Phillip Vance Smith, II

Phillip and I connected over a post he wrote about TextBehind, the new mailing system where mail is sent not to the actual prison, but to an address in Maryland where it’s then scanned and sent electronically to the prison. We both agreed it’s an unfair system that keeps prisoners from receiving hard copies of their loved ones’ letters and cards (think: kids’ drawings), that violates people’s privacy because those scans are kept on file for seven years and can be legally used against a prisoner without his or her knowledge, and that is used primarily to put money back into the Prison Industrial Complex, since research shows that drugs typically enter prisons via guards and not the mail.

Anywho, I quickly realized that Phillip is a brilliant writer, thinker, and poet. I’ve given feedback on poems and essays, and he’s working on a collection of poems for BleakHouse. I also made the connection that he’s one of the co-authors of a bill I’d heard of (HB 697), which gives qualifying lifers a second chance. He’s also the editor of the longest-running prison periodical in North Carolina, The Nash News.

I believe in the work Phillip is doing so much that I want to give him a page on my website. Trust that we will be hearing much more from this man in the future!


  • Ambitious, Butterscotch Publishing Inc., 2018
  • Cage, Butterscotch Publishing Inc., 2014



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