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
Jeffery Kandies
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 Michael Worthington, Missouri


For me, as with most of us condemned to die at the hands of the State, death is a constant in our lives whether we want it to be or not.

We all know it is inevitable that we must die just as everyone must. But still it is heart breaking watching someone being taken away and put in solitary to await their own murder on a specific day and time. It is unnatural to know such things as the exact time and mechanism of your death.

I have watched close to forty people being taken away and killed by the State's executioners and it never gets any easier in any way. Whether I liked the person or not, whether they were mean spirited or empathetic is irrelevant, because in the end I still can feel their fear, their anguish and helplessness. The feeling of their pain hurts more than I can express and I know that someday - I know it is sooner than I think - I will have to endure the same fate.

But most of all, so will all those who love and care about me. It is ironic that the State proclaims it is not about revenge but instead justice, when for all, or most of us, it has been twenty years or more since we were sentenced to death. We are not the men we were and never will be again. I have watched and seen with my own eyes, not only how others change for the better (in most cases) but also how much I have changed. Even if we are not guilty of the crimes for which we are convicted we all for the most part realise that we made horrible decisions. But in a lot of cases, most in fact, we were not in our right minds to be making decisions at all because of drugs and alcohol. But man is not God and the State saying, “You should not kill" while themselves killing us seems hypocritical to me. As a true Christian I believe that all my sins are forgiven and washed away by the blood of Christ and soon I will stand before God and he will be my ultimate Judge.

I am sure he is aware that man sometimes plays God and yet the executioners themselves will have to answer for their own sins before God. If the whole philosophy of the State and our Government is to keep society safe from people who have done wrong, then haven't they already achieved this goal by putting us in prison for the remainder of our lives? This is a place where all hopes and dreams come to die and we live in stasis in warehouses for the living dead, where time stops. All I can do is hope that those I have hurt in my life and those who have been summarily murdered by the State are all at peace and that for them there is no more pain and loneliness. I hope that when my time comes I will find that peace also. I have spent the majority of my years from 14 to my age now, 43, in places like this. Again I am not the boy I was when doing drugs with Mom and Dad and other family members. I was a boy who grew into a man among addicts. Now I am a man who feels deeply when I see others hurting and it's killing me softly every year that I watch more suffering and death.

But I am reconciled to the fact that I will die at the hands of the State and others may live on in their self-proclaimed righteousness. But still in the end, death will come for everyone and I am at peace with myself knowing I have done wrong and realising I needed Jesus' sacrifice to pass on to a better place.

Some of the people who make these laws and decisions may not soon come to the realisation that what they have done and are doing is wrong. All that is left for me is to pray for their souls as well as my own and hope that one day they will see the light and get a chance to stand with God.

Michael Worthington, Missouri

(Michael Shane Worthington was executed on 06 August 2014 before he could decide on a title for this piece).

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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