An Inmate’s Story: How I Turned Into the Person I Feared Most

As an 11-year-old he was bullied by classmates. Thirty years later he looked back with regret on the choices that turned him into a violent gang member serving life in prison, in this essay produced for “The Beat Within” justice writing workshop in San Francisco.


‘The Only Answer They Have is Jail’: A 13-Year-Old’s Story

In an essay published by the San Francisco-based writing workshop The Beat Within, an incarceree writes about the first time he was sent to juvenile hall, at the age of 13, and why he wishes there was an alternative to police intervention for young people who need “love and guidance.”


America’s Public Defense Scandal

Although former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the death of George Floyd, he had access to superb legal counsel thanks to financial support from his police union. That privilege isn’t shared by most poor defendants, for whom Supreme Court guarantees of indigent defense are a mockery, writes a Texas inmate from his own experience.


‘Without Your Prison Number, You Don’t Exist’

The movement to end the death penalty should not deflect attention from the dehumanizing treatment of incarcerated individuals who experience “death by a thousand cuts” whether they are on Death Row or not, writes a former inmate.


How Not to Manage a COVID-19 Outbreak in Prison

After months of warning that authorities at his Washington State prison were unprepared for the pandemic, lifer Tomas Keen contracted the disease―and discovered that he had underestimated the potential for disaster.