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
John Robertson
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 Kevin Brian Dowling

A World Without Children

"I love you, Daddy!". God, how I miss hearing that. Those four words echo through the eroding valleys of my memory, last recorded nearly 13 years ago.

I struggle to envision their ebullient faces. I draw breath hoping to detect the distinctive scents of their innocent heads, as I once did, after God gifted them to this world.

I lived a good life. I never hurt anyone. I worked hard to provide for my wife and three children. I looked forward to a long happy life, to watching my children succeed, to knowing my grandchildren, and perhaps much more. Then, at a time chosen by God. I would leave this mortal plane and wear the wooden coat to the resurrection.

For reasons that are too complicated to detail here, the scions of Satan whose nefarious motives sent me to death row for crimes they knew I could not have committed, did so by targeting my traumatized family to accomplish their goal. They succeeded, and destroyed my marriage and alienated my children in the process.

What do my children look like or sound like after all these years? I do not know. Are they safe and well? I can only pray they are. Every parent knows that rush of panic when their child runs into the street, or eludes their protective sight in a shopping mall. When your child gets hurt or feels ill, you wish you could suffer in their stead.

Then there are those incredible moments of joy. The first smile and giggle of a baby are the purest forms of art and music in creation. You dedicate your life to witnessing their success in school and work, to being there when they find love, and seeing them instil the same values in their children.

I find myself exiled to a caliginous netherworld, permeated with calamity, in an interminable epoch. I am between paradise and perdition. In one sense I exist in a veritable dungeon, confined to a cement box in a world without humanity. This is a world without children. I was charged with false accusations, given an unjust castigation and branded for slaughter.

I look out my cell window and see an alternative universe. The red sun rising signals the spilling of blood. The stars are not beacons from distant worlds, but mere pinholes in the curtain of night. Each day feeds a growing past and a diminishing future. The book of my life already has 13 chapters of empty pages.

In another sense, I find myself dangling from the edge of a cliff, hovering over a misty abyss. I struggle to maintain my grasp on the jagged rock. I experience every moment in the lives of my children, both real and imagined.

Their voices waft through the mist from below. "Help me, Daddy!" I cannot help my baby. "Daddy, I don't know what to do". I cannot counsel my child either. I can neither climb to the acme nor can I release myself into the mist. My hands seem glued in place.

Occasionally I receive letters from my few remaining family and friends. Their letter provide momentary footholds, so that I can rest my weary arms.

Death Row takes away everything a man ever was, or will ever be, obliterating his past and annihilating his future.

The cries and pleas from the mist buffet my heart and soul like relentless turbulent winds of searing heat. This is a war without the usual battles and without physical weapons. I am inflicted with wounds that neither bleed nor heal. There is no re-quiescence.

I stoke the furnace of my broken heart with whatever fuel I can muster. Someday there will be nothing left to burn, and they will immolate me on the altar of false justice.

My mortal shell will disintegrate into embers and ashes, and drift away into the eternal mist below. I can see my children again! I experience another forgotten sensation as I feel their hearts beating against mine in a warm embrace! I hear those elusive words once again - "I love you, Daddy!".

Kevin Brian Dowling,

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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