Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

Glass House - Issue 1, Winter 2023





A People for Change Publication
ISSUE 1, Winter 2023

What Does “Territory” Mean to You?
poetry artwork essays prose thoughts

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Issue No. 1. Winter 2023

John De’Angelo Elijah Renee Courtney Tori Cedric Dustin

John, Inside Member, PFC
“Glass House”

Graphic Design:
Kayla Wisnewski

Dr. Renee Heberle
Coordinator, Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program
Professor of Political Science

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The University of Toledo, Toledo Correctional Institution Inside-Out Prison

Welcome to the Winter ‘23 Issue of Glass House, Exchange Program and People for Change (PFC):

Our Mission:

We engage in education that approaches problems across profound social boundaries to create opportunities for people inside and outside of prison to collaborate in addressing crime, justice, and other areas of social concern. The UT/TOCI Inside/Out Program brings students from the University of Toledo to the Toledo Correctional Institution to engage in coursework in a collaborative, active-learning setting with students who are incarcerated. The program is part of an international effort to bring higher educational opportunities into carceral institutions of all levels while breaking down barriers and stigma that exists on both sides of the wall. The UT program offers one class each term. Please look out for flyers announcing each new class. Students who are incarcerated should kite Mr. Randazzo with a statement of interest in taking the class. Students at UT should contact Renee Heberle in the Department of Political Science.

People for Change:

The official alumni group of the UT Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Turning prisons into universities and cells into classrooms. People for Change was founded in 2011 by the first student participants in the Inside/Out program. We organize workshops, study together, publish
the magazine, organize community meetings, and invite members of the community in for discussions of matters related to education and criminal justice reform. Glass House is the magazine of People for Change. It is a fully collaborative project; all participants in PFC solicit and edit pieces from inside and outside contributors. We discuss together the theme for each issue. All pieces are approved in general by the group. Artwork is done by inside members of PFC, tagged as appropriate. All rights to the work remain with the authors and artists.

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Welcome to the Winter ‘23 Issue of Glass House

“People who live in glass houses should not throw rocks.” This admonition is just one association we might have with the phrase “glass house.” We chose our title for its evocative qualities. The cover art by John offers other interpretations. Please notice the careful detail and subtle signals about prisons, houses, transparency, reflections, and location.

People for Change was founded at Toledo Correctional in spring of 2011. We brainstormed ways to sustain the spirit of the inaugural Inside-Out class we had just completed.

A newsletter with original writing, advice, and information was only one of the projects we put into development. Eventually the newsletter became The Lantern, and we published several beautiful issues with indispensable help from volunteer graphic designers. The Lantern was written and edited by members of People for Change at the Toledo Correctional Institution for five years.

If you would like to read the archived digital issues, please look here. The print and digital versions are distributed across the state of Ohio and the nation, inside correctional institutions and through online networks.
 utoledo. edu/al/inside-out/people-for-change/ 

Then the pandemic hit. The Inside-Out class at Toledo Correctional Institution was meeting on March 10, 2020 when officers came to inform us that all programming involving volunteers would be canceled pending further notice. We did our absolute best to continue through video chats. But the experience was no longer an “Inside-Out” class. And People for Change could no longer meet.

Happily, People for Change began meeting again regularly in Summer of 2022. After two years of inactivity, we were excited to “reboot.” The first Inside-Out class to meet inside TOCI happened in Spring of 2022. Members of People for Change include students from that class, from a class run by video chat in fall of ’21, and even from several classes that were completed before the pandemic!

Let us turn to Glass House. Glass House is replacing The Lantern. Like The Lantern, the magazine you are reading is written and edited by participants of People for Change, the alumni organization of the Inside-Out classes hosted by TOCI and run by faculty of the University of Toledo.

Every publication by People for Change has a theme. The theme of “Territorialism” emerged in our brainstorming discussions as we were pondering how many deer/car accidents happen in Ohio (yup…someone brought that up!). We talked about whether it is humans encroaching on deer, whether the deer need to stay out of the way, or whether we should extend hunting season.

Obviously, our conversations are not always super serious, yet out of that apparently tangential debate came a theme that has turned out to be a gold mine of diverse reflections, stories and works of art. Contributors include members of People for Change and friends of our organization.

This issue was collaboratively edited. No sentence was left alone! Every piece was read and commented on by the group, checking in with authors in case edits inadvertently changed their meaning rather than improving the writing. And we finally gave all the materials to Kayla, a fabulous and talented student in the Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at the University of Toledo, to apply her magic and turn the writing and artwork into the publication you have in your hands.

We look forward to your thoughts and comments. You can communicate about Glass House directly with Renee Heberle, Professor of Political Science and Law and Social Thought at the University of Toledo:

She will share your thoughts with members of People for Change. This feedback will inform how we think about, write, and produce our next issue of Glass House in the spring of 2023.

-Renee Heberle, Outside Member, PFC

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(Image - Illustration of different types of fences)

What Does Territory Mean to You?
Dustin, Inside Member, PFC

Webster’s new basic dictionary defines territory as: “the area to which one is assigned as an agent or representative.”

To establish an area requires a set of measurements: length plus width. Once the perimeter is established, a boundary exists. In my opinion a territory cannot be established without a clear, defined, understood, and respected threshold separating what’s mine from what is not.

Territory can usually be quantified or used as a synonym for land, at least on earth. Depending on your faith it might mean one thing...and for the sake of an example, Christianity teaches that earth was a gift to Adam from God. Then what? Then the floods destroyed everything and everybody except Noah and his family, so was Earth “theirs”? Then the Lord appeared to Abraham and said: to your descendants, I will give this land. That’s Genesis 12:7, cut and dry. Until I read further and realized the savagery of human nature. Challenges for territory were common and commonly deadly, with the victor receiving the spoils or in this case, the territory. Which only stands to reason that if an area is fought for once, it will be fought for again.

Not in My Backyard (NIMBY)
John, Inside Member, PFC

By far, the most imprisoned nation on earth, the land of the free has over 2.2 million incarcerated citizens. Prison gates, much like revolving doors, have almost as many people exiting as there are entering. The extraordinary numbers and entry and exit patterns from prisons and jails make it likely that you already have several formerly incarcerated individuals in your neighborhood. (continues on Page 4)

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(Image: Illustration of looking out a window at a yard with picket fence.)
"Not in My Backyard (NIMBY)" (cont'd from page 3)

I've heard it said about those who have committed a crime, send them all to an island somewhere. Great Britain once banished their “criminals” to the far away island of Australia. This is an option that isn't feasible for us today.

The thought of having “criminals” for neighbors may be unsettling for many. However, maybe the concerns (and questions) should be: Unless they act like it, should they still be considered “criminals” after "paying their debt to society?" Should they be given the chance to find out how they'll act? Could you unknowingly have persons who have broken a law living around you already? If you found it to be so, would you banish them?

There are crimes that the average citizen does not even know are felonies and punishable by prison time.


