This Ain't What You Want

This Ain't What You Want

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by Willie Spears and Kim Adams Graham


According to Ivory A. Toldson, a professor of counseling psychology at Howard University, there are more black men in college than in prison. From my twenty years in education as a teacher, coach, and administrator I can attest to his research.

Several of my former students regardless of race attended college after graduating from high school. However, the five students I have serving life in prison seem to resonate more in my mind than the thousands that have attended college.

My father is the greatest man I know and he spent six years in prison before I was born. My mother spent time in and out of jail before she had me at age twenty. My cousin is currently serving a hundred and twenty-five-year sentence and he told me to tell people "This ain't what you want."

This book is a collection of articles from people who are incarcerated and those who were incarcerated. The purpose of this resource is the inform people, especially young people about the reality of incarceration.

Attorney Bryan Stevenson says Capital punishment means ‘them without the capital get the punishment." He also stated "We have a system of justice that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth–not culpability–shapes outcomes.”

I have seen this reality firsthand and understand the system is broken. What is even more appalling is the lack of correction officers, jail conditions, and the safety of prisoners. I travel all over the country spreading the message of hope while letting young people know "this ain't what you want."

This book was mostly written by the actual inmate. We decided not to change their grammar, punctuation, or words, or correct any sentence structure. Some articles were too graphic to include, however, be advised some are graphic in description.

Kim Graham and I interviewed several inmates and former inmates for this project. We hope by compiling their stories we help others avoid their reality.