Pictures for Prisoners Program: Images of Hope in Solitary Confinement

Prison is no cake walk — and rightfully so. Inmates of maximum security prisons have often done terrible things, things that in some states are still punishable by death. But is there a fate worse than death?

Inmates and former inmates of Tamms Supermax in Illinois would probably tell you there is. The prison — which may soon be shutting down — specializes in permanent solitary confinement. The only times the prisoners are allowed out of their tiny cells are to shower, and to exercise alone in a concrete pen. With such limited access to everything, what would you ask for if you were ten years in to your stay at Tamms?

It turns out many of the inmates just want a photo — and the ex-inmates, families, lawyers and concerned citizens at are listening. In response to this need the website has put together a program that involves taking photo requests from inmates and posting them for willing volunteers to fulfill.

The requests range from personal (a photo of their family) to religious (a cross, or Jesus) to inspirational (a photo of a horse rearing, symbolizing freedom and the power of nature) — some even request funny pictures.

We understand that not everybody will be moved to help these inmates — maybe not even a majority of people. But if you’re touched by this program and would like to help fulfill some of these requests, visit their website and see how you can get involved. Any day we have the option to see hundreds of photos of loved ones from our mantle to our Facebook account. Maybe that’s not something prison should take away. (via chasejarvis)

Image Credit: Photograph by Laurie Jo Reynolds and Chris X

  • Spider- Man

    it’s called punishment for a reason…

  • Amando Filipe

    If they want to punish them further they can get a Fauxtographer to do the pictures and editing.

  • Coyote Red

    Ask their victims if these prisoners need a little hug.   It’s always someone else’s fault and they don’t deserve what they’re getting.

    Aside from the falsely convicted few, they all knew the consequences of their actions and they made their choices, but now they don’t want to live it.

    Sorry, no photo for you!  (Not from me anyway.)

  • Josephr Teeter

    I do have sympathy for these prisoners, because I refuse to believe that people cannot change. Put yourself into their shoes. Have you never done something that you regretted latter? Sure you have. True, there will always be unremorsful ones, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take to make life a little more livable for someone who is locked up and cannot commit crime anymore

  • Spider- Man

    OK. I murder your family and say that I have changed. Do you believe me or think I am doing it cause I am sick of being in solitary? 

    If they have changed and I am sure there are a few, but it is STILL punishment for their crime. If you do a lesser crime you get a lesser punishment. 

  • Guest

    As a former corrections officer, I think that prison is a bad way to address most of the things we hold prisoners for. Keeping them in long-term solitary has its benefits and pitfalls, but when I read that they all want a picture, I still have to ask if it’d be big enough for them to make tunnels through (for communication with other inmates, escapes, etc.)

  • Franco

    i’d really like to send some pictures, but their website doesn’t properly explain how to do it 

  • vonrock

    Putting yourself in someones shoes is along way from their mind.  
     A risk YOUR willing to make.   by yourself I hope.

  • Ajabudda

    How about a picture of prison bars:-)

  • tangoReee

    Sounds like a worthwhile cause to me dude. Wow.

  • Coyote Red

     “Have you never done something that you regretted latter? Sure you have.”  We all have.  What I’ve not ever done is kill someone in cold blood, carried on a lifestyle that might put me in a position to do the same, not ever illegally broken into someone’s home, ever stolen a car, shoplifted, sold drugs, or a host of other things that would have sent me to jail, much less prison.

    So, really, the question is “have I ever done anything that, if caught, would have sent me to prison?”  That answer is, “never.”  Even as a wild and reckless kid I knew if I could caught I could get in some serious trouble and that was something I didn’t want.  I made my choices, they made theirs. 

  • lilian sejko

    I’m more into keeping them outa prison.  I squarely blame their social environment.  They are stranded persons.  They don’t belong here or there anymore.

    I would be interested in a prisoner pen-pal.  Always wanted a captive audience.

  • Hafidha