Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, April 26, 2012
The prisons are full and profit only
the investors in the rich companies
that plan, build and manage the “Custody
Industry.” All that the prisoner sees
is injustice: blacks serve more time than whites,
the rich with high-priced lawyers pay a fine,
the poor endure the filth, the rapes, the fights,
and learn to do sophisticated crime.
Released with prison records few can find
a decent job, or a safe place to live.
Back on the streets often their only friend
is the one who had sold them drugs, who give
them yet another chance to forget pain.
Their land will never let them forget shame.
Returning last year to the street where I once worked with homeless men and youth gangs in North Philadelphia, I took this shot from the car window. The scene was all too familiar.