Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Minutes Before Six Contributors

This page lists information about the artists and writers that currently contribute 
regularly to or have made a lasting impression on Minutes Before Six

Steve Bartholomew

I have been factually absent from the world for nearly 15 years, time spent remaking myself into an artist, writer and musician songwriter.  My greatest sense of accomplishment comes from being a worthwhile dad to my two sons, my overarching goal to be in four years the citizen I never was before this.  They say happiness is what you volunteer, as adage proving itself in my life.  In writing for Minutes Before Six I’ve become part of the ongoing conversation rather than simply its subject.  For that, I thank you.

To watch a video clip of a stunningly beautiful reading of an excerpt from Steve’s essay by Katherine Hervey, a multimedia producer, college instructor and restorative justice facilitator for incarcerated populations, click here

Art and Writing by Steve Bartholomew

Steve Bartholomew 978300
P.O. Boxx 777
Monroe, WA 98272-0777

Michael Belt

Michael Belt is a simple man, a lover, a fighter and a full time dreamer – with a realistic sense.  He is truthful and loyal to a fault.  To quote Henry Thoreau’s Walden, “In an unjust society, the only place for a just man is in prison." And in his own words, “Never let hope die!”

Writing and Poetry by Michael Belt

Michael Belt KU8088
SCI Houtzdale
P.O. Box 1000
Houtzdale, PA 16698-1000

Jeremiah Bourgeois

Jeremiah Bourgeois has been serving a life without parole sentence since he was 14 years old. On June 25 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court determined that sentencing juveniles to mandatory life without parole sentences violates the Eight Amendment’s prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. It is likely that he will be resentenced to a term that would allow him to be released in the future. In Fall 2013, the Ohio State Journal on Criminal Law will publish a scholarly essay written by Bourgeois, entitled “The Irrelevance of Reform: Maturation in the Department of Corrections.” In October 2013, Jeremiah had an essay published in the Ohio State University Moritz School of Law Journal, which you can read here.

Writing by Jeremiah Bourgeois

Jeremiah Bourgeois, DOC #708897
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center
P.O. Box 769
Connell, WA 99326

Christi Buchanan

Christi Buchanan was released from prison in June 2016

Writing and poetry by Christi Buchanan

Terrell Carter

Terrell Carter was born and raised in Philadelphia Pennsylvania and is currently on his 21st year of a life-without-parole sentence at Graterford Correctional Institute. His published works include Guilty Reflections (revised edition), Guilty Reflections II (War of the Soul), and coming soon, Tainted Soul. These works are available through

Writing by Terrell Carter

Terrell Carter BZ-5409
SCI Graterford
PO Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426-0244
Burl N. Corbett

Born 6/9/47 in Reading, PA.  Raised on a 123-acre sheep farm only three crow miles from John Updike´s famous sandstone farmhouse of “Pigeon Feathers,” The Centaur, and Of the Farm.  Graduated from Daniel Boone High School in 1965.  Ran away to Greenwich Village to become a beatnik in 1966 with only a Martin guitar and the clothes on my back.  Lived among the counterculture for 3 years, returning disillusioned to PA for good in 1968.  Worked on a mink farm; poured steel in a foundry; chased the sun as a cross-country pipeliner; drove the big rigs, baby!; picked tomatoes with migrant workers; tended bar on the old skid row Bowery; worked as a reporter, columnist, and photographer for two Southeastern Pennsylvania newspapers; drove beer truck (hic!); was a “HEY, CULLIGAN MAN!”; learned how to plaster, stucco, and lay stone; published both fiction and nonfiction in several nationally distributed magazines and literary quarterlies; got married and raised four children; got divorced and fell into the bottle; and came to prison at the age of 60 with no previous criminal offenses other than a 25 year-old DUI. The “crime”? Self-defense in my own house without financial means to hire a decent lawyer.  Since becoming the “guest” of the state in 2007, I have won five PEN Prison Writing Awards (two first and three honorable mentions); the first and only prize of $500 in the 2013 Eaton Literary Agency short fiction contest; written a children/young adult book, Coon Tales, soon to be published by Xlibris; a novel of the 1967 “Summer of Love,” Dreaming of Oxen; a magic realism novel, A Redneck Ragnorak, and many short stories and memoirs.  My first novel, A Haven from Violence, is available at or

Burl N. Corbett HZ6518
SCI Albion
10745 Route 18
Albion, PA 16475-0002

Jeff C.

