Displaying and Selling Art Made by San Quentin Death Row Inmates


by : 
Maddy W.


Currently, there are 2.3 million people incarcerated in the United States and 4.6 million people living under probation. Displaying and selling art made by the prisoners can be an effective strategy in tackling mass incarceration and rising recidivism rates. This research project has acquired 100+ pieces of artwork created by men living on San Quentin’s Death Row. The goal of this project is to display and sell this artwork. The expected outcome is to highlight the prisoners’ humanity and the capability to leave a positive impact on the outside world. The art can create an emotional statement that can transform the legal system.

Personal Statement

I was introduced to the flaws of America's prison system after writing a paper about the cycle of recidivism during my sophomore year of high school. I was shocked and infuriated while learning about mass incarceration in the U.S, and realized that nobody my age talks about the extremity of this issue. After receiving a package of 100+ pieces of art made by San Quentin death row inmates, I knew that displaying it would be a great way to start a discussion about prison reform in my community. I am displaying this art in universities, schools, conferences, etc. across the U.S and selling it, to showcase the prisoners' true (and better) selves.