We Must


We protest in the loudest voice the injustice of the “justice system”
We protest our dehumanization
We protest our victimization
We protest our torture
We protest the harsh treatment by the “justice system”
We protest the harshness of the “justice system”
We protest the failure of the “justice system”
We protest turning humans into numbers and statistics
We protest a system negatively altered human life forever
We protest a system that destroyed human mind, heart, and soul
We protest….
We protest….

Our protest heeded no positive responses
We heard instead the calls for harsher treatment
We heard them say
In the name of justice we imprisoned you
In the name of justice we caged you
In the name of justice we took you away from your loved ones
In the name of justice we gave you the harshest sentences
In the name of justice we made our streets safer
(violence, drugs, and crimes rife still in the street)
In the name of justice we took your rights away
In the name of justice we sent you to be rehabilitated
(there is no rehabilitation to speak of, you mean we sent you to the most
prestigious universities of criminality, it is called and funded by
the “justice system” [prisons] there you will achieve the greatest
degree in the pursuance of crimes)
In the name of justice….
In the name of justice….

We wondered how they weren’t able to hear our cries for justice
We wondered when will they hear us, when will they hear our voices,
our stories, somethings must be missing?
We must reexamine and find the causes
We must take a look at us, at ourselves
We accepted and contributed to our tragedy
We seem to lose our sense, intellect, understanding, comprehension,
empathy, love, thoughtfulness, mindfulness, etc…
the cause effect of the “justice system”
We live instead in a state of delusion, illusion
We accepted to live in such a tragedy, because we let it affect us
We lost our purpose
We lost ourselves
We lost our inner peace
We lost our hope
We live in a state where anger, blame, and frustration took control
and paralyzed us
We deny our reality and live with the flow
We refuse to use the paddles in our position to paddle our boat
and reach the shore, reach our destination, instead we let the
currents take us wherever it wishes to
We will not change what’s happening to us, until we change what’s within us

We deny reality
We are not aware that the theaters long since it closed its curtains,
the audience long since they left, and the awards long since they
have been awarded, there is no need for anymore acts.
We search for the precious minerals, but we only find toxic and useless materials
We will not be able to remove the cuffs and shackles (not the physical ones)
that are restraining us, until we find the treasure, the priceless treasure
We all, each one of us have a precious gem and jewels, in our minds, hearts, souls, and bodies.
We must hasten in seeking our treasures, find it, refine it, produce and share it
We must stop chasing after the mirage
We must remove and break these shackles
We must not accept to live in such a tragedy, we co-founded ourselves
We must wake up.


  1. Conor Thompson on October 16, 2022 at 4:35 PM

    MH you speak with such passion and so much energy on this topic and I love how much care you have about this. I am a big believer in what you are writing and we need to finally stand up and do something about this. Its driving me nuts that there are government is saying we need to do something about what is going on and then doing jack. Thank for writing this again I really appreciate it.

  2. Mackenzie Curry on October 16, 2022 at 9:11 PM

    Hi MH,
    I found your poet quite intense and powerful. I’m a college student and in one of my classes this week we had been talking about the justice system. My professor described the Justice system in the same way you have here. I find that really interesting because there are two sides saying the same thing, someone with very little real experience and someone with very close personal experience of it. I personally agree with everything you are saying. Prison is a place that should be to rehabilitee not punish more. You’re all humans just as us, so you should be treated the same way. You should be getting the help you need not being put in isolation and making you have to figure it out on your own. Reading these thoughts that came from you makes me believe you are on a good path would is great! I wish you much luck on your journey MH.

