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So far Prison Writers Staff has created 199 blog entries.

What It’s Like Ten Years After Killing My Parents

A Dime Piece By Danner Darcleight Ten years in. What does it feel like? To paraphrase Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School. It feels like only yesterday I went away... and you know what a shitty day yesterday was. Committing the crime was the first day of the rest of my life. Nothing can ever be the same after such [...]

My DIY Rehabilitation in Prison

One day I finally said to myself – “you killed someone” – a young man’s life is gone. And I wondered how my mother would feel if it had been me who had been killed. I began thinking about my victim’s mother.

My Life Was Spared on Death Row, But Poetry Saved Me First

BY KENNETH FOSTER, JR. In 2000, I was 23 and struggling to find myself in a sea of death row madness. The madness wasn't just from the inmates there, and their stories, but from the situation itself. Basically, you grew or you stagnated. To grow was to progress and to stagnate was to regress. There is no in between. On [...]

Is Life Without Parole Worse Than A Death Sentence?

Courtesy, Joseph Dole Why I Am Still on Death Row by Joseph Dole I was never on “death row.” Instead of being sentenced to death by execution, I was sentenced to death by incarceration or Life-Without-Parole (LWOP), the invisible death row. Does that mean I’m mean trilled to have been “spared” the death penalty? Quite the contrary. Had [...]

A Prison Theater Program Changed My Life

Finding Family: Volunteer Programs Bring About Lasting Rehabilitation in Prison BY Adam Roberts Courtesy Adam Roberts Phoenix Players Theatre Group (PPTG) is a small, selective theater group that operates quietly amidst the 1,600 residents of the maximum-security prison in New York, meeting on Friday nights in a classroom in the prison’s school building. But this isn’t about the [...]

A Prisoner Writes: Here Is Why Solitary Confinement is Torture

A Look Inside Solitary Confinement in Texas: The Legal Practice of Mental and Psychological Torture the CIA Way – from the War on Terror to the War on Prisoners (with some personal stories towards the end) by Jason R. Walker Mainstream media, the outside public, and the average layperson have no idea what goes on in the prison system that [...]

Why Won’t Prisons Better Educate Prisoners?

Other than a person’s age there is no greater indicator of whether someone will recidivate than one’s level of education.

Warning: Borrow A Cup Of Coffee and You Could Become Someone’s Sex Slave

BY TRACY LEE KENDALL Courtesy of Tracy Lee Kendall Everyone in prison is ready to help in some way or another, but the word “help” has a very fluid definition. It can mean to do something to assist, but also to extort or rape or kill. It can mean a lot of things depending upon the nature of [...]

When a Bump On The Head is Just a Bump

I said everything I could to get the Safe Prisons Sergeant to believe that what had actually happened was the truth, but no one seemed to care.

A Prisoner’s Tips on Dealing with Police Officers

It’s surely proof that the world has gone to hell, when I become the voice of reason and defend the Boys in Blue. As a criminal who’s been arrested numerous times, I can assure you that cops don’t go out of their way to kill criminals. If they did, I’d be dead.

Book Review: Crook County: Racism and Injustice in Americas Largest Criminal Court

A decade ago Steve Bogira’s Courtroom 302 gave us a glimpse of the corrupt culture of the Circuit Court of Cook County’s courthouse at 26th and California in Chicago. Now a new book, Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court....

What Is It Like To Get Life in Prison?

I spent the first few years of my natural life sentence muttering incoherently to myself and chewing my fingernails to bleeding nubs while I contemplated the most painless methods of suicide for American prisoners. How’s a 23-year old kid supposed to process having to spend the rest of his life in a cage? He doesn’t. How does anyone at any age make sense of a future of captivity? He can’t.

Dogs in Prison

Walk the Dog By Chris Dankovich "Up Against The Wall!" Courtesy of "Manners for Mutts." Another dogs in prison program in Kentucky. When the prison I've grown up in partnered with a local animal shelter and a service-canine organization to start a dog rehabilitation and training program, it had been nearly 4,000 days since I had last seen [...]

Is Prison The Right Place for Zach?

Getting a visit can almost be harder than not ever setting any at all. The pain of seeing them walk away, for what can seem like forever, or the feeling of being nothing more than a burden or a pity, can be more painful than the high that seeing the person brings.

Future Dreams

I've fallen asleep alone every night of my life. For half my life there's been another person in the room, but that's not the same. While I don’t have anyone lying next to me to keep me warm, I've imagined someone there every single night. My arms around my pillow, fingers weaving between the sheets, I imagine a lover's hand, hair, face. I've woken up kissing the pillow, embarrassed, the next moment scraping lint and dust off my lips.

From A Dear Reader…

Dear Prison Writers, Just wanted you to know that I am excited to share this site with people I know... Our family went through the whole “intro to prison life” when my 40-year-old husband drove from Texas to Colorado to rob a marijuana dispensary. Dumb move. He’s serving time in Colorado and the rest of us have suffered greatly for [...]

