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Maurice, 45

Incarcerated: 6 years

Housed: Thumb Correctional Facility, Lapeer, Michigan.

I am from Detroit and have been in and out of prison and jail throughout my life. I am finishing my last three credits for my AA degree from Mott Community College and majoring in social work.

Since I’ve been incarcerated, I’ve mentored young adults and teenagers. I have been allowed to teach an art class based on my curriculum, teaching the basic fundamentals of drawing. I am in the process of creating a nonprofit for at-risk youth in poverty-stricken neighborhoods. The nonprofit is based on self-expression through the creation of art.

I’ve learned that daily art will improve one’s focus and vision. In creating art, one will generate positive thinking. The process is a form of meditation and expression, resulting in self-improvement. I don’t look at incarceration from a one-sided perspective. I use my time to build a better me and to prepare me for the future.

Prison can either be a university of self-education or a dungeon of deterioration. People are anxious to improve their circumstances but unwilling to improve themselves. With the help of finding myself, I had to understand that I needed to work on how I perceived things. I must find something positive in every situation. I like to say I am the director and producer of my play.

This prison journey is close to being over. I have acquired everything I need to live a positive and productive life. The prison will give birth to the new me. Thank you for allowing me to express myself and hopefully be a light to someone else’s dark path. I appreciate you giving me the opportunity to stand on this platform you’ve built for us to express ourselves and to be noticed.

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