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Stuck In The Shell

by Hd

The real me is hidden in the dark. Stuck in my shell, never wanting to come out, afraid to be judged, scared not to be good enough. No one sees the real me.  Fake smiles and laughter.  Scared to feel scared to want and not be wanted back, curious of what people think.  How could they be so blind? So unaware.

Maybe they just don’t seem to care. They act like they do, but if they did they would see that something is really wrong inside of me. Not crazy, just different.  Not like the rest.  When I feel feelings, my heart jumps out my chest.  But this is why I hide and I stay in the dark. I’m afraid of the silence and afraid of the dark.

I wonder if anyone will ever care enough to realize the sad darkness in my eyes or hear the cries that I cry.  Maybe it’s not worth it because I know I’ll just get hurt, left in the dust, left in the dirt. I can’t bear the hurt.  I have too much. I don’t think I can physically handle it.  I just sit here and wait for someone to realize.  Who will it be?  But I’m so sick of waiting.  It’s like I’m a fish stuck in the sea.  Like people say there’s too many fish in the sea.  Maybe one day things will change and the darkness and sadness wont’ be in me and things can rearrange. read more

Juvenile Life

 by Tony Farrell

“The Truth is Always the Best Argument” – Sophocles

Who am I… I am but only one of thousands of people who was a child prosecuted as an adult – then sentenced to rot inside a living tomb until I die. My name is Tony Farrell, and I am fighting for my life. Just a chance to even experience what “life” is or may be. I could easily say that I was failed by the system. An under-privileged kid who fell through the cracks. But that would give the false impression my situation is an isolated case.

The truth is, our justice system is inherently flawed and broken when it comes to our children. Who wants to live in a society where children from broken homes are punished for being vulnerable? Falling victim to the negative influences preying on them; for being impressionable, immature, and ill-equipped to discern between those who mean them well and those who mean them harm. read more

Dear Child

by Michael Russell

I open this letter and greet you with honor and respect. I’m addressing you as child because I want you to know and understand that you’re not yet an adult even if you feel that you are. Your childhood and teenaged years are a special time, and you should enjoy it and not waste it doing things that are counterproductive. See I was you once.

By the time I was thirteen years old I was sexually active, a drug-dealer, a car thief and out on my own. I swore I knew it all and I had an answer for everything. So less than two months after turning seventeen years old it shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I was tried as an adult for the murder of two men and sentenced to two consecutive terms of life without the possibility of parole.

More than twenty-one years later I’m still in prison. I’m now thirty-eight years old. I have four adult children and four grandchildren that I don’t get to see very often. Four children and grandchildren that I didn’t and can’t help raise. I lost not only my youth when I came to prison, but I also lost my family too. Someone else raised my children. read more

Caged And Still Singing

by Jv

I feel like a caged bird. Not being able to fly is torture, literally. I’ll prove them all wrong, that I don’t belong here by staying out when they open my cage door to let me fly. But in the meantime, I sing.

You may ask why? I’ve heard people say it’s because that’s what birds are made to do. I sing because it makes me feel free. It gives me hope. Although I do not literally sing, for I am not a bird, metaphorically I do sing. For when a bird sings, it does so not realizing that its captor may not want it to. It is, therefore, without meaning to, rebelling.

That is what I do, as well, so to speak. I don’t try to escape. I wait for them to open my cage door so that I may fly again. All the while I am “singing” by remaining in my cage. I sit there passively, eat the bird food they give me so that I may regain my strength, so that I am ready to fly when it’s time. This is how I rebel, I “sing.” read more

This World Around Me

by Alvin “JRoc” Richardson

In the abyss of Californians vast prison complex, I find myself lost and unaware of the things that matter to small minds captivated by institutionalization. At one point I thought I belonged amongst these small minds, so I did as drones do, follow blindly! But now on my 18th year (in prison), I no longer fit the bill, because my thinking has evolved and my knowledge has elevated. I feel awkward and out of place, based upon my personal growth, not anyone else’s lack thereof.

Nothing even feels the same, as I go on with the monotonous routines of prison life. Wake-up, wash my face, brush my teeth, go to chow, make a shot of coffee, go to yard, eat lunch, call home, go to work, another chow, go back to the cell, listen to music, watch TV, then off to bed. Those mundane things are exacerbated when you couple it with the negative energy, the hateful atmosphere, the depressive environment. With that comes the degradation one receives from the ninja turtles (CO’s), who think it’s their call to strip us of our human dignity. I try to make the changes required of me by the scientific theory of evolution, but only to be halted by arrested development. read more


by Elijah

We’ve all had someone in our life that even the thought of their face can make your heart skip a beat. I had a friend who was very dear to my heart, but my actions caused our relationship to slowly wither away.

I feel like there is still hope though because between us there was always something special; like a flower that needs water. We just need the right spark to ignite our flame that will start the fire that will last a lifetime.


by Rahsaan Thomas 

“Ain’t nothing to talk about,” was the motto I grew up believing in.  I didn’t think there was anything to talk about when someone had wronged me.  Talking to someone who offended you was viewed as a sign of weakness.  Discussing peace at that point meant they would get the last laugh.  So I thought like the rapper Papoose said, “Peace makers sound funny like Heathcliff with that dead the beef (crap), why would I dead the beef when I can dead the (negro) I have the beef with.”

At the same time, I never wanted to hurt another human being.  It feels so wrong to shoot someone that has the same problems as me, who lives in the same neighborhood as me and who looks just like me.  It made me feel like a puppet being manipulated to serve someone else’s agenda.  Yet I did, because being viewed as weak seemed worse. read more