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 : "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 John E. Robinson, Kansas

Green Eyes

In May of 2016 a letter was slid under my cell door from Annah, a twelve-year old black girl who was undergoing intensive chemotherapy to fight aggressive cancer - osteosarcoma. First diagnosed at age ten with the disease, she had already endured one painful year of chemo treatment and the removal of the bone and cancer in one leg.

At age twelve, on her birthday, Annah was diagnosed with cancer again, this time a very aggressive form of the disease in her lungs. While she was undergoing the hours of chemotherapy treatment at the hospital, Annah’s mom was reading my book, Journey Of Hope. When she left to get something to eat, Annah picked up the book and began to read some of the articles and poems. For some reason they spoke to her.

With her mother’s permission Annah wrote to me and asked if I would please write a poem just for her. Knowing the situation, how could anyone refuse her requests? It was difficult! For a long time the words just wouldn’t come - my mind was frozen. Annah’s mom had sent me a picture taken at the hospital. A very thin, bald little girl whose body was enduring the ravages of both cancer and harsh chemotherapy. Looking at that picture I was taken by her big smile. Then I noticed she had wonderful sparkling green eyes. Because I too have green eyes, I sat down immediately and wrote Our Green Eyes, just for her.

Anna continued to write and we became close. When I received a letter addressed to ‘Poppa John’ it made me cry. This little girl not only had the biggest smile, sparkling green eyes, she had a heart to match and the most positive, optimistic outlook on life one can imagine.

When her mom told me in a recent letter the cancer wasn’t responding to the treatment, the tumours had grown, the doctors had given up and now would simply do all they could to keep her comfortable, I felt defeated too! This beautiful little girl had adopted me! She had become my daughter. A melancholy of hopelessness overtook me. I don’t understand how God would allow such a precious child to suffer so terribly?

As I reflected on Annah, her life, her precious letters, I realised she wrote to me because she needed someone who understood what she was going through. Being in that ethereal, uncertain space between life and death. Suffering something others just couldn’t comprehend. I hoped the letters I wrote her, the cards I made for her, helped.

With Annah’s passing, her suffering is ended and she is now free and healthy for eternity. My special little daughter, who adopted me, is at peace. But I will ask every single day until I die... Why God? I don’t understand why.

The following is Annah’s poem...

Our Green Eyes

There are blue eyes in abundance,
Brown eyes seem to be the norm.
We who are blessed with green eyes
Are few, special with hearts so warm.

Green eyes can flash with anger,
See adversity and sorrow.
Desperation, suffering, despair today,
Bright sunny skies tomorrow.

Those of us with green eyes
Are quite strong and full of pluck.
Perhaps that touch of Irish in us adds
Just a wee bit more good luck.

John E. Robinson, Kansas

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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