Prison or Her?

By Keith Bennett

Each day that passes, we are all one day closer to death.
Each day that passes, are days we will never get back.
Each day spent in prison, is another day we spend without freedom
A lot of guys throw their entire lives away for the Mob, for their guys…
I fail to understand how the Mob and the guys can be more important than being free…

Continue reading “Prison or Her?”


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.

The Enemy Within

By Eric Snead

If score was kept of life’s mess, I’d have perfect ten
The greatest battle I have is “The Enemy Within”
In times of trouble, chaos and confusion I befriended
Bad mistakes and decisions over & over I defended
In perfect world my shelves are well stocked
In reality my cupboard bare and I’m shell shocked
I pay my fare on the emotional roller coaster ride
“The Enemy Within” is so eager to play outside
Under Dr. Feelgood I have been sedated
Thoughts of the afterlife I have contemplated Continue reading “The Enemy Within”

Who is to Blame?

By Pablo Salgado

Sadly, for far too long we have been greatly deceived. Force to conform to policies adopted from inhumane sadistic animalistic concentration camp mentality by IDOC Administration without at times the slightest discomfort or outcry in our part. Because of this, the deception continues to succeed, converting itself to a perpetual system of mental deterioration and nothing else.

Continue reading “Who is to Blame?”


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.