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About the Transcription Project

Due to a lack of typewriters and computers in most prisons, many prison writers are limited to writing their essays longhand. These essays along with poor-quality typed essays need to be convert to into electronic text format so users can search the archive using key words and phrases. The "Transcription Project" is designed to allow volunteers to participate in the conversion process by simply transcribing the essays for us.

Most of the essays to be transcribed are only a few pages long, so fully transcribing one should only take one session. The transcription is then reviewed and approved by a project team member. and within a few days it will be published alongside the original essay.

We expect to be mounting a steady flow of new essays as the project matures and resources permit. A list of essays that need to be transcribed can be found here. If you want to register as a transcriber, please contact Professor Doran Larson (

Please accept in advance our sincere thanks for the time and effort you contribute to this project. Such citizen participation helps advances the goal of The American Prison Writing Archive to let prisoners speak for themselves.

(updated: 2017-09-03)