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by Julias Humphrey
Let me rst say Thank You for publishing my words for other people to read, especially our young. We all must understand their position in the adversity of life today because it is much harder for them in contrast to when I was a child which brings me to my topic – the “School-to-Prison Pipeline”. What’s the main causation and how do we stop it?
Along with this writing you will nd a copy of the response I recently received from President Barack Obama. I wrote him concerning his visit to El Reno Federal Penitentiary (in Oklahoma). When he sat down and spoke to six of the prisoners, it had meaning to him – this is what he later said to the press “these are young people who made mistakes that aren’t that different than the mistakes I made and the mistakes that a lot of you guys made. The difference is they did not have the kinds of support structures, the second chances, the resources that would allow them to survive those mistakes.” (Inside Journal, volume 24, No. 4, Fall 2015, Prison Fellowship’s Newsletter for America’s prisons – Pope and President visit prisoners, page 4.)
They look at me and wonder, is he all the way there? They can’t understand me so they sit there and stare They listen to your story, make it seem like they care But then write you up for some shhh that ain’t fair Sometimes I give up and gotta catch myself
Stand up like a man and adjust myself
I ain’t even gonna worry, not gonna stress myself
I’ll make it out of here so I could bless myself
The ones you thought would accompany you always Could switch up so fast, you wouldn’t know they’re gone Until you look back in the past
I look into the future and grab myself fast
Because I don’t want no sneak peak of the life I’m about to have I’ll live day by day all the way down to the last
And whatever happens from the good to the bad
My granny used to tell me I’m going to end up like my dad
I mean I barely know the guy so how am I supposed to brag?
by Jeremy Willis
Hello, my name is Jeremy Willis and I am incarcerated in Valley State Prison in Chowchilla, California. I was talking to two of my friends in here and one I’ve known for 12 years now and they both write articles and poems for the Beat Within. They talked me into letting you know my story with hopes that it will change at least one person’s thinking about being in a gang or doing drugs.
I was in a lot of group homes in the East Bay for the rst ten years of my life and at ten I got adopted and moved to Farmersville in Tulare County.
I joined a gang at eleven years old because I was looking for love and acceptance in the wrong place. I started going to Juvie when I was thirteen years old and fourteen years old. I was introduced to crank (meth) by an older friend of mine and that changed my life forever.
by Young One
The greatest challenge I have to deal with is anxiety. My anxiety keeps me up at night and worrying all day. I haven’t found anything to help my anxiety except sports. But as soon as that’s over, it comes right back.
When I suffer from my anxiety, I get anxious and it’s hard for me to function. I try not to cry and stay strong, but at nighttime I tend to cry and struggle in the sense that I’m by myself and no one can see me at a weak point. And when something big comes up, my anxiety starts pumping through my blood as fast as a rocket. The anxiety breaks down my barrier to stay calm and keep my head.
But one thing my anxiety will help me with is staying out of the hall, because everything I take from here will help me better myself. And my anxiety is also helping me make sure I do good in prayer.
by Trey L. Pike
“To have once been a criminal is no disgrace. To remain a criminal is the disgrace”
– Malcolm X.
Many of us are caught in the cycle of incarceration. Is crime about
decisions or is there more to it? For those who believe you have made a change in your life, what helped you to transition into becoming a responsible citizen? For those in the process of transformation, what do you need to help you get out of the criminal lifestyle?”
I am 24 years old, covered in tattoos, just paroled from the “notorious” High Desert State Prison in Susanville, California, where I know more people than I do not around me. I have seen and been a part of riots, stabbings, removals, ghts, suicides, etc. etc. etc. You can say I’m “somebody” in here. I am doing seven more years currently after only being out of prison for eight months.
by Thomas Weed
It’s me, Thomas Weed, once known as Confusing Mind so many years ago when I had the opportunity to participate in workshops ran by Matt and Michael. Now, over a decade later I find myself serving a seven year 8-month sentence because well, I guess I still hadn’t learned my lesson.
Having touched each and every part of the criminal justice system, I’ve seen first-hand how broken it really is. From Juvie to Group homes, to County programs to Prison. Entire novels have been penned by far greater minds than mine, mapping out the school to the prison pipeline. It’s a given that life is unfair.
As much as I’d love to say we all have an equal chance to succeed, the simple truth is that this is not so. The underclass is at a disadvantage, straight up. So basically, if you were born into a poor family, raised in a shitty neighborhood, or look suspicious to a clean cut white man with a badge or a cellphone then you need to try extra hard and work that much more to avoid the cuffs and this is coming from a white man who is color blind.