P.M. Dunne is the winner of 2018, 2019 and 2020 PEN Prison Writing Awards and was a PEN America Writing for Justice Fellow. While incarcerated in New York state, Dunne has earned a bachelor’s degree through the Bard Prison Initiative and his writings have been anthologized by PEN America, performed at the PEN World Voices Festival and Brooklyn Book Festival, as well as published by The Operating System, SIZL, Blue Unicorn, and The Awakenings Review. But, now his life is being threatened.

PEN America is urging supporters to sign our petition to New York state prison authorities to grant his request for a transfer or be placed in protective custody.

P.M. Dunne’s life attests to the transformative power of art. Scheduled for release in October 2024, Dunne plans to earn an MFA, and hopes to gain employment in publishing. His goal is to establish an avant-garde literary journal and establish a small press for incarcerated individuals. But these plans may not come to fruition should Dunne be returned to the general population of the prison. 

Dunne had been training service dogs in Fishkill Correctional. Once his dog, Holly, graduated, administrators moved Dunne from a cell to a dorm-style living area with many other people where he has been targeted with violence.

Terrified, Dunne threatened suicide which, by protocol, forced him to be moved to New York Department of Corrections and Community Supervision’s (DOCCS) mental health unit. Without intervention from the state, he will be transferred back into the general population–perhaps as soon as tomorrow. His requests for protective custody have been denied.

DOCCS is “responsible for the care, custody, and treatment of individuals sentenced to state prison.” With only six months left on his sentence, putting his life in danger by returning him to the general population would be a direct violation of this mission. 

By signing the petition below asking the Fishkill Superintendent and DOCCS Darren Miller, Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Office of Special Investigations to grant Dunne’s request for protective custody or transfer him to another facility, you will not only stand with him to protect his life but demonstrate your support for the freedom to write and free expression. We urge you to amplify your support by sharing this petition on social media.