Death Row Inmates – Part 1: A Cause Worth Fighting For

Death Row Inmates – Part 1: A Cause Worth Fighting For

Many groups have approached me over the last four months regarding my prison education projects and potential collaborations. One that resonated with me was the opportunity to team up with Death Row Inmates. Michael Flinner heads Death Row Inmates. He is currently sitting on California’s death row and maintains his innocence to this day.

Over the last several months, I have come to know Michael and his son, John. Both have been very generous to me, aiding in promotions and listening to my ideas for the further promotion of prison education, ideas both good and bad. Throughout this process of conjecture and correspondence, I feel that I have come to know Michael and Death Row Inmates very well.

Therefore, it is only fitting to devote some space in the Prison Education Blog to their organization and movement. This blog and the following two will introduce you to Death Row Inmates and their various worthwhile projects.

What follows is the text from a very informative zine titled “ A Grassroots Anti-Death Penalty Social Network”:

“The Death Row Inmate Project is a volunteer-based collaboration that continues to grow out of a call for global recognition of fallibilities within the capital punishment controversy, as well as wrongful convictions resulting from the death sentences from broken judicial systems here and abroad – executing innocent people.

This diverse grassroots organization provides a voice for the marginalized, caters to the demands of those who weep for societal change, pursues truth and equal justice, educates people with an accurate flow of information, and works to remove the oppressive conditions on death row worldwide.

Born in the flames of adversity, Death Row Inmates remains the direct product of the existential conflict of men and women on death row. It was formed to meet the needs of others like us because no one can better relate to captivity than the captive himself. Think about that!!! We’re staking our very lives on it!

Our strength stems from our bonds with those fighting to abolish the death penalty.

Death Row Inmates wishes to extend an encouraging invitation from our family to yours, visitors, and loved ones (inside prison walls and out) to join together with us and stand united in pursuit of stimulating global opposition to capital ‘murder,’ otherwise masked and referred to as ‘punishment’ by state and federal governments on epic scales.

Many progressive organizations are on the ground, giving energy to this enormous international movement to abolish capital punishment. We are one little fish in a vast ocean designed to provide death row prisoners and activists a stage to speak. Death Row Inmates is ‘telling-it-like-it-is,’ educating the masses, organizing visibility, and promoting solidarity through participation with those committed to sharing data and critical resources with our dedicated family members and friends. People are the necessary components of our continued success.

In our current model lies a growing public forum, the ‘center’ of Death Row Inmates’ interactive exchange of information and ideas, our Tahrir (liberation) Square, what we intend to develop and maintain as the heartbeat of our evolution, promoting productive alternatives and positive activities for all involved.

Evolution is vital when explaining why we do what we do, but it isn’t everything.

As an outlet for death row prisoners and anti-death penalty activists, we labor vocally and visibly, confronting greed and tyranny from prison interest lobbies, politicians, and those who legalize terror at tremendous cost to taxpayers.

For those of us who share this fate, ‘the closer we are to death, the harder we cling to life.’

Strengthening Death Row Inmates’ social structure means developing continuity and, most notably, activities like The Papyrus Collective, a forum of relevant and insightful voices of today’s progressive-thinking prisoners on death row. This Collective is only the beginning of an evolution in a 21st-century prisoner’s movement, a symbol in the struggle against the death penalty and for the humane treatment of all prisoners.

This workshop of talent combines various genres of literary expression geared toward inspiring action in our at-risk youth, influencing self, and releasing quarterly anecdotal commentaries promoting social and political awareness with an infrastructure that includes volunteer support and cooperation from a Google engineer.

Naturally, we encourage volunteerism in any form. Ultimately, it’s about helping one another in the shared fights ahead. The bigger the challenge, the greater the reward.

Demonstrations around the globe remind us never to take the power of protest for granted or underestimate it.

Among many other adaptations, Death Row Inmates has several endeavors that round off the current efforts. These include The Papyrus Collective, along with a small but very effective penpal service for death row and life prisoners, where 60-month memberships accompany premium applications and features similar to other pen pal services but with a personal touch and a great deal more traffic. When family and friends become Death Row Inmate members, they may submit a series of articles, blog entries, photos, newsfeeds, video content, display ads, and so much more. Members may also link their other profiles (e.g., Facebook and MySpace) to It’s about staying connected with loved ones and the world using our network. It’s a great place to start.

Death Row Inmates is working to prevent institutional apathy and outright prejudice, pursuing state and federal policy whereby inmates can make the ‘ultimate restitution’ through living vital organ and tissue transplants. Members may ‘weigh in’ on our online ballot. Your efforts are required to change this if we seek voter approval and, if necessary, legislation.

Meet ‘Convicts Against Cancer’ on, a series of memorials to those who have endured the ravages of cancer while at the same time having touched our lives. Their bravery and dignity inspire us to support life and research through charity.

Our Twitter (@DeathRowInmates) following is gigantic, and our voice is strong. We even have our very own YouTube Channel, a growing product line in the Death Row Inmates’ store where t-shirts, coffee mugs, tote bags, calendars, and much more assist us in meeting our formidable budgetary challenges.

Are you an author or artist with a great idea? New writers who wish to contact a Death Row Inmates representative to get their voice(s) heard may do so by writing to any of the following. Make sure you submit your request with a self-addressed stamped envelope when seeking our pen pal application. If you’re interested in participating in The Papyrus Collective or wish to share your artwork in our forthcoming online gallery collaborations, feel free to make inquiries with us.”

They can be contacted by going to, emailing [email protected], following them on Twitter @DeathRowInmate, or writing to the following:

The DRI Project/PMB #154
3298 North Glassford Hill Road #104
Prescott Valley, AZ 86314

Michael Flinner
P.O. Box V-30064
San Quentin, CA 94964

Spencer Brasure
P.O. Box P-10000
San Quentin, CA 94964

Byron Wilson (General Coordinator’ Papyrus Collective’)
P.O. Box P-76622
San Quentin, CA 94964