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I want to imagine a world without prisons. This means that you must first visualize a perfect world that overflows with love, peace and unity. You can say that this world would have to be that of one heartbeat. 

Several years ago in the Los Angeles Men’s Central Jail prior to coming to prison, I wrote, “We are standing on the very vital moment in the history of mankind. The consciousness of the world is rising to a higher plane. We are one and are meant to live in harmony and unity.” 

They put us away, hide us away and bury us, not knowing that we are seeds of unlimited potential. 

Change is possible and I want to let you know that there is hope in your future. Please never stop dreaming. I don’t care how bad it may look for you now. I know that in your heart you really want better for yourself and loved ones. 

When I was 21 years old (I’m 39 now), I found myself in the Hole for stabbing two men out in the Yard. As I was reflecting on my life, I wrote a poem: “In a wishing well, I throw a nickel, and the waters ripple. Beautiful visions I see of a future yet to be. Who would’ve ever thought?” 

I just knew that I knew that it would get better one day. I can honestly say that today it is better. 

I’ve always really wanted to do something. I yearn for it. I was created for it. I am destined for it. Perhaps you feel and believe the same way? 

Like Cesar Chavez did with the united farm workers, we can gather the masses — the people — and march forward. With every step, breaking chains, prison walls and divisions on all levels. Let’s boycott prisons. Prison is a cancer that is eating alive our family, friends and future. It preys on societies less disadvantaged. It’s a heartless monster who trades the souls of men as if we were merchandise.

How do we boycott? Plain and simple we have to stop buying the ticket, we have to stop doing stupid shit and we have to stop committing crimes. We have to engage and interact with our relatives and educate them on the reality, we must invest in our communities and paint a bigger picture especially for the youth. We must do all that we can, so that at least prisons as we know them become a thing of the past. 

You might be asking yourself what you can do. What are the tools that you have available? Personally, I can think, I can write, I can be an example, I can share my experience. I ask you to think of the tools you have. The whole body has to come together, everyone has to do their part. 

Prison reform is something big right now. And it’s a move in the right direction.

One last question: what do you want to be remembered for one day, what will be your contribution to the planet? The mark that we leave behind will be the goal for future generations to follow and even surpass. Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”

So a world without prisons, huh? I wouldn’t blame you if you thought it was impossible. But I’ve always thought that the word impossible only means that nobody has thought about a way to make it possible yet. 

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

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Jesse Suarez

Jesse Suarez is a writer incarcerated in California.