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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 lois@realcostofprisons.org

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 lois@realcostofprisons.org 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.

Bro. Ismail Abdul Hakim Akbar

DC728085/0-1-115SU, Gulf Correctional Institution Annex, 899 Ike Steele Road, Wewahitchka, FL 32465

James M. Anderson

#12058943, 2605 State Street, Salem, OR 97310

By an anonymous MA prisoner, 2/22/2011


  • Justice Denied: The Compelling Case of a Man Who Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt is Innocent, Yet Sits on Florida's Death Row
  • If you would like to contact William Kelley, write to:
    William Kelley
    Union Correctional Institution
    7819 NW 228 St.
    Raiford, FL32026

    Joseph Aragon

    RIP March 9, 2015

  • Where Do You Go? 4/6/2009
  • California S.H.U.s (5/2010)
  • My Existence (11/09)
  • Two poems:: "Forest of Stone" and "Can you feel my pain?"
  • Long Quiet Mornings (PDF)
  • My Space in This Place, May 2009
  • Two poems:, "Gnashing of Teeth" and "Society is Dying," April 2009
  • Five poems: "Big Money Deals," "Solitary Confinement," "I Am Validated," "Concrete and Steal," and "Twisted Minds"
  • Five more poems
  • Three poems, January 2009
  • Author Unknown

    T. Lamont Baker

    0915700, Columbus Cor. Inst., P.O. Box 8, Brunswick, NC 28424

  • A Convict's Perspective: Critiquing Penology and Inmate Rehabilitation (Paperback) by T. Lamont Baker (2014) "Baker sees that A Convict's Perspective is poised to disrupt and refine the ways in which traditional penologists, criminologists, and prison officials view, approach, and seek to actualize prisoner reform. He now sees the role that his writings can and should play in the evolution of penology as a field of study. This vision is most appealing to him. This vision is what is compelling this self-taught Millennial to transform the prison system; it's what makes him believe that prison can go from being a criminogenic gladiator school to being a radical organic university that creates high-quality, law-abiding citizens."
  • Love Me Into Helping Myself: The Virtues of Extra-Penal Support
  • The Court Is Allergic to Prison
  • "Coach" Baltimore

    Jacob Barrett

    C07320, Santa Rosa Correctional Institution, 5850 East Milton Road, Milton, Florida 32583-7914

  • No More Training: That Should Cure the Problem (Sept. 2016)
  • Our Enemies in Blue (book review)
  • Court Update, June 23, 2016
  • Orlando (poem)
  • In Memory of the Orlando Souls
  • A Few Points
  • Exiled in Purgatory: Solitary Confinement Is Physical Starvation By Another Name
  • Oceans Away Published in Inside Time, the UK's "National Newspaper for Prisoners and Detainees," November 30, 2015
  • Letter to a reporter on his life in prison, solitary, and more.
  • Muslims Are Not the Problem
  • I Fear The Police More...
  • Building a Culture of Corruption
  • Update on OR Court of Appeals: November 16, 2015
  • The Apple Doesn't Fall Far From McCarthy
  • Oregon Court of Appeals Ruling. Barrett (pro se) v. Peters, Director of OR DOC Ruling in Jacob's favor concerning the treatment of OR prisons held on interstate compact. October 7, 2015. The OR DOC is appealing to the OR Supreme Court. The DOC brief is due Dec. 10, 2015 to overturn the Appeals Court decision.
  • Recognizing the Past in Today's Politics
  • Exiled in Purgatory: Killing Our Children
  • Exiled in Purgatory: More Insanity
  • Thunderdome
  • Ireland Has Spoken Clipping from The Irish Echo newspaper, September 2-8, 2015
  • Flowers in the Dark
  • Exiled in Purgatory: We're All Animals
  • Exiled in Purgatory: Justice Denied
  • Exiled in Purgatory: Still
  • Exiled in Purgatory: National Inferiority Complex
  • Exiled in Purgatory: Controlled Feeding
  • Exiled In Purgatory: A Failed System
  • Truth, Justice, and White Supremacy
  • Letter to Black and Pink
  • Asatru
  • I Demand
  • Privatized health and prisons
  • Religion Used for Hate
  • Response to Mary S
  • Stop Lying
  • Mr. Clair L. Beazer

    Great news! Clair is no longer in prison.

