The theme, If I Built A Prison, comes from being incarcerated actively and having to foster individual and cognitive change without the help or guidance of state corrections. 

As an inmate I have an intimate knowledge of prisons regarding what works to rehabilitate and what does not. This months theme may go off into tangents and produce work from our writers that are different from this thought process, however, I am excited to read what we come up with. 

Prisons are not just buildings with razor wire and a military, they can be relationships, employers, religious beliefs, friends, or feelings. Just because I am in an actual brick and mortar prison does not mean you, the public, does not directly identify with me. In fact, I would argue I am more free than many of you. 

Here is my challenge to you, sometime over the next month think about what holds you prisoner. How can you directly relate to an inmate? You might be surprised just how similar we are. 

I hope you enjoy the writings here, we are diverse and opinionated. We have challenging beliefs and all of us come from spaces of trauma, as do most of you. Most of all, I hope you think. I hope that the writing causes you to feel more connected to us, to want to see us leave here healthy and how you can help do that. 

I look forward to your thoughts.

With Love
Jeff “Jeffebelle” Utnage