  1. A smack, a shove, a shoe thrown at someone during a domestic dispute is Domestic Violence. More than one conviction becomes a felony.
  2. Unless the person is a child you have guardianship over, any sort of verbal threat or physical restraint used to prevent them from leaving, even if it is a dispute with a spouse, is considered Kidnapping. Taking their phone to prevent them from calling for help or a ride could tack on a Robbery charge.
  3. Fudging taxes for a better return is felony Fraud.
  4. “Borrowing” a car without permission is Grand Theft.
  5. Youngsters breaking into an old garage or barn could get a Breaking & Entering charge. If the garage is attached to a house, they’re guilty of Burglary.
  6. Swapping medications, or selling a little marijuana is felony Drug Trafficking.
  7. Multiple counts of drinking and driving can become a felony 

These are crimes that can carry more than one year in prison if convicted, I know more people than I care to admit who have gotten away with at least one of those things. Maybe you do, as well? Does not getting caught absolve them from the “criminal” label?

The “criminal” label can be a derogatory one; it creates an “us vs. them” mentality and changes a person’s whole life. Not everyone convicted of a crime is the same and not everyone who has gotten away with a crime is the same as everyone convicted. Everything is situational, but in general, would you feel any less or more welcoming toward a neighbor who was caught for a crime and spent time in prison for it than a neighbor you know had gotten away with the same crime? Either way, they must live somewhere.

The “NIMBY” territorialism is making it difficult for millions of individuals to fit in and live comfortably anywhere. We must question our fears and think more rationally about what the label “criminal” means.

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What is Mine
Tori, Outside Member, PFC

There is a place that I call mine. Here is 
safety from authoritarian minds.
Must protect a condition so divine.

Inside this palace of a weary mind,
or within the walls of comforting lines, 
hides the territory I seek to find.

Alone is better hidden from the hands 
Of usurping fiends. Fighting for what I 
must protect, a condition so divine.

Always displaced, never sure-footed ground. 
I want no more than what is mine, Fortune 
hides the territory I seek to find.

I will claim my mind, my space, and my time 
to hold dominion over what’s mine.

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Territorialism is a Life Force
John, Inside Member, PFC

With meaning that goes far beyond the turf it's named after, territorialism is a character trait. It's a competitive force, with desires and demands. It needs to dominate, possess, and have power over something or someone. It's jealous, envious, and agonizes over fulfilling its desires. Fulfillment comes with satisfaction and pride. It's a juxtaposition, a communal fluid that bleeds into all relationships and encounters, while being standoffish, holding all others at bay. It sends out roots to claim pockets of water, and white blood cells to fight off viruses and disease, so that plants and animals can survive.

Without territorialism ecosystems wouldn't exist, there'd be no checks and balances, no boundaries, no yours and mine. There wouldn't be committed relationships, probably no marriages or family as we know it. I doubt there'd be a Maury Povich show; we may never know who the father is. Would there still be such a thing as striving for life?

As standoffish as the word seems on the surface, life may depend on territorialism in the way that it depends on carbon and liquid water to exist. I am alive because my territorialism claims the space to live.

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Overcrowding in Prisons and Policy Reforms
Courtney, Outside Member, PFC

One of the most critical issues in the criminal justice system is overcrowding in the prison. Overcrowding is not a problem because more people are committing crimes and being incarcerated. It is a problem because of sentencing policies. New sentencing laws, such as three strikes laws and “truth in sentencing” laws (denying opportunities for parole), are a significant reason incarceration rates have increased so dramatically. According to the Sentencing Project, U.S. incarceration rates have increased over 500% since 1980. Yet crimes rates have decreased over time.
This is not to say that increased incarceration rates lead to less crime. In part we can thank the war on drugs for this increase. In 2004, the average sentence for drug offenses was 62 months (about 5 years). The problem of mass incarceration is huge and complicated, but there are several reform proposals that could help decrease overcrowding.

Federal reforms: The Smarter Sentencing Act of 2021 was introduced in Congress. Unfortunately, it has not moved forward. If passed, this bill would reduce minimum penalties for those who are convicted with possession of drugs with intent to distribute, and/or those who import or export drugs. If passed into law, the Smarter Sentencing Act would require the Department of Justice to report how reducing these penalties has helped decrease overcrowding and recidivism rates. Lastly, it would require the Department of Justice to allow the public to have access to all criminal offenses related data. Finally, President Biden just announced he would pardon federal prisoners convicted on minor marijuana possession charges. This would help thousands of people in federal prisons and make a small start on reducing racial disparities in the federal prison population. Although all races use marijuana, people of color are more likely to get arrested, charged, and sentenced. While there are currently no inmates in federal prisons for a simple possession charge and nobody will be released, this change will allow for those who were previously convicted, to have it expunged. (The Washington Post, 2022).

There have been four bills signed into law by Governor DeWine:

  • Senate Bill 2: involves requirements for competency and mental health treatment in criminal case. Enters Ohio into the Psychology Interjurisdictional Compact (PSYPACT)
    ie. PSYPACT: allows for psychologist to practice across state lines.
  • Senate Bill 3: involved reform drug sentencing laws, requires the Criminal Sentencing Commission to study impacts of drug charges, modify possession and trafficking penalties
    ie. Prohibit restraining women or children during certain points of pregnancy and/or postpartum
  • Senate Bill 217: regards access to criminal records for long-term professions, narrows exceptions where background checks can be released.
  • House Joint Resolution 2: allows courts to disregard conditions of bail set by Article IV of the Ohio Constitution and base bail on different factors such as: safety, criminal record, seriousness, etc.  

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Territory of Minds
"the hardest thing to open is a closed mind"
De’Angelo, Inside Member, PFC

“That’s my mama” I shouted! “So what, that’s my mama too” my younger brother would shout back. “So what, she was my mama first,” I would yell back. Every time I would say this to him he would run straight to our mother and ask fearfully whose mother she was. She would smile, looking at both of us while we awaited her so important verdict because she was the first territory we both claimed. And she would reply “I’m both of ya’ll mothers and I love both of ya’ll the same.” My brother would look at me beaming with that smile that was but sinister, like he just hit the lottery. And when we would walk away I would say in a whisper, “she was still my mama first” and he would hang his head low.

I used this example because my first wars were with my little brother over our mother who was our territory. This battle of minds and territories where me and him would lay for hours challenging everything we thought we knew. And our mother was our answer until it was time for us to go to the outside world.

As I grew, territory became a mind state that we all have even while we make different choices that we choose to live by. These mentalities that we develop when we are infants stemming from what we hear, see, taste, smell and feel turn into us imagining different worlds where we have no limits until those who are raising us tell us the direction our minds should go. We begin to develop a character and those mentalities become our universal rights or wrongs. 

As I continue to evolve I realized that territory is man made and has no real value unless we are connected to that feeling that makes us think about what we are trying to protect. With this idea, agreements are made and a culture is manifested. And that group of people claim ownership of a kind of territory. 

As I said before, I believe territory is a mentality or state of mind that men have created. As we grow older, we become more careful in what we take in; if it is from our senses, we are able to process information quickly and decide what we will accept or deny. These experiences that we go thru while growing up shape our mentalities. Who we deal with, what we read, what we see, or what we feel when placed into certain situations informs our sense of territory.

