From Category: Resources for Prisoners
Located at Auburn University, APAEP offers classes in the arts and humanities to inmates in Alabama state prisons. The Project has created a travelling exhibit of "Art on the Inside" and also publish an annual anthology of their students' work.
Founded by writer Doran Larson, the American Prison Writing Archive is a free online archive of personal essays submitted by currently and formerly incarcerated people, correctional officers, and prison staffers. The project grew out of an anthology of prison writing that Larson edited, Fourth City: Essays From the Prison in America (Michigan State University Press, 2014). In a 2018 interview in Poets & Writers Magazine, he called the APWA a "virtual meeting place" to "spread the voices of unheard populations."
By the Stanford Graphic Novel Project. This fictionalized account of a real-life hunger strike to protest prison conditions exposes the horrors of solitary confinement and the inspiring struggles of families to stay connected to their incarcerated loved ones. The e-book is free to download for your computer or tablet.
In this article at Electric Lit, NYC Books Through Bars explains how to support prison books projects or start your own. Book donations help prisoners with rehabilitation and maintaining community ties, but mailing rules vary widely from one facility to the next, so it's always a good idea to check with established prisoner-support organizations to see what materials are needed and allowed.
The Prison Creative Arts Project at the University of Michigan publishes this annual journal to showcase the talent and diversity of Michigan's incarcerated writers.
For over 40 years, PEN America, a prominent arts and advocacy organization, has sponsored a Prison Writing Program that pairs incarcerated writers with mentors on the outside. Their annual free Prison Writing Contest accepts poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and dramatic works.
Co-founded by journalists from USA Today and CBS News, Prison Writers is a nonprofit organization that advocates for prison reform through sharing true stories by incarcerated writers. The group's goals are to encourage prisoners in learning marketable skills and to educate the public about life on the inside. Volunteer screeners give feedback, edit, and publish work by prisoners on the website. All contributors receive $10. There is often a large backlog of submissions, so more volunteers are always needed.
A project of the Durland Alternatives Library, Prisoner Express promotes rehabilitation by connecting prisoners to a community through literature. Prisoner Express began as a program for sending donated books to inmates. In addition to this service, they also coordinate pen-pal and distance-learning programs, and publish prisoners' writing on their website and in an anthology.
The Prisons Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that promotes the arts and education in prison and alternatives to incarceration. Visit the gallery page of their website to view and purchase original work by incarcerated artists.
Powerful, heartfelt poems and prose by 95 incarcerated women from the Voices From Inside project. This anthology has received high praise from Billy Collins and Ellen Dore Watson among others. Voices From Inside, located in western Massachusetts, facilitates writing workshops with women in prison, encouraging them to write their stories in their own unique voices. This volume brings the women’s writing into the larger community, promoting a deeper understanding of the human costs of incarceration. All profits from book sales support the program. Copies are $17 plus $3 shipping; make checks out to Amherst Writers & Artists Press and mail to Voices from Inside, P.O. Box 60443, Florence, MA 01062. Email codirector Carolyn Benson for more information and discounts on bulk orders.