    Clair Beazer sent this quote in a recent New Year's card: "We who lived in the concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of his freedoms-to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." -Viktor E. Frankl-"Man's Search for Meaning"
  • Please Help See also a related bill in the Colorado legislature
  • Colorado DOC in Need of Correction
  • Specious Versimilitude
  • Lockdowns and Monsters
  • It Is Another Sad Day in the C.D.O.C.
  • Running Joke
  • Video Visitation
  • Marcus Bedford

    K-00220, J Wing 226L, P.O. Box 600, DVI Fac.A, Tracy, CA 95378

    Marcus Bedford is incarcerated in Soledad prison. Some of his cartoons can be found on our Comix from Inside.
  • Niggerable Offense
    According to author Marcus A. Bedford Jr., White America could be blamed for all the problems of Black Americans two hundred years ago. Today, however, more of that blame rests on the shoulders of the Black community itself. In "Niggerable Offense: Are you a Violator?", the author takes a closer look into slavery and how a "niggerable offense" continues to cripple their culture to oblivion.
  • Orlando Corey Bell

    #1093797, Ware Corr. Inst., 3620 Harris Road, Waycross, GA 31503

  • Letter, April 2013
  • Marlon Blacher

    CDC #G50077, Bed: Dr/211, P.O. Box 4670, Lancaster, CA 93539-4670

  • Crime Pays
  • CDC-R?
  • Actions Speak Louder, with author's note: "My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of Trayvon Martin and Oscar Grant."
  • Freedom and Justice
  • A Humble Proposal
  • Michael Braae

    270679 W.C.C. AT 105 IMU P.O. Box 900 Shelton, WA 98584

    Mr. Akil Brown

    F54496, ASU 1/152, P.O. Box 3456, Corcoran, CA 93212

    Keith Burley

    #EC-0000, Box 9999, LaBelle, PA 15450-0990

    Keith Burley writes, "Please publish this writing of mine on your website and include my name and address beneath, encouraging fellow writers, poets and anyone interested in prison reform to contact me."
  • The Beast!
  • A Prelude to Madness: An Analysis of Incarceration and the Mentally Ill
  • The Hole (poem)
  • Edwin Castro

    #95A6664, Green Haven Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 4000, Stormville, NY 12582-0010

    Jerome Coffey

    AS-1558, SCI-Forest, JC-2021, P.O. Box 945, Marienville, PA 16239

  • Womb
  • Various letters and documents, 7/09
  • 7-2-09 Letter concerning the drain of taxes from Philadelphia to supporting prisons in rural PA.
  • Article on $13.5 M from stimulus package for policing in Philadelphia
  • 7-13-09 letter: legislation driven by ALEC and the cost of prisons to communities in PA
  • Memo to SCI Greene on mental and emotional tortore to Jerome Coffey in RHU for 8 years.
  • Chart of Distribution of Juvenile LIfers in SCIs in PA, 7/09
  • Michael Contreraz

    C-45857 D4-104L, P.O. Box 5242, Corcoran, CA 93232

    Al Cunningham

    San Quentin Prison, P.O. Box E-22600 (1E69), San Quentin, CA 94974

    Charles Diorio

    W103769, SBCC, P.O. Box 8000, Shirley, MA 01464

  • Open letter on the Special management Unit and the Role It Plays in Criminal Recidivism
  • MCI Shirley: A Village of Misery
  • MCI Shirley is for the birds
  • Black History Month: A Year Round Effort in Massachusetts
  • Charles Diorio is the author of numerous books that include novels, memoirs, screenplays and essays and welcomes letters from readers.
  • The Misery of Illness Behind Bars
  • Happy Hour in Shirley World
  • Joseph Dole

    K84446 Stateville Correctional Center, P.O. Box 112, Joliet, IL 60434

  • Control Units & Supermaxes: A National Security Threat Unbeknownst to the majority of the public, isolation chambers in prisons have proliferated over the past few decades to the point where 100,000 people or more are being held in long-term solitary confinement on any given day in the United States. Even less known by the average citizen is the serious threat supermax prisons and control units pose to the country as a while. They not only severely affect those entombed inside them, but also the guards who work in them, and the communities those prisoners and guards return to. Control Units and Supermaxes: A National Security Threat details those affects and threats as well as the experiences of several states' efforts to reconsider the practice. Publication Date: June 2016
  • Abolish Long-Term Solitary Confinement: It's A Threat to Public Safety
  • Call to Arms for Education by men who are incarcerated at Stateville prison.
  • The Perfect Cellie
  • Joseph Dole's Facebook page
  • A Costly American Hatred A Costly American Hatred is an in-depth look at how America’s hatred of “criminals” has led the nation down an expensive path that not only ostracizes and demonizes an ever-growing segment of the population, but is also now so pervasive that it is counterproductive to the goals of reducing crime and keeping society safe, wastes enormous resources, and destroys human lives. Anyone who is convicted of a crime (and many who aren't convicted, but only charged) is no longer considered human in the eyes of the rest of society. This allows them to be ostracized, abused, commoditized, and disenfranchised. The rest of society sanctimoniously rejoices in all of it, with a self-righteous “they deserve it” mantra. It does nothing to lessen crime though. Instead, it more often than not increases crime, tears at the fabric of society and individual families, and creates a permanently impoverished “criminal” underclass. Most people are unaware of just how awry our criminal justice policies have gone. A Costly American Hatred seeks to educate people on how pervasively society ostracizes people who fall into the clutches of the criminal justice system and the toll it is taking on our country.
  • Dole Native American drawing

