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The shoes of juveniles standing in line
Photo by Sara17 on iStock

These feet have walked the hallways of juvenile hell. To be a child stuck in a brick-wall cell, looking at walls stained with graffiti, phlegm and semen.

These feet only wanted to run up and down the wooden floor of Nogales High School’s basketball court. Now they pace this 5-by-8-foot cell. These feet carried the burden of my contradiction: I didn’t want to play basketball; I wanted to die. 

Juvenile hall institutionalized my mind. It’s no surprise my feet have traveled from there to probation camp, LA county jail and seven different prisons. 

These feet are tired. When will they rest? Laying in a casket, either to fly in the sky or burn eternally?

They’ve walked the broad path of destruction and now are located in quicksand — I’ll let you know what lies beneath. If I could get one last message to the other young feet on this road, I’d say: “Turn around and run freely. You don’t have to sink like me.”

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.

Brandon J. Baker is a writer incarcerated in California. He is pursuing writing and public speaking as a way to make amends.