Writing from Prison
Nicolas Lampert - Just Seeds Portfolio Project
These essays were sent to the Real Cost of Prisons
Project by men who are incarcerated. Additional essays and
other writing will be added.
We encourage you to contact the writer directly if you
like their work and/or want to use his/her work. If no
contact information is available, please contact
To submit political and analytical writing, please send
to The Real Cost of Prisons Project. There is no payment
available for posting writings.
For more information, contact email@example.com
or mail to:
Real Cost of Prisons Project
5 Warfield Place
Northampton, MA 01060
If friends, family and
others have access to a computer, please send writing as a
Word document or an email.
Writing: Inside and Outside
Advocate: Sentencing Justice Reform Advocacy (CA)
Mass Prison Voice, Fall/Winter 2012 Issue
Willy the Plumber Scholarship
"Specifically for children of inmates doing a lot of time or habitually getting locked up."
Salt Lake Tribune article about the Willy the Plumber Scholarship
Patricia Marshall Vickers Testimony to the Democratic Policy Committee Hearing on Solitary Confinement, September 18, 2012
Patricia Marshall Vickers is the co-editor, with her son Kerry Shakaboona
Marshall, of The Movement. This is from her testimony: "As I mentioned earlier I
am speaking from secondhand prison experience – like a nonsmoker who gets cancer
from secondhand smoke. So I know about people being held in a cell for 23 hours
at a time, day after day, year after year. I know of men who have spent five,
ten, twenty and thirty years in solitary confinement. I know their names and
have been in touch with them. " Kerry Marshall (Brother Shakaboona). I am Vice
President of the Pennsylvania Lifers Association at SCI-Rockview. I have served
as committee Chairperson of the NASACP branch at SCI-Graterford. I am an
Advisory Council member of the Real Cost of Prisons Project. I am also a
founding member of the Human Rights Coalition in Philadelphia, and the
co-founder and co-editor of THE MOVEMENT magazine. Moreover, I am a Juvenile
Lifer prisoner confined at SCI-Rockview, who has served nearly 25 years of
imprisonment within the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections’ state prisons,
with approximately 17 years of that time served in solitary - unjustly and for
Between the Bars
Between the Bars is a weblog platform for people in prison, through which the 1% of Americans who are in prison can tell their stories.
The Journal of Prisoners on Prisons
JPP is a prisoner written, academically oriented and peer reviewed, non-profit
journal, based on the tradition of the penal press. It brings the knowledge
produced by prison writers together with academic arguments to enlighten public
discourse about the current state of carceral institutions. This is particularly
important because with few exceptions, definitions of deviance and constructions
of those participating in these defined acts are incompletely created by social
scientists, media representatives, politicians and those in the legal community.
These analyses most often promote self-serving interests, omit the voices of
those most affected, and facilitate repressive and reactionary penal policies
and practices. As a result, the JPP attempts to acknowledge the accounts,
experiences, and criticisms of the criminalized by providing an educational
forum that allows women and men to participate in the development of research
that concerns them directly. In an age where "crime" has become lucrative and
exploitable, the JPP exists as an important alternate source of information that
competes with popularly held stereotypes and misconceptions about those who are
currently, or those who have in the past, faced the deprivation of liberty.
Voices From Alabama Death Row - A Search for Justice
In Memory of Jon E. Yount, 1938-2012 by Peter Wagner
David Casper is being held in extreme isolation due to escape attempts. He is held in the infirmary in Ely State Prison (NV).He mentioned his cell was painted orange not long ago... He has no pen or paper, just his boxers and a tee-shirt, but the guards give him pen insert and some sheets on which he writes letters and poems he memorizes by heart. He then has to hand in the pen and paper again. This has been going on for a year and 117 days and counting.
• "Change is Inevitable; Growth is Optional"
Keynote Graduation Address, San Quentin State Penitentiary Graduation Trust Program
(Remarks given on 16 December 2010)
Tyrone A. Werts
• Aging Out: True Justice, Fairness and Mercy
Tyrone Werts' sentence was commuted by Pennsylvania Gov. Edward Rendell on December 30, 2010. He was sentenced in 1976.
Captured Words/Free Thoughts: Collections of writings from prisoners
Volume 8 includes work from a writing workshop
held at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility.
Other issues (Volume 9 | Volume 10) have included work sent from prisoners
in IL, MI, TX, CA, KS, NJ and AZ. Stephen John
Hartnett, editor writes..."the magazine strives to
counter the corporate mass media's attempts to teach
us to fear prisoenrs as monsters by instead
cultivating and celebrating their talent, humanity
and indomitable spirit. Free copies are available by
writing or emailing: Stephen John Hartnett,
Department of Communication, UC Denver, P.O. Box
173364, MC-176, Denver, CO 80217.
TENACIOUS: Art and Writings By Women in Prison
An excellent journal of articles, poetry, and art
from women in prison. "We encourage women to share
with us and others in the hopes of educating those in
society and empowering other women to take a stand
for their rights and the rights of others. " Subjects
include: prison programs and how they do or don't
work. Mothers educating their children while on the
inside. Holding prison officials accountable for
their actions and inaction. Women prisoners uniting
to make a difference. Sexual discrimination or sexual
preference discrimination and other subjects. Free
for women prisoners. Men in prison send 2 postage
stamps for each issue. Those not in prison: $3 to
support the sending of free issues to incarcerated
women. Send fee for issues and submissions to
Tenacious, P.O. Box 20388, New York, NY 10009
Between the Bars
Between the Bars is a weblog platform for prisoners, through which the 1% of America which is behind bars can tell their stories. Since prisoners are routinely denied access to the Internet, we enable them to blog by scanning letters. We aim to provide a positive outlet for creativity, a tool to assist in the maintenance of social safety nets, an opportunity to forge connections between prisoners and non-prisoners, and a means to promote non-criminal identities and personal expression. We hope to improve prisoner's lives, and help to reduce recidivism.