In my opinion, we have no right to claim ownership to anything but our bodies and minds. We don’t own the land, air, water, food, animals or raw materials that have been here before. Just because we stumble on to something and no one is around to claim it doesn’t make us the new owner.   In my opinion, the only thing a person can truly invade is our minds and bodies. Nothing else really belongs to us because when we leave here, there is nothing coming with us. It is what we do with what is here while we are here. Territory is an illusion humanity has created to maintain the status quo until a new idea becomes our new agreement.

I leave you with this, I have conquered many things since I’ve been on this earth. I’ve travelled back to the past and thru the future and I have endured other people’s pain, joy and love and met different types of minds through talking and reading. This has forced me to use my mind even though my body has been confined for 18 years. That is how humanity has evolved. Those who dared not put a boundary on their minds have explored the universe.

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Don’t Tread on Me
Dustin, Inside Member, PFC

“Don’t tread on me” is a phrase that originated in 1745. It is credited to five companies of Marines who joined George Washington at the Battle of Bunker Hill. Before it was flown on a flag, it was emblazoned on bright yellow drums accompanying a coiled rattlesnake with 13 rattles. This iconography is why I think the Gadsden flag has remained. A rattlesnake makes sure that anyone or anything that crosses the threshold of its territory knows it.

What about resources? What if your territory has a well, the only fresh water for miles. Is the well yours? What about the water? Or a garden? What if you are the very first person to encounter a particular area or place? You can’t just sit and guard your territory all day, but you want to make sure if you are not around and a stranger stumbles across your territory, they have a clear understanding that the area (LXW) has been claimed and belongs to someone. A flag would signal that someone is ready to fight over the property. Where you plant your flag is your territory; and if there is already a flag, planting yours beside it is as clear a challenge as any territorial person needs.

There’s a funny concept when it comes to land/territory that has always intrigued me, both because of its longevity and that it seems so juvenile: ‘Dibs’ or the ‘I was here first’ argument/justification for ownership. Of course, you can challenge, plant your flag next to his and let the chips fall where they may. As society began to evolve, property began to take on a new meaning; it seems now that all ideas, animals, and things.

(Image - illustration of an eagle amid smoke and smokestacks, as well as a small American flag.)
Artist Statement:

My father had eight brothers. All eight of them spent time in prison when I was a kid, and all of them would send me drawings while they were there. Receiving that artwork from them is what influenced me to become an artist. It started with trying to mimic their drawings. I've continued doing artwork since then. Unfortunately, like my uncles, I ended up in prison. But I'm thankful for the artistic influence they had on me. It's not how I would've liked to utilize my talents, but now that I'm here, I'm able to send artwork home to family and friends, like my uncles did to me.  
-Larry, Inside Contributor

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Territory as Personal Space
I’Yanna, Inside Contributor

Territorialism and personal space intertwine to create emotional intelligence. One’s sense of territory is connected to one’s thought process or expression of one’s mood. Most people think of territory as a neighborhood or a large area that is owned. The authentic or true nature of territory is very intimate and small. It is the way you go about mentally expressing your passion for your territory. Good or bad, it influences a large portion of your life. It indirectly affects those around you because it is really a matter of personal space being infringed upon or not respected.

Emotional intelligence plays a significant role in all of this because most human beings have never properly identified their different moods. For instance, when a person feels their personal space is being attacked, they must work through multiple emotions, whether they feel upset, or frustrated, or letdown, or confused, or loved, or respected--all of these different variations are different emotions. Those of us that can recognize these feelings and learn to use our feelings in more productive ways have an advantage over the rest. This distinct advantage in life will bring not only our territorial views full circle but allow the human race not to continue to be victims of the battlefield or of the territory that is our minds.


Elijah, Inside Member, PFC

I am descended from warriors
that were captured in their homelands
to survive the ocean of omens
to the land Satan was roamin’
relentless because I belong to no man 
voices of freedom saying
but what did freedom bring
just the truth that I’m not property
I built this land but I inherit privation 
full of ghetto prodigies
only taught demonic psychology
but that’s what the outsider see
from the boundaries
of our territories
so let me paint our story
my hood don’t just survive
it thrives
and culture, in living color to sustain lives 
in these projects love grows
through the generations
the love stays true
because this is all we know
here I done seen dreams bloom
out of a dark room
just to turn our territory into a pyramid 
which also doubles as a tomb
here I come out of the womb
by these boundaries I was groomed
but to some 
by these boundaries I was doomed
but this is my pride
the heartbeat of my tribe
the territory of where the sunrise
let the sunshine
as I feel its warm embrace
this is our home
that holds our hearts in place
so territory to me
is wherever I feel loved and safe

Home is Where You Hang Your Hat
Dustin, Inside Member, PFC

Regardless of socioeconomic status, or the number of things you had dibs on, every person requires a certain amount of space to merely exist. Somewhere to sit, sleep and even relieve themselves. All of these areas may qualify as territory, and if you think I’m wrong, go try to pitch a tent in big Johnny’s spot on Skid Row and see what happens. The less territory a man has, the more the value increases and the more intense are the lengths he will go to defend his territory, perhaps even to the point of defending it with his life.  

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Territorial vs Sociology
David, Inside Contributor

To understand the various aspects of this article, we need to first look at the definitions of each topic. Webster’s Dictionary defines Territorial as the area to which one is assigned as an agent or representative. Also, a field of interest or activity. WD defines Sociology as the scientific study of human activity in society. More specifically, it is the study of social forces that influence or pressure people to behave, respond, or think in certain ways.

So, I ask, are we territorial by nature or are we territorial because of social forces? This question elicits a conversation of true depth as one comes to truly understand sociology on a more intimate level. A good starting point is to define “Social Forces”: Anything humans create, take notice of, or that influences or pressures people to interact, behave, respond, or think in a certain way. Sounds familiar… we tell our children to be cautious and aware of peer pressure, yes? I ask though, how often are we cautious of structures of social peer pressure? We see this in our daily lives, when we turn on the television, engage on social media, buy sports gear, develop attitudes about COVID, and more. Sociology is a discipline that looks beyond individuals to the social forces that shape interaction and activities.

The emotional aspects of territorial seem common, truly believed to be factors in life based on one’s values and morals. Yet, when these same values and morals become social forces, I begin to wonder what their True purpose is? How many wars have been started over government inflicted social forces? How many marriages have been destroyed over the shallow social forces inflicted by our popular media shows? Where have the times of making decisions based off of personal research, constructive productive growth, and gut feeling gone?

The framework of sociology plays such a deep part in our lives that consciously we may not understand where it begins and where it ends. Symbolic interaction theory focuses on social interactions and related concepts of self-awareness, reflexive thinking, symbols and everyday communication factors. Take no offense though, these factors have been structures around our lives since time itself started. But, considering the fact we are made aware of them, how do you seek to hinder its effects on your daily life? Technology seems to rule the day. Should makes us wonder, who really rules our homes?

Do I have the answer? Of course not, but together we can look at this from another angle altogether. Meaning, I think, it’s time we take back our homes, children, daily lives and way of life! Globalized media, powerful and constructive in our lives…but it doesn’t have to dictate daily life. Our children endure social media bullying; it’s easy to stop by simply turning the computer off! But they don’t want to be an outcast the next day in school, the next social downcast…social media has replaced our family core!!

