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
Richard Knight
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 : "It's about my penpal she has changed my life from a mental hell, her letters have rolled back the clouds in my life and allowed the sunshine to burst thru. I am so impressed by this beautiful women that I am not ashamed or embarrassed to acknowledge her as my friend – Best Friend. I couldn’t love her more. "

Art and Writing From Death Row

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An Essay By John E. Robinson, Kansas

Warning Labels

Writing, putting pen to paper, is becoming a lost art. If a message can’t be texted, emailed or tweeted in 140 characters or less, the effort seems to be too much. Many years ago, in an attempt to maintain contact with my family, I started a chain letter. Each month kids, grandkids, now great grandkids would add a short paragraph to a letter and send it on. It kept me ‘in the loop’.

One fun adventure we did annually was for all to compete to locate the funniest warning label on a product and on that month include it in the letter. As they grew and years passed — some now in college, some with their own children - this timely project fell by the wayside, they got too busy!

To my surprise, this year the family decided to make an event of it again - “Make Papa laugh on Father’s Day”. The following are the warning labels they located on products being sold in retail stores this year.

  • On an electrical router used for woodworking — “This product not intended for use as a dental drill.”
  • On a baby stroller “Remove child before folding.”
  • On a prescription bottle of sleeping pills “Warning, may cause drowsiness.”
  • Sign on a toilet at a public sports facility “Recycled flush water unsafe for drinking.”
  • Sticker attached to an electric snow blower “Do not use on road”.
  • On a home dishwasher “Do not allow children to play inside dishwasher.”
  • Large red letters on a butane fireplace light cautions “Do not use near fire, flame or sparks.”
  • Label on hand-held massager warns consumers should not use “while sleeping or unconscious.”
  • A brand name household iron “Never iron clothes while they are being worn.”.
  • Cartridge for a laser printer “Do not eat toner.”
  • On a hand-held hair dryer “Never use hair dryer while sleeping.”
  • A can of self-defence pepper spray warns users “May irritate eyes.”
  • Notice on the packaging of a popular manufactured fireplace log “Caution — risk of fire.”

My two favourites of this year’s fun warning label hunt:

  • On a car sunshield that covers the inside of the entire windshield to keep the sun off the dashboard “Do not drive with sunshield on window”.
  • A box of small birthday cane candles reads “Do not use soft wax as ear plugs or for any other function that involves insertion into a body cavity.”.

This fun undertaking by my family this year simply to cheer me up on Father’s Day makes me proud. The effort itself says it all...they care and want to keep me included in the family circle. What better demonstration of love can there be that for Dad, Papa, Great Grandpa to be shown such love ...on Father’s Day?

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