Pen Pals

Queerly Beloved

A Story of Friendship That Started with a Letter from Prison

On this week's episode of Queerly Beloved, a trans woman helps a gay incarcerated man reconnect with his mother after years of estrangement.
Sarah Burke
Life Inside

Confronting the Truth About My Friend on Death Row

Even if he is guilty, I don’t think he should die.
Dani Clark

Meet the Social Media Editor for America's Prisoners

For up to 100 hours a week, Renea Royster helps prison inmates post on Facebook, meet women, and keep track of fantasy sports, among other projects.
Maurice Chammah

I’ve Been Pen Pals with Nearly 50 Murderers and Serial Killers

I would send my pen pals money for postage and phone time to write and call me. After a few years, I'd had conversations with many of America's most infamous and hated individuals.
Christopher Duett
Pen Pals

RIP Bert Burykill, Longtime VICE Prison Correspondent

A look back at his life and work.
Harry Cheadle
Pen Pals

How It Feels to Get Off Parole After Ten Years in the System

VICE's prison correspondent is, at last, a normal member of society.
Bert Burykill
Pen Pals

Rap Was My Lifeline in Prison

I spent hundreds and hundreds of hours rapping, talking about rap, and listening to cassette tapes when I was an inmate. Without Ol' Dirty Bastard, Kool Keith, and Bootsy Collins, I really would have gone insane.
Bert Burykill
Pen Pals

Drug Court Addiction 12-Step Blues

I went to rehab ten years ago in an effort to avoid going to prison (it didn't work). I met some of the craziest people I've ever encountered, but I sure as hell didn't get any cleaner.
Bert Burykill
Pen Pals

I Spent the Past Ten Years Going in and out of Prison and It's Ruined My Life

When I went to jail ten years ago I knew it’d be tough. Many people told me that I’d ruined my life, but how could I accept that when I was only 23? Today it’s become much more of a reality, but I refuse to throw in the towel just yet.
Bert Burykill
Pen Pals

Guilty Until Proven Innocent

The most ridiculous notion civilians have about the legal system is that the accused are “innocent until proven guilty.” Actually, thanks to high bails and other absurdities, you can spend a long time in jail before anyone convicts you of any...
Bert Burykill
Pen Pals

Prison Sentences and Solitary Confinement Can Ruin Kids' Lives

I’ve met too many dudes in jail who’ve been locked up their entire lives. Once you get in trouble as a kid you get put in the system and end up in group homes and other tough places where you just learn how to do more bad shit—it's a tough cycle to...
Bert Burykill
Pen Pals

How the US Census Gives Power to the Rural Counties Where Prisons Are Built

Inmates generally come from the city but get locked up in rural prisons—and that means in many states, they're counted as residents of these podunk towns and counties, giving those communities more political power.
Bert Burykill