Prisoner Express Theme Essays

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.


     I felt the bone break the moment I ran into the swing set.  Bonnie Baumgartner, a girl who was three years older than me, and a foot taller, decided she was going to give me my first kiss.  Contrary to her plan, I decided to run for cover.     …

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The Vision

     One day as I was in prayer, the Lord had asked me a question and I was struggling for an answer. The question was, “Where on Earth does man keep his most priceless treasures?      After much thought, my answer was, “Lord, usually gold, silver, diamonds, and precious jewels…

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Eyes of the Heart & Be Honest With Yourself Today

By Edward Ramos AKA Blue ********************* Here are two brief but insightful essays by Edward Ramos. I think that we can reflect on many of his questions while thinking about our own lives outside of prison. We can think of ways in which we can live more in line with…

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Abyss & Abysmal

By Kevin Cockman ********************* In his response to my call for submissions Kevin noted, “I have thought of trying this for a long time and decided I might as well. My life can’t get much more embarrassing than what it is now. So, that said, here goes.” What he calls…

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Journal Program
Theme Essays
Prisoner Art
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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.