Jeff was released from prison in 2015.

Writing, poetry and art by Jeff C.

Jeff C.

Chris Dankovich

I am a tutor/teacher, a writer, an artist, and I have been incarcerated since I was 15. I am proud to say that I’ve helped over 100 young men earn their GED diplomas, and that I’ve been published in the Harvard Educational Review, The Periphery Magazine, The Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing Volumes 3, 4, 5, and 6; won second place for essay in the 2014 PEN prison writing contest, and have been accepted to be published in FENCE magazine and placed third in non-fiction in Vidahlia Press’s 2014 prison writing contest.

Art, poetry and writing by Chris Dankovich

Chris Dankovich 595904
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Drive
Lapeer, MI 48446

Joseph Dole

Joseph Dole is 41 years old.  Born in Saginaw, Michigan, he moved to Illinois when he was 8 years old.  He has been continuously incarcerated since the age of 22, and spent nearly a decade of his life entombed at the notorious Tamms Supermax Prison in complete isolation (Tamms was shuttered in 2013 after an intense campaign by human rights groups, and the families and friends of prisoners who were confined and tortured there).

Mr. Dole is currently serving a life-without-parole sentence after being wrongly convicted of a gang-related, double murder.  He continues to fight that conviction pro se, and has recently uncovered evidence suppressed by the State, which proves that the State´s star witness committed perjury on the stand.

His first book A Costly American Hatred (available at  both as paperback and e-book) is an in-depth look at how America´s hatred of “criminals” has led the nation down an expensive path that not only ostracizes and demonizes an overgrowing segment of the population, but is also now so pervasive that it is counterproductive to the goals of reducing crime and keeping society safe;  wastes enormous resources; and destroys human lives.  Anyone who is convicted of a crime is no longer considered human in the eyes of the rest of society.  This allows them to be ostracized, abused, commoditized and disenfranchised.

Mr. Dole´s second book, Control Units and Supermaxes: A National Security Threat, details how long-term isolation units not only pose grave threats to inmates, but also guards who work there and society as a whole.

 He has also been published published in Prison Legal News, The Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, The Mississippi Review, Stateville Speaks Newsletter, The Public I Newspaper, Scapegoat and numerous other places on-line such as and among others.  His writings have also been featured in the following books: Too Cruel Not Unusual Enough (ed. By Kenneth E. Hartman, 2013); Lockdown Prison Heart (iUniverse, 2004); Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People´s Gude to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time (James Kilgore, 2015); Hell is a Very Small Place: Voices from Solitary Confinement (The New Press, 2016).

Mr. Dole´s artwork has been displayed in exhibits in Berkeley, CA, Chicago, and New York.  He has also won four PEN Writing Awards for Prisoners, among others.

He is both a jailhouse journalist and jailhouse lawyer, as well as an activist and watchdog ensuring Illinois public bodies are in compliance with the Illinois Freedom of Information Act.

You can see more of his work on his Facebook Page

He will respond to all letters.

Joseph Dole K84446
Stateville Correctional Center
P.O. Box 112
Joliet Il 60434

Anthony Engles

My name is Anthony Scott Engles, born in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1965.  After a brief stint in the Navy, I pretty much roamed around the country, waiting tables and bartending.  I settled in Spokane in 1994, then got pretty heavy into survivalism and related activities.  I got in a shoot out with Stevens County Deputies in 2003 and wounded one of them.  I’m serving a 30-year sentence in Washington State, where I have done the majority of my writing.  I have one short story published and several unpublished short stories and poems.

Read Tony's writing here

Anthony Engles 832039
Coyote Ridge Corrections Center
P.O. Box 769
Connell, WA 99326

Dewan Evans

I am Dewan Evans, born and raised in Los Angeles California.  I´m 40 years young.  Still looking and feeling young. I´m fortunate and blessed to still be living and healthy.   I´m the only child of a single mum, though my mum didn't raise me.  My grandmother did.  My mother since died in 2011. I've been behind these cold bars for 19 years for a crime and accusations that I´m innocent of. I was railroaded by the system, betrayed by close ones I considered friends, with fabricated stories.  Despite these 19 years on lock, I´ve strived to better myself mentally, spiritually as well as physically, and with my writings I´m hoping to achieve but to be a positive aspect to the world. I´m still fighting in many ways not just for my freedom, but to remain relevant in my family´s life, to better my mind, heart and faith.   Enjoy my poetry, songs, stories and art. My books are available on Amazon: No Bully, My Daily Bread and Still Fighting.

