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A man sits on the floor of a prison cell with a shaft of light beaming down.
Artwork by Chastyn "Nova" Hicks

This drawing depicts the commonly held idea that prison is lifeless or without color, while life on the outside is vibrant and full of vitality.

But the world inside prison is not always metaphorically black and white. There is so much depth to what inmates experience physically and mentally. Although society generally views inmates as failures, many of us believe that our mistakes do not define us. 

Everyone has the capacity to move beyond mistakes. The future is bright if you choose to make it so.

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.

Chastyn “Nova” Hicks is a writer and artist incarcerated in Arizona.