Long hours at work, endless interest rate hikes, etc...the excuses build and are just as endless. How does this relate to the meaning of “territorial” or a possible solution? Territorialism is a constant factor in the framework of sociology, but it’s also a valuable tool in taking back what is ours. As for myself, I don’t need a cell phone to tell my children I love them, I don’t need a blockbuster movie to sell me on a $100,000 car so society approves of me, and I don’t need constructed, engineered forces to maintain a positive, love filled life...How about you?

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Ambush at the Bus Stop a story of territorialism  
John, Inside Member, PFC

I was raised by a young mother that I could say lots of amazing things about, but in my young years she struggled with instability and addiction. We moved around a lot, wherever her new relationships would take us.

The year was 1978, we moved from Ohio to North Carolina. Having lived in some primitive, rundown places, our new house was the most primitive yet. With no electricity or indoor plumbing, we had a well on one side of the house that we lowered a bucket into for water input and an outhouse on the other side for output. An old wood burning stove provided heat. It became the job of us kids to trek the woods along the quarter mile length of lane leading from the road to our house, gathering firewood. Ages 4, 6, and 8, we were all too young to be wielding a hatchet, but being the oldest, I proudly carried it on my hip in search of dead trees small enough to chop down.

By the time mom enrolled us in school, my brother Todd and I had missed a month or two. I was a 2nd grader, Todd a kindergartener, Chad the youngest wasn’t in school yet. Our first day at the new school came with skeptical looks in class and aggression at recess. They didn’t like us new kids who “talked funny” and “weren’t from around there.” Deciding to participate in the wiffleball game at recess, Todd and I were the last two picked for teams. I was in the outfield, and it was Todd’s turn at bat when a 4th grader stomped up to meet him at the plate. I couldn’t hear the words exchanged, but the kid pushed Todd, then drew back a fist as if he were going to punch him. Just as I started running to help my little brother, Todd swarped the bigger kid across his cheek with the plastic bat, as if swinging for the fences. A bit heavier and sturdier than today’s wiffleball bats, the defensive (but still wrong) swarp elicited a silent scream as the kid ran for the group of nearby teachers. Lucky for us the teachers were already aware because the crowd was closing in, angry about what had been done to “one of them.”

For the next few days at the bus stop, at school, anytime they could catch us, it was a fight; we were outnumbered. There were two other houses along our lane, where some of the kids who shared our bus stop lived. One of them had a dog who quickly caught on and grew accustomed to attacking us. We had to sneak through the woods past the houses to get to the bus stop. Getting off the bus was a mad dash down the lane, trying to get to the house before the mob or the dog caught us. Seeing us fighting when he pulled up and being tormented while on the bus, the driver seated Todd and I at the front, and our tormentors in the back, giving us a running start when we got off the bus.

Dog bitten and beat up, long before the days of zero tolerance/anti-bullying policies in schools, and the adults at home not wanting to hear about it, we were on our own. We devised a plan to ambush our attackers after school the following day. Sneaking through the woods after dark, we chose a spot that was a short jog into the wood line from the bus stop, atop an embankment, with a few large trees for cover. There, we stockpiled weapons of opportunity, rocks and sticks, and of familiarity from the house, beer and wine bottles. Getting off the bus the next day, the other kids were caught off guard when we darted into the wood line, giving us an extra second or two to climb the embankment and get to our cache. Just as they reached the embankment, we rained down rocks and bottles from the high ground, sending ‘them’ running for a change, battered and bruised. Drunk with power we started to give chase with sticks in hand, but quickly wised up and ran for home. It wasn’t long before a bigger than usual mob showed up, with some even bigger than usual kids, each with weapons of their own, ready to take on kids and adults alike. Thankfully it didn’t come to that before they dispersed.

As an adult, I never recommend or condone resolving issues with violence. But in this case, our actions were what dragged the adults into it, opening their eyes to the seriousness of the situation, and mom pulled us out of school for the remainder of the year. Lucky for us, we moved back to Ohio before the following school year started. We commonly experienced some level of territorial abuse when starting new schools after that, but it never got so out of hand as it did at that school in North Carolina.

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Cedric, Inside Member, PFC

Tangible = capable of being appraised at an actual or approximate value Enclosed = close in surround 
Real = permanent  
Reservable = to set or have set aside or apart  
Inheritable = capable of being inherited  
Three dimensional = giving the illusion of depth or varying distances  
Owned = to have or hold as property  
Resolute =marked by firm determination  
Yielding = flexible

(Image - collage of cows in a green field, one cow leaping through the air, plastic bubble wrap over a blue sky, with Napoleon portrait in foreground. Napoleon's head is replaced by a pink rosebud opening and his chest and arm have duct tape.)

Artist Statement: “Revolution?”
Dr. Ashley, Outside Member, PFC

“Revolution?" is a meditation on the liminality of identity at the crossroads of social unrest and competing narratives around categories of race, class, gender, sexuality and ability. As a collage artist rooted in the surrealist tradition, the medium is perfect for simultaneously bringing together but not necessarily resolving these tensions.

Ashley Pryor is an interdisciplinary scholar of the humanities at the University of Toledo and an instructor with the UToledo Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program.  Pryor's work is rooted in the community-engaged arts movement. Her work has been exhibited internationally and regionally. She was the recipient of the 2022 Toledo Arts Commission Merit Award.

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On Territorialism
Tristian, Inside Contributor

The term territory is traditionally defined as: an area of land under the jurisdiction of a ruler or state or a piece of land that is privately owned. Since I do not control or own land, I perceive territory from a perspective that references my belongings and places where I feel comfortable. I also believe those who are most comfortable are those who have the most control over their environment, and can fully relax and find peace. For instance, my cell is one of my many territories. I am accountable for keeping it clean and managing it in any other way I see fit.

Territory can also be defined as a skill set, as knowledge, and proficiency within a specific area or subject. This can relate to a person’s intelligence, capacity, and understanding in a particular field about a certain topic, or just their overall intellect. To further interpret this version of the word territory, one may think of it as what your brain owns, metaphorically, the more you know, the more territory you own.

A person holds a level of obligation and responsibility to anything they regard as their territory because, in a sense, they are the “ruler” of that specific area. I consider my mind/thoughts to be my primary and most valuable territory because it is an area where I feel the most in control, the most comfortable.

However, as I said above, "territorial” alludes to a ruler or state’s ownership of a specific area of land. Therefore, I define territorial living as under another person’s dominion and being subject to their rules. For example, I experience territorial living every day because I have certain restrictions and must abide by certain rules due to the fact that I am not the owner of the territory.

This example reveals another characteristic of anything considered a territory or territorial living: boundaries. All territories have boundaries, or some type of border, to distinguish it from other areas. In a similar way, anyone who undergoes territorial living has limitations on what they are allowed to do. I believe it is impossible to avoid territorial living because we are all under the jurisdiction of some form of “ruler,” whether it be a president, mayor, governor, or a boss at work.