Dewan Evans T30778
CSP Corcoran
P.O. Box 5242 
Corcoran, CA 93212

Samuel Hawkins

Samuel Hawkins is 41 years old and has been incarcerated since age 19. State raised, he will, at age 45, finally be freed.

Click here to read Hawk's writing

Samuel Hawkins 706212
Washington State Penitentiary
1313 N. 13th Avenue
Walla Walla, WA 99362

Willie Johnson

Willie Johnson has been imprisoned on Death Row in San Quentin State Prison in California for more than 30 years.

Read Willie's writing here

Willie Johnson C35635 
San Quentin State Prison
San Quentin, CA 94974

Michael Wayne Hunter

Michael Wayne Hunter spent 18 years on Death Row at San Quentin State Prison before his sentence was commuted to Life Without Parole in 2002. He is the recipient of awards from PEN America Center for fiction and non-fiction, and the William James award for prose.

Read Michael's writing here

Michael Hunter C83600
Sierra Conservation Center
5150 O'Byrnes Ferry Road 3C-149L
Jamestown, CA 95327

Michael Lambrix

Mike spent 34 years on Death Row before being executed by the State of Florida on October 5, 2017. To Live And Die On Death Row by C. Michael Lambrix is available as a free download here.

Read Mike's essays here

Michael Lambrix was executed
by the State of Florida on October 5, 2017

Art Longworth

I have been in prison for about 30 years with a Life Without Parole sentence. I instruct a university Spanish language course for University Behind Bars, a non-profit prison education program. The Prison Diary of Arthur Longworth is available through University Beyond Bars.

This article featuring Art appeared on the front page of The Seattle Times in 2012. Concurrently, NPR did a related story on the Liz Jones Show.

Read Art's essays here

Arthur Longworth 299180 C-238
Monroe Correctional Complex – WSRU
P.O. Box 777
Monroe, WA 98272

Mwandishi Mitchell

Mwandishi Mitchell is an innocent man serving time at the State Correctional Institution of Graterford. After serving ten years of his wrongful conviction, Mwandishi realized he had a talent in creative writing. Besides pursuing his writing career, he continues to fight in court reverently in pursuit of overturning his wrongful conviction. A published author, Mwandishi has two books, The Prodigal Son and The Prodigal Son 2, which can be downloaded and read for free at

Mwandishi’s writing can be found here and his poetry here.

Mwandishi Mitchell GB6474
SCI Houtzdale
P.O.Box 1000
Houtzdale, PA 16698-1000

Santonio Murff

At the age of 20, Santonio was convicted of a crime he didn’t commit. “I am only guilty of investing love and loyalty in the wrong individuals,” he says. During his years of incarceration, he has educated and elevated himself and others. He founded The Righteous Movement to bury the self-destructive mentality of ride or die (kill or be killed), and to resurrect in its stead a new righteous battle cry of SURVIVE AND SUCCEED (live long and prosper)!Santonio is the winner of numerous PEN awards for essays, short stories and screenplays. His work has appears in numerous publications, including Sister-2Sister magazine.

Read San's writing here and poetry here

Santonio Murff #773394
French M. Robertson Unit
12071 FM 3522
Abilene, Texas 79601
Jedidiah Murphy

My name is Jedidiah Murphy and I have been incarcerated since October 4, 2000 on Death Row in Texas.  I was raised in Texas and was adopted twice.  I graduated High School in 1994.  I am a husband and father to two girls whom I love without limits.  I make unfathomable mistakes and most times cannot see the forest for the trees.  I am flawed, I am human and I am trying to be something more than the sum of my parts.  So far… no such luck but I am stubborn and I have faith in tomorrow.

