• Works of Art, Rosado, Enysia
  • Many women are dying here, Novinger, Lee
  • End the suffering, Burnette, Chanell R.
  • Crime is common happenstance where I come from, Cooper, Kista R.
  • Are we justified in using prisons?, Novinger, Lee

Bearing Witness.

The United States holds nearly two million people in its prisons and jails — a larger share of its population than in any other nation on earth. Yet there remains widespread ignorance of conditions inside. Amid the unprecedented American experiment in mass incarceration, the American Prison Writing Archive (APWA) hopes to disaggregate this mass into the individual minds, hearts and voices of incarcerated writers.

Essays from the Archive

Zamarron, Kenneth L.


Freedom Sun


Stermer, Linda Kay


About the Archive

The APWA strives to replace misrepresentation of prisons and imprisoned people with first-person witness by those living in legalized confinement.

Image Credit: Smith, Andrew Jackson, “Adaptive core curriculum for prisoners”

Special Thanks

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Get In Touch

We’d love to hear from you about:

  • Projects you’re working on inspired by the Archive.
  • Courses or teaching using the Archive
  • Opportunities for relationship building and collaboration.
  • Opportunities to build connections with organizations engaged in similar work.
  • Opportunities to disseminate our call for entries within active prison publications and networks.
  • Opportunities to Volunteer

American Prison Writing Archive
Johns Hopkins University
3400 N. Charles St.
Baltimore, MD 21218

Help us get the word out to new writers to contribute their first-hand experiences with APWA. Share our Call for Essays with family, friends, and incarceration focused support and advocacy groups and educational programming.