Which is why I consider my mind, my thoughts, and my knowledge my territory because it contains all the most important things to me. Within my mind, I can maintain my thoughts any way I choose without interference from anyone else. I can also be the purest form of myself when I think, without having to alter my actions to be acceptable to any other person. I believe that I am territorial when it comes to my knowledge because it’s the only thing we truly own. I have the option to share it but am not obligated. All the knowledge I have acquired in my life and will acquire for the remainder of my life can never be taken away from me and anything learned will be with me forever.

(PAGE 15)

Visiting Rules
De’Angelo and Elijah, Inside Members, PFC

As a ward of the state, a person commonly referred to as an 
“inmate” or a “prisoner” needs a support system outside of the prison system; this is necessary for our very survival. Our family and friends play that part in that their visits keep us sane and focused and remind us that we have people that love us and are waiting for us to come home.

The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction provides a time for loved ones to come see us, but it makes them jump through many hoops.

Administrators of the ODRC say they want prisoners to have visits because it helps “rehabilitate” them. Yet the institution sets up roadblocks that make it hard for loved ones and friends to come see us. For example, if we get caught with or test positive for drugs visits are restricted for two years. Immediate family can still visit in person during this time, but what if the person doesn’t have any immediate family to come see him or her? What if they rely on friends, or distant relatives for support? They can no longer see loved ones for two years. Now the prisoner has lost the only thing that is helping him or her cope.

Another issue is the clothing visitors must wear. Our visitors are often sent away for not having the proper clothing on. This seems crazy because our visitors are free individuals, not wards of the state. They should be able to wear what they want if it is not indecent. Women and girls are turned away because their sweatpants are “too tight.” We feel that something as simple 
as clothing should not prevent a person from having a visit if a person is decently dressed.

ODRC policy is in favor of prisoners having visits but seems to contradict this in practice with the harsh rules that are sometimes inconsistently enforced. We are not saying we should abandon all the rules, but some things need to be changed and policies loosened up and more fairly enforced to ensure sustained connections between incarcerated individuals and their loved ones.

(PAGE 16)

Dustin and John, Inside Members, PFC

  • Should we put a maximum cap on all prison sentences at 20 years?
  • Should we make sentences longer than 20 years be limited only to those proven to still be dangerous? 
  • Could this work in the United States, as it has for European countries?

The American prison population grew by more than 660% over the past forty years. Can we even imagine what the numbers will be forty years into the future? The prison population grows not because crime increases or police and prosecutors become more successful, but because sentences have become so long and parole so rare. Additionally, with a fast-growing number of lifers living into their 70’s and 80’s the numbers will surely continue to multiply.

In 2016, 114 countries were surveyed as to how many individuals are incarcerated for actual life. The survey revealed that the United States has a higher number of lifers than the combined total of the other 113 countries surveyed. News site “Newsy” reported recently on the cost of elderly inmates in 2021. It stated, “Florida is reaching unsustainable levels of cost.” and “the growing number of lifers is making space an issue.” Average cost of housing per inmate in the state of Ohio is $30,158. Aging inmates often come with mounting medical expenses including transportation, outside hospitals, and hospice care.

We should note that we sentence people who kill others as if they are all serial killers. In fact, individuals convicted of murder are among the least likely to recidivate upon release. Property crimes (often driven by addiction) are the most likely to be repeated upon release. Only a very small absolute number of people who are incarcerated are serial killers. We should acknowledge that others commit intentionally heinous acts, but others are lifers for committing a single bad act in an otherwise good life. Some were abused and killed their abuser. And some are serving life for crimes against property.

Most serious crimes are committed by people at a young age, and studies show people almost always age out of crime by their late 30’s or 40’s.

Pertaining to non-lifers serving more than 20 years, empirical research has consistently found that locking people up for very long periods of time does a little or nothing to control crime and may lead to more crime as people miss opportunities for productive careers. If people are locked up between the ages of 17 and 50, they will have no opportunity upon release to build a productive life.

How would we know who we should still be afraid of after 20 years spent in prison? Here is one thought: every incarcerated person’s number comes with a file, referred to as a “jacket.” The jacket is a file of your behavior during your incarceration. Every rule violation, every roll of toilet paper, every dollar spent, every self-improvement program and educational program, is meticulously recorded. In addition, every phone call is monitored, every piece of incoming mail is scanned and filed away. If a “conditional sentence,” for example, of 20 years, were to be imposed these files would indicate who is still violent or maintains a criminal disposition and those who do not. Punishment is a part of justice, as is rehabilitation and correction. In Germany, teams of psychologists, sociologists, criminal justice experts and lay-people assess those the prison administrators say may still pose a danger to society. Germany has about 90 people locked up past their 15-year cap. They are housed behind secure walls in regular style apartments and given medical and therapeutic treatment.

The tough on crime movement drove the United States to the point of issuing mandatory sentences of life in prison to children. This was recently ruled unconstitutional, as cruel and unusual, but while mandatory sentences are no longer allowed, children can still be sentenced to life without possibility of parole. Has America’s desire for “no forgiveness no reprieve” justice outgrown its sustainability? Should reconsideration be given to long ago offenders if his/her/their records and age reflect a lack of threat? Should decisions about parole be based on the crime committed or the changes an individual has made while incarcerated?

Questions for the reader:

  • If you were asked to limit prison sentences to a number of years, what would that number be?
  • What percentage of your paycheck are you willing to pay to keep individuals in prison, not because they can be shown to be dangerous, but because we want them to “pay the highest price” for their act of violence?

(PAGE 16)

Preserving My Territory
Tori, Outside Member, PFC

As a youngster, two of my sisters and I became actors. Our performances were high quality and renowned; suffice to say, sometimes even our parents would not be audience members. As professionals we were always on track to coordinate well-planned dances and skits. And we, of course, never fought over roles or costumes–kids never fight. The ladybug dress was the most prized and sought-after costume we owned; a halter top with a sequined neck and a poofy skirt perfect for twirling. If you wore the ladybug dress you were the leading lady, so obviously the oldest sister was almost always in the ladybug dress. As the youngest, I was not often awarded the prestige of the ladybug dress. The ladybug dress is a good illustration of how territorial sentiments were developed in my impressionable young mind.

Part of being territorial is my sense of ownership. A common phenomenon of having sisters is figuring out where your missing shirt is because a sister is wearing it, or realizing your pants went missing because you found them in her dirty laundry pile, or she’s careless and leaves photographic evidence of her “borrowing.” Was my shirt being worn a big deal?–no. It was the fact that my things were taken without permission. There was no acknowledgment of my ownership and the usurpation of my property upset me.

I can be controlling and become upset when things derail from their planned course; I acquired a strong sense of ownership living with siblings. At some point, I became very territorial over the food I brought in for lunch because I didn’t want to be taken advantage of. I grappled with the tension that it was MY food so I should get to eat it but also that handing off a few grapes isn’t really such a big sacrifice. I compromised by saying no immediately when people asked, fully intending to give them my snacks because I thought that was a funny thing to do. I developed a mindset of both being ready to share my things and angry when they were taken without permission.