    Drawing of Native American by Joseph Dole

  • Death in Prison: the Top 3 Killers
  • The Chicago Police Department: At the Pinnacle of Police Corruption, and A Menace to Society
  • Brief bio
  • Rethinking Illinois' Truth-in-Sentencing Law
  • Prisoners (1), poem, 8/15/2013
  • A Waste, poem, 4/8/2013
  • PIC, poem, 3/26/2013
  • American Supermax (poem, 2008)
  • The Prison Diary of Joseph Dole
  • Illinois Abolishes the Death Penalty
  • Proposal for A Cost-Conscious Criminal Legislation Act
  • The Meaning of Life
  • IDOC Bilks Illinois Prisoners
  • Rethinking Illinios' Truth-in-Sentencing Law
  • Criminality: Evil or Environmental?
  • H.U.A.C. Redux
  • Juvenile Adults This essay is a recent PEN Award.
  • Unilaterally Punitive This essay won a PEN Award and is a forthcoming issue of The Journal of Prisoners and Prisons.

    Also, from the New Research and Papers section:

    Preliminary Findings Concerning the Financial Costs of Implementing Illinois Truth-In-Sentencing Laws (2002 – 2004)
    January 11, 2011. Prepared by: Joseph Rodney Dole, II. Joseph Rodney Dole, II is a prisoner at Tamms Supermax Prison. He can be contacted at: Joseph Rodney Dole II, K84446, Tamms Correctional Center, 8500 Supermax Road, Tamms, Il 62988

  • Leonard Donald

    W80257, MCI Cedar Junction, DDU, P.O. Box 100, South Walpole, MA 02071

    John Feroli

    Old Colony Prison, Bridgewater, MA

    Shawn Fisher

    W58410, MCI Shirley, P.O. Box 1218, Shirley, MA 01464

    David Garcia

    98A6674, Attica Corr. Facility, Box 149, Attica, NY 14011-0149

    Richard Geffken

    V01102 C2103L, Mayo CI, 8784 West U.S. 27, Mayo, FL 32066.

    Luis (Levy) Gonzalez

    T-67569, CSATF, F2A-05-01, P.O. Box 5244, Corcoran, CA 93212-5244

  • Appeal to the Public, 8/09
  • Letter to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, 8/09
  • Forward by Luis Gonzalez and Jose Felix, both whom are incarcerated in Corcoran, CA. Luis was asked for a comment to be included in the book edition of the Real Cost of Prisons Comix. This is what they wrote.
  • Kristopher J. Govea

    F17942, CA Correctional Institution, 4B-4A-111, P.O. Box 1906, Tehachapi, CA 93591

    Marcos Gray

    K69488, Stateville Corr. Center, P.O. Box 112, Joliet, IL 60434

  • Subconsciously Unconscious “Subconsciously Unconscious” spawns from the author’s hopes, visions and desire to see “African Americans” prosper beyond economical positions, but sociological as well. This book deals with a variety of topics, such as the educational system, the political system, the religious system and the judicial system to name a few. All of these institutions seem content with the 3rd or 4th class citizenship “African Americans” suffer with. This book deals with ideas, which if applied, the author believes that this hook could alter and reverse much of the problems our communities deal with on a daily basis in life.
  • Gordon Haas

    Chairman, Norfolk (MA) Lifers Group, MCI Norfolk, P.O. Box 43, Norfolk, MA 02056

  • An Analysis of Parole Decisions For Lifers By Age At Time of Hearing (August 2016)
  • MA Department of Correction 2014 (July 2016)
  • The Massachusetts PES Program
  • Parole Decisions for Lifers - 2015
  • A Report on the Sources and Uses of Funds 2014-2015 A Report on the Income and Expenses From MA Department of Correction's Central Inmate Benefit Fund, Central Law Library Account and Central Program Account. For the period July 1, 2014- June 30, 2015. October 2015.
  • What is the Norfolk (MA) Lifers Group?
  • A Report for the Massachusetts Department of Correction Institutional Statistics As of July 1, 2015. Report completed September 2015.
  • A Report on the Sources and Uses of Funds A Report on the Sources and Uses of Funds From the Massachusetts Department of Correction's Central Inmate Benefit Fund (Z1), Central Library Fund (Z176) and Central Program Account, September 2015
  • The High Cost of Incarcerating the Elderly and the Infirm in the Massachusetts Prison System
  • Parole Decisions for Lifers 2014
  • Costs of the 'New' Massachusetts Parole Board Dick Greineder and Gordon Haas for the Norfolk Lifers' Group, Summer 2014
  • Parole Decisions for Lifers, 2013 (March 2014)
  • Recidivism and the MADOC: A Report on Recidivism Rates for 1998 and 2007
  • A Report on the Sources and Uses of Funds From the MA DOC Program Account and Law Library Fund for Fiscal Years 2011 and 2012
  • July 2013 MA DOC Statistics
  • Notes for DOC Institutional Fact Cards as of July 2013
  • Parole Decisions for Lifers For 2011-2013 March 2013
  • Massachusetts Department of Correction 2012
    An insightful, comprehensive (and sometimes ironic) report of the current state of the MA DOC including an examination of the truth about "overcrowding", recidivism and what is driving it, the absurdity of the DOC's evaluation of themselves, consequences of over-classification and lack of parole and excellent recommendations and more.
  • Forgiveness and the Parole Board by Gordon Haas and Lloyd Fillion. July 2012
  • July 2012 Massachusetts Department of Correction Institutional Statistics
  • July 2011 Massachusetts Department of Correction Institutional Statistics
  • Two letters written by Gordon Haas (Chairman of the Norfolk, MA Lifer's Group) in response to Michael Rezendes' 7/19/11 Globe article on paroled lifers.
    - Letter to Rezendes
    - Letter to Josh Wall, Chairman of the Parole Board
  • Letter to Sandra McCroom, Undersecretary of Criminal Justice, Exec. Office of Public Safety and Security, on Charging Fees to Prisoners. September 7, 2010.
  • And other reports by Gordon Haas posted on the RCPP website:

