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Write & Rise ONLY THE DEAD CAN KILL: Stories from Jail is a collection of stories and poems by men and women who are incarcerated to show the humanity of people who live behind the walls, and features Margo Perin's childhood story of growing up on the lam. ONLY THE DEAD CAN KILL was funded by the Creative Work Fund in collaboration with Community Works West and is available in print and on CD. 

As crime and recidivism rates continue to rise, rarely do we have the opportunity to hear the voices of the 2.5 million men and women who are currently incarcerated in the thousands of jails and prisons across the United States. In this unique, enlightening collection of autobiographical stories and poems, men and women who are incarcerated in San Francisco County Jail tell their life stories. In their raw, powerful voices, these emerging writers look at their lives with unflinching candor and show their commitment to transform and heal their suffering and perpetration of crime in this profoundly personal and courageously public anthology.

Featuring Margo Perin's own story of being raised by a criminal father, ONLY THE DEAD CAN KILL crosses new boundaries of literature and illuminates what joins us as human beings. As the writers' voices ring out from behind the bars, they call on us to shine a light into the shadows of our own experiences and begin a process of healing that will benefit us all.

"Men and women incarcerated in San Francisco Jail, locked into lives only partly of their making, begin to pick the lock by naming humiliations, recalling shame, owning thwarted longings. Margo Perin gave them the courage to try and they, in turn, inspired her to re-enter her own troubled past. Together these writers push back the dark. Readers willing to bear witness to these raw accounts may discover themselves as belonging to a larger human community than they imagined." Bell Gale Chevigny, editor, Doing Time: 25 Years of Prison Writing.
"ONLY THE DEAD CAN KILL is a rare multimedia collaboration between an accomplished writer, Margo Perin, and adult inmates in San Francisco County Jail. Over a yearlong series of narrative-writing workshops, Perin guided a group of male and female offenders through a process of exploring their lives through narration. Her own courage in sharing her story of being raised by a criminal father inspired the inmates to write about their experiences with unflinching candor and in dedicating themselves to this project, these remarkable authors made a commitment to transform their suffering and perpetration of violence into creative writing that is both profoundly personal and courageously public. Reading their stories, we see and understand what joins us as human beings. The publication of ONLY THE DEAD CAN KILL is one step in a long process of personal healing, accountability, and community restoration. It provides one more step towards the goal of convincing our society that a truly 'just' criminal justice system can and should have rehabilitation as a core value." Ruth Morgan, Community Works