People talking during a protest
Photo by Sushil Nash on Unsplash

Sitting in the law library
listening to Jay-Z’s “Reasonable Doubt”
trying to find a way
to explain away
my reasonable doubt
in this system of punishment
and what it is all about

I waive my right to remain silent,
stand tall, act up, and get violent
We’re not buying the way it’s all marketed
Like a bullseye, I feel targeted
Is it justice?
Or is the problem really just us?

Lock us up
throw away the key
then you will never have to hear our plea
for justice and equality
We put it in the NFL
and on your TV
so you can see
that we will not stop fighting
until we are all free

I look over at the prosecutor
and the judge
They don’t look like me
They don’t represent my community
There is a lack of diversity

My only similarity
are with those found guilty
Unfortunately
that is how the system
was designed to be

Our destiny from the creator
was to be cheap labor
since 1776
How should my generation lose their rights?
I’ll let you pick

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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Joseph Rosales III

Joseph Rosales III is a law student at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He graduated magna cum laude from the University of Colorado Denver, majoring in psychology and sociology with a minor in behavioral and cognitive neuroscience.