A Ten and a One

[draft work in progress]

A Ten and a One

It was eleven dollars.  Two lives

Sentenced

To end over a ten and a one.

Two lives.  Life sentences

For their misdemeanor crime.

Do we believe that this has nothing to do with the color of their skin? 

Now, color them

White.  And the story would have been much different.  Pay up

The fine and do your time

In a county jail, perhaps a year,

If you’re White.

But it was

Two Black girls in Mississippi.

And they were poor, but perhaps that doesn’t need to be said.

They were.

Two lives.  Life sentences

For their misdemeanor crime.

Do we believe that this has nothing to do with the color of their skin?

They are freed

From those life sentences.  Yet, the sisters,

Gladys and Jamie

Scott did their time.  Sixteen years

In prison for petty theft.

Since 1994.  Two lifetimes.

Lost.

Over.

Eleven dollars.  The price of a movie

But Justice Was Served!

Or was it?

Charges were suspended, yes they’re free.  Hold on,

There’s one little condition.  Never matter

She was already going to save her sister’s life.

Dignity, they have to take that away too. 

Generosity, stolen

by the glaring limelight of the time.

“I was going to give it to her anyway (even) if I had to give it to her in prison. Didn’t nobody

had to release me, because if they would have let me give it to her when her kidney first failed,

I would have gave it to her without a shadow of a doubt. I love my sister.”

Where is their justice? 

Two lives.  Life sentences

For their misdemeanor crime.

Do we believe that this has nothing to do with the color of their skin?

Good people what was their crime? 

To be poor and black in Mississippi

and steal

A ten and a One?

——————————————————-

Life in Prison: No one, offenders included, expects prison to be a pleasant place. But there is a considerable incongruity between the physical or mental maturity of young prisoners and the kind of experiences and people prison forces them to confront.

The vast majority of youth serving life without parole have had violent experiences in prison. Many child offenders get into fights with other inmates in order to defend themselves from physical violence, including rape.

Human Rights Watch received more than 300 letters from child offenders currently serving life without parole sentences, here are five examples.

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