Tim Young

Since August 2019, Tim Young has been writing letters from San Quentin State Prison, where he is currently incarcerated, to students and volunteers at UC Santa Cruz as part of Solitary Garden. A participatory public sculpture and garden project by artist jackie sumell perched on a slope of campus overlooking Monterey Bay, Solitary Garden includes the sculpture of a standard US solitary confinement cell, similar to the one Young has been confined in for over twenty years. Around this cell grows a garden of flowers and vegetables designed by Young and communicated via letters. Young has written that participating in Solitary Garden has given him a view out of his windowless cell; all the while he hopes that correspondents and visitors to the garden also get a glimpse inside the prison in turn.

In March 2020, Young’s letters began to reflect the circumstances changing due to the pandemic. As part of Barring Freedom, SJMA members received a letter from Tim Young about his experiences with Covid-19 in San Quentin.

In April 2024, Young was moved from San Quentin Rehabilitation Center (formerly known as San Quentin State Prison) to Pelican Bay State Prison, in Crescent City, CA—350 miles away from his family, friends, and community. This move is a result of the passing of proposition 66. He can no longer receive mail but would still love to hear from you. Please visit his website at timothyjamesyoung.com.

Solitary Garden

Solitary Garden Tour from Arts UCSC on Vimeo.