“Standing in the Prison:” A Poem’s Call to Action

Grace Ripley, Contributor

I recently went to the prison to conduct an interview for my PBL research project in my Sociology of Crime class. For my call to action, I decided to create a poem to create awareness about the problem of recidivism. This poem is to allow others to recognize the intentions of incarcerated individuals and a little bit about how they think. It’s important to understand that not all felons are bad people and everyone needs a little help, it’s just how we decide to take action and provide that support that will bring them to that next level of success.

Standing in the prison
It all became so real.
Inmates working and walking by
And ones who think it’s no big deal.

I wasn’t scared, I wasn’t calm
I was simply there,
They’re not all bad people, they were just in the wrong
They and I just stood and stared.

You cannot change a person
They can only change themself.
It’s the effort they must find
And place their mistakes up on the shelf.

Employment programs won’t always work
You can’t just try to force it,
There needs to be a deep understanding
Psychological problems are more important.

Crime, drugs, gangs, and money
They think they’re doing great.
Family trauma, society
They realize it’s too late.

The way of thinking plays a role
They need to know their worth.
Once they learn from their mistakes and try
Their intentions will be down to earth.