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 2018 Resource Guide.

Resource Category
Pen Prison Writing Program

Founded in 1971, the PEN Prison Writing Program believes in the restorative, rehabilitative power of writing and provides hundreds of prisoners across the country with skilled writing teachers and audiences for their work. It provides a place for prisoners to express themselves freely and encourages the use of the written word as a legitimate form of power. PEN's Prison Writing Program sponsors an annual writing contest, publishes the free book Handbook for Writers In Prison, provides one-on-one mentoring to prisoners, conducts workshops, and seeks to promote prisoners' work publicly through literary publications and readings.

Prison Writing / Arts Programs

The PrisonArte website was originally started to assist artists who worked with the website owner's husband at the same facility in which he is serving a 25-year sentence. The website has now been opened up to other artists throughout the U.S. PrisonArte's application process is crucial to get to know the artist and add them to PrisonArte's website and introduce the artist to the world. PrisonArte wants people to want to buy art from YOU. They offer this online venue by collecting a very small fee on each sale. The quality of every piece is inspected and approved in order to put on PrisonArte's stamp of approval. When PrisonArte ships a piece to a customer, they are able to guarantee the quality as well as cover any expense if a customer decides they are unhappy and want to return it. To obtain the 7-page prison artist application packet, a pre-addressed stamped envelope (1 Forever stamp) must be included.

Incarcerated artists interested in applying, please write to us and include a self addressed prepaid envelope to be considered.

Prison Writing / Arts Programs
Prisons Foundation

Prisons Foundation publishes books written by or about prisoners. Their publishing program includes all types of books or manuscripts published on their website in the exact manner submitted, with no censorship and no charge to publish a book online. The prison author retains full rights to their book, for later placement with a literary agent or commercial publisher if desired. Placing a book on their website will help bring it to the attention of agents and larger publishers. The Foundation exhibits art by imprisoned artists at art galleries and special events, publishes books by prisoners without cost, and presents prisoner-written shows annually at the Kennedy Center.

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 people in Alabama only.

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

The American Prison Writing Archive is an in-progress, internet-based, 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. Anyone who lives, works, or volunteers inside American prisons can contribute work to the APWA. They seek authors who write with the authority that only first-person experience can bring. 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. A permissions-questionnaire MUST accompany all submissions.

Prison Writing / Arts Programs