Corey, 51

Corey, 51

Meet Corey..

“She was kind to everyone; she made us feel human.”

Corey, 51

Incarcerated: 21 years

Housed: Kern Valley State Prison, Delano, California

I’ve been on these plantations for most of my life. I was 8 when I first started coming to these plantations. I was in boys’ homes, camps, and prisons in 1991. I got out for 30 days in 2021. I came back for a robbery, and they gave me 75 years to life, Three Strikes. I never really liked the police or correctional officers because I have seen too much wrongdoing by them in the free world and on these plantations. I have seen officers beat prisoners while they were in handcuffs, being one of them. I witnessed them set us up to be assaulted by other prisoners and so much more. So, I would always try not to look at them and never speak to them. But after all these years, I was sent to Kern Valley State Prison, and a female officer was working there. It was hard for me not to look at her; she was so beautiful, even with no makeup. She was kind to everyone; she made us feel human. We were happy to see her. If you ever had a dog and went away for a while, you can see how happy the dog was to see you when you came back. We loved seeing her because it felt like she saw us.

Joseph, 67

Joseph, 67


Meet Joseph…

From slavery to unity, through suffering and scorn,
Katrina can’t break us as Americans,
Like before, we’ll weather the storm.

Joseph, 67
Incarcerated: 32 years
Housed: Kern Valley State Prison, Delano, CA

Americans will be the winner

Now, how do I describe the pain and hurt or say what I deeply feel,
Just the thought of what I seen and heard of Katrina, all man, I’m feeling seriously ill,
To the core of my bones, I felt a horribly and nasty cold chill,
When I heard the levee broke, I mean, man tell me what the real deal
Sure all the people were warned before Katrina came crashing through,
But the deft, dumb, cripple, old and blind, what were they suppose to do,

The flood water problems were known to hit, many, many, many, years ago,
Major computerized testing, for the levy’s weakness, against the flood waters flow,
Now, all of a sudden I’m hearing rumors, and claims that the government didn’t even know,
Man, I’m not trying to heart that crap, come on people say it isn’t so,
The President and FEMA, but not everyone,

Was untimely with relief efforts to get the job done,
Walmart donated water, needed gas, and food was donated too,
But FEMA turned those items away, without a clue as to what they was suppose to do,
Now, if most the people in the Katrina Disaster were white instead of black,
The question must be asked, would a majority all white American Government,
Held those relief efforts back,

Now, maybe I’m just suffering with an illusion from all the Katrina misery,
Or is it true that, Dogging Blacks is the fiber of White American History,
But there is a side of the Katrina Disaster that I must say is very bright,
Most Americans, Celebrities, and the whole world is helping,
And many of those people or White,
What hurt’s me real bad in this Katrina situation,
Was the Women, Children and little babies crying,
People begging for help and food,
While older people were left dead with animals dead or dying,
Americans are Black, White, Red, Yellow and Brown,
Just to name a few,

And we will get busy and turn this disaster around,
That’s just what Americans do,
Can you feel the pain of my profuse crying,
Please Lord take the stake from my heart,
Because I feel like dying,
There are no amount of words that can truly express how ill I feel,
I can understand the looters,
People gotta eat,
Man, just keeping it real,
But the raping of little girls and women,
My God, gave me a real cold chill,

Got no time now for pointing the finger,
And that’s a natural fact,
But, can we all just get along,
At least until we get Louisiana and Mississippi back,
Now, we all know it’s only right for us,
To mourn for all those that die,
But, all the death, and hungry People crying for help due to Katrina,
Made blood, sweat and tears fall from my eyes,
But, I have faith and hope in the Unseen,
And the bells of liberty and freedom from this disaster will continue to ring,

And as I reflect on the late great Martin Luther King,
I know Americans will grasp the vision,
And fulfill the dream,
We will get up and rebuild Louisiana and Mississippi,
And I mean like never before,
For the whole entire world to see,
And none will be able to ignore,
So we get to stand the coarse together oh mighty Americans,
Stand the course and fight the good fight,
Put aside all out petty differences,
And let all of Humanity see how we can unite.

Americans, you know how we can do it,
Believe me, there’s no doubt in mind,
Cause we’ve already been thru hell and back,
As revealed throughout the annals of time,
From slavery to unity, through suffering and scorn,
Katrina can’t break us as Americans,
Like before, we’ll weather the storm,
We must remember to focus on the sunshine,
As we march bravely through the night,
Be strong through all the hurt, pain and death due to Katrina,
Cause we walk in faith, and not by Sight,
This Hurricane opponent who left all the damage,
Newscasters have named it Katrina,
But when it’s all over said and done,


Anthony R’s Gallery

Anthony R’s Gallery


Artist Anthony, 32

My story is similar to a lot of people who know what it’s like to want more out of life, while struggling to become the best version of themselves. However, the road I traveled wasn’t paved with blue skies and flowers. I grew up alongside three brothers during the ‘90s, raised by a single father who thought the central valley of California would be safer than the cold, southside of Chicago. It soon became obvious that the ugliness of poverty was anywhere we called home, yet my father still managed to give his best. Throughout my early childhood, I learned to busy myself in order to blur out the bad things. I picked up books and read until I was no longer in my reality, but immersed in the story and world created by the author. This began my curiosity with creative writing and anything to do with the arts.

As humans, we all have the ability to express ourselves in many different ways, whether negative or positive. Myself, I choose to mix the two in order to create a strong, captivating message in hopes of inspiring change.

Robert, 34

Robert, 34

Meet Robert…

I’ve learned that in order to get a second chance in prison, you have to use your time productively and not allow negative people to control the outcome of your life.

They told me prison was the best thing to happen to me. When I asked why, I always got the same answer. You’d be dead out here or doing life. Thinking about it now they were right. I was so lost, drugs controlled me. Prison isn’t a place anyone should need to come to, but if I hadn’t – things would be different. I’m trying to continue to make my time productive. Currently, I’m setting out to get into college and obtain an AA degree with the last three years I have left. There’s two current paths I’m looking into. One, I’d like to start a bakery and two, counsel young kids who are in gangs and grew up like me, to give them a chance out of that lifestyle. I’ve learned that in order to get a second chance in prison, you have to use your time productively and not allow negative people to control the outcome of your life. So I’m thankful for prison and what I’ve learned along the way.

Receive more inspiring stories and news from incarcerated people around the world.