For the Press
Humans of San Quentin shares the lives of people inside prison with the outside world. Our mission is to collect real stories shared by incarcerated people to bring awareness and build connections by giving a voice to the unheard. Each person we interview is showcased through our social media channels and website. By cultivating solidarity through storytelling, we spark inspiration, reflection, and a zeal for social justice and compassion for others.
Established as a humanitarian non-profit during the pandemic, Humans of San Quentin has already made a significant impact. We have corresponded with over 1,400 incarcerated individuals in the United States and around the world, shining a light on the untold stories of hundreds of people. In the last few years, we have grown to more than thirty team members, interns, and volunteers with one third of the team living behind bars. Our local impact in Marin County, which houses San Quentin and our office, is especially tangible: we employ formerly incarcerated individuals who helped to establish HoSQ or who were initially featured on our platform. They have walked through the gates of San Quentin and can be found working in our San Rafael headquarters. Our office also hosts a number of local high school and college interns who regularly transcribe, internalize, and empathize with numerous story submissions each day, motivated by the sense of perseverance and purpose imparted on paper by those behind bars. We have implemented a professional development program within the walls of San Quentin for people, giving incarcerated people first-hand workplace experience.
With more than 11 million people incarcerated worldwide, Humans of San Quentin has just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible. Our goals for the future are to tell the stories of many more people behind bars, pilot a first-person narrative course inside San Quentin and beyond, create a Humans of San Quentin League conference, have satellite offices in other cities and countries, and pursue a host of other projects centered on the resiliency, self-determination, and self-representation of the incarcerated as well as changing the narrative of prison reform.
Humans of San Quentin Shining a Light In Prison Cells by Sharing Stories from the Inside
2022 Impact Report
How Do We Hear From People Incarcerated?
During our journey of sharing the unheard voices behind bars, we’ve encountered a generous amount of stories that are both touching and inspiring. Within the stories, people share with us deep complex issues and the ins and outs of prison life.
Many testimonies exude positivity, self-awareness, and growth, which are necessary for a successful reentry.
When someone writes to us, their message falls into one of the four types of posts: stories, art, poetry, or blog. Below is one example of each type of post.
Stories may include memories from their childhood, who they are missing in their life while in prison, events that have happened since entering prison, or anything in between. Click here to read the stories of those inside.
Art from Inside
The art within this gallery gives our artists an outlet to express their thoughts, feelings, pains and dreams in a positive way that may not be possible in any other form. We hope their work will expand your knowledge, understanding and appreciation surrounding the difficulties incarcerated individuals endure. Click here to view examples.
Poetry from the Heart
Poetry allows various incarcerated men and women to express their pain, their visions and their remorse with a meek and humble approach. We hope you allow us to open our hearts and share our poetry with you. Click here to read the poetry our incarcerated humans write.
Letters & Blogs
Explore the writings of our humans that write to us regularly! Beyond a single narrative, poem, or story, these authors share writings on a variety of topics, sometimes in the form of long-term series, about their current lived experiences, opinions, and their histories. Click here to read the numerous writings of people inside prison.
Food & Recipes
San Quentin Eats (SQ Eats) is a program of Humans of San Quentin that showcases recipes from incarcerated individuals. The recipes are carefully edited for clarity and tested for accuracy before being published on social media and the website. The act of creating and sharing food is a universal experience that allows people to express themselves and brighten an otherwise bleak environment. Food is a relatable aspect of life both inside and outside of prison, and it can connect people from different background. Despite the many differences between life inside and outside of prison, the shared experience of eating, preparing, and sharing food can bring people together.
Books & Memoirs
Over a dozen incarcerated or recently released individuals have had the privilege of publishing books, including memoirs and poetry books. We want to honor and share their voices and work, as their voices often went unnoticed and were undervalued while they were incarcerated. By sharing their success, we aim to bring attention to their talent and experiences.
If you have any questions about what our incarcerated humans write about, click here to visit our FAQ page.
A collection of photos from both inside and outside prison that depicts the lives of incarcerated humans, as well as our outside team.