  • A Report on the Massachusetts Department of Correction- 2011
  • Life Without Parole: A Reconsideration
    By Gordon Haas and Lloyd Fillion by the Norfolk (MA) Lifers Group and the (MA) Criminal Justice Policy Coalition. November 2010.
  • A Study of Parole Board Decisions for Lifers Massachusetts: Phantom Prisoner, 2003-2006. Published May 2007. To contact the Phantom Prisoner and/or subscribe to the Phantom Prisoner Newsletter ($5 for prisoners in stamps or cash and $10 for free world subscribers), write to Phantom Prisoner, Ltd., P.O. Box 114379, Centerdale, RI 02911
  • A Study of Parole Board Decisions for Lifers 2008 Lifers Group, Norfolk Prison, Massachusetts. Lifers' Group, Inc. of MCI, Norfolk has obtained data from the MA Parole Board on the hearings given Lifers, most of whom were convicted of 2nd degree murder. (A very few were convicted of other crimes which the M.G.L. provides for a maximum sentence of life. Those crimes include rape, poisoning, armed assault within a dwelling, armed robbery, kidnapping with intent to extort, and assault of a child with intent to commit rape.) The very detailed analysis, with discussion, separates decisions by those who are before the Parole board for the first time and those who are applying a subsequent time. Also listed are the reasons that the Parole board gives the applicants, both for approved parole and parole denied, as is their frequency. Finally, the length of setbacks (time needing to elapse before an individual denied parole is allowed to reapply for parole.) is charted.
  • A Study of Parole Board Records of Decision for Lifers in 2010 By Gordon Haas, Norfolk Lifers Group, December 2011.
  • Matthew Hattley

    93A9739, Woodburne C.F., Riverside Drive, Woodburne, NY 12788

  • Questions and Answers
  • Change is Coming, Part 2
  • Change is Coming
  • Paying Homage
  • Surviving and Growing in the New York State Prison System - Part 2
  • Inside the Box: Recreation While Incarcerated Published in the Shawangunk Journal, January 16, 2016
  • Maintaining Relationships While Incarcerated: Our Jails Are Ages Behind the Rest of the World (Aug. 13, 2015)
  • Racism in America: The Policing Issue
  • Inside the Box: April 2015 Index
  • Inside the Box: The Other Side of the Story
  • Inside the Box: Ours is a Broken Prison System with response and counter-response, "A Clarification of What I Am"
  • Inside the Box: Parole Reform Now, October 9, 2014
  • Inside the Box: Parole Decision: the Breakdown, September 4, 2014
  • Inside the Box: Reasonable Doubt parts 1 and 2
  • An index to the "Inside the Box" columns
  • Inside the Box: Maximum to Medium Security: A Step Close to Home?
  • Inside the Box: Immoral Justice
  • In Search of Truth
  • Could 2014 Be A Year of Promise?
  • Four columns from the Shawangunk Journal. Matthew Hattley writes a regular column "Inside the Box". Posted here are: "A Prisoner Tells His Tale", "The Importance of Communication", "The Relevance of Education: Pre and Post Incarceration" and "The Marriott It's Not." The Shawangunk Journal does not have its own search feature, nor is it completely archived, but you can do a Google Search of it by following this link.
  • Wes Hester

    47129, 185 Dr. Michael Jenkins Road, Clayton, NM 88415

    David Hinman

    #0025374, Anamosa State Penitentiary, Post Office Box 10, Anamosa, Iowa 52205-0010

    Daniel L. Holland

    MCI Norfolk, P.O. Box 43, Norfolk, MA 02056-0043

  • 66-Cent Lunch
  • Andrew Housworth

    62161 ECF, Box 311, El Dorado, KS 67042

    F. DeAndre Howard

    #07757-089, Federal Correctional Institution, P.O. Box 5000, Pekin, IL 61555-5000

    Letter from F. DeAndre Howard, February, 2007. Contact the author at Reg.