Jedidiah's writing is here and his poetry is here

Jedidiah Murphy 999392
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

Tom Odle

Tom Odle N66185
Dixon Correctional Facility
2600 N. Brinton Avenue
Dixon, IL 61021

Miguel Angel Paredes

Miguel Paredes was executed by the State of Texas on October 28, 2015.

Miguels' writing is here and is art and poetry are here

Timothy Pauley

Incarcerated since 1980, Tim has actively pursued educational opportunities. His first book, Life in Prison; Digging in and Getting Stated, was published in 2003. Tim writes in a variety of areas including fiction, op-ed, self help, non-fiction prison commentary. Currently he is actively involved in sentencing reform and the fight against the prisonization of America. He is always seeking intelligent dialogue that will expand his consciousness beyond the prison walls.

Read Tim's essays here

Timothy Pauley #273053 
Washington State Reformatory Unit
P.O. Box 777 
Monroe, WA. 98272-0777

Louis Perez

Greetings to you all:

Thank you so much for taking the time to view my work and reading this. My name is Louis Castro Perez…I was born and raised in Austin, Texas. I have 4 wonderful children…3 boys, 1 girl – ages 32 to 23. I have 5 grandchildren as well. All beautiful…Just like their Grandpa HA!

I have never really considered myself an “artist”. I was a carpenter for many years and I loved it and was very good at my craft.

I had never tried to put pencil to paper until I was put here on Death Row 15 years ago. I started out only doing Cartoon characters, but through the years, I’ve been blessed to have been around some true artists…MP…AP…Beto Perez…Big 50…Carlos Treviño…Big Foot…and so many more…They were and still are very inspirational to me! A lot of the art I’ve seen is called Jail House Art…and it is awesome, but once I learned how to do portraits…it was all over…it’s pretty much all I do now. We all have a lot of time on our hands back here…22 hours a day in our cells. So a lot of us have come up with ways to better our art. Supplies here are not worth getting excited about, but we’ve learned to make do with what we have. There’s something about the process that makes it really satisfying to me. Like I said, we have a lot of time on our hands, and when you’re not doing anything, al there is to do is think. Well…speaking for myself…During the process of getting things ready to draw or paint something…I always think of all the good things in my life: God and family. Sometimes I’m so lost in thought, it amazes me that I don’t mess up a drawing because I don’t stop the work…I just keep going.

And even while staring at my work…I sometimes don’t even see it…I see my thoughts…I don’t know if that makes any sense?? HA! HA!! I sure hope so.

I know one thing…I could start drawing at 8:00 a.m….look up and it will be dark outside. I love it!!

I’m sure it’s different for many of the men back here with me, but my art and the process of doing my work allows me to reflect about what’s good in my life, instead of thinking about being executed!


Big Lou

View Louis's writing and art 

Louis Perez 999328
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

Arnold Prieto Jr.

Arnold Prieto was executed by the State of Texas on January 21, 2015

Arnold's art is here and his writing is here

Eduardo Ramirez

How does your seven line bio read?

I am a dream deferred
I am hope on hold
I am soon to come
I am in progress
I am an arrow pointing true
I am human
I am you, man

Eddie's poetry is here and is writing is here
Edward Ramirez DN6284
SCI Graterford
P.O. Box 244
Graterford, PA 19426

Chuck Rienhardt

Hi. My name is Chuck Reinhardt and I am an Arizona Death Row inmate.  All the artwork and poetry you have seen and read come from the book “Dead Behind the Eyes…the Awakening”.   This is an unpublished book that I have written and illustrated including the cover in which you see.  Hopefully you are a publisher and want to help me give this kickass book to the world. I´m sitting here in this cage waiting to hear from all of you. Have a good one today.

If you like the artwork you see here, original pieces of my work can be found at  There's some cool ass shit there. Check it out, or contact me directly.

Respect Always, Chuck

View Chuck's poetry and art here

Chuck Rienhardt 084033
Arizona State Prison Complex - Eyman
SMU #2 Browning Wing 3-G-16
P.O. Box 3400
Florence, AZ 85132

Rosendo Rodriguez

Greetings, my name is Rosendo Rodrigues and I grew up in Wichita Falls, Texas. At 18, I studied political science and history at Texas Tech University and I served in the marine corps as an imperial storm trooper for the US Government.  I speak English and German.  I enjoy reading science fiction and playing Dungeons and Dragons and love finding hilarity wherever it may ensue.  I currently reside in a gated community on Death Row in Texas. Schreib mir auf deutsch, oder, write mein English.

