Prisoner Express establishes both a Word Theme and a Picture Theme for each month for prisoners to base their writing off of. These themes inspire both creative and personal writing, and PE members are encouraged to submit writing for each theme. If a prisoner writes a theme essay they receive a Theme Essay newsletter, a packet that consists of all the writing done that month on the subjects.
Volunteers read and type all the essays to create the compilation. Prisoners reading each other’s writing goes a long way in helping them understand their own experience. It also breaks down barriers between racial and ethnic groups who traditionally stay isolated in prison.
"The theme essays and journals are our expression of feeling that help rehabilitate our hearts and minds. Not just by us writing, but also in reading what others write. In seeing that others have the same issues and problems that we are personally are dealing with, means that we are not alone." - Brandon R., Inmate
It is clear through their writings that they share similar experiences and their common humanity shines through. Prisoners take great pride in seeing their essays published, and are motivated to continually improve their writing skills.
Prison is not the way people think it is. I found that only prisoners know the real prison. The real prison is loneliness that sinks its teeth into the souls of people and is emptiness that leaves a sick feeling inside. It is anxiety that pushes and swells and is uncertainty that smothers and stifles. It is frustration, futility, despair, and indifference.Read More
While growing up, I was raised by two wonderful, loving, and caring parents who taught me all the good and honest virtues in life. That is, the right from wrong, respect, honesty, kindness, and the best effort in everything.
I was one of four kids, the baby of the bunch. However…Read More
At the age of two, my mother left her six children behind when she left my father. My very first memories were of waking in my crib with the light turned off and seeing the soft light of afternoon ooze through the window shades. I wanted my mother and cried out for her. She came into the room, told me to lay down and go to sleep, and left the room again.Read More
I was an earlier bloomer. Unlike most little boys in the second grade, I did not think little girls had cooties. My attraction to the opposite sex began two years prior to kindergarten. During rest period, we would lay on these little bamboo mats, and I will never forget that funny feeling, those butterflies in the pit of my stomach when Melinda winked at me. I was hooked.Read More
Access the Complete Prisoner Express Archive:
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At this time we can only share a small fraction of prisoner work on our website and in our newsletters – but we are constantly receiving submissions of artwork, poetry, and essays from thousands participants.
The archive is constantly growing – and as a member you have complete access to our searchable archive.