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Black and white photo of a prison hallway with barred cells
Photo by Emiliano Bar on Unsplash

I find myself locked in the bowels of hell —
Oppressive boredom crushes spirit and soul
In this dungeon where petty tyrants dwell.

Integrity, she is a corpse, bloated and rotten.
Her name, painted in her own blood upon the walls,
Attempts to cover the stains of corruption.

Hate spews from the top of the hierarchy,
Tainting the Kool-Aid with a virulent poison
That reflects their deceit and moral impurity.

Overcrowded States with rehabilitative dreams
Drink thirstily those Kool-Aid-flavored lies
And believe in a place that is not what it seems.

Lie. Cheat. Steal. It’s the CoreCivic way.
Send us your inmates, they’ll be back another day.

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.

James Mancuso is a poet incarcerated in Arizona.