Donald Middlebrooks (b. 1962)
Riverbend Maximum Security Institution
Nashville, Tennessee

"Awake at 5.00 am, stumbled barefoot across the floor, and plugged in the hot pot for that first cup of coffee. Drank the cup, then left for work. Came back, coffee pot was gone. The guard was grinning. I was punished for having one hot pot."

- Donald Middlebrooks

In Riverbend prison death row inmates are subjected to A,B,C levels, depending on their behavior. C is the hardest level – solitary confinement and other restrictions, A the most favorable where inmates are allowed art, writing workshops, and work. Donald Middlebrooks was sent back to solitary confinement for one and a half year because he kept his coffee pot when the prison had forbidden them. 

To read Middlebrooks' full letter, click here. To learn more about Middlebrooks and his artwork, visit R.E.A.C.H.

In 1989, Donald Middlebrooks was convicted of torturing and murdering a 14-year-old African-American.