ACTION WORDS

Essays

 

February 2011

Raised Up - by Frances L. McDaniel
So, this is a little about myself. I have a living testimony, and I truly hope that something in my life will help someone. I appreciate the Bible verse, Romans 9:17 – “I have raised you up for this very purpose of displaying my power in dealing with you, so that my name may be proclaimed the whole world over.” God has a plan and purpose for my life and I’m waiting.

August 2010

Change - by Johnny Harvey
Many people believe it is hard to change.  Some even believe it is impossible because they don’t think they can learn new ways of thinking and living.  They believe they are so entrenched in their lifestyle that there’s no getting out.  Some believe that even if they try to change they won’t be accepted by others because of their past.

The Life of a Sinner - Part 1 by Jeremiah Barton
Hello to all of you outside these walls of prison. I come to you from North Central Correctional Institution in Marion, Ohio. I’m 26 years old and have been a believer in Jesus, My Lord since I was 15 years of age. My life has not been a good one, as some would say, and that I don’t believe.

June 2010

Pile Driven - Part 3 by Brian Crawford
When I wrote “Pile Driven Parts 1 and 2” I thought that I was strong and that my faith was good. But, to my surprise, when the walls came crashing down, I discovered I was still weak. Along with that emotion was doubt – still, no doubt in God, but self-doubt.

Being Lost by Jimmy Brown
Hello, my name is Jimmy Brown. I’m 36-years old and I’m incarcerated for organized crime. I’ll be released in two years and I have or will have served 74 months in prison. I’m from Marion, Ohio and I lived in the roughest neighborhood in town. I have a lot of regrets and a lot to share. I was beaten a lot growing up and I feel as I was lost as a child growing up and thrown to the side. Ever since I have grown up I have taken it upon myself never to be like my parents.

I always thought I was different from everyone as I was growing up, but now I see I wasn’t different, just lost.

My Story by George Clayton
Do you believe in miracles?  Well, once you have heard my story, I have no doubt, you will, because it is only through the miraculous saving and transforming power of our Lord Jesus Christ that I am even able to write these words to you. Let me start near the beginning.

May 2010

On Faith by Victor Johnson
Faith without works cannot be called faith.  “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2: 26), and a dead faith is worse than no faith at all.  Faith must work; It must produce; It must be visible. 

Untitled by Christopher Rogers
Dear kids, next time you buy a pair of rims, ask yourself, “Who really wins?” Hint: You pay double taxes: once when you earn, second when you buy. But you may say, “Who are you to speak as an expert?”

Well, I’m one of many who has died to the world.

April 2010

Willing to Die for Christ to Live by Tywon Ransom
I’m recently incarcerated in a San Bernardino County Jail.  My testimony of life in this world is no match for life with Christ.
I was born and raised in church and living right following God.  As time passed and the years got many for me, I fell into this world of sin and worthless life. . . 

Lost Sheep by Victor Johnson
Growing up as a person being raised by a single parent, I have had many struggles in my life.  One of the biggest struggles I have faced is rejection from churches because of the clothes that I wore. . .

From the Other Side (of the fence) by Johnie Sampson
I’ve fixed my eyes to freedom,
but there are days it seems beyond calculation.

Hope seems to float in, and out of my mind,
like a wave pushing and then pulling
away from the shore. . .

March 2010

Forgiveness by Terrie Sramek
The bond that started nine months earlier came to life on September 13, 1955, when I was born—a bond I fought like hell to break throughout my life. His only contribution to my life was a single, solitary sperm.

Untitled by John White
I stared up into the star-filled sky. I was surrounded by six billion people. More than 99% of them had no idea of my existence. The very few that know of me had no idea where I was. That's exactly how I wanted it.

Untitled by Scott Hall
This is my testimony of the redeeming power of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  By the grace of God and God alone, I am alive to give one example of how my affliction led from Common Grace to Saving Grace.

Untitled by Johnie Sampson
A prisoner trapped in my own body, while my body is trapped behind four walls.  I space out, as 79 voices turn to 1, and the paint bleeds from the walls from the condensation.  Lack of sleep drives my paranoia higher.  Am I crazy?

My Walk with Christ by Van Do
I am currently incarcerated in a county jail in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.  I’ve been here almost 3 years.  I’ve had a lot of time to think and really live. Most importantly, I’ve learned to keep up and walk with Christ the way He wants me to.

