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Teen & Young Adult - Nonfiction

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When You Hear Me (You Hear Us): Voices on Youth Incarceration

ISBN: 9781950807369
Binding: Hardcover
Author: Free Minds Writers
Foreword by:: Shaka Senghor
Pages: 288
Trim: 7 x 10 inches
Published: 04/05/2022

A plea for racial justice and prison reform comes from incarcerated youth, their families, and the criminal justice community, through poetry and personal stories.

The voices of incarcerated young people call out for racial justice and prison reform in this poignant anthology of poetry and personal stories. We hear not only from youth themselves but also from their community of mothers, loved ones, correctional staff, public defenders, prosecutors, and others who embody our criminal justice system—all who suffer the ripple effect of harm and unhealed trauma from mass incarcerations. This searing collection of firsthand accounts, compiled by Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, demonstrates the profound impact of racism and the broken prison system. We are all challenged to heed these urgent pleas, expressed in a unique and diverse chorus, for accountability, transformative social justice, racial equity, and healing. The burden of responsibility for change rests squarely on our collective shoulders—to create a just society where every one of us can thrive.


As incarcerated and formerly incarcerated youth, Free Minds writers use creative writing to escape, process, and share their lived experiences of the criminal justice system. Too often, youth caught in the U.S. justice system are spoken about but not heard from; by publishing their work, we aim to amplify these critical voices. We're so proud of the ways their books have influenced conversations around race, criminal justice, violence prevention, and resilience across the city and the country. Through Author Talks, book donations, and book sales, the voices of Free Minds authors have reached readers and leaders across the country. Proceeds from Free Minds titles support new authors and fund future programming for incarcerated youth.


"A powerful, devastating, essential read for anyone who believes in true justice for all." - Kirkus Review