    Aaron Isby-Israel

    Doc #892219, SHU B1012, P.O. Box 1111, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, 6908 S. Old US Hwy 41, Carlisle, IN 47838

  • Education Should Be A Human Right for All Indiana Prisoners No Matter What Their Status Is in Prison
  • Criminal Justice Reform: lifting the restrictions on the writ of habeas corpus
  • Charles James

    P91993, Cal Med Fac, P.O. Box 2000 G/216, Vacaville, CA 95696-2000

    Kurtis R. Jeter

    959775, Lawtey Correctional Institution, 7819 N.W. 228th Street, Raiford, FL 32026

    Kevin Johnson

    #1859887, Clements Unit, 9601 Spur 591, Amarillo, TX 79107

    Kevin “Rashid” Johnson & the New Afrikan Black Panther Party-Prison Chapter. In 1990, Kevin “Rashid” Johnson was a drug dealer, an ambitious member of amerika’s Black lumpen proletariat, or underclass. Like so many, as a young adult he was arrested and received a lengthy prison sentence. He has been incarcerated ever since – for the past eighteen years in conditions of solitary confinement.

    Joe Labriola

    P.O. Box 1218, Shirley, MA 01464


    Kern Valley State Prison

    Jerimiah Martin

    1452917, Pocahontas State Correctional Center, P.O. Box 518, Pocahontas, VA 24635

  • My Cell
  • Bro. Khalfani Malik Khaldun (Leonard McQuay)

    #874304, P.O. Box 1111 A-706 SCU, Wabash Valley Correctional Facility, P.O. Box 1111, Carlisle, IN 47838

    Sheldon N. Messer

    00A3204, Eastern NY Correctional Facility, Box 338, Napanoch, NY 12458-0338

    Abdur Nadheeru-Islam

    W-46510, Old Colony Correctional Center, One Administration Road, Bridgewater, MA 02324

    Patrick O'Shea

    MCI Norfolk, Box 43, Norfolk, MA 02056-0043

  • The Politicalization of Crime and its Unintended Consequences
  • Juvenile Justice: Seeking to Avoid The Real Possibility of a Favorable U.S. Supreme Court Ruling in Toca v. Louisiana, District Attorney's Office Quickly Makes A Deal
  • Juvenile Justice: Why the United States Supreme Court Should Make Miller V. Alabama Retroactive
  • Is There Really Justice For All?
  • Juvenile Justice: America's Often Hidden National Tragedy Physical and Sexual Abuse of Detained Juvenile Offenders
  • A Tour through the Circles of Hell, Odyssey, Spring 1993
  • Sentencing Juvenile Offenders to Life Without the Possibility of Parole in Massachusetts (2010)
    Patrick O'Shea is a Massachusetts prisoner serving an adult LWOP sentence. He has also been the coordinator of the award winning "Project Youth" youth outreach program at MCI-Norfolk for the past 19 years. He can be reached by writing him at MCI Norfolk, Box 43, Norfolk, MA 02056-0043.
  • Terry Olney

    60345, P.O. Box 11099, Omaha, NE 68111-0099

    Michael Owens

    J25599, High Desert State Prison C8-108, P.O. Box 3030, Susanville, CA 96127

    Michael has a web page at Voices for Inmates, and can be contacted via the e-mail form there.
  • The Problem Worse Than Crime: Notes On Juvenile Justice and Pyrrhic Victory (PDF, 2009)
    Quote by Angela Davis sent by Michael Owens:
    Jails and prisons are designed to break human beings, to convert the population into specimens at a zoo-obedient to our keepers, but dangerous to each other.
  • David Perryman

    AB 1204, D7290, CA Men's Colony State Prison, P.O. Box 8101, San Luis Obispo, CA 93409-8101

    Brian J. Polley

  • Consider This
    Good news! Brian Polley is no longer in prison.
  • Christopher Poree

    A311-507, Grafton Correctional Institution, 2500 S. Avon Belden Road, Grafton, Ohio 44044

    John Raymond

    W45018, Bay State Correctional Center, P.O. Box 73/Main 214, Norfolk, MA 02056-0073

    Karter Kane Reed

    Good news! Karter is no longer in prison.

    Karter Kane Reed was sentenced to prison at age 16. He has been incarcerated for 19 years as of June 2011.
  • An excellent letter writtten in response to The Boston Globe reporter Michael Rezendes' "Paroled Lifers" story published on 6/19/11. The fear-mongering and ill-informed front page article can be found here.
  • The Vision: A Conceptualization of an Effective Correctional System (And its Implementation)
  • The Cornerstone of Change (an essay about the role of Lifers in the prison system)
  • Milton L. Rice

    MCIN, P.O. Box 43, Norfolk, MA 020056-0043

    Changa Asa Ramu, aka Paul J. Rogers

    #BS-6500, P.O. Box 999, 1120 Pike Street, Huntingdon, PA 16652

    Mr. Paul J. Rogers

    Great news! (1-30-13) After 12 years, Paul is in the process of being moved from solitary to the general population. This is a testament to his resilience and persistance and to his family and friends who have advocated on his behalf.