SUPER FRIENDS: a Book Recommendation!

SUPER FRIENDS by Whit Smith SUMMARY from AMAZON: Super Friends In late 2008 twenty-four year old Cincinnati native Whitney Smith begins writing a blog he titles "Super Friends" from his solitary confinement cell at USP Terre Haute, where he is half-way through a 6 ½ year sentence for unarmed bank robbery. With no computer access, he mails handwritten [...]

I Joined Facebook From Prison!

By: Jeremy Farler, Contributing Writer As I stared at the cell phone screen prompting me to register and start to build my own Facebook page, what was shining back at me was the light of opportunity. I had already done the impossible. Even I couldn't believe how quickly I was able to talk her into bringing in a cellphone. But [...]

The Gross Things Prisoners Do When The Water Is Shut Off

By: Daniel H. Harris, Contributing Writer Eastham is an old prison with a slowly decaying network of pipes to provide water and remove sewage. For one reason or another we are without running water every few months. In the free world this would only be inconvenient. In a prison, well, read on. They do rolling flushes of each line [cell block [...]

A Prison Program Changed My Life

By: Carrie Ames, Contributing Writer Somewhere in the purgatory between jail and prison I was convinced that prison would be a land of opportunity.  I was told of advanced education, treatment, activities — glorified misperceptions by people who had never been to prison, whose closest experiences were TV shows, fictional books and the misleading DOC [Department of Corrections] websites. After [...]

Former Cop, Now Inmate, Says Mentally Ill In Prison Are Abused

By: Edwin Garcia, Contributing Writer It is no secret that the state has used the Prison system as a dumping ground for the mentally ill. Common sense would lead an observer to conclude that an environment as degenerative as prison is not the best location to place a person who is suffering from mental illness. Yet the people who run our [...]

A Prisoner’s Case for Rehabilitation in Prisons

By: Matthew Leachman, Contributing Writer Most of us will get out. Some will stay in prison for only a few months; others will stay for a few years, but only a small percentage will die behind prison walls without ever again walking free. Most of us will get out, which is why rehabilitation is a goal that every rational person [...]

I Taught Myself Yoga In Prison – And It Changed My Life

By: Daniel Harris, Contributing Writer Many are intimidated by the expensive trappings of yoga. When you take away all the specialty items, forget the retreats to faraway places, and make do where you are with what  you have, yoga comes alive. Yoga's roots were in a hovel; it has only recently taken to life in palaces. I began my yoga [...]

How A Dogs in Prison Program Changed My Life

By: Robert Molloy, Contributing Writer I am often amused by the prison stereotypes I run across in the media. We are all big, buff, tattooed beasts who spend our days pumping iron, slugging the boxing-bag, and intimidating the other stereotypes: weak, effeminate youngsters, barely-bearded. While there are a few who fit those molds, the reality – at least in the [...]

Prison Gangs: Here’s Why We Fight

By: Justin Hightower, Contributing Writer 2010 was mid-roar. Springtime in Greenhaven [Correctional Facility] was marked by an uptick in gang violence. The night of June 10th could have been a case study. Under a sky so blue not a contrail drifted, iron weights rose and fell above the freshly cutgrass. On the court, facedown in an ever-blossoming pool of blood, [...]

The Great Philosophers Changed My Life In Prison

By: Larry Bratt, Contributing Writer In Voltaire’s A Philosophical Dictionary, there’s the question, “Can a person change his or her character?” Voltaire’s suggestion that “we can improve, we can smooth down, we can hide what nature has placed in us. But we put nothing there ourselves.” Discussions with fellow inmates about this went back and forth, as a few men [...]

When You Grow Up In Prison, Did Your Life Ever Really Begin?

By: Chris Dankovich, Contributing Writer Sometimes, after my roommate has gone to sleep (or has left the room, or when no one is looking), I grab my pillow and hold it tightly, pressing my face against it. I fall asleep with my arm wrapped around it, or with it pressing against my back, pretending that I'm not alone – or at least [...]

Take A Look Inside Prison’s Underground Economy

By: Michael Winsett, Contributing Writer When it comes to the underground economy in prison, you have to live inside here to understand it. For example, inmates use “postage stamps” as poker chips. At the end of the night, you can keep the postage stamps or cash out the postage stamps for other items. Then there’s those inmates who run “inmate [...]

After 20 Years of Solitary in A Supermax Prison — They Send Me To THIS Place?

By: Mustafa Zulu, Contributing Writer For the past two decades, up until April 27, 2015, I was living in solitary confinement at the only federal Supermax prison in America, ADX Florence in Colorado. I was housed and handled under the high-max custody level. No less than three guards had to escort me anywhere I went (it's called a three-man hold). On [...]

The Alternatives To Violence Project Changed My Life Forever

By: Michael Winsett, Contributing Writer One day I looked into the activity room in the unit where I live and I saw inmates participating in some kind of class.  First thing I thought was that it was just “another” prison program, won’t do me any good to sign up for it. There were three females and one male from outside [...]

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