This essay is part of our series Voices from the Inside, which asks individuals who are currently incarcerated in Illinois county jails the question: What kind of world do you want to return to?
“Thank you for giving me the opportunity to write about the kind of world I want to return to and to be heard. Right now I’m physically on pause from the outside world, but I’m mentally free. Every day I think about what I want to do when I get out and the kind of life I want to lead. I’m 23 and I been in and out of the system since I was 14. I came to the point that this is it. I sit in here reading about people who came out to be successful after they got tired of being locked up. For me it would be nice to get out and have the chance to work and to be accepted by who I become, not my past, to be able to express a new idea or a business that I would like to start, and give others like me the chance to work and be heard.”
—Francisco M., Kendall County Jail, Illinois