Is it likely that my pen friend will be executed; and if that happened, how much support would I receive from Human Writes?
This depends very much on an individual’s legal circumstances, and in which State he/she is a prisoner. Sadly, some States very much continue with executions, so it is a real possibility. Your co-ordinator would be aware of the situation a considerable time in advance and would contact you. Between you, you can decide on the nature and extent of support you would prefer. Typically, your co-ordinator would be in touch with you several times before the date and would try to be available to you on the evening of an execution. They will then inform you if it has gone ahead. In the following days and weeks they are there for you too. You can contact them at any time yourself.
In addition, HW has specially trained, experienced counsellors who you can contact. You will be given their details in advance of any execution date. It is worth mentioning that the support we offer is obviously not available on the more impersonal internet sites for pen friends.
How much does it cost to belong to Human Writes, and why do I need to pay to write to an inmate on death row?
The annual member’s subscription is currently £23. Additionally, there would be postage costs for your letters, and we ask you to send a copy of the HW newsletter to your penfriend three times a year. (There is a reduced membership rate of £15 for low/waged/unwaged members.) The organisation needs some money behind it for unavoidable expenses (such as our newsletter production, and supporting the conference and socials, where we keep cost to the participant to the minimum and consequently sometimes need to top up from HW funds).
Once I have joined what happens next?
The secretary will allocate you to a state and the co-ordinator for that state will then be in touch with you to give you your new pen friend’s details and the rules and guidelines for writing to an inmate on death row.
How is Human Writes organised?
Human Writes was founded in February 2000. In addition to our Founder, Secretary and Treasurer, we have a team of co-ordinators covering all of the US States that still have the death penalty, plus Federal. There are also team members who produce the newsletter, run the money order and stamp shop, deal with publicity and advertising, organise the annual conference and social events, and sell prisoners’ work where possible. We also have a team of trained counsellors, supporting our office holders and our members, who can be contacted at any time.
Can I choose to write to a man or a woman?
There are comparatively few women on death row. You can ask your co-ordinator if there is a female inmate waiting for a pen friend but there is no guarantee that that would be possible.
Must the prisoner have my address?
Most members who join have no concerns about their prisoner friend having their home address. This is something that could be discussed with your state co-ordinator.
For an application form that you can print out, click here. Requires Adobe Acrobat, which can be downloaded here.
If you would like to contact us regarding membership, please visit our contact page.