Creative Commons License

Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

Illustration by Wirestock on Depositphotos

The system releases its grip on the prisoner,
knowing it did nothing to prepare him for success;
and with the $200 gate money,
he’s supposed to do his best?

The prisoner releases himself from psychological confinement,
determined to succeed,
despite the lack of a higher education
which was denied him by the system.

He fills out job applications.
“Have you ever been convicted of a felony?”
He marks, Yes!
And despite his qualifications
he don’t receive a second look.

He wonders, “How do I get a second chance
when I can’t get a second look?”

He approaches an old friend from the block
to buy a $100 double-up and
go back to what he does best
as he resets the cycle of systematic destruction.

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.

Ronald Ramsey Jr. is a writer incarcerated in California.