Why I’ll Stand in Line for Hours at the Prison Commissary
Prison Journalism Project
by De’Wayne Maris
14h ago
At the prison commissary, you can purchase food and you can hang out.  Food is necessary to survive prison, and social connection is equally important. At commissary, people with different personalities unite for the sake of a purchase. On days we visit the commissary, nothing matters but ramen, Honey Buns and other snacks.  Items are expensive, but you still hear laughter from men as they stand in line waiting for their turn to shop — “open line” is what it’s called. On that day, the commissary window is open for everyone to purchase an afternoon spread or just a pint of ice cream ..read more
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A Side-by-Side Comparison of Commissary and Cafeteria Meals
Prison Journalism Project
by Justin Slavinski
14h ago
I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the meals provided to us by the Florida Department of Corrections may actually be somewhat healthy, at least compared to food purchased at the prison canteen.   Take, for example, chili mac, a recent meal served inside. Out in the free world, this is a pretty simple dish. Boil some noodles. Brown some ground beef. Toss in a can of kidney beans. Maybe sauté a few onions, peppers and tomatoes. Mix it all together and season to taste. Voila! A real, free-world meal.  Now, the prison’s version boils the noodles until they resemble paste. There a ..read more
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To the Ones Who Never Left
Prison Journalism Project
by Luisa Cutting
14h ago
I owe a thank you to the ones who never left me the ones who had courage to stand by me in a courtroom where silence is deafening to the ones who listened to my midnight cries to the ones who had to hear the words “all rise” to the ones who saw me in handcuffs and shackles to the ones who promised me this prison time I’d tackle “you’re not alone,” they told me “we still love you,” they cried on that day I realized I’d never see an ocean sunrise not for a while my friends, but one day we’ll begin again on the tough days I think about how the courtroom was filled with people I love yet I’m cryi ..read more
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Dua Lipa Opened the Musical Door for This Gen Xer
Prison Journalism Project
by Daniel K. Talburt
2d ago
I am a member of Generation X. We followed the baby boomers and preceded the millennials. Our generation is usually categorized as being born between 1965 and 1980. We were so full of ourselves then that we thought X stood for “xtreme.” Yet as I age, I’m starting to believe it now stands for “xtinct.”  We were the rebels, the generation of big hair, parachute pants, sport coats over T-shirts with slacks and shoes with no socks (think Don Johnson in “Miami Vice”). And let’s not forget — though some may want to —  the hair bands and leg warmers. Yet one day as I scrolled through my MP ..read more
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When ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ Is a Good Thing
Prison Journalism Project
by John L. Orr
2d ago
The phrase “What goes around, comes around” has been a refrain throughout my life, but its meaning has changed over the years. I used to think of it as a threat, but in prison — one of the unlikeliest of places — I’ve learned how it can be applied to the spirit of giving.  Over 30 years ago, on a drive home from work, I saw a man driving a red Mazda Miata through my neighborhood toss an empty beer can into the gutter. Irritated, I got out of my raised Chevrolet Blazer and retrieved the can. A short chase later, I pulled alongside the tiny Miata while it idled at a red signal. I tossed th ..read more
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Freedom
Prison Journalism Project
by Summer Breeze
2d ago
Freedom Hold fast to your freedom for if you let freedom go life is like a beautiful river that has lost its flow Freedom Hold fast to your freedom for if you let freedom die life is like a Boeing 747 that cannot fly Freedom Should be cherished each day for if you let it slip away life’s bright skies will turn dull and gray Freedom The post Freedom appeared first on Prison Journalism Project ..read more
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How I Survive in The Most Dangerous Prison in Colorado
Prison Journalism Project
by Robert Turner
5d ago
We were supposed to come out of our cells today.  It would have been only my third time leaving my cell to spend time in my prison unit’s common area, and I’ve been here for three months. I didn’t even bother to gather my things to come out; I knew what would happen. The only people who had left their cells today were two gentlemen housed on the tier below me, and they got in a fight with each other.  Naturally, the ensuing altercation meant we will be locked in our cells for another … well, there’s really no telling. A most violent place This is my second time being in Colorado Sta ..read more
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How Driving a Tractor Made Me Feel Human Again
Prison Journalism Project
by Lexie Handlang
5d ago
I sat in the driver’s seat of the John Deere, holding the key and preparing to drive for the first time in nearly a decade. I felt a sense of normalcy I had not felt in years.  In the Missouri Department of Corrections there are many different jobs available for incarcerated folks. Most prisons, like the medium security one I’m in, do not require people to have a job, although some do. When an opening in the maintenance department presented itself at my prison, I could not pass it up. I inquired about the job opening. I interviewed for the position and was hired on the spot.  Having ..read more
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My Heart Is Wrapped in Concertina Wire
Prison Journalism Project
by K.C. Johnson
6d ago
Tears were running down my girl’s porcelain cheeks as she walked away. My heart was pounding so hard I feared it would betray my panic — and that I would do anything to keep her. I was losing my edge. I looked up from a rusty nail in the picnic table just in time to meet her hazel eyes. “You’re an ass,” she said quietly. Just a few weeks earlier, in the North Carolina prison where we both resided, I had told her I loved her. She was about to be released, but I had four years remaining on my sentence. She had said she would wait for me, and that she loved me too. I had ached for true love, and ..read more
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A Free Man for the First Time
Prison Journalism Project
by Sean "Sharif" Neal
6d ago
What does it take to get a second chance? If you’re serving life without parole, it takes nothing short of a miracle.  In 1996, 17-year-old Wajuba McDuffy was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for a crime he maintains he did not commit. When federal and state laws banned such sentences for juvenile offenders, it saved his life. Born and raised in Compton, California, McDuffy grew up as the eldest of four children of a crack-addicted mother. They lived in the Ujima Village Housing Projects, where he was exposed to gangs, poverty and criminal activity at an early age.&nbs ..read more
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