Prison Writings

A Brief Bibliography


Jan Arriens, ed. Welcome To Hell: Letters and Writings from Death Row. Northeastern, 2004.

Joseph Bruchac and William Witherup. Words from the House of the Dead: Prison Writings from Soledad Prison. New York: Greenfield Review Press, 1971.

Bell Gale Chevigny, ed. Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing. Arcade Publishing, 2011.

Jeff Evans, Ed. Undoing Time: American Prisoners in Their Own Words. Northeastern, 2000.

Bruce Franklin, ed. Prison Writings in 20th Century America. Penguin Books, 1998.

— Prison Literature in America: The Victim as Criminal and Artist. Westport: Lawrence Hill & Co., 1982.

— American Prisoners and Ex-Prisoners: An Annotated Bibliography of Their Writings, 1798-1981. Westport: Lawrence Hill & Co., 1982.

Joy James, ed. Imprisoned Intellectuals: America’s Political Prisoners Write on Life, Liberation, and Rebellion. Rowman and Littlefield Publishing, 2003.

— The New Abolitionists: (Neo)slave Narratives and Contemporary Prison Writings. SUNY Press, 2005.

— Warfare in the American Homeland: Policing and Prison in a Penal Democracy. Duke, 2007.

Bonnie Kerness and Holbrook Teter, eds. Survival in Solitary: A Manual Written by and for people Living in Control Units. Santa Cruz: Quiver Press, 2008.

Larson, Doran, ed. Fourth City: Essays from the Prison in America. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2013.

Reach Coalition. So I Can Live: Visions of Life from Death Row. Nashville, TN: Reach Coalition

Judith Scheffler, ed. Wall Tappings: An International Anthology of Women’s Prison Writings from 200 to Present. New York: Feminist Press, 2002.

Eric Stanley and Nat Smith, eds. Captive Genders: Trans Embodiment and the Prison Industrial Complex. Baltimore: AK Press, 2011.

Ayelet Waldman and Robin Levi, eds. Inside This Place, Not of It: Narratives from Women’s Prisons. McSweeney’s Books, 2011.


Journal of Prisoners on Prisons.

4STRUGGLEMAG: Views, Thoughts, and Analysis from the Hearts and Minds of North American Political Prisoners and Friends.

Victoria Law, ed. Tenacious: a zine of Art & Writings by Women in Prison (some back issues available here: )

Hidden Expressions. Transformative Justice Law Project.


Echoes from the Living Grave. By a Convict in Sing-Sing Prison. New York: W.B. Bodge and J.W.

Brown, 1869 (available online

Jack Henry Abbott. In the Belly of the Beast. New York: Vintage, 1991.

Dwayne Betts. A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison. Avery Trade, 2010.

Boethius. The Consolations of Philosophy. Penguin Classics, 2000.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Letters and Papers from Prison.  Touchstone, 1997.

Steve Champion. Dead to Deliverance. Split Oak Press, 2010.

— “The Sword into a Pen.” Demands of the Dead. Ed. Katy Ryan. Iowa City: Iowa Press, 2012. pgs. 59-73.

— The Sacred Eye of the Falcon: Lessons in Life from Death Row. With Anthony Ross and Stanley Tookie Williams. Lulu Press, 2011.

Angela Davis. Angela Davis: An Autobiography. New York: International Publishers, 1988.

— Angela Davis: An Autobiography. International Publishing, 1989.

— Are Prisons Obsolete? Seven Stories Press, 2003.

George Jackson. Soledad Brother: The Prison Letters of George Jackson. Chicago Review Press, 1994.

— Blood in My Eye. Black Classic Press, 1996.

Abu Jamal Mumia. Live from Death Row. Harper Perennial, 1996.

— Death Blossoms: Reflections from a Prisoner of Conscience. South End Press, 2003.

— Faith of Our Fathers: An Examination of the Spiritual Life of African and African-American People. African World Press, 2003.

— All Things Censored. Seven Stories Press, 2000.

— Jailhouse Lawyers: Prisoners Defending Prisoners vs. the USA. City Lights Publishers, 2009.

— We Want Freedom: A Life of the Black Panther Party. South End Press, 2008.

— The Classroom and the Cell: Conversations on Black Life in America. With Marc Lamont Hill. Third World Press, 2011.

Piper Kerman. Orange is the New Black: My Year in A Women’s Prison, 2010.

Martin Luther King. A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. HarperOne, 2003.

Serge Livrozet. De la prison a la revolte. Esprit frappeur, 1999.

— Aujourd’hui, la prison. Hachette, 1976.

— L’outrage en plus. Manya, 1992.

Nelson Mandela. Conversations with Myself. MacMillan, 2011.

— Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela. Back Bay Books, 1995.

Leonard Peltier. Prison Writings: My Life is My Sun Dance. St. Martin’s Griffin, 2000.

Susan Rosenberg. An American Radical: A Political Prisoner in My Own Country. Citadel, 2011.

Assata Shakur. Assata: An Autobiography. Lawrence Hill Books, 2001.

Russell Maroon Shoatz. Maroon the Implacable: The Collected Writings of Russell Maroon Shoatz. PM Press, 2013.

Alexander Soltzhenitzyn. The Gulag Archipelago, Vl. 1 + 2.  Harper Perennial, 2007.

Henry David Thoreau. Walden, Civil Disobedience, and Other Writings. Norton, 1966.

Malcolm X. The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Penguin Modern Classics, 2001.

— Malcolm X Speaks: Selected Speeches and Statements. Grove Press, 1994.

Oscar Wilde. De Profundis and Prison Other Writings. Penguin Classics, 2013.

Stanley Tookie Williams. Black Rage, Blue Redemption: A Memoir. New York: Touchstone, 2004.

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