Dear Prisoner: Would you write to someone on Death Row?

Prison bars
Prison. Photo Credit: Arleigh Jenkins

It’s easy to be against the death penalty in cases where prisoners are innocent, but how would you feel about supporting inmates who have admitted to committing awful crimes?




Dear Prisoner is a documentary that looks at the life of prisoners on death row, specifically focusing on the pen-pal system operated by voluntary organisation LifeLines.

We all want to befriend people. We want to enrich people’s lives and we want to have our own lives enriched and that’s the reason that vast majority of people join LifeLines.

Pauline Gavin, Chairperson of Lifelines Ireland, and Dannie Hanna, an Irish solicitor who has worked with prisoners on death row in Texas, are the contributors to this documentary.

The poem, ‘River of Dreams’, was written by an inmate named Daniel, and was obtained via the Human Writes organisation. It is read by actor Ruairi De Búrca.

I was there to talk them as people, and understand what they were like. I didn’t want to judge them and when I found out about their backgrounds, I saw the lack of choice they had.


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