  • R.R.L. Railroad Line
  • Still in Illegal Limbo: This is a statement written by Paul J. Rogers, (BS 6500, SCI Smithfield, P.O. Box 999, 1120 Pike Street, Huntingdon, PA 16652) locked in solitary (Restricted Release List) for 12 years. He has contacted Pennsylvania, national and international organizations seeking his release into the general population. Most recently, his appeal was rejected again by the DOC. You have his permission to use his statement in any way that will help him to be released from RRL.
  • Abuse of Authority
  • Juan A. Roldan

    MPS, 86-A-8348, Box 1245, Fishkill Correctional Facility, Beacon, NY 12508

    Tiyo Attallah Salah El

  • Ending the Obscenity of Prisons
  • Prisons ARE Factories of Failure
  • The Prison System is Broken
  • A New Approach Towards Abolishing Prisons This paper was read by Mechthild Nagel on behalf of Tiyo Attallah Salah-El at the International Conference on Penal Aboliton in London, July 2008.
  • The Expanding Prison Planet
  • A Call for the Abolition of Prisons
  • A New Approach Towards Abolishing Prisons (2008)
  • Gregg Savajian

    #125166, P.O. Box 6000, Sterling, CO 80751

  • Letter to Gary Maynard, President American Correctional Association on conditions including toxic water at Sterling Corr. Fac.
  • Brian Shepperd

    J-44638, P.O. Box 3461, 3A01-215, Corcoran, CA 93212

  • The Monster Within
  • Michael Skinner

    W42105, MCI Shirley, P.O. Box 1218, Shirley, MA 01464

  • Indelible
  • Mr. Kemoria Bright Cloud Smith

    #696218, Connally Unit, 899 F.M. 632, Kenedy, TX 78119-4516.

    Jason Allan Spyres

    K-99397, P.O. Box 1000, Taylorville, IL 62568

  • Drug Sentences Doing More Harm Than Good, letter to Decatur Tribune, 9/2013
  • Dear Governor Quinn and a letter to the Pekin Times
  • Tell Me, Where's the Downside?
  • It's Time to Correct Correction's Policies
  • Spyres' case was documented in an article in the Illinois Times, "The War on Weed: Prohibition Costs Big Bucks" (Feb. 9, 2012). View it at http://www.illinoistimes.com/Springfield/article-9633-the-war-on-weed.html
  • Joseph Stanwick

    636416, 777 FM 3497, Gib Lewis Unit, Woodville, TX 75990

    A Spark in the Dark
    Joseph Stanwick writes in his cover letter: "I have lived in solitary confinement for 17 years. I've seen men cut on themselves with razor blades, go on hunger strikes for the most absurd reasons, beat on the walls and doors....because solitary confinement/isolation can drive you loony. A book is a great companion in such situations."

    Davis Stephenson

    #118218, NFCF, 1605 East Main St., Sayre, OK 73662

    DJ Taylor

    #179983 Northern Supermax, P.O. Box 665, Somers, CT 06071.

    Jon Marc Taylor

    Jon Marc Taylor, PhD. R.I.P.

    Jon was my friend. He was an author, advocate and agitator. He wrote tirelessly about the need for education in prisons and for the restoration of Pell grants. He organized a debate team, wrote newsletters, letters to the editor and managed to organize the first and only day-long colloquium for the leadership of the NAACP inside the prison where he was incarcerated. Jon was also funny, kind and generous. Tragically, almost 2 years ago, he suffered a debilitating stroke while he was in solitary in retaliation for years of work. Rather than release him, they kept him.

    Jon died on Dec 27, 2015, still in prison. His work and his spirit will live on.

    Read How we all failed Jon Marc Taylor by religion and and ethics writer Bill Tammeus.

  • This Side of My Struggle: Prisoners on Suffering, Surrendering and Breaking Free
    Nandi Crosby, Editor. (Included is an essay by Jon Marc Taylor, PhD.) Review by Jon Marc Taylor: "This anthology is a collection of heart-wrenching firsthand accounts of prisoners who ache for redemption. Inmates in their first, second, and third decades of incarceration wrench out awakenings of tragedy and remorse in these narratives. Focusing on events leading up and since incarceration, this compilation of nonfiction essays is a biting commentary on loss and revival that takes place every day inside penitentiaries throughout the U.S."
  • Pell Grants for Prisoners: Why Should We Care?, published in Straight Low magazine, V.9, N.2, 2008. "Louisiana's Official Prison Magazine."
  • Call for Universal Suffrage in the United States
    Jon Marc Taylor, PhD is the author of Prisoners' Guerrilla Handbook To Correspondence Programs in the United States and Canada-3rd Edition, 2009. Published by Prison Legal News. It can be ordered from them at http://www.prisonlegalnews.org. $49.95. 224 pages.
  • Troy T. Thomas