February 2010

Being Lost by Jimmy Brown
I always thought I was different from everyone as I was growing up, but now I see I wasn’t different, just lost. Now that I’ve been incarcerated for four years, I’ve had time to truly find myself and to find Christ. It’s been a long journey for me and my children.

January 2010

Untitled by Chris Rogers
Before I go further, I want to clearly state that I offer circumstances so that the reader can understand me and how God’s glory was manifested in my life. I offer no excuses for the mistakes I committed, especially no excuses for the crime for which I’m currently imprisoned.

December 2009

Untitled by Johnie Sampson
You judge me because the things I bestowed upon your society. But, at the same time, in my mind I knew no wrongdoing. Why?

September 2009

Inference by Michael Varela
What a truly horrific word. This word is used to describe our whole life and it gets a whole lot worse and one-sided as we grow up, for some of us fall on the wrong side of society’s perception of what is right and wrong.

August 2009

The Land of the Broken Toys by Yati Florida
I heard a lady stricken with A.I.D.S. say, “This is the land of the broken toys.” Neglected, abused, mentally, physically, and sexually since the time of being little girls. Mangled and then discarded for life and shipped to the land of the broken toys, leaving their children behind, who often end up broken.


July 2009

My Reckoning by Kevin Bridget
I grew up in the ghettos of Cleveland, Ohio. Our family was like nomads; we lived all over Cleveland and I went to so many schools.

This Ride — a poem by Charlene Overbey
Rainbows of emotion play through this place.

 

June 2009

That was Then, This is Now by Tianna Blackmon
On the day of March 2, 2008 (my birthday), I gave my 23rd birthday party at Bar 21 in Cleveland, Ohio.  Ms. C. happened to throw a drink. A fight broke out soon afterward, and in the midst of the fight, I hit C. in her face with a glass. . .

Pile Driven—part 2 by Brian Crawford
I know at some point that the truth will set me free, and I must press forward with God’s plan for me. It’s truly amazing how, in a place like prison, God can work miracles and wonders. . .

 

May 2009

Finishing the Course by "Irish" Johnny Harvey
Last summer, in 2008, I went to the CMC (Corrections Medical Center), which is a facility for inmates’ medical needs.  I went to the center on Tuesday, July 29th and didn’t get released until July 30th. It was determined that I was fine; I got some tests done to see if I would be a suitable kidney donor for my sister. . .

My Shepherd by Nikki Jones (previously known as Dawn Staples Jones)
As the days have passed by, and the shock and disbelief have worn off, I’ve grown calmer. For my birthday I was sent a book about the promise of the 23rd Psalm in the Bible. When I remember that “The Lord is my shepherd” and that he is a Good Shepherd that would never lead me astray, my spirit has peace. . .

On My Time by Louis Varela
I have been here, in a Texas prison, which actually borders New Mexico, for only about 8-1/2 months. I was very lucky to have gotten the job where I am now working. . .

 

January 2009

Pile Driven by Brian Crawford
Three years ago, I felt as if I was on the top of the world . . .

Paint on the Wall by James Dayton
It always amazes me how God works through others to settle our minds and comfort us . . .

The Depth by Donna Garrison
I don’t know much anymore. I used to have big words to describe my feelings. Words seem to fail me now. . .

My 30s Behind Bars by Zabrina Hall
As I sit back, I look at my life from behind bars . . .

After You Have Done All You Can —in the aftermath of my parole hearing by Jessie Mabrey
How do I begin to write my feelings regarding my parole hearing?

I Wonder, Why? by Blanca Martinez
From age nine to 12, I began inhaling Freon spray and that’s when my mom kicked me out . . .

Rise Up by Adam Price
In December, 2003, I was at the peak of a very fast-paced lifestyle. . . .

Where I’ve Been, How Far I’ve Come by Michael Varela
My name is Michael. I have a moniker of “Magoo” which is used inside these walls as a buffer or a sort of insulation. . . .

 

September 2008

Unconditional Love by Aaron Bass
One of the wisest decisions I ever made in my life was during the most stressful and depressing times. . .

Spending or Investing? by Aaron Bass
One thing that I always ask myself is, “Am I spending or investing in my life?” I heard this on the radio and it’s been in my heart ever since. . .

A Wife's Prayer by James Dayton
Last night, after 8:00, I opened my Bible, got on my knees, and started to pray . . .

