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The "NOT just an inmate" project is a campaign sponsored by Justice and Recovery Advocates, Inc. With this campaign, we are raising awareness by showing that incarcerated individuals are much more than the dehumanizing label "inmates"; they are people, they are family members, they are human beings with talents, intelligence, and potential, and they are and can be much more than their offense and/or situation that brought them to confinement. We are accepting artwork, poetry, songs, writing, stories, tatoo art, etc. from currently incarcerated individuals. Showing creative and artistic talents/skills, writing about abilities and accomplishments (technical, trades, educational, being a parent, or strengths) are all acceptable submissions for this project. We are especially interested in bringing forth the potential and talents of those incarcerated who suffer from mental health and substance use disorders.

This is an on-going project that will continuously showcase different approved projects submitted by incarcerated individuals. Please share with any individual or loved one you feel would be interested in participating. This project has defined guidelines that will be observed and followed. Contact us and we can send the necessary guidelines, release and information directly to the incarcerated individual.

Let's stop the stigma, stop the judgement and show true humanity!

Accepted submissions will be posted and suggested for further exhibits. Original submissions will NOT be returned. All submissions must be mailed to:

Justice and Recovery Advocates, Inc. PO Box 386 Thurmont MD 21788

along with asigned guidelines and release. Releases, guidelines, and further information for this project can be requested by contacting us at (301) 271-3620 or Contact us today for more information.

Artist: Patrick C.

I am not just an inmate


I don’t wish to be identified by the stripes on my back

By just my last name or the number branded on my badge

I have made mistakes, but haven’t we all at some time fallen?

I want to move on and keep myself from stalling.


One day I want to be free from this hell,

Away from these walls so that I may prevail.

No longer just an inmate, I want to step away from this crowd.

No longer just a number, I want to look in the mirror and be proud.


I want to move on with my life and I want to follow my dreams.

I want to pursue my ambitions, impossible as they may seem.

I want to count my blessings and not be controlled by my past.

No longer an inmate, no longer strangled and bound by judgement, free at last.

Writer: Mike M



My soul is drained…

Concrete walls block my brain.

My sight is blurry and the view is plain, what once was joy has been taken away

My voice…dead. My body hangs, pulling myself down with my own weight.


I tie myself up and drag my chain

They untie me so I can do it again

I cannot sleep…so I melt.


Stuck in a trap that is my own hell,

My soul has become nothing inside a shell.

I can close my eyes but cannot escape.


The highs and lows don’t fade, they just get stronger by the day.

I stare at the wall in a daze, as I pace back and forth in this tiny cage.

I’m in both lanes of the road.


Betrayed by my thoughts, haunted by my fears, I am all alone.

Stuck in solitary, nowhere to go,

Except over the bridge, out of control.

My voice is silenced….no one hears me.

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