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Published on May 31, 2007
In this NOW web-exclusive video, former prison inmate Shrong Clemons reads some of the poetry he wrote while serving 20 months in the Sheridan Correctional Center of Illinois. This complements the June 1, 2007 NOW program investigating prison overcrowding on PBS (check local listings).
Clemons, who was serving his third prison sentence, is part of an innovative program at Sheridan that combines therapy, education, and follow-up aftercare to keep released convicts from returning to jail. He recites from three of his poems - "Kings," "Mother Salvation" and "Lost Soul" - and talks briefly about his work. A sampling from "Kings":
He recites from three of his poems - "Kings," "Mother Salvation" and "Lost Soul" - and talks briefly about his work.
A sampling from "Kings":
"Socrates tried to steal my isosceles Calling my prophesies catastrophes Causing discrepancies as we are committed to being human trophies Committing blasphemies as my brother and sister become enemies Trying to keep me off track by lack of education and selling black sex Making me forget about the actual facts We've been concealed from our family tree Trying to make us forget we are finally free This is bigger than me ..."