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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 YearTen.org 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.

YearTen.org (via chasejarvis)

Image Credit: Photograph by Laurie Jo Reynolds and Chris X