Poetry Behind the Walls
PBW is the only ongoing journal in the world that
is dedicated to writings from youth that are
incarcerated. PBW is a collaborative project between
Save the Kids, Le Moyne College’s Center for Urban
and Regional Applied Research, SUNY Cortland’s
Criminology Department, the journal Social Advocacy
and Systems Change, and Hillbrook Youth Detention
CANCERFORNIA: A Letter to the Golden State
A Red Wolf can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org. The original letter was posted at
We corrected some formatting problems in the version below:
4 Struggle Magazine
This magazine focuses the insights and experiences of U.S. political prisoners on major issues of the day. While a lot of the writing is by political prisoners, other activists, allies, revolutionaries and insightful outside voices are included.
Views, thoughts, and analysis from the hearts and minds of North American Political Prisoners and friends.
Keep Your Coins, We Want Change
K.L. was incarcerated in NY State for five years.
He is currently attending college in New York City
studying engineering and is going to minor in
physiology. His goal is to start a non-profit to help
people who were incarcerated transition back to
Anthony Rayson Zine Collection
Accessible on DePaulUniversity
Library Special Collections and Archives. This is a
complete listing of South Chicago ABC Zine Distro, a
distribution network to people in the "free world"
and in prisons. Zines from prisoners around the
country are included in the materials listed.
Michael Santos is currently in his 22nd year of
continuous confinement for a first-time, non-violent
crime. He writes about the prison system, the people
it holds, and strategies for navigating confinement
The Beat Within/A Weekly Publication of Writing and Art from Inside
Jalil Muntaqim / Anthony Bottom
A selection of Jalil Muntaqim / Anthony Bottom's
writings is available at the freejalil.com
Correctional Capitalism in the "Land of the Free"
By Jens Soering. Prism Magazine, January-February
2008. Jens Soering is serving a life-sentence in
Virginia. His most recent book is The Church of the
Second Chance: A Faith-Based Approach to Prison
Reform, to be released this spring by Lantern Books.
His other books include The Convict Christ: What the
Gospel Says About Criminal Justice (Orbis 2006), The
Way of the Prisoner and An Expensive Way to Make Bad
People Worse. To learn more about Jens Soering go to
Inside Out: Voices from New Jersey State Prison
Poems, stories, memoirs, and commentaries by forty-three inmates.
This is a 20-page sampler assembled by Kal Wagenheim, who for 5 years
directed a creative writing workshop at the NJ State Prison in Trenton NJ.
It is a small part of a 70,000 word book with inmates' poems, stories,
essays. Some of the poems are also available online at
The Voices.Con newsletter is published monthly by term-to-life prisoners in
California focusing on issues of primary concern to those servicing a
long-term incarceration. All material contained within Voices.Con has been
provided exclusively by California's term-to-life prisoner population. The
information has been designed to also be of potential benefit in other
jurisdictions having term-to-life and long-term prisoners as well as
citizens or family members.
A collection of writings by James Bauhaus, LCF 88367, 8607 SE Flowermound Road, Lawton, OK 73501.
PEN Prison Writing Program
Founded in 1971, the PEN Prison Writing Program
believes in the restorative and rehabilitative power of
writing, by providing hundreds of people who are
incarcerated across the country with skilled writing
teachers and audiences for their work. The program seeks
to provide a place for prisoners to express themselves
freely with paper and pen and to encourage the use of
the written word as a legitimate form of power. The
program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes a
free handbook for prisoners, provides one-on-one
mentoring to inmates whose writing shows merit or
promise, conducts workshops for former inmates, and
seeks to get prisoners' work to the public through
literary publications and readings. Prison Writing
Program, PEN American Center 588 Broadway, Suite 303,
New York, NY 10012 E-mail: email@example.com Telephone: (212)
A Prisoner's Perspective
Blog by Dortell Williams
Looking in on Lockdown: A Private Diary for the Public
Dortell Williams is a prolific self-taught writer who
has an interesting insight to share. Dortell will
complete 18 years of continuous imprisonment (of a life
sentence) this year. He has spent his time wisely,
earning a correspondence paralegal certificate, as well
as teaching himself Spanish, stock trading and many
other useful subject. He is seeking a website to host
his writings and an editor to help him compile hundreds
of essays into a compelling book. He can be reached at
H-45771/A2-103, P.O..Box 4430, Lancaster, CA 93539.
By Dortell Williams
Dortell Williams is a forty-three-year-old life prisoner in California, where he has been confined for the last twenty years. A lover of learning, Williams calls prison his “university,” and proudly asserts that despite the inherent repression of prison, he has still accomplished “a list of personal achievements.”
He is currently studying for an associate’s degree in Seminary through a correspondence course. He has taught himself to type, operate computers, communicate in Spanish, and earned a paralegal certificate. But most importantly to him, he has taught himself to write, and by that means he passionately represents the underclass, speaking tirelessly to the mass injustice his peers and social class suffer in chucks of decades on a daily basis.
Williams is a proud father of a beautiful daughter, a mentor to many, and a follower of faith through action against scarce odds.