Resources: Prison Writing / Arts Programs

PARC corresponds with and mails a directory of these resources to prisoners, their friends and family members. We are often the first point of contact for people to connect with prisoners' rights organizations, community organizations, prison literature and arts projects, family and visiting resources, health care and legal resources, parole and pre-release resources, and the prison abolition movement.

Download a PDF copy of the 2023 edition linked here.

Resource Category
CCWP Writing Warriors

Writing Warriors Advocacy through Correspondence project establishes supportive relationships  between volunteers in the community and people incarcerated at the women's prisons in California. It is different from a traditional pen pal program because it is part of a collective undertaking which trains correspondents to promote advocacy for incarcerated people.  Writing Warriors volunteers primarily communicate via GTL email but can also correspond thru U.S. mail via the CCWP Oakland office address. Only provides services to California prisons.

Women's Organizations and Resources, Prison Writing / Arts Programs, California
PEN America Prison Justice and Writing

The PEN prison writing program provide hundreds of imprisoned writers across the country with free writing resources, skilled mentors, and audiences for their work. Its program supports free expression, and encourages the use of the written word as a legitimate form of power.  In additional to mentoring, PEN publishes a national list of prison-based creative writing programs, sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes the free book Handbook for Writers In Prison, conducts workshops, and seeks to promote prisoners' work publicly through literary publications and readings. Serves writers nationally.

Educational Resources, Prison Writing / Arts Programs
Prison Creative Arts Project

Brings those impacted by the justice system together with the University of Michigan community for artistic collaboration, mutual learning, and growth. Its programs include weekly creative arts workshops, exhibitions, a literary journal, and a community of formerly incarcerated creators. Write to PCAP to join the newsletter mailing list and receive its calls for art and writing. Michigan only.


Educational Resources, Prison Writing / Arts Programs
Prisons Foundation

Prisons Foundation publishes books written by or about prisoners. Their publishing program includes posting books onto their website for download. They also exhibit art created in prison (see Write directly for book submission guidelines prior to sending a manuscript.  The prison author retains full rights to their book, for later placement with a literary agent or commercial publisher if desired. Serves writers nationally.

Educational Resources, Prison Writing / Arts Programs
Safe Streets Arts Foundation

Accepts and sells/distributes prisoner art, publishes prisoner books online, and stages annual shows at the Kennedy Center in
DC. All services free; write for submission guidelines; state whether you are a writer or artist (SASE ensures quick reply).


Educational Resources, Prison Writing / Arts Programs
The Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project

This program is administered by Auburn University and dedicated to bringing educational opportunities to prisoners in Alabama. The program is helping the adult prison population to gain a quality education, and also to build a relationship with learning that will continue to grow for the rest of their lives. Serves Alabama only.

Educational Resources, Prison Writing / Arts Programs
The American Prison Writing Archive

Digital archive of non-fiction essays that offers the public first-hand testimony to the living and working conditions experienced by prisoners, prison employees, and prison volunteers. All prisoners can contribute. Non-fiction essays, based on first-hand experience, should be limited to 5,000 words (15 double-spaced pages). Clearly hand-written pages are also welcome. They charge no fees and read all writing submitted. Write in for the permissions-questionnaire, which MUST accompany all submissions. Serves writers nationally.

Educational Resources, Prison Writing / Arts Programs