    H-01001, Fac. A, Building 2, Bed 209u, P.O. Box 4430, Lancaster, CA 93539

  • A New Era of Sentencing Reform and Restorative Justice for the Violent Offender
  • The Eschatological Dilemma: The Problem of Studying The Black Male Only as the Deaths That Result from Anti-Black Racism 25 pages, 25 MB, Use this link
  • To End Mass Incarceration, Our Society Must Look Beyond the "Non-Violent Offenders"
  • A New Era of Sentencing Reform
  • We Charge Mass Murder (Or If You Prefer The Sanitized Euphemism of Genocide): The Crime of Government Against African Amerikan Men, Women and Children Prisoners
  • Mentacide: The Psychological and Physical Murder of Black Men, Women and Children
  • Black Lives Have Never Mattered In the United States of America and Never Will: A "Modern"-Day Slave's Perspective
  • America's Other Death Penalty Problem
  • Examining Power Disparities and Industrial Complexes from the Views of Frantz Fanon
  • Convict Criminology: An Afrikan-Centered Critique
  • Kebby Warner, Michigan

    Good news! Kebby Warner is no longer incarcerated
  • Review of The Real Cost of Prisons Comix
  • One Woman's Struggle
  • Mr. Kelly Lee Watts

    35401/5A-17, Potosi Correctional Center, 11593 State Highway O, Mineral Point, MO 63660

    Safir Chuma Asafo, aka Robert William

    BH8660, SCI Forest, 2 Woodland Drive, P.O. Box 307, Marienville, PA 16239-0037

    Dortell Williams

    H-45771 /A2-206, P.O. Box 4430, Lancaster, CA 93539

  • Dark Tales from the Dungeons: Horrors from the 'Hood for Youth to Beware A book by The Men for Honor Writing Group (Author), Dortell Williams (Author, Editor). This book is a collaboration of writings by The Men for Honor Writers Group at the California State Prison in Los Angeles County. This work – by prisoners serving time for non-violent drug offenses to first degree murder – offers diverse approaches to admonish, dissuade and advise youth how to avoid finding themselves in the horrific and tragic consequences of incarcerated life. The Men for Honor Creative Writing Class represents the unique California program located in the State Prison in Los Angeles County, called The Honor Program.
  • Formal Request for Comparison Study of California Prisoners Serving Life Sentences Without Parole to Those Servicing Life With Parole
  • Making Sense Out of Life Without the Possibility of Parole (32 pp, 5 MB PDF)
  • Convictions of the Innocent, by Dortell Williams and Tony Majoy
  • Dortell Williams is an award-winning essayist and writer. He is the author of Looking in on Lockdown: a Private Diary for the Public, an excellent book available through Buy Books on the Web.

    Dortell wrote the introductory essay for the newly published Seeking Redemption....At the Age of Innocence by Joshua King. His essay "Making Sense of Life Without the Possibility of Parole" is is anthologized in the newly published book, Too Cruel, Not Unusual Enough, an anthology published by The Other Death Penalty Project, edited by Kenneth Hartman.

    Please respond directly to Dortell at the address above.

    Michael Smokey Wilson

    AF #2695, Box 244, Graterford, PA 19426-0246

  • Lifers Incorporated Commutation Committee Information Sheet, December 21, 2010 by Michael Smokey Wilson, Chairman. Compiled prior to the commutation of Tyrone A. Werts, William Fultz, and Kevin O. Smith.
  • Letter from Michael Smokey Wilson, Lifers, Inc/End Violence Projects. Contact information:
  • Robert "Boston" Woodard

    B-88207, CCC, SF-74-10-L, P.O. Box 2400, Susanville, CA 96127-2400

    For more nearly 15 years, Boston has been writing articles about a view from the inside and documenting the abuse by prison officials and guards. In 1996, he was thrown in the hole for four months because the warden did not like what he was writing. A pro-bono attorney who took his First Amendment case and fought it for three years before a judge ruled that case must come to trial and the state dropped the charge and paid him compensation.

    Willie Worley, Jr

    0453523, B.C.I. #4880, Windsor, NC 27983

  • Proposal of Understanding Letter to Gov. Beverly Purdue and others on damaging footwear.
  • See also Willie Worley, Jr.'s Comix from Inside

    Derek Wright

    W80355, P.O. Box 100, South Walpole, MA 02071

    Andrew John Yellowbear, Jr.

    #24244, Wyoming Medium Correctional Institution, 7076 Road 55F, Torrington, WY 82240

    Donald Young

    1142114-5A-4, Haynesville Corr. Center, P.O. Box 129, Haynesville, VA 22472

    Writing: Inside and Outside

    Voces de Liberta: Youth Speak Out
    Poems by Poets  Santa Fe County Youth Detention Facility (September 2016)


    Wisdom Within The Pen

    Wisdom Within The Pen is a collaboration of creative writers, both prisoners and volunteers, at the Oregon State Penitentiary. In 2013, a prisoner had an idea. The book you’re holding is the result. Both prisoner and staff took a liking to the idea, especially since all profits resulting from the book’s sale would benefit Angels in the Outfield, an Oregon non-profit, which helps youth that have been the unfortunate victims of crime and abuse.