Rosendo Rodriguez 999534
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

John Ruzas

The writing of John “Jackie” Ruzas has been widely published and he’s won numerous writing awards, most recently, an Honorable Mention in PEN’s 2012-2013 Prison Writing Contest for his essay titled, “Tragedy 2 Trial and Beyond.” He was released from prison in December 2017.

View Jackie's writing and poetry

John Ruzas was released from prison in December 2017

Tommy Lynn Sells

Tommy Lynn Sells was executed by the State of Texas on April 3, 2014

View Tommy's poetry and art here

J. Michael Stanfield Jr.

I've been in prison serving a life sentence since 1993.  I worked for The Only Voice, the prison newspaper of Turney Center Prison from 1995-2015.  During that time I was a reporter, writer and editor. I currently train service dogs to assist he disabled.

J. Michael Stanfield Jr. 209006 (with Jake)
1499 R. W. Moore Memorial Highway
Only, TN 37140-4050

Isaac Sweet

Read Isaac's writing here

Isaac Sweet 752399
WSRU D-2-27
P.O. Box 777
Monroe, WA 98272-0777

Carlos Trevino

I honestly don’t feel that I am an artist. I never went to school to study art. Those of us here who know how to draw, we share tips and ideas in how to improve our skills. This is done “verbally”. For it is impossible to actually sit down and watch another prisoner draw. So, as best as we can, we explain how to work with what we have. And most of our drawing materials are hand-made. We are very limited to art supplies. All of my drawings are done with a pencil that is not meant for drawing. All of my drawings are done with a Dixon # 2/HB pencil. We don’t have access to graphite drawing pencils. I am not really sure I would know how to use them. My other drawing materials are rolled toilet paper, my own hair and a small piece of sponge. They took our pencil sharpeners and here lately my teeth and nails are part of how I sharpen my pencils. These are the only materials I have access to.

My reason for picking up a pencil was because I love art. Little did I know it helped with escaping this place. And little did I know it was also therapeutic, sitting down for hours and drawing something that captures the soul. Creating something beautiful from a death row cell makes me feel good. It’s therapeutic.

View Carlos's art here
Carlos Trevino #999235 
Polunsky Unit
3872 FM 350 South
Livingston, TX 77351

William Van Poyck

William Van Poyck was executed by the State of Florida on June 12, 2013

View Bill's writing here

Kevin Varga

Kevin was executed by the State of Texas on May 12, 2010

View Kevin's Death Watch Journals here

Christian Weaver

My name is Christian Weaver. I am currently serving a life sentence. I had been writing on and off since my youth; since prison, however, I have taken it very seriously. My first love is poetry, but, I’ve also written aphorisms, essays, opinion pieces and plays. My areas of interest are philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, religion, literature and politics.

View Christian's poetry and writing.

Christian Weaver 271262
BCCX Site 2
1045 Horsehead Road
Pikeville, TN 37367

Chasity West

My name is Chasity West and I’m a lifelong native of Connecticut. Prior to my arrest I worked as a licensed nurse. In 1998 I was sentenced to life without parole on a first offense. Since my imprisonment I have written dozens of short stories, memoirs, essays and poems. I have immersed myself in many projects and programs, including writing workshops, dance and yoga classes, college courses, gardening and agriculture and drama classes. I think that prison can be a catalyst for self-reform.

To read Chasity’s essays please click here.

Chasity West 266589
York Correctional Facility
201 West Main Street
Niantic, CT 06357

Thomas Bartlett Whitaker

Thomas Bartlett Whitaker started MB6 in 2007. Since then he has earned a few awards and a BA, graduating summa cum laude in 2012. He is currently working his way through a Master’s program in the Humanities. Whether all of this erudition has made him even marginally less stupid is an open question.

View Thomas's art and poetry here and his writing here 

Amazon Wish List

Donate to Thomas's education and defense fund here

Thomas Bartlett Whitaker 02179411

Christopher Wilkins

Christopher Wilkins was executed by the State of Texas on January 11, 2017

View his writing here and his poetry here

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