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 : "It's about my penpal she has changed my life from a mental hell, her letters have rolled back the clouds in my life and allowed the sunshine to burst thru. I am so impressed by this beautiful women that I am not ashamed or embarrassed to acknowledge her as my friend – Best Friend. I couldn’t love her more. "

Art and Writing From Death Row

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An Essay By Perry Allen Austin, Texas

A Mother's Love

The Picture: a black and white image of a woman's face in shadow. Her hair is jet black and her skin is a pale ghastly white. Her lips are full and dark. Blood red perhaps? Her eyes have an intense predatory look as if anticipating her next meal.

She waits silently in the dark just inside the crypt door. The full moon is rising and its light casts the shadows of the steel fence surrounding the crypt upon her face. She watches hungrily, knowing that soon she will feed. Already she can hear the beating of the heart, the blood coursing through his veins. She can smell the freshness and purity of it. Her sharp eyes can see that it is a man of medium build with fair skin and dark hair. He is dressed all in black with a bit of white around his neck showing. Perhaps he is a priest? If so, what brings him out on such a night as this? He has something in his hand that he looks at occasionally and then looks among the headstones, reading the inscriptions as if he was searching for something. As he gets closer she sees that he is indeed a priest, perhaps around 40 years old, and very handsome. For a moment she contemplates bringing him over. It's been several years now since her master and love was caught and staked by the hunters and she's been very lonely. She's still young as vampires go, only being turned about thirty years ago. In her other life before she was turned she had been a happily married woman with a ten year old son that she loved very much. She tries not to think about her other life often, as the memories make the loneliness almost unbearable. The man has stopped at a headstone across the path, and as she watches, he falls to his knees and she hears him sob quietly, "Mother, I've found you at last." She slowly glides through the doors of the crypt and then through the gates towards the kneeling man. The hunger is twisting painfully through her guts now. She must feed! But the man must have sensed something, for he spins around and his eyes go wide in terror. All the breath leaves out of him and he whispers in horror "Mother! No!" His words cause her to hesitate, but only for a moment, for the hunger is too great and the red mist has fallen across her sight. As she falls upon him and rips out his throat, a fleeting moment of uneasiness and recognition crosses her mind, and then she begins to feed.

After she feeds she remains kneeling next to the body with her eyes closed, basking in the cold light of the moon, feeling the fresh warm blood coursing through her veins. She feels herself coming alive with energy. She is still young and it has been too long since she last fed. Finally she opens her eyes and they fall upon the headstone the man had been kneeling in front of. With a start she recognises the name on the stone. It is her own. Her own headstone and grave where she was buried so many years ago. She had forgotten. Then the words of the man come back to her, the words he whispered in terror before she fell on him. "Mother!" In shock and unwilling to believe, she reaches a shaking hand out and turns the man's face towards her, and suddenly she knows the truth, this is her son. The one she left behind thirty years ago. She looks at her son in horror, realising what she has done, and a long anguished cry of unbearable pain escapes her lips into the night sky. As her cries reach a crescendo the night suddenly goes silent for miles in all directions. The sound of insects still, children asleep in their beds cry out and stir uneasily in their dreams. Dogs awake suddenly and whimper in fear with their tails tucked in between their legs. Cats freeze, with their tails and hair standing straight up, their backs arched, hissing at something unseen. As the cry fades the night returns to normal. The insects continue their night serenades and the children become still and breathe easier in their sleep. The dogs rest their heads upon their paws and dream of chasing rabbits and squirrels, and the cats go back to their nightly prowling.

Back at the cemetery she's on her knees with the body of her son pulled into her lap, holding him tightly. Her tears of blood fall on his face and into his unseeing eyes. After some time has passes, she rises. She reaches down and lifts her son in her arms and carries him to the crypt. There she gently lays him into her coffin, brushes his hair back and kisses him. Before she closes the lid to the coffin she whispers softly "Goodbye my son, I'm sorry". She locks the door to the crypt and the gates as she leaves and then stands looking around. It will be dawn soon, the sky to the east is beginning to turn that light grey just before the sun rises. She turns and begins walking slowly towards the east, towards the dawn and the rising sun.

Perry Allen Austin, Texas

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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