The same rule is sometimes applied to activities. I needed to be good at everything I did. I developed an understanding that activities I participated in existed as part of me and it’s hard to share the things you feel ownership over, especially when they’re close to your heart or a defining part of you. I was jealous when I got compared to my siblings because we existed as different people even if we engaged in the same activities. Reading was especially my thing. It was an escape into fantasy. When I was younger my siblings and I didn’t talk about books. That was my territory. I was the nerdy smart one. But now my sister and I bond over books we’ve read and share our thoughts as co-conspirators. Because I internalized intangible things as being part of my property, as having ownership over them, I was territorial and touchy about them, however it can also be extremely engaging to share territory like a book with someone else.

Maybe being territorial is in human nature or maybe it is something we learn as we grow and become attached to tangible and intangible things, but it’s not always a bad thing. To some degree, I’m territorial because I care. Am I also a little petty? Yes, but that’s usually when sisters are involved. To me, territory is simultaneously selfish and self-preserving when it isn’t being abused or used for dominion over others. Territory implies ownership or control over something, and if I treat my things, tangible and intangible, as my territory, it’s because I care deeply about them and preserving them.
In preserving my territory, I preserve myself and my place in the world.

(PAGE 18)

Does Not Play Well with Others...
Dustin, Inside Member, PFC

My entire life I have been mistaken as Caucasian. 
Initially I would lose my temper, 
engage in hand-to-hand combat, 
or feel disrespected. 
My Raza blood reveals itself unmistakably.

(Image - illustration of a blue and coral colored sunburst in a grey, brown square frame with hieroglyphs in the corners.)

I NEVER do something to someone I wouldn’t want done in return. I don’t claim territory that doesn’t belong to me or my blood because I would hate for a stranger to encroach on my territory. 

I identify as a Mexican-American, but my DNA is Conquistador. I acknowledge my Spanish roots. I share my last name with a town in Spain, that town is my territory. I have uncles, cousins, and nieces who live off of the Yucatán peninsula––that peninsula is my territory because it belongs to me and my blood.

As human beings, survival is written into our DNA. As parents, providing is written into your DNA the time you lay eyes on your offspring. The most important aspects of providing are nutrition, followed close by shelter. You can’t have food without an area conductive to growing, and you can’t safely sleep without a separate area where you construct a shelter made from material harvested and yet another separate area and transported to your shelter area. That’s a lot.

It would be damn near impossible to not defend all that with my life, esp. if some strange looking blue eyed devil tried to tell me that my land (territory) belonged to him.

I am an incredible worker, never shied away from the hardest work on the planet. That work ethic is a source of pride; as a result of grindin’ all day, I am able to shine all night, I earn the right to own whatever I can afford, and my priorities dictate what my territory looks like, but either way, its mine, not ours, not hers, his, theirs, MINE.

(PAGE 19)
(Image - Untitled, John, Outside Member, PFC; foreground - black and white illustration of a skull on the ground surrounded by leaves and flowers; background forest in winter.)

Eyes of Beholdas
Elijah, Inside Member, PFC

Conditions barely liveable 
adrenaline junkie...critical
wake up every morning irritable 
searching for peace...spiritual
but I only find the truth...miracle?
or maybe that’s terrible
when you find out so many variables 
you start to question the scenario 
of this ruthless system Imperial 
and start to scheme the impossible
it seems the hostage isn’t hostile 
cause their hospitality
is the reason for this hostile reality 
that gave us our savage mentality 
which makes us our own casualties 
that give us a glimpse of mortality 
cause we can’t realize
that we are the reasons
for our own brutalities
for false territories
that plays into their strategy 
which makes me feel 
my hood is artificial
aka a false reality
but in all actuality
in any analogy
the knowledge be
much like beauty
that chose us
are in the eyes of the beholdas’.

Meditations on Home
Dr. Renee, Outside Member, PFC

Being territorial is commonly associated with being protective of a certain space. Typically, it’s a space we inhabit, a piece of land, a bedroom, an office, or perhaps, a larger space we can only imagine from the place from which we look, like a nation, the planet, or even the universe. We also might associate being territorial with controlling the kinds of spaces listed above. Some animals mark their territory to warn others away.

Humans put up fences and gates to control who enters their territory. Nations create imaginary borders which sometimes have material markers like fences, security gates, or ports of entry, all in the name of control. (continues on Page 20)

(PAGE 20)

Meditations on Home (cont'd from page 19)
Dr. Renee, Outside Member, PFC

Since the emergence in the West (England, Europe, United States and Canada) of what we call private property (around the 15th and 16th centuries), we tend to identify the spaces we call our own not as territory but as property. What is the meaning of the shift? Does it even matter? What is the difference between territory and being territorial and private property? Is there an alternative to controlling/protecting territory and/or defending our private property by law?

Monarchs in the medieval world ruled over territory. Their subjects, peasants, serfs, guild workers, and crafts people, lived within the boundaries of that territory and sometimes paid a tax, or a share of what they made or grew, in exchange for the protection of the realm. The monarch did not “own” the property, he or she controlled it. Nor did serfs “own” what they produced in the same way we think about ourselves owning things. They inhabited it because they were born there.

The size and boundaries of the territories of kings and queens were fought over with weaponry and sometimes changed because of marriages and/or simple neglect. Territories in this era did not themselves produce wealth; they were wealth. Land had a static value. If one regime had more another had less. The currency of the realm, whether it be gold or silver, or swords made by craftsmen, or horses or livestock or slaves, was taken and/or given, it was not exchanged for more than it cost to produce it. In other words, territory does not produce a profit.

Nowadays we more commonly talk about our house and the land on which it sits, if we are lucky enough to “own” such a thing, as property, not territory. As what had been public lands of the realm in the medieval era were enclosed into smaller parcels, they became privatized. Peasants and serfs who formerly had access to the lands of the realm for subsistence farming, were shut out from extensive swaths of what had been more or less open territory protected by the traditions, armies, and influence of the ruling regime.

Rather than following the cycles of the seasons and growing what the land would produce for subsistence and for modest kinds of bartering, land came to be seen as something that must produce a profit. A profit means a bushel of wheat will garner more gold or silver on the exchange market than it cost to produce it.

With the emergence of privatized property, which was valuable only in so far as it could produce a profit, it became necessary to create laws to prevent just anybody from entering what had been open territory, woods for hunting or land for growing things. Owners of private property were too busy producing to make a profit to want to encircle their land with armed guards to try to defend it using force. So, they created laws governing what belonged to whom that were no longer grounded in the traditions, armed might, or influence of monarchs.

Another way of talking about this is that with privatization in the hands of individual men, land became an investment. An investment is something that must necessarily grow in value. Even if I just live in my house that is on a piece of land, I think of it as an investment, because I hope that the real estate market will continue to drive up the property value. So, if someone invades my house or drives me from it, I am not merely losing the territory as in the space that I inhabit and the land that it sits on, I am losing future earnings.

I am one of the lucky few, albeit late in life, to own a modest house on a piece of property. I was thinking about whether I consider my little patch as a kind of territory, or a kind of property.

On the one hand, my family works hard to make improvements in hopes that when we sell the house, we will sell it for more than the combined cost of purchasing it and improving it. But we also do this because we want to make the house and surrounding land particular to us. We want to make it ours, to put our stamp on it. We have certain aesthetic tastes, about which as a family we might disagree, but ultimately will come to some conclusion and plant a tree here or put a wall up there.

