When Juan and Diane first started Humans of San Quentin, their intention was to interview people incarcerated in San Quentin in person. When Covid hit, all that changed. With Juan inside his cell and Diane at home, the two compiled an introductory letter to send through snail mail to gain trust from people inside during lonely times. This endeavor immediately took off: their tiny mailbox at the San Quentin Post Office was soon bursting with letters of people telling their stories. With Covid still living amongst us, they feel extreme pride in being able to interview people in prison in person – attaining this live footage inside a prison is extremely rare.
Each video on this page features compelling, powerful narratives, told by individuals whose humanity comes alive through facial expressions, vocal inflections, and emotional manifestations, which are otherwise barred from the outside world. We hope you enjoy these films as much as we do!
Check out our interview with Pamela, who is housed in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in New York. Hear her talk on her love for softball, her job, and the families she has both inside and outside of prison.
Hear our interview with Kayla, who is housed in Taconic Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, NY. She discusses her relationship with her family, her experiences as a trans woman in both male and female prisons, her love for art, and her need to be seen as the woman that she is.
From New York! Listen to Jamel, live from Sing Sing Correctional Facility, discuss his relationship with his family, his experiences in school, and how his education has transformed him.
Partnership with Silkroad Ensemble
We partnered with the Grammy-award winning Silkroad ensemble, founded by world-renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma, to help them bring music and dialogue to the women incarcerated in Bedford Hills, New York. They sang together and they shared space and energy and conversation, with the mission of having a moment of being human together.
From Medellin, Colombia! Watch a quick minute-long video with Orlando from Itague Prison.
From Medellin, Colombia! Watch the full-length interview with Orlando from Itague Prison.
From New York! Hear Eric from Sing Sing Correctional Facility discuss how he’s changed during his incarceration.
From New York! Meet Eric from Sing Sing Correctional Facility. We were lucky enough to sit down with him and discuss his life before incarceration, college, the realities of prison, and his mother.
From New York! Hear Lovette from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York tell us about her moment of transformation in prison.
From New York! Meet Lovette from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York. She tells us about what brings her joy, her love for human connection, and her talents as a writer.
From New York! Hear Lawshan from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York discuss her life after her mother’s death.
From New York! Meet Lawshan from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York. She shares her relationship with her mother, her children and grandchildren, her love of poetry, and her faith.
From New York! Meet Sarah from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York. Listen to a minute-long clip of her discussing her mother and her far-reaching impact in her community.
From New York! Meet Sarah from Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills, New York. We were lucky enough to sit down with her and discuss her mother’s love, her quick wit, and her relationship with her son.
From Mexico City! Meet the ladies from Chiconautle Women’s Prison in Ecatapec, the most dangerous city in Mexico. With the help of the organizations La Cana, GivetoGive, and videographer Alex Reider, we are fortunate to share their stories from inside.