Letters to Our Sons

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On April 15, 2018, seven prisoners were slaughtered and twenty-two seriously injured during a prison riot in South Carolina. This incident, prison conditions and mass incarceration were the inspiration for this book, Letters to Our Sons, which represents five years of research. Authors Dawn Simmons and Heru Mossiah Maat collaborated with over 80 prisoners from behind the steel fences of maximum security prisons in South Carolina and throughout the United States. These prisoners have "stepped up" in an effort to bring awareness to the mass incarceration of our youth in the United States of America. From their personal and collective experience, they use powerful heart-wrenching candid narratives to highlight that prison is a place of mental destruction, violence, poor living conditions and poor quality food. These incarcerated men also acknowledge that more adult males and teenage boys enter the prison system than those who enter college as well as lament that young men enter the prison system by the truck loads as if there were no other options. In response, these prisoners who are convicted burglars, drug dealers, rapists and murderers from diverse backgrounds hope to make a positive difference by telling their story.

Dawn Simmons and Heru Mossiah Maat have written a must read, tell all book. Letters to Our Sons describes the circumstances that have led many men to prison, the prison living conditions, and the frustration and dehumanization, which breeds violence within prison walls. For further insights about the current prison system, criminal justice activists, former and current correctional staff, and police officers provided their narratives, opinions and advice especially about hope for the future. Through infographics, research and essays, the book will educate readers about the truths of prison life.

In Letters to Our Sons, over 80 prisoners found the strength and courage to reveal their true wisdom and vulnerability in order to change the direction of future criminal justice and prison legislation. Most importantly, they hope to intervene in our children's lives before it is too late.

Publication Date: 
October 31, 2018