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Donations to PrisonWriters are tax-deductible.

Loen Kelley was the first publisher to pay incarcerated writers for published stories and, until now, she has funded this operation entirely out of her own pocket. Now, with 501c3 status, Loen is hoping to get others involved.
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Our Team

Loen Kelley
Loen KelleyFounder
During the nearly two decades Loen Kelley spent producing true crime documentaries for CNN and CBS, she never gave much thought to what happened to the dozens of convicted killers she interviewed. It wasn’t until one of her subjects was sentenced to life in prison — a man she thought was innocent — that she started listening. And the more she heard firsthand about life behind bars, the more convinced she became that many prisoners, most prisoners, deserved a second chance. Especially because so many of them never had a first.
Gabe Ortega
Gabe OrtegaDirector of Social Media Marketing
Gabe Ortega is our Director of Social Media Marketing. He is responsible for promoting prison stories across social media, creating marketable videos and images to increase engagement, managing social media partnerships with other brands, and strategizing about future promotional campaigns. Gabe is an aspiring filmmaker who loves to shoot, write, and edit his own short films. He lives in New York and is busy making his own movies as a film student at Purchase College.
Paul Gardner
Paul GardnerAssistant Editor
We are happy to have Paul on board as an Assistant Editor. He helps us read, edit, publish, promote and assign stories written by our Contributing Writers. Paul was released from prison in 2017 and we are lucky to have him on board.
Charles Norman
Charles NormanContributing Reporter
For thirty-seven years, Charles Norman has been fighting his wrongful arrest, conviction, and imprisonment for a 1975 murder. Surviving decades in some of Florida’s most violent prisons, Charles has dedicated his life behind bars to self-improvement and helping others. He has become an award-winning artist, poet, playwright, and author of short stories and memoirs. He has readers in 92 countries worldwide.

Doug Alvarez
Doug AlvarezEditor and Prisoner Liaison
As a former filmmaker, Doug Alvarez is passionate about helping others tell strong and impactful personal stories that expose readers to experiences outside their own. When he’s not busy studying and applying to medical schools, Doug is an Editor with Prison Writers. He is also helping us develop a series of audio interviews with inmates. Doug lives in New York.
Anusha Qaisar
Anusha QaisarVolunteer
Anusha Qaisar is one of our amazing volunteers! She transcribes and edits inmates’ stories, corresponds with incarcerated prisoners on individual projects, and helps with organizational tasks that keep Prison Writers going. She is passionate about giving prisoners a voice and loves being part of an organization that strives to do just that.

What We’ve Learned

When we started Prison Writers, we had no idea it would become a lifeline for so many of our writers. We’ve received dozens and dozens of letters from prisoners thanking us for giving them a sense of purpose, something they thought they’d never find again. They love knowing someone on the outside cares about them and their message. They love having a “boss” who gives them deadlines. And they feel buoyed knowing they’re part of a greater good, in a community of their peers, working together to change prison policies.

Editor’s Note

We pay our writers $10 per published article, a small fortune to prisoners who work for next to nothing. (In Texas, prisoners aren’t paid at ALL.) And nothing is more rehabilitative and inspiring for someone living in caged isolation than having someone from the outside world care about their well-being and believe in their efforts to rehabilitate themselves.  

A note on editing:  If a story needs to be rewritten or restructured, we give writers our suggestions and ask them to try again. For other stories, we might move a paragraph or two around or fix typos. But in all cases, we never do more than very light editing. Where necessary, we “translate” prison lingo for our readers. When possible, we fact-check any verifiable information.

Helpful Information For New Writers

If you know of an incarcerated writer who might be interested in contributing to Prison Writers, please have them send stories to me via Jpay. If Jpay isn’t available in their state, they can send stories (preferably typed!!) to me:  Loen Kelley at PO Box 334 in NY, NY 10002. And if they’d like more information, please send them Helpful Information for New Writers.