The American Prison Writing Archive (APWA)

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Vesla Weaver and her team launch The American Prison Writing Archive’s (APWA) new, fully searchable digital archive of writings by those impacted by the criminal legal system. The APWA is the largest body of prison witness ever amassed, including 3,300 nonfiction essays and poetry by incarcerated people from over 400 prisons and jails across the United States. 

With an Imagining Freedom grant from the Mellon Foundation, the APWA’s new JHU-based site aims to make accessible experiences suppressed by the walls of the carceral system for broader understanding. The archive offers a platform for imprisoned people to present themselves as creators of knowledge of the carceral system, to join it into chorus with a wider body of collective witness, and finally, to secure it for posterity.

Graduate and undergraduate students interested in working with the Archive, please reach out to Professor Weaver.

Recent article in Inquest.