If we were honest with ourselves – completely naked, peeled back layers honest – we’d admit we are all one small set of circumstances away from a different life. “But for the grace of God…”
That’s reality. It is also a reality that the United States is the most incarcerated country on the planet. There are countless forgotten people – some innocent; some not yet charged with anything, but too poor for bail; some caught up in addiction; some too young and immature to make wise decisions, but decent and good at heart; some mentally ill; some who had terrible legal representation; some caught up in mandatory minimums that don’t take into account common sense; and, yes, some that are a danger to society. Some had incarcerated parents. Some had abusive parents. Some were homeless. Some didn’t have much of a chance. Some didn’t have fully developed brains when they committed their crimes.
We all started at the same place though. That, we have in common. We were born with the same potential, just not the same circumstances. We were born not knowing what color is, or class, or status. We were born needing to be loved and accepted, treated with dignity and respect. Then our paths all went off in different directions, no two the same. Some of those paths were on very insulated roads, cushioned and lined with safety nets. Parents who could afford the best schools and training for their children, and top notch legal representation if anything should go awry. The people on those paths aren’t used to injustice, because they don’t encounter it, and if they do – they have the tools to fight it head on. All too often, paths like that are taken by people who only know how to deal with injustice and things they don’t want to see by turning away, or building new prisons to encase the problems. Those are the very people that are most likely to end up running our government.
They represent us though, and turning away isn’t acceptable. In this place – turning away isn’t an option. This place is for the telling of the stories of injustice. We aren’t here by ourselves, to be isolated from heartache. This isn’t a ‘him’, ‘her’, ‘them’ life, simply because ‘they’ were born to a different set of circumstances. This is about ‘us’. The purpose of this place is to tell the stories of those who aren’t a menace. Those people that started out just the same as us, with dreams and pudgy fingers and chubby cheeks and smiles and laughter. They looked out at the world with no knowledge of the obstacles that would fall in their paths. This place is to give faces to the faceless, and a voice to those buried behind fences and cinderblocks.
These pages will share their stories and also their thoughts and their experiences in their words. As this site grows, there will also be books of all genres listed here, written from behind bars. In this place, the thousands of people who are living behind bars are no longer hidden. They are the same as you and I, with potential and promise, and deserving of compassion. We are in this life together.
All article submissions from prison will be considered for posting, and book submissions, of all genres, from prison will be considered for possible addition to our library. Please only send partial manuscripts for review, and never submit your original, as we have had submissions get lost in the mail. Unfortunately, we are unable to compensate authors for their contributions, but they will be sent two copies of their article or book if it is published.
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