Inmate / Officer


October 23, 2014 by J_R_Heaney

This short poem is inspired by a section from Crime and Punishment: Inside Views edited by Robert Johnson and Hans Toch. The section, authored by an inmate, described an ambiguously psychotic corrections officer who jumps at the chance to enforce order by violent means within a prison. The inmate keeps a wary, fearful eye on the officer. In his description, the inmate challenges the common perception that corrections officers fall on the correct side of the law and instead presents that sometimes abuses of power create a lawless environment within prisons. In the prison system, authority can become a mask for brutality. This poem is meant to capture the contrast between the two figures, inmate and officer, and flip common perceptions of the two figures.

Inmate / Officer

Old a tired / Young and eager

Battered and dirty / Uniformed

Disposable / Untouchable

Behind bars / Swinging bats

Surviving / Thriving

Locked up, dangerous / Locked in, a nightmare

Killed a man once / Killed a man today

Was an accident / Shot with a smile

Punished / Promoted


2 thoughts on “Inmate / Officer

  1. Robert Johnson says:

    Sent from my iPhone


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