I guess I think about my home as territory when I feel it is being challenged. When unknown people walk across the lawn or snowplows block my driveway or individuals or groups want to take something I consider to be mine, I get territorial. Neighbors’ barking dogs and never-ending gunfire from the gun club that sits a mile away “invade” weekend afternoons in the yard.

I think about my patch as private property when I think about my finances, my future, whether my daughter will live there, whether zoning laws will change property values, or about whether we have done the work to secure it against inevitable hazards, like the unpredictable weather that comes with climate change.

Territory and private property were invented to allow some people in and keep some people out. I find myself caught in a tension between being “territorial” and protecting my “private property,” and a desire to open it up, to share, to have it be a part of the commons. That said, I wonder if I would be as responsible to my little patch if it were held in common with others. Would I have the commitment, the fortitude, the patience, to work with others in a situation where no one had either territory or private property to protect with weapons and/or law?

(PAGE 21)

Anonymous, Inside Member

To be Christlike, I’ve never been the right type… 
By tonight might end up in a knife fight…   -or gun battle…or drug war… What could I love more than funds, guns, blood-n-gore? 
Won’t have the benefit of ever plead’n innocent… 
Crime pays n more ways than we envisioned it… 
We r  witness’ n confessions that were neva said… 
B4 2day that say “I would’ve lived better dead”… 
So why beg 4 a life that I don’t desrve? 
Jus’ go and kill me ‘cuz I really wanna go and serve.. 
The most high… n paradise… 
But 2 B fair, I won’t B there or anywhere with Christ… 
I live a life full of strife and of bad taste… 
I’m just a sad case graced with my dad’s face… 
And a Christian, only on Sunday… 
Monday, I return 2 all my young ways…

4 every day I live 2 C the sunshine… 
I pray and give thanks at least 1 time… 
I kno’ I ain’t been livin’ like ur son, God… 
But I hope I’ve been 4givin’ ‘cuz I’m done try’n


I made a choice I’ma live wit’ and die 4… 
I survived war just n time 2 find more… 
Will I die or… live n filth and trash? 
I’m only built 2 last as long as I am filled wit’ gas… 
But with blessed assurance God provides the best insurance… 
2 brave the test he gave my spirit and my flesh endurance… 
It’s all driven solely by the love he feel’n fo’ me… 
Upon his Judegment, hope he doesn’t say he didn’t kno’ me… 
‘cuz I ain’t livin’ Holy, so will he give up on me? 
I wouldn’t blame’m, but I hope that he 4give the homie… 
B’n so stressed is equal 2 a slo’ death… 
Thoz who kno’ best r people who get no rest… 
I am no less… driven 2 given’ up… 
I prayed 4 redemption but it didn’t come… 
Or did it? I’ll admit it, it’s a pipe dream… 
Do’n what’s right ain’t as easy as it might seem…

[Repeat chorus]

There wasn’t one time I ain’t wanna unwind… 
From b’n tired of b’n tied 2 this front line… 
on the 1 side, I kno’ that it’s unwise… 
But I’m fried’ and my pride keeps me from try’n 
2 bury it, why I even carry it? 
Scarey cuz they vary, the xcuses u can spare me wit’… 
There’s 2 of me…but usually… 
My dark side is the part I don’t want u 2 c… 
N the deepest crevice, right where all the grief ’s embedded… 
There’s a secret fetish I relish but need 2 edit… 
No preist or medic… can save my mangled soul… 
I’m in a stranglehold by that of which I can’t control… 
So, I pay the toll…it’s just the cost of livin’… 
Some say I lost my vision and I’m better off n prison… 
Then I’m a blind man, who ran across his mission 
2 c and fine’ly b free, which mean it brought redemption. 

(PAGE 22)

(Image - Illustration of a red cross with white floral design elements and a white box in the center with black typed text, "Heavenly Father God, teach our hearts to learn the unconditional LOVE of Jesus Christ and to let that LOVE over flow toward others. In Jesus Mighty Name "WE" pray...Amen." A road map is in the background with Bible verses as road names.)

Artist Statement: “My Map
Cedric, Outside Member, PFC

Roads of wisdom, destination, how to live. 
Peace, forgiveness, love, and eternal life. 
These roads represent my personal journey to the cross. 
On that cross, Jesus died for me and washed away my sins. 
As a disciple of Christ, I share this good news 
So that others too may have eternal life. 
God Bless You and wherever your map brings you.

(PAGE 23)

My Inside-Out Experience 
Tori, Outside Member, PFC

I had no idea what the Inside-Out Prison Exchange program was when I signed up but it was highly recommended by classmates and faculty at UToledo. I had a vague understanding the class would be about prison and prison reform and the class is taken with people who are incarcerated. When I showed up on my first day and was handed a syllabus about collage I was stunned, to say the least. I thought the class would be a waste of my time because I’m not pursuing art as my educational focus. I was wrong. Not only was I reminded how important the arts are for fostering creativity in education (and just personally fulfilling) but the connections and experiences from the class are irreplaceable.

When I told a family member I was taking a class in prison they were worried. They encouraged me to think again about taking the class; I hadn’t even thought to have qualms about taking the class. Who better could I learn from, and engage in conversations about the problems and reforms of prison and society than the people most affected? Even without a class solely focused on prisons the topic would come up naturally as we were working in our independent studio time, which made the conversations even more engaging and honest. I was so proud of the community we built and the final collaborative project we made. Every day I came into class there was laughter. People would talk about their art or just chat, and it was a genuine human experience. We created a learning environment to foster our creativity and grow as artists even if we originally did not think art was our thing.

What Inside-Out and People for Change (PFC) Mean to Me
Dustin, Inside Member, PFC

When I was first given the prompt, “Explain what Inside-Out means to you, what your biggest takeaway is, and how it has impacted your life—as well as the lives of your comrades,” it focused my mind as if I were in the starting gate of a track and field event reacting to the clap from the starting pistol. My first complete thought was, “the list of things it has not brought me would be shorter, but where is the fun in that?”

2023 will be my tenth year living with two layers of sixteen-foot fencing crowned with razor wire separating me from the rest of the world. Over the course of those ten years I have undergone multiple metamorphoses and noticed how each institution has contributed both positively and negatively to the man I am today.

My very first interaction with the Inside-Out program was at my “parent” institution (the prison to which I was first sent), Warren Correctional Institution. It was taught by a law professor and was a senior level course preparing students to enter law school. The first book we read was New Jack: Guarding Sing Sing by Ted Conover (2000), and it felt like a divine interaction. For the first time in my incarceration the words of someone who I’ve never met or heard of expressed my feelings on paper better than I could.

In the words of the Walking Dead’s special effects artist, Greg Nicotero, “it’s over with. You are bit!” Shortly after the class began, and I was able to interact with the amazing group of students from Xavier University, I realized I (continues on page 24)

(PAGE 24)

What Inside-Out and People for Change (PFC) Mean to Me
(cont'd from Page 23)

had an unquenchable thirst for learning, educating myself, and becoming the best person I could be. I noticed that as I learned more, my thirst for knowledge increased.

