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
Paul Gamboa Taylor
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 : "I thanked God this morning for the lovely People in my life and for the overflowing gift of love that is in my heart for you and my penfriends. It's a very far step from the heart of ill emotions that I used to have years ago."

Art and Writing From Death Row

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An Essay By Kevin Brian Dowling, Pennsylvania

My Last Day On Earth

They say you should never ask questions that only a dead man can answer. But what if you could answer them? What if you could remember every detail of your death and aftermath? What if you continue to die over and over again?

I died for the first time at around 4.00 p.m. on 29th October 1997. It was a beautiful Autumn day, a Wednesday. I had prepared an appetising dinner for my family consisting of seasoned chicken breast, rice pilaf and fresh steamed broccoli drizzled with browned butter. I had picked up my wife from work and our toddler son from day-care. Our two pre-teen daughters arrived home from their day and were washing up before we sat down to supper. The meal was destined to go to waste as my family would dine on misery that night.

The doorbell rang accompanied by a loud knock as the dread that I had been feeling all day began to be realised. When I opened the door I was met by several police officers. One asked that I step outside as he placed me in handcuffs and arrested me for murder.

My toddler son ran after me only to be stopped by the outer glass door. Pressed against it, he wailed as his arms reached out for my embrace. After I was placed in the back seat of an unmarked cruiser, I noticed that my quiet middle class neighbourhood had been invaded by a small army of heavily armed police. Our neighbours came outside and watched tensely. I peered up towards my house and observed my two daughters looking out from the upstairs windows, crying and confused. My wife was stunned and numb. I never had a chance to hug or kiss them or to say goodbye. I never would ever again.

The police drove me away to the morgue over 35 miles away in another county, where I would be autopsied every day for the next year.

I later learned from my wife that police tore our home apart in search of evidence that never existed, even breaking toys apart as my family watched.

I had been a respected operations manager and investigator for twenty years, for private security, restaurant and retail companies. I had no criminal record. I was loved and respected by family, friends and employers.

Even before the police realised they had made a mistake, they targeted the fragile state of my family and exploited their trauma. There was no turning back. As documented in their own reports, and in letters from my wife, they aggressively initiated the process of turning my family against me with known lies.

I would die thousands of times since that Fall day in 1997, even after the final two autopsies they called 'trials' in 1998. They dissected me as I watched in their kangaroo court, removing my organs one at a time. They saved my heart for last. With demonic precision they sliced it into pieces.

I observe now from my corpse as I ask questions that only a dead man can answer. The manner of my death was homicide. The official cause of my demise was multiple rounds of perjury. No-one has been charged. The case remains open.

Kevin Brian Dowling, Pennsylvania

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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