A conversation with my boyfriend eventually clarified my motivation. “What if you end up writing to somebody who’s a real monster? Somebody who’s killed kids, or a serial rapist?” I wouldn’t know anything about my pen friend until after I’d committed, long term, to writing to them. And even then, only if they chose to tell me. I considered my boyfriend’s question and struggled to think of a crime that justified, to my mind, the punishment of death row, or a person who deserved to be sentenced to that kind of life.
I asked Luke about the motivations of the other 1,500 Human Writes members in the UK. “Almost all the reasons come back to simply seeing people in a place of great suffering. For me personally, I see a system where people feel dehumanised. All people deserve to be treated as people.”
I realised, in the end, that I can argue endlessly with my friends, and my boyfriend, but this is all it comes down to: I believe everyone should be treated as a human being.