It would be almost five years, three institutional transfers, a blown engagement, and a security level increase before I would hear the words “Inside-Out Program” again. Adjusting to 23-hour lockdown is one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do…well, adjusting was easy, but maintaining the person I had become seemed impossible in maximum security surroundings.

“Dr. Ashley”—the one and only, taught my first ever philosophy course. I learned names like: John Stuart Mill, Immanuel Kant, Epicurus, Aristotle, and words like nicomachean, deontological, and ethical. Once again, I was bit. During my fourteen-week college course, I lived a “Tuesday-centric” lifestyle. I was able to shine for two and half hours a week, and for once in my incarceration, being smart, well-spoken and articulate, was an asset as opposed to a liability. Garnering the attention, attentiveness, and being able to captivate a room full of students from the University of Toledo inspired my peers on the inside to approach me about helping them get better as opposed to trying to rob me because I talked like a “mark.”

Graduating from the Jessup Scott College of Honors Inside-Out class was the first program I finished that I was proud of. I must have taken thirty pictures with my certificate of completion. Graduating gave me confidence and interacting with similarly aged students helped me stay grounded in my social game. It also helped me identify the pitfalls and avoid the mistakes of some of the less mature cohorts on the inside. It restored my hope that I can be released and be judged as me NOW, not as me THEN. It eliminated the anxiety associated with going back to school full time. It taught me how to become a better teacher, and as my teaching abilities increased my scholarly ambitions soared. Dr. Renee made me want to earn my bachelor’s degree. I wanted her to be proud. I am now 66 hours away from my bachelor’s degree.

Inside-Out gave me a platform to show my peers the depth and breadth of knowledge I’ve accumulated over my decade behind bars. I’ve gotten over my fear of public speaking, insecurities about where I fall on the societal totem pole, and as a result, I am now the head of a multi-media conglomerate that currently holds two separate US patents, a registered LLC, and a copy-written curriculum. I have a YouTube channel that produces, edits and posts sixty minutes of original content five days a week. It serves as a platform for incarcerated individuals to show the world the self-improvement they have accomplished.

On a much more superficial level, Inside-Out allowed me to taste exotic foods at the graduation potluck for the first time in eight years. I had the privilege of hanging out with UT students. However, with privileges come responsibilities. Inside-Out taught me to be responsible in multiple facets of my character. I am responsible to complete assignments, to stay out of the hole, to respect socially appropriate boundaries, to be right with electronic correspondence, but above all else, it provided me with an opportunity to rise to a level of conduct that even I wasn’t sure I could achieve.

I am a self-taught, responsible, respected member of the TOCI population, as well as of the Ashland University and University of Toledo student bodies. I’m motivated and almost a college graduate. I love philosophy, never shy away from asking questions, and am grounded in my faith. 

But before I am any of that, I am HAPPY. I am never ok with the status quo, and I wake up every day determined to be a better man. I owe this to the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program!

(PAGE 25)


Swimming Cheesy Chicken
Cedric, Inside Member, PFC

  • 1 Pouch Chicken
  • 1 Block Velveeta
  • 1 Spicy Rice
  • 1 Barbeque Sauce
  • 1 Ranch
  • 3 tsp veggie flakes
  • 1 Jack Mack
  • 1 Tortilla Wrap
  • 1/2 Pickle Dill (hot)
  • 1 bag chips


  • Dice 1/2 pickle
  • Slice one Velveeta block in half, cut one half into cubes
  • Put other half in bag and put into boiling water
  • Add veggie flakes to rice
  • Add boiling water and let stand for 6 minutes
  • After rice cools, mix in one Jack Mack
  • Begin to layer bowl: rice, then BBQ, then tortilla wrap
  • Crush one bag of chips, add small amount of water
  • Boil chip water mixture for 7-9 minutes
  • Add chips over tortilla
  • Add cubed Velveeta followed by chicken
  • Add rest of BBQ sauce with melted half of Velveeta
  • Add diced pickle followed by ranch

Tye, Inside Contributor

  • 1 8oz bag of non-dairy creamer
  • 6 single kool-aid packets
  • 1 medium size plastic bag 


  • Pour creamer and kool-aid into the plastic bag
  • Take two empty kool-aid packets and fill with water
  • Pour water into bag
  • Mix and roll into desired texture
  • Enjoy!

Cocoa Bars
Cedric, Inside Member, PFC

  • 4 single serving cocoa packets
  • 3-4 ounces of water (about 6 tbsp, add if needed)
  • Crushed cookies
  • Peanuts
  • Your choice of cereal


  • Pour cocoa into large bowl
  • Stir in water to make a syrup
  • Add crushed cookies
  • Mix until consistent and mixture packs together
  • (If needed, add more water)
  • Add cereal and peanuts
  • Mix and mash it together until consistent
  • Place mixture between two layers of plastic
  • Press on flat surface to flatten out to 1/2”-3/4” thick (I use a large, hardcover book to flatten it)
  • Cut bars to desired size

(PAGE 26)

(Image - Illustration of glass broken by flying quill and ink bottle)

Artist Statement:

I always had a creative side, but never realized my true artistic abilities before being incarcerated. I would say that's true for most artists I know in prison. Prison is a very emotional place, and art is often born out of emotion. It was drawing portraits of the people I love and miss that got me started. I then branched out to painting the sort of landscape scenery I love and miss. Places where the only sounds you hear are those of nature.

It can be very noisy and busy in prison during the day, with people yelling, multiple sources of different music, door to door panhandlers, and whatever unexpected excitement comes next. Meal times, recreation, day room and shower times, as well as any classes and programs, all take place during the day. Much like writing from the imagination, for me, doing artwork from the imagination requires hours of uninterrupted focus. So being an artist in here, for me, requires being a night owl. Which makes it difficult to do, while keeping up with the daytime schedule. But having that medium of expression, and something I'm still able to give, is important to me.

Prison art is a genre that often has a darker tinge to it. When not drawing (or painting) what I love, I've been told some of my art had a darkness to it. Something I never liked hearing. But art that doesn't emote feelings to others can be empty. Inherently, the emotions in prison, are often darker in nature. Art can be a constructive, therapeutic release, and often beautiful way of expressing emotions, whatever they may be. Now, I am proud, and honored to be able to work with People for Change, and Glass House magazine, finding another positive purpose for my gift.

  -John, Inside Member, PFC

(PAGE 27 - Back Cover)

ideas collected by De’Angelo, Inside Member, PFC

“The more you sweat in peace the less you will bleed in war.” 
General Douglas MacArthur

“Every person who rises above the common level 
has received two educations: the first from a teacher; 
the second, more personal and important, from themselves.” 
Edward Gibbons

“True power is not heard or seen; it is felt.” 

inspiration collected by John, Inside Member, PFC

“Two men look out of prison bars. 
One sees mud and one sees stars.” 

“Judicial decrees may not change the heart, 
but they can restrain the heartless.” 
Martin Luther King, Jr.

“An unjust law is a species of violence.  
Arrest for its breach is more so.” 
Mohandas K. Gandhi, Non-Violence In Peace and War

“There can be no equal justice when the kind 
of trial a man gets depends upon the 
amount of money he has.” 
Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black, Griffin v Illinois 
(1964 case about providing public defenders for the indigent)

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Last Updated: 4/14/23