  3. Emily on October 16, 2022 at 9:55 PM

    This poem gave me a lot to think about. Your right, the justice system is backwards. It says it want justice and truth but sometimes that isn’t what it does. The system is a hole of never ending issues. But you really spoke to the target audience: the people that will listen to your words and understand what you are saying. I appreciate the detail and focus to telling your view’s on the piece. You tried to convey your story to the world without making it to specific to yourself. The message you were trying to get to your readers came through very clear. One of your blocks really was very impactful on me. It started at ‘We deny reality ‘ and ended with ‘ there is no need for anymore acts’. You explained not only the justice system well, but human society well. We are always feeling the need to act and this is the best way one could describe it. Your ending is one of truth and passion but a one that must be widespread. We must wake up in order to fix our global issues. Very well done MH.

  4. Shakera Lee on October 24, 2022 at 4:01 PM

    This truth behind this! The justice system is so corrupted and as Americans we can’t even trust it. Citizens are defending themselves from the justice system itself when it’s supposed to provide protection and equal rights. When we finally speak our truth with protects, consequences occur. This poem spoke truth and I honestly felt the emotion behind this piece. Absolutely loved it!

  5. Paul on October 24, 2022 at 4:34 PM

    This poem is dark and frightening and leaving me wanting to learn more about the true story behind it. Very powerful.

  6. Tiff on October 25, 2022 at 11:04 AM

    I love how you started in transformed throughout this poem and then came to the end in a state of self-realization. Your poem has a beautiful flow and message.

  7. ken on October 30, 2022 at 4:54 PM

    This is such a powerful piece that you have written. It is deep and thought through and I loved it. Your words are powerful and speak volumes. Keep up the amazing writing and never stop!!

  8. Abbie on October 31, 2022 at 9:28 PM

    The repetition of ‘we’ shows the need for help and a protest within a group. The poem is calling for people to join a cause. Each line starting with these emphasis the importance of this. The phrase justice system is also repeated targeting this as a need to change. The juxtaposition of injustices of the justice system shows how this system is flawed and not working as the words do not work together. The poem outlines these poems showing how this system turns people into numbers. This is a very powerful message. The use of we is also used in losing our hope, including the reader in the injustices causing them to also express emotions in the poem. This poem evokes a lot of emotion. It is also very well written in expressing the injustices in the justice system and the problem with our system as a whole society. it shows the struggle of incarceration and the need for change.

  9. Natalia on November 13, 2022 at 11:52 PM

    The path your poem took was very inspiring to me, even as an individual that cannot directly relate. The way you describe the reasons for protesting and the negative effects that a corrupt system created and then a call to action helped me imagine the time and effort that must be put into this cause and it made me feel empowered to do something and help in some way. I really enjoyed the repetitive lines as it increased the emotion and importance of each action and step. This is a very good poem, keep writing!

  10. Kristen Shave on November 16, 2022 at 1:32 PM

    The use of repetition in this work is captivating! Your purpose is easy to identify and so persuasive. Your use of emotion furthers your writing in a positive way, directly impacting the reader. I was particularly pulled in by the use of the phrase “In the name of justice”, as it truly is a phrase will duel meanings that made me think. Thank you for writing this!

  11. Oshane on November 16, 2022 at 4:46 PM

    Good Poem. Thanks for sharing with us your views on the justice system. There is indeed lots of things that happens in the justice system that doesnt always work fairly in the benefit of others and there is a call for speculation into the matters. I like that you bring up very valid points in your writing that sparks the reader interest to look into themself and the matter.

  12. Crystal E. on November 20, 2022 at 10:59 AM

    Dear MH:

    Thank you for sharing your gutsy poem, “We Must.” It is a battle cry for change in the injustices that come from living in mass incarceration in today’s society. I hope you continue to work to express your struggles and those of so many other individuals living in a prison setting through poetry. I admire your strength and wish you all the best as you continue your journey.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The poets featured here are currently incarcerated, and many of them are in federal prisons far from home. Your feedback is a valuable source of motivation and connection to the outside community. Post your comments, feedback, and encouragement in the space below the poem. Messages will be passed on directly to the author. Comments may not appear immediately on the site, as our team processes them to mail to the poets.