I was a tattoo artist for years, even though it’s not allowed in prison. It’s the most lucrative hustle in prison that doesn't involve drugs or body-cavities. You can make about $20 an hour,
Living in a household ruled by addiction, there were many nights spent with hunger as my friend. I would open the refrigerator only to find some moldy cheese and an empty gallon of a milk jug filled with water.
The study also showed that the release of 1,000 prisoners who had earned bachelor degrees while in prison would save Texas $59,000,000 yearly.
Most people join gangs just to be accepted or needed. Or they want the feeling that they’re someone important. Or they want to be a part of something because they really had no real friends growing up.
I kind of figured I was destined for prison. I'm dead serious. I was born a realist and knew that the life I was born into meant there was little to no hope for [...]
About a week after Thanksgiving of 2004, I stabbed a prison guard when I was at the Barrington Unit, located between Houston and Galveston, and got an additional 99 year sentence for that [...]
I hope not to die in the next 145 days. Unfortunately, the possibility of death remains real. In the event of my demise, I ask that my story be told as an example of everything we have gotten wrong with mass incarceration policies. And that my death not be in vain, but serve as a rally cry for those seeking to repair a broken system that routinely discounts the lives of black and brown people.
We went to the room. He had a pipe and some alcohol. We smoked. We drank. I talked. He listened. We ended up laughing. Next thing you know we were having sex. I was on my back, legs on his shoulders. It was consensual. It was fine.
We face pure uncut racism everyday we wake up. We deal with these correctional officers every day, many of us trying to respect them, knowing deep down in our hearts that they don't like blacks. They haven't even been around a lot of black people before. There are little subtle things they do.
They made a journalist out of me. And that, my friends, is something of extreme significance. I came to prison with an eight grade education. I have a thriving writing career now. I owe it all to Prison Writers and Loen for believing in me.
The reality is, prison has in fact made me worse than who I was before I came here. It has made me shallow and cold, like winter. It has made me recognize anger, loneliness, hate, and despair -- as everyday feelings. Feelings like happiness, and love, definitely don’t exist.
For the past two decades, up until April 27, 2015, I was living in solitary confinement at the only federal Supermax prison in America, ADX Florence in Colorado. I was housed and handled under the high-max [...]
I’m a repeat offender. This is my 4th time in penitentiary. I’m the “poster child” for getting out of prison. First time I was 17 years old. I did four years. My 2nd time I was 22 and I did 3 years. Third time I was 25 and I did 9 years. Now I’m 37 and I’m serving a 30-year sentence.
I watched my friend’s face with skepticism. No one in their right mind hoped for something so sinister. Yet his steady eyes only stared back at me, repeating what he had just said: “Seriously, [...]
Rule number one of prison: the tougher you look, the easier your ability to choose the person you want to be while inside. Be labeled or perceived as a punk, a b*tch, a weakling, and you will have your public perception on the inside chosen for you… and it will not make for an easier time. So... you can lift weights, learn to fight, practice snarling in a mirror. You can do all these things, but none of them can accomplish as much as getting a good old tattoo.
I’m a stick-up kid who robs any thing that moves. If they had money or drugs, or better yet, both, I did not hesitate to take it. I ended up with $160-grand and 33 kilos of cocaine. I knew the crew in the van would try to kill me, so I put everything in this big handbag and then took a big silk bag he had and put what I could in it.
Well, after 20 years in solitary confinement in America's toughest federal Super-max prison, still half-sleep and dazed, my mind and heart raced, baffled and excited. The guards gave me less than an hour to prepare to leave.
Today marks four years without him -- son, oldest brother, grandson, USMC honor graduate, lifelong friend, 25 year-old with a laugh you can’t resist and a way of looking at you so intently that [...]