The social skills we learn around become our survival.

Many times our parent(s) at home grew up in the same environment. Their parent(s) grew up in the same hood. So they don't know any better. So, it is ok that their kid of 12, 13, 14, 15 years old to have a girlfriend or boyfriend. It is ok for them to have sex. It is ok for them to act violently. It is ok for them to do drugs. For them to be in and out of juvenile facilities.

This is just a summary as to where many of us come from, not all, but most of us. All you have to do is open a newspaper or watch the news. And you'll see that the cycle continues. In the hood we are made to believe that this is the only way of life. Which is a lie. For some of us we learn a little too late. Some of us die before seeing our 21st birthday. Some of us end up in prison for the rest of our lives. The rest of us wait to be executed. How does one break the cycle? How does one change a lost soul, or how does one change? I am not sure, but one thing I know for sure, there is nothing in prison for no one! And only death awaits you on deathrow. Anyone living this life. It's never too late to change. Don't wait till it's too late. Get help anyway you can. Make a change..

Love & Blessings, Carlos Trevino

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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