Prison is an upside down world where right is wrong and wrong is right where evil is called good and good is considered evil. And if you refuse to fit into the mold prison officials try to fit you in, you are actively ostrasized, criticized and villianized. You are told you need to stay in your place. To hell with you if you actually try to be better and change from the person you were when you came to prison. Damn you for trying to be a law abiding citizen. How dare you! “You’re just an inmate.”. They say. You’re suppose to act out, assume animalistic behavior you’re suppose to treat confinement as if it is a revolving door and ultimately prison, too, because this way of thinking is expected of the prisoner. Any other way that’s constructively productive is treated as an act of insurrection. In the words of my favorite gospel rap artist, Lecrae: “I will not oblige to your colonized way of thinking.” (D.O.C.) I will not stop, growing, changing, evolving and rising out of the mediocrity that brought me to prison. I will not sit by and allow this prison to dictate what my future is and is suppose to look like what my character is suppose to reflect and, in effect, make myself my own enemy. I will not lower myself to a debased way of thinking just because they’ve decided to hire officers who revel in low views, aptitudes and attitudes and project their own personal, private oppression upon the inmate population because they themselves have failed to rise above the status quo and the debilitation of their circumstances and their regressive thinking. Moreover, my ability to go against the grain of the grind intimidates when really it should elevate. Systemic and institutional racism is here in its truest construction. In the multiple letters I have sent to Senators, House Reps, advocates, judges, even the Governor along with members of the Office of Executive Clemency–to everyone who will listen, lobbying for my own early release, I stress many things: my heart and my struggle to be different, my avid desire to make a difference, not just in my children’s lives but in society and my dogged determination to demonstrate these changes of which I’ve worked so hard for and if there was ever a chance worth taking by lawmakers, it’s for people like myself. However, there’s one sentiment that’s unapologetically evident: I am not prison conform. I am prison reform. Thank you. God bless.