Who

Writers and artists who are incarcerated or formerly incarcerated, their family members, corrections officers, prison educators, and others involved in the criminal justice system or affected by the experience of prison or jail. We welcome submissions by first-time writers.

What

Articles, essays, poems, art and cartoons that incorporate firsthand observations and/or experiences. Our word count is 500 – 1,200 words (ideally 1,000 words or less). No more than ONE STORY or THREE POEMS per submission. Please write clearly on standard-sized 8.5×11-inch paper. We cannot publish work that we cannot understand. We do not publish stories that re-litigate individual cases. Submission categories include:

  • REPORTED NEWS AND FEATURES: Articles that tell people about things that actually happened inside or related to incarceration, based on your observation, reporting and research.
  • ESSAYS: Essays and memoirs about something you experienced or observed personally.
  • OP-EDS: Opinion articles and commentary based on your personal experience with a central point or a call to action.
  • NARRATIVE POETRY: No more than 3 poems that share a perspective or tell true stories related to prison life or your experience with the criminal justice system.
  • ART & CARTOONS: Sketches, paintings, political cartoons and other art that illustrate a perspective or scene of prison life such as your cell, chow hall, places of worship, the yard, etc. Please provide a detailed caption explaining the intention behind the work or telling the story behind it.

Facts in your piece must be information you gathered firsthand, not speculation or information that you’ve obtained through someone else. Please read the editorial policy carefully. We reserve the right to exclude portions of your work that don’t conform to it. As a journalism organization, we strive to help make your story as relevant as possible. When we can, we will add outside reporting context. 

When

We accept stories on a rolling basis. You will receive a copy of your story if we publish it on PJP. Please allow 12-16 weeks. (Timely stories will be expedited.)

Where

You may submit your piece in one of the following ways:

  • Prison Messaging: We are on JPay, Securus, Corrlinks, GTL Connect Network and GTL Getting Out. Our email is pjp@prisonjournalismproject.org for Securus, Corrlinks and GTL. JPay messages will come from James Pane, forwriters@prisonjournalismproject.org. We can also receive messages on GTL Getting Out, but we cannot receive submissions on it because of the severe limitations of the service.
  • E-mail: pjp@prisonjournalismproject.org
  • Postal mail for WRITTEN SUBMISSIONS:
    Prison Journalism Project
    2093 Philadelphia Pike #1054
    Claymont, DE 19703
  • Postal mail for HEADSHOTS, PHOTOS AND ART (DO NOT SEND stories to this address unless they are accompanied by art):
    PJP Art Department
    2624 Alcatraz Ave., #328
    Berkeley, CA 94705

***************************************

You must sign and submit the following with your first submission (download as PDF, see page 2):

Permission to Publish and Acknowledgement

In order for PJP to publish your work, we require you to send us the following permission and acknowledgement. Please cut it out of this document or copy it, then sign and send it with your submission.  You only need to do this only with your first submission.

I hereby grant to PJP a non-exclusive, permanent, royalty-free license to edit, publish, reproduce, distribute, transmit, sub-license, and archive in all forms and media worldwide any work that I submit to PJP. I still own my work and can re-publish or share my work with others in any way I choose. 

I also hereby acknowledge that PJP has the sole right in its own discretion to decide whether to publish my work and make any revisions to it, and that I am and will remain responsible for the accuracy, originality, and legal compliance of the work.  I recognize and accept that the submission and publication of my work may have consequences regarding my conditions of incarceration or in other ways and that PJP will be unable to provide legal or other assistance.

[Signature] 

[Name]
[Date]

***************************************

Required Header Format of Story Submissions

All stories must be accompanied by the following header above your story.

PJP SUBMISSIONS
Specify SPECIAL PROJECT name/PJP TOPIC name/NEWS (if the story falls under one of these categories)
Full Name and Prison ID #
Preferred Author Name (if different than your name)
Your Facility:
Mailing Address:
Date:

Download a PDF version of our complete Submission Guidelines.