Dale, 56

Dale, 56

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Meet Dale…

My blood beats her name.

Dale, 56
Incarcerated: 17 years
Housed: McPherson Unit, Newport, Arkansas

I want to share my late son’s memory, for closure not only for me but his siblings as well, his name was Marshall.
Here is his last poem before he died in protective custody, he was also in prison, he was 32.

What makes me tick?
With my soul scraping the bottomless pit of hell prison while looking for a sign of peace, I manage to encounter an angel that oversees my future. It’s almost like a miracle sent from God. I’m facing what seems to be the most exciting part of my life: At the most damaging time of my world. My guardian angel knows my heart and intentions and wants the best for me. She knows and wants to please each and everyone of my lustful desires. I can’t stop thinking about her because without her, I’ll die spiritually, emotionally and possibly physically. The breath she exhales is the enacted air I need to be happy. She holds my heart in her hand and has the ability to crush it to pieces at any time. My mind is wrapped around her soul like a wedding ring. I pray to God she never takes it off. My blood beats her name. My life is helpless without her skin. When she looks at me my body gets hot and my hands want to touch her in the most delicate ways. Even though I’m bound, she sets me free. I promise never to leave her side. I promise never to let go of her grasp. Baby, don’t ever let go of me. You are my air and I can’t go on without you. You make me feel like a man. I won’t ever stop loving you. So will you guide me to heaven?

Whitney, 33

Whitney, 33

Meet Whitney…

I was on drugs and alcohol which led me to a fatal mistake. I started hearing voices and seeing things that weren’t there.

Whitney, 33
Incarcerated: 3 years
Housed: McPherson Unit, Newport, Arkansas

I was on drugs and alcohol which led me to a fatal mistake. I started hearing voices and seeing things that weren’t there. Some things seemed real, like the TV began to talk. I was going back and forth between men. All of my relationships were raunchy. I was so lost and caught up in sex and drugs, that I couldn’t see what was happening. I was so ashamed and hurt by my actions that I tried to commit suicide. One day my old case worker asked if I would like to try and talk to my kids. I said no, I was sure they didn’t want to speak to me. I have four kids and one is deceased. My oldest was upset with me for a while. The other two were not upset as much. I look back with regret everyday on the choices I made. I’m still talking to my kids. It’s been rough for all of us. I can’t sleep at night sometimes because I question myself. The guilt consumes me. After I came to prison I got my GED. I didn’t think I could do it. That’s the way I’ve felt all my life,  like I couldn’t accomplish anything. I love to write poetry about how I feel. God has changed my life and is still working on me. I look at these prison walls and think this is what I left my kids for. I miss being around them so much. They are so smart and funny.

Melissa, 42

Melissa, 42

Meet Melissa…

Family is everything and time is precious with them.

Melissa, 42
Incarcerated: 24 years
Housed: Albemarle Correctional Institute, NC

I was born and raised in Hawaii. A very peaceful place that didn’t have racism, social classes, or what’s in and what’s not in school. When the military moved us to North Carolina, they needed my dad, my parents said, “What fun!” I felt like he was taking me from all I knew and loved, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins and animals! No matter how many times I tried to hide in my closet, he found me and so off we moved with my siblings and mother. It was a culture shock. I became an introvert and decided to figure life out by myself. That’s when I found Lisa Frank stickers and fell immediately in love with them. I was in 5th grade and in my young mind I believed that by her stickers I’d learn how life works. I went by those stickers to teach me how to fit in. It wasn’t until sometime in middle school that my mind was totally blown and I found out those Lisa Frank stickers lied to me. I thought that all cats were girls and all dogs were boys and when they got together and had babies they would have both cats and dogs in their litter. I found out all this was a lie when one of my friends told me his dog gave birth to a litter of 6 puppies! I was like, “What!!! there’s girl dogs too?!?!” I figured from that point on I needed to ask more questions instead of trying to figure things out myself. I was incarcerated at 18, a year after highschool. At 42, I still love Lisa Frank but know that life can only be learned by living it and doing your best and never give up, no matter what life may throw your way. Family is everything and time is precious with them.

Rebekah, 41

Rebekah, 41

Meet Rebekah…

My daughter is my role model, woman, sister, adult, even though she has no kids, she’s my parent at times.

Rebekah, 41
Incarcerated: 5 years
Housed: McPherson Unit, Newport, Arkansas

The hood behind the walls.

From childhood into adulthood. From womanhood into parenthood. At 41, I am once again, behind these walls. The years I can’t get back are gone. My daughter is my role model, woman, sister, adult, even though she has no kids, she’s my parent at times. She stuck by me praying and helping. The one I call in my hood, when I need advice. The one who never abandoned me, as I did her as a child. 

This time these walls talk to me and have shown me the hoods. In one way or another it’s the hood to us all. This year is finally not wasted. All the things I never grew to know all these years. It can be the ghetto, where you learn to be bad. Or it can grow life, teaching us all the hoods. From childhood, adulthood, womanhood, motherhood. With the help of the hood and a special woman I look up to, my daughter, Kalie. This time I found life in the Hood.

Rebecca, 33

Rebecca, 33

Meet Rebecca…

I always try to be optimistic. When they told me I would never walk again, in my mind I told myself I could. I’ve always had a habit of going for things people say I won’t achieve.

Incarcerated: 10 years

Housed: McPherson Women’s Unit, Newport, Arkansas

I was running from the police and broke my back by jumping out a two story window. It instantly paralyzed me from the waist down. The doctors said I would never walk again. I have two rods and a cage in my back. I always try to be optimistic. When they told me I would never walk again, in my mind I told myself I could. I’ve always had a habit of going for things people say I won’t achieve. Within a few months, I ended up pregnant with my daughter, Ivanna. I continued with my criminal lifestyle and within nine months, I was in jail. Two days later, I went into labor in prison. Due to my 30 year sentence, where I have to serve seven years, my rights were taken. The state put my daughter up for adoption after I was only given three days with her. I was going through such a hard time. I didn’t understand why all this pain kept happening to me. A year later, I was taken out to court with a U.S. Marshal hold. I was being federally indicted with a new arrest warrant. On top of my 30 year state sentence, they say I’m looking at a life sentence in federal prison. While in federal court, I met a 19 year old Mexican girl, Martha Pulido. She said I was the mother she never had. She couldn’t speak English so I taught her. Everyday she would get up and exercise my legs. Because of her, I was able to walk by the time I came back from federal court. Don’t get me wrong, my legs are still weak and I fall all the time. Ten years later, I am no longer in a wheelchair. I do wear a brace on my right leg. In the process of being paralyzed, I lost myself by letting my insecurities and low self-esteem get in the way. I have to remind myself that the greatest battles are won during the midst of a storm and my scars are full of stories of when life tried to break me and failed. I’ve done this time by myself, with no help or financial support,  but I have overcome obstacles most people in life couldn’t. My determination has paid off. I will be leaving here in six months to go to federal prison where I should be released shortly thereafter, since I’ve done the majority of my time here. 📸Rebecca’s Mom, Mary

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