Voices from behind the walls

Workers World received the poem and letters below from prisoners.

‘America, America’

An Anatomy of America’s Wasteful Prison Industrial Complex

America, America
Land of the free, A society filled with justice and equality.
This is a clear example of hypocrisy,
unless they forgot to include me,
and millions of others kept in captivity.

Confined behind tall walls, and razor wires
with the Nation of prisoners constantly rising higher,
countless amounts will never be released,
Except in body-bags, once deceased!
Most inmates have done their wrong. But guidelines by design withhold
prisoners much too long!

America’s prison industrial complex has a fluctuating economy,
so, prisoners in America have become the No. #1 “Prison Industry.”
Where men are stocked as a commodity.
And actually forced to work for a paltry sum,
under servitude, for free!
Refusal results in being without pay and thrown into the hole,
along with a definite denial of parole.
Since the signing of the emancipation proclamation,
Minorities have been swallowed by incarceration.
It’s easy to see the similarities,
Between prison life and slavery.

Inside the walls phone rates and commissary prices are still high,
Because financial siphoning comes from Securus, Global Tel Link,
Aramark Food Service and Smart Communications, too,
As far as these corporate raiders, that’s just a few!
Inmates are forced to make prisoners’ clothes, bed linen, bras,
panties/boxers, socks, boots, hats and coats, too.
It’s a shame many tax-paying citizens don’t know,
We are in an era of the New Jim Crow.

There’s no justice or equality,
America was built through slavery,
Don’t take my word, study your history.
Racist lawmakers and politicians make decisions,
causing Black, Latinx and poor white to fill the prisons.

Outsiders believe we’re being rehabilitated.
But being caged only generates hatred.
The majority of defendants are victimized and doomed,
way before entering the courtroom.
The vocabulary and legal terminology used
leaves most defendants dazed and confused.
And often the attorney who’s allegedly protecting your rights
is secretly drinking martinis with the DAs and judges at night.
Quick to offer some type of plea deal
or make you wait many years for an appeal.
Court officials share a bond which we’re not a part,
stacking the odds against you from the start.

Just like slave masters buying and selling slaves,
working them till they’re dead in their graves.
So, at times it seriously baffles me,
WHY America is called THE LAND OF THE FREE; especially when
The Nation of Prisoners is in this country.

Bryant Arroyo

SCI Coal Township, Pennsylvania

Greetings fellow comrades

Dear Workers World,

Greetings fellow comrades. I hope all the staff there are protecting themselves from COVID. These are the times of shit hitting the fan! Can we agree that when you attack corporations’ profits in the U.S., that’s when attention is given. We must re-sound the boycott bullhorn because that’s a term that the people have power to wield over those in power.

How many people in prisons receive your newspaper?
Be aware, safe, and thank you for your time and effort in the cause. In solidarity,

Joshua L.

Clinton Correctional Facility, New York

Thanks for the well-wishes, hope you and all the comrades inside are also staying safe and healthy inside. The Biden administration may have declared the pandemic emergency “over,” but we know that workers — especially incarcerated workers — are still at high risk.

We’re glad you asked about how many other comrades we have inside reading Workers World. We have over 500 subscribers currently incarcerated in prisons across the U.S. And we love that most of our subscribers share their paper with friends and cellmates and others on the block. We don’t just publish your letters so that our readers outside of the prisons can read your words. We want our incarcerated readers to be able to communicate with each other through the pages of Workers World. — TK

(Anyone who wants to help more readers like Joshua get a free newspaper subscription should visit patreon.com/wwp!)

New addresses

Workers World, greetings. My name is Bruce A. I am on your mailing list and do receive a monthly issue of the Workers World newspaper.

I write to inform you that my mailing address has changed. Your newspaper is a valuable educational tool. I appreciate your contribution. Thank you.


Bruce A.

San Diego, CA


I write to inform you of a new address. I am truly enjoying and sharing your most informative publication. Thanks much — Peace Unto All.



Richmond, TX

Dear Workers World,

Peace! Please make note of my new (hopefully temporary) location. Did you ever publish any papers about the stimulus money and other benefits the government gave out? If you did, I would really like to hear/read what you had to say.


Mike H.

Albion, NY

Thanks for writing to us, Mike. I’ll send you some selected articles we wrote about the stimulus and pandemic response that we think you’ll find interesting. Keep an eye out for our response. — TK


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