Photo by Charles DeLoye on Unsplash

The cuffs were clasped upon his wrists,
His arms in pain behind his back.
Engulfed by guilt, his freedom sank
Like a rock dropped in a stagnant lake.
The neighbors’ glares pierced to his soul,
His shame compelled the tears to drop.
Statements were made and guilt defined;
The judge with harsh words sealed his fate.
His mother’s pleas came to his mind:
“Change or you’re bound to die in jail.”
His life of failure now complete,
He wished his heart would cease to beat,
And that his life would end at once.

Although the bars confined his strides,
Determination fueled his drive.
He studied hard to reach his goals,
Inspired by those who cared to share.
The man who feared he’d die in jail
In cap and gown clutched his scroll.
At last the man destined to fail
Was now a graduate full of hope.

 
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.

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M. Yayah Sandi

M. Yayah Sandi is a writer at East Jersey State Prison in Rahway, N.J., where he is serving a 25-year sentence. He requested that his first name be withheld.