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The prisoner, poetry and me—what a mentoring scheme taught me about jail

Our penal system is not geared towards rehabilitation and further brutalises already damaged people. It’s a truth we don’t want to face.

Illustration: Kate Hazell

David had been in prison for a few months when he wrote his first poem. Valentine’s Day was approaching and he couldn’t think how to mark the occasion. There was no way to buy his wife a present, so he decided to write her a poem. He found it easier to express himself through poetry than any other way so he carried on, exploring his regrets for his offence and detailing the vagaries of prison…

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