Pressing Forward by James Dayton
How many times have we made plans, put all our hope and belief in them, counted on a wonderful outcome, and knew God would make a way? . . .

Spiritual Water by James Dayton
Let me speak for a moment about water. . .

Another Chance for Me by Latasha Humphries
Dear God, Please forgive me for failing you and my children . . .

Woman's Day by Jessie Mabrey
You were a beautiful child. . .

Remember by R.H.
I remember turning 22 and was full of energy and life. . .

Letting Go by R.H.
Letting go used to be so hard to do. . .

Common Sense by Terrie Sramek
At 17-years old, with my high school diploma and common sense under my belt, I was off to Washington D.C. to work for the F.B.I. . .

How it Feels by Dawn Staples
I can tell you about all the abuse I’ve been through and all the abuse I’ve put others through. . .

Grandpa by Dawn Staples
My mom figured Grandpa wanted to make up for all the time he had missed with his grandchildren. . .

Backward, Forward by Dawn Staples
I quit everything. I even quit Jesus. . .

History: A Perspective by Gerald Thompson
I was raised Muslim. . .

 

June 2008

Common Ground by James Dayton
I was talking with a Christian brother one recent morning and in our conversation he made fun of a youngster that just came in. I could see the fear and confusion on the young man’s face and could understand what he was feeling.

The Miracle by James Dayton
My name is Jimmy D. I’m 44-years old and have spent years in prison: Chino, Folsom, San Quentin, Corcoran, Pelican Bay, Soledad . . .I’ve been a member of the Aryan Brotherhood since 1985 and spent over eight years in the hole. I’ve committed a number of stabbings and violence that most people wouldn’t understand. . .I tell you these things so you can understand how far from God I was. . .

I am the Victor by Dawn Staples Jones
Pain? No. That word could never describe what it felt like to walk out of The Ohio State University Hospital in shackles and leave my two-day old daughter waiting for Butler County Children’s Services to come pick her up . . .

Free at Last by Victor Johnson
We all have certain struggles and weaknesses in life. For some it’s hatred, wrath, or even strife. For others it’s envy, drunkenness, or even murder. But for me it was the lust of the materialistic world. . .

Now What? by Jessie Mabrey
Fifteen years in a war zone. Watching my back, watching what I say, watching what I do. Constantly on alert. . .

Tell Me Where it Hurts by Jessie Mabrey
“When the pain of remaining the same becomes greater than the pain of change, change will come.” I always wondered what that quote meant.

 

March 2008

How Much Can You Forgive? by M. Bryant
“This shit is crazy, ain’t it?”  I turn my head to the left, then my right.  There’s no one here, just my voice as it reflects another side of me.

Take a Chance by Sandra Colston
I arrived at the Ohio Reformatory for Women correctional facility in Marysville on November 13, 1992. I arrived as a new inmate. The whole process of being admitted to prison, which was a humiliating thing to endure, took about five hours.

Mother's Day by Belinda C.
Just when I had braced myself and accepted that just like last year and the year before that I wouldn’t be receiving a birthday greeting card from my children or my mother, a card from my mother comes through the mail.

 

Artwork

©2009 by Jimmy Brown

More
by Jimmy Brown



Midwife by Gregory BarnesMidwife
by Gregory Barnes

 

Untitled
by Gregory Barnes

 

Untitled
by Adam Price

 

Untitled
by Chris Kroger


Poems

January 2009

Black mother — Anonymous

Can I Trust You? — Bender

Why? — Monique Coe

Love Is — Donnie F.

Taking off my Disguise — R.H.

Today I Have a Dream — R. H.

I Trust — Dawn Staples

Angels — Dawn Staples

 

September 2008

A Friend's Testimony — Genevieve Frazier

The Reflection of Innocence — Latasha Humphries

The Damage is Done — R.H.

To Be — R. H.

Butler County Jail — Dawn Staples

 

June 2008

I am — Jessie Mabrey

Just a Free Prayer Away — Victor Johnson

 

March 2008

Shattered Dreams — Latasha Humphries

Reflections — Latasha Humphries

Molested at 5 — Belinda C.

Pain — Dawn Staples Jones

Pain — Monique Coe

Shattered Hearts — Claudia Olivieri

Don't miss the columns by inmates:

Jessie Mabrey
From the Inside

Melissa VanoverMelissa Vanover
My Time

 

Read about the innovative program: POI - The Psychology of Incarceration and responses of inmates.