Save our United States Children!

By Willie Scales

Dear Parents,

Our society and justice system never take into consideration that children are not yet fully developed emotionally or psychologically and that most have not received a proper education.

From one mistake, we label them a threat and “menaces to society”. We conclude that juvenile offenders will never contribute anything worthwhile to society. But how can we make this determination against our United States youth?

Continue reading “Save our United States Children!”

Why Do Incarcerated Lives Matter?

By Sherrell Towns

Incarcerated lives matter for a multitude of reasons beginning with the fact that prisoners account for and make up an absentee segment of society, while prison itself merely serves as storage space for warehousing society’s outcasts – the men and women who find themselves incarcerated.

The obvious reason incarcerated lives matter is that every sentence pronounced is neither a death sentence nor a term of natural life. Continue reading “Why Do Incarcerated Lives Matter?”


By Efrain Alcaraz

Dear Mother, I understand your pain as my indigenous traditions. In your body rivers of blood, carrying life, splitting your body causing pain, in my vein’s rivers of blood, carrying my indigenous pain.

We were both conquered by humans and we both suffered the consequences, in your part, pierced your body, with powerful drills trying to steal your blood that is killing the world. The black gold.

In my part they only pierced my veins with needles, to steal my indigenous blood, on your surface thousands of indigenous tribes passed by farewells, in search of better lands, in my mind only painful moments passed dissolving farewells.

But you are the best Mother, you burdened me when I was born, you gave me food when I was hungry, and you gave me to drink your blood when I was thirsty.

Thank you, Mother Earth. ■

Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of Stateville Speaks.


By Tammy Englerth

I am just a normal inmate. Like many others I have transformed from a silent onlooker to a vocal activist. Prison walls don’t stop you from using your voice. My outward circumstances have not changed – I am still just another prisoner. But my inner world has shifted dramatically. I am an overcomer, and so can you be. You can’t change your mistake or circumstance, but we can make our time useful by helping others and most of all ourselves.

Continue reading “Determined”

We All Make Mistakes

By Willie Scales

Dear Prisoners:

We all make mistakes!
Mistakes can be forgiven, but only if we repent today!

So I beg you to please exchange your negativity and your destructive behavior and exercise that energy toward something positive, like seeking vocation training, enrolling in a GED testing course or a college program!

Something that will not only be positive and fruitful for you, but also for your
Wonderful offspring’s, as well as for your community!

Continue reading “We All Make Mistakes”


By Eddie Williams

I’m rougher than any thug. I don’t do hugs, there is no room for love. I’m free of all prejudice. I hate everyone equally. Consumed by the isolation and the same old routine, I breakdown the weak so easily. Empowered by the thirteenth amendment. I own you slave! Ankles scarred, wrists swelled, handcuffed and shackled, never again will you be without a blemish. I’m the only subject in your sentence. I’m a graduate school for the dropouts. And I have given out more degrees than a university. I’m a genius. Capitalize on your bad decision. And once I take hold, it’ll be worse than any drug. Dependent broken soul give up hope all ye who enter here. Like gravity I pull the nefarious toward me. And even if he does make a break, it won’t matter to me. I still remain full to capacity with all the coming and going like cavities. So, give me your tired, your rich and poor. No, I’m not America, just it’s addiction, mass incarceration with no rehabilitation. I was here before Jesus and the masses have tried me before they have tried religion. I go by many names, but you can call me prison. ■

Originally published in the Fall/Winter 2018 edition of Stateville Speaks.