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Row of standing pencils with woman artist behind them; concept of prison bars
Illustration by Kathy Jane Hart

Being in prison can feel like a never-ending state of being trapped. I call it, “the land of misfits,” or even “purgatory.” Writing and drawing have saved me from this world of darkness, bitterness, hopelessness, and fear.

Now that I write about and draw about my experience, I know someone else knows how I feel, and what’s the truth of it all. It also makes me feel accomplished, that somehow I’ve made a difference in the world.

I am thankful to my mentor and friend Haley Epping of Maryland who helped me find a way to tell my story. Haley and I met as pen pals when we were both college students. She listens and encourages me to be the best I can be, and her walls are full of my art. With her support, I know I’m doing the most I can in these circumstances. I’m no longer a victim of my circumstance; I am a survivor.

I’m thankful for my blessings. My mind is free, though my body is not.

Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. Global Forum Online has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned.

Kathy Jane Hart is a writer incarcerated in Arkansas.