    The writing in Wisdom Within The Pen encompasses poetry, short story, and other forms of creative expression that are often autobiographical in nature. There are also many interesting, historical facts relating to the Oregon State Penitentiary and the inner workings of life behind bars.

    About Lifers' Club Publishing: For nearly 50 years the Lifers’ Unlimited Club has sought to meet the needs of prisoners housed in the Oregon State Penitentiary and elsewhere when possible. Though serving life sentences the members of the Lifers’ Club have strived to make this community a better place to do time via educational opportunities, fundraising efforts, charity sponsorships, and many other notable projects. The Lifers’ Unlimited Club is a self-sustaining, self-governed group of prisoners who actively participate in politics that help shape the direction of the club as a whole. We cannot change the past; however, we believe through rehabilitation and pro-social behavior we can create a more productive future.

    Writers Bloc

    Literary magazine from the Cornell Prison Education Program (CPEP) at Auburn Correctional Facility, a maximum security prison for men in upstate NY. Writers Bloc is made up of poetry and short stories by incarcerated students and our undergraduate teaching assistants from Cornell. [PDF of 2016 issue]

    The Incarceration Collections at the Rubenstein: The Role of Reading and Writing in the History of Prisoners’ Rights Movements - The Devil's Tale

    "The popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black, based on the memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman, has brought renewed attention to the conditions inside U.S. women’s prisons. While prison reform has not been contemporarily understood as a priority of the LGBTQ and feminist communities, the special collections at the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, illustrate the degree to which prison reform and anti-prison activism have, since the 19th century, operated as a cornerstone of both LGBTQ and feminist movements."

    Prison Writers Speak Out


    CURE-ARM MA Newsletter

    Winter 2015
    Summer 2014, Vol 1, Issue 2
    Spring Vol. 1, Issue 1

    Rain Shadow Review

    Rain Shadow Review is a product of the Creative Writing Workshops directed by Erec Toso at the Arizona State Prison Complex, Tucson. Contact: Rain Shadow Review, P.O. Box 85462, Tucson, AZ 85754-5462


    PrisonEducation.com is a source for prisoner education, and correctional education news, information, and research. Our purpose is to advance the position that prison education is fiscally sound, research- and evidence-based, and smart on crime.


    Let Me Live: Voices of Youth Incarcerated

    Poetry Behind the Walls (PBW) is one of the only ongoing series in the world that is dedicated to writings from youth who are incarcerated.


    Captured Words/Free Thoughts: Collections of writings from prisoners

    Volume 8 | Volume 9 | Volume 10 | Volume 11
    Volume 8 includes work from a writing workshop held at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility. Other issues 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. Stephen.hartnett@ucdenver.edu.

    APFFC Newsletter


    Mass Prison Voice

    Prisoner Express

    The Prisoner Express program, sponsored by the Durland Alternatives Library, promotes rehabilitation by offering inmates information, education and the opportunity for creative self-expression in a public forum. Participation in this program fosters self-exploration, enrichment and knowledge. The Durland Alternatives Library has a number of ongoing programs as parts of its Prisoners Express project. Poetry Anthology, Prisoner Express Newletter, long-distance learning. Address: Prisoner Express - 127 Anabel Taylor Hall - Cornell University - Ithaca, NY 14853

    U.S. Prison Conditions - A Human Rights Issue

    By Bonnie Kerness, Director, American Friends Service Committee Prison Watch Project, June 1, 2013.

    A Call for Aid in Building an Infrastructure for the Movement from the N.C.T.T.-Cor-SHU

    For more information: http://ncttcorshu.org

    Yale Law Journal Prison law writing contest winners (2013)

    "The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and the Importance of Litigation in Its Enforcement: Holding Guards who Rape Accountable" by Elizabeth A. Reid
    "The Meaning of Imprisonment " by Ernie Drain
    "Solano Justice" by Aaron Lowers

    Advocate: Sentencing Justice Reform Advocacy (CA)


    Willy the Plumber Scholarship

    "Specifically for children of inmates doing a lot of time or habitually getting locked up." Utah only.
    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 retaliatory purposes.


    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


    Christopher Petrella

    • "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.

    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 Center.

    CANCERFORNIA: A Letter to the Golden State

    A Red Wolf can be contacted at: thelastanarchist@aol.com. The original letter was posted at http://www.cannabismag.com/index.php/health/133-cancerfornia-a-letter-to-the-golden-state. We corrected some formatting problems in the version below: http://realcostofprisons.org/writing/cancerfornia.pdf

    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 society.

    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

    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 successfully.

    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 web site.

    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 http://www.jenssoering.com

    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 http://www.jerseyworks.com/trentonstate.html.


    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.

    James Bauhaus

    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: pen@pen.org Telephone: (212) 334-1660.

    A Prisoner's Perspective

    Blog by Dortell Williams

    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.

    Looking in on Lockdown: A Private Diary for the Public

    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.

    © 2003-2011 The Real Cost of Prisons Project