Gallery of the Month: February

JAC is proud to announce the launch of our new Gallery of the Month series, where we will be showcasing a wide range of art and writing under unique monthly themes. Check back on the first of each month for a new collection of works by the talented artists in the JAC network. 

This February, for our first Gallery of the Month, we are featuring pieces that depict life inside prisons. With the new year and new presidential administration in the United States, it is important to remember that while these new beginnings are exciting, much still needs to be done. We cannot forget the lives and stories of those who are cast aside and denied a voice. We must continue to fight for true justice and amplify the voices of those impacted by mass incarceration. 

Life inside continues to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the fear, grief, and isolation being experienced around the world is magnified in carceral settings. Prison populations are facing strict lockdowns and cancelled programming amidst dangerous overcrowding and a severe lack of medical care. 

Furthermore, in light of Black History Month, it is important to acknowledge that the United States, which has the largest prison population in the world, disproportionately targets the Black community with policing and incarceration. In 2017, 33% of the sentenced prison population was Black, but Black individuals only represent 12% of the United States population.

We hope you enjoy this month’s gallery: Life Inside. 


"Justice" by Gilbert Hamel

It's a night I wish I could never remember.
And a day I wish to forget.
Tormented in my mind;
Somehow I regret.

Through my eye's my mind,
my mind could not decide to see.
Somewhere in my cerebral cortex,
it holds the key;
Of what has become of me.
Where was my common sense?
How could I let down my defense?

Now come with me.
see what I see,
look through my eye's
and be where I be.
You can't imagine all this 
pain, and agony.
Locked down in this cold cell
for eternity.
On my knees praying to God
because I don't deserve to be.

The world is a cage!
No-matter where I am.
Politics and government ain't nothing but a scam.
The judge and the prosecutor don't want
to let me loose.
Somehow still knowing that it was wrong.
I got myself in to that noose.

Yo same shit
day in and day out.
My belief in the system, now has it's doubts.	 
But I still accept it, as well remember it.
Now I got to go through all this humility.
And suffer all the loss of all my credibility.	 	
But through it all, I will take responsibility.

Now come with me,
and see what I see.
Look through my eye's
be where I be.
You can't imagine 
all this pain, and agony.
Locked down in this cold cell
for eternity.
On my knees praying to God
Because I don't deserve to be.

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Watching a Thunderstorm from Cell 228 by Jennifer Diaz

The furious thunderstorm
has always fascinated me.
This remains true as
I climb into my bunk
in my dark prison cell
to watch the spectacular show
through my tiny plexiglass window.

The midnight sky flashes wildly
and, even through these thick, concrete walls,
I feel the earth shake
as thunder rolls, displaying its
incredible power.
The wind is a mad howl
(though silent to me)
that drives the rain sideways;
ten thousand shining shards of glass
crashing into my window.
Last Stand by Derrick Grantley

Hopeless and Stressed,
Lost and Depressed,
21 years of solitude,
Confined to a room
With no where to go,
So I pace back and forth
Trapped in my thoughts
My mind wonders afar
I have no idea, how long can I hold,
Maintain my composure and not fall in the hole
This has all been in vanity,
I'm doing everything I can to come to grips with my sanity!