Raymond, 43

Raymond, 43

Meet Raymond…

…Like many, my environment was filled with drugs, gangs, guns, violence and bad decisions. I became a product of all of it. Falling in the trap of a system designed to destroy me.

Incarcerated: 22 years
Housed: Lawrence Correctional Center, Sumner, Illinois

My upbringing was a little rougher than the average. Don’t get me wrong, I came from a beautiful loving family, it was outside the home that the problems occurred. Like many, my environment was filled with drugs, gangs, guns, violence and bad decisions. I became a product of all of it. Falling in the trap of a system designed to destroy me.

Being locked up has been an unfortunate experience, yet I didn’t let it destroy me. I did the opposite and used this time to build a better me. Just like my mother and grandmother taught me, I chased after more education and knowledge. Watching them also taught me strength. I can actually say I got my strength from a woman.

I understand that I am not in the situation I’m in right now, and God has a wonderful plan for me. Before I got here it wasn’t all bad, I had life lessons and knowledge I gained from my single mother and grandmother. They continually stressed how important an education was and how I could achieve greatness no matter what life threw at me. They saw the potential in me at an early age. I had a fondness for reading and they kept me with a healthy supply of literature. Then, I found out that my real passion was writing.

I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember, probably a few years after I learned to write a fluently constructive sentence. Simple basic poetry turned into playing with words and leaving people in awe, releasing passionate explicit emotion. A hobby that eased my mind and gave me serenity, something therapeutic to me has turned into my profession, my style, my life which I constantly try to perfect. I’ll have five books published this year, three of which are poetry books. I’m humble but overeager and anxious for people to hear my voice. God willing I’ll be home this year, ready for the world to listen to my testimony.