Surviving the Pandemic: Tell us your story!

National Pro Bono Week is a time to celebrate and recognize the work of our dedicated pro bono volunteers as well as to educate the community about the many issues faced by PLS’s clients. This year, in addition to recognizing our volunteer attorneys with Pro Bono awards, the virtual event will shine a light on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on incarcerated individuals and their families.

We are seeking submissions, from those in custody and from their loved ones, about how the pandemic impacted them.  Submissions can include COVID-19 related stories, letters, poems, artwork, or even scenes with characters and dialogue. What was it like to be incarcerated or have a family member incarcerated during the worst part of the COVID pandemic? Were you able to communicate with your loved ones? If not, how did you cope during the periods when you were unable to see or speak with them? Did you or someone close to you become infected with the virus? If so, what was that experience like? Did you lose a close friend or relative to COVID-19? What was it like to see your loved ones in person again after being separated for so long?

If you would like to share your story of coping with the anxieties and uncertainties of being incarcerated or having a loved one behind bars during the peak of the pandemic, please send us your submission.  

Because our event this year will be virtual, we are particularly interested in receiving artwork. We will use the artwork to create a collage depicting the impact of the virus from an artistic standpoint. So, if you have been waiting to share your artistic talent – now’s the time!

If you speak/write in a language other than English, please feel free to send us a submission in your primary language, that is, the language in which you are most comfortable expressing yourself.

We will compile selected submissions, and the finished product will be presented by professional actors during a live virtual performance at our November 2021 pro bono celebration. We will also display artwork selected from the submissions throughout the event.

Poems should be no more than one (1) page. Stories or short plays should be no more than five (5) pages in length and mailed, with the letter below to: Pro Bono Director, Prisoners’ Legal Services of NY, 41 State Street, Suite M112, Albany, New York 12207, no later than August 22, 2021 or email your submission to:

By sharing your first-hand accounts, we hope to educate the public about the issues faced by incarcerated individuals and their families and friends, and to recruit attorneys to take cases pro bono, thus increasing access to justice for indigent incarcerated persons across the State. While we cannot guarantee that each piece will be read or displayed, we encourage all submissions and will do our best to integrate as many as possible into the event.

PLS reserves the right to make editorial changes to submissions.


When you send us your submission, please include the following cover letter, which must be DATED and SIGNED by you, with your submission.  You may simply send us this page, dated and signed below, as your cover letter, along with your submission:

DATE: __________________


Dear Pro Bono Partnership,

Enclosed is my submission for the 2021 PLS Pro Bono Event. I authorize PLS to use my submission and my name at the event and in the event materials. I also authorize PLS to post my submission on its website and any other PLS social media platform such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. and include it in Pro Se. I also authorize the use of my submission and my name in PLS informational and promotional materials.




     (Please sign your name here)