In a recent exercise by The Beat Within, a San Francisco-based prison writing workshop, individuals were asked to write essays describing their stay in Juvenile Hall, including what they appreciated, what they didn’t like–and the future they saw for themselves.
An inmate serving a life sentence for murder reflects on the tragedy that landed him behind bars, and on his search for forgiveness for a criminal past that made him a “monster,” in an essay written for the Beat Within, a prison writers’ workshop based in San Francisco.
An inmate recalls how his sister saved him from committing a terrible crime. After 20 years in prison for other offenses, it’s one of the few memories of his troubled family life that he still looks back on with remorse—and hope.
This essay was originally published by The Beat Within, a justice system writing workshop. It was written at the San Francisco Juvenile Justice Center.The full name of the author has been withheld. It's cold out here and I've been practicing my left hand lay-up for about an hour now. I go up for another lay-up and miss it. It isn't any help that the rim is slightly crooked. I can hear my brother talking about a girl he used to […]
This essay was originally published by The Beat Within, a justice system writing workshop. My name is Jensen Ramos and I am currently serving a life sentence for committing a crime as a juvenile. I committed my crime at the age of 17. I was tried, convicted and sentenced to 50 years to life. I have currently been in prison for 12 years now, and till this day I hate it. I still remember the day it happened. On January […]
This essay was originally published by The Beat Within, a justice system writing workshop. I sat there quietly, listening to him lie. He was telling everyone in the room about me. Who I am. The kind of guy I am. The kid I was. I screamed and shouted silently, violently, insides rioting. But I didn’t say anything. I couldn’t. I wasn’t allowed to. The courtroom was silent. Attentive, studious. As was the stenographer. Her fingers moving at superhuman speed. The […]
This essay was originally published by The Beat Within, a justice system writing workshop. On a day-to-day basis I try not to let the stress of my environment and circumstances overwhelm me. There are highs and lows, and some days are far better than others. After nearly twelve and a half years of incarceration, I have become numb to a number of things: extreme violence, racism, isolation, and the lack of love to say the least. However, my insensitivity to […]