Let Me Lives: Voices of Youth Incarcerated

Available in



: English
: 9781936900220


Poetry Behind the Walls Series (PBW), a project of Save the Kids, is one of the only ongoing series in the world that is dedicated to writings from youth who are incarcerated.


“Let Me Live: Voices of Youth Incarcerated is an essential literary tool that can be used to help dismantle the larger systemic issues of ending mass youth incarceration and the school to prison pipeline. The poetry and creative arts pieces in this book represent the souls of youth impacted by incarceration. It captures the beauty within each young persons’s process of self-empowerment and liberation.”

–Emilio Lacques-Zapien, Youth Organizer, Youth Justice Coalition


“Let Me Live: Voices of Youth Incarcerated gives voice to the voiceless — it opens a line of communication between incarcerated youth and those of us in the so-called ‘free world’. It is a crucial opportunity for youth to express their thoughts, feelings, emotions. And, an opportunity for us to listen and learn. Hear them…”

–Dr. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology & Critical Studies of Race and Ethnicity, St. Catherine University


“Let Me Live: Voices of Youth Incarcerated includes the words of those who most need to be heard: imprisoned children and teens. Their skills are evident and the cultural need for their stories and wisdom is crucial. These youth have been marginalized and near forgotten, so their voices must be heard on the other side of the prison walls.”

–Don C. Sawyer III, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology at Quinnipiac University


“The work in Let Me Live helps readers remember that incarcerated youth are thinking and feeling individuals with the same aspirations and goals as other children. They are not merely statistics to analyze or incorrigible people to forget and discard. Personally, the poetry and autobiographical sketches in this volume allowed me to feel in my body the fear, anger, and sadness that these kids are experiencing. Anyone concerned about the prison industrial complex, school to prison pipeline, and incarceration practices would do well to familiarize themselves with this publication if for no other reason than to be reminded that real people are suffering in prisons, jails, and detention centers.”

–Dr. Scott Hurley, Professor of Religion, Luther College


“Fierce and brittle words that read like efforts to bend the prison bars. In places of isolation and darkness, the struggle of these youths to reach to the light incites an ache for all the promise of their lives and the commitment to create a world that will welcome them.”

–Barbara Madeloni, Teacher Educator, University of Massachusetts Amherst


“Let Me Live: Voices of Youth Incarcerated provides an important outlet for youth victimized by the supposed criminal justice system. As creative outlet and space for expression this publications provides a means for the poets to empower themselves and resist.”

–Dr. Sean Parson, Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs, Northern Arizona University


“Let Me Live is a courageous publication working at the intersections of art and social justice to give voice to incarcerated youth. The efforts of the authors and editors should be applauded as they breakdown barriers, wage principled critiques, fill the world with hope, and provide a platform for personal and political expression.”

–Dr. Jason Del Gandio, author of Rhetoric for Radicals: A Handbook for 21st Activists


“What makes Let Me Live so powerful is the voices of the youth within it, voices that are often silenced in other arenas or made to believe they are not important. Here is an opportunity not only for incarcerated youth to honestly share their experiences but for the readers to learn, reflect and act.”

–Joanna Lowry, Youth Social Worker, Neighborhood House


“Let Me Live: Voices of Youth Incarcerated gives us a powerful glimpse into the talents, passions, and humanity of our incarcerated brothers and sisters. The project is a wonderful example of the power of the Arts to humanize those we have called ‘others’ and to nudge us all toward becoming agents of social justice.”

–Dr. Joe Lewis, Assistant Professor, School of Education, Hamline University


Customer Reviews

facilitatory Nocella as an educator has for the last 15 years provided more than 1,500 basic, advanced, and Training for Facilitators collaborative group-building workshops at youth centers, jails, prisons, detention facilities, schools, and college on topics such as negotiation, community circles, conflict transformation, peer-mediation, peace in schools, life skills to youth, hip hop, transformative justice, professional development, diversity and inclusion, environmental education, and curriculum design.
Induction Series 3 Course
Hamline University

trainer Nocella with 20 years of community organizing and Leadership experience has provided more than 500 basic and advanced trainings to youth, college students, teachers, unions, and international NGOs for more than a 1,000 organizations such as SEUI, Pax Christi, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, American Friends Service Committee, and Peace Action.

Minority Groups Course
Hennepin County Community College

lecturer Nocella, an intersectional scholar and researcher, regularly gives presentations/lecturers/keynotes on the school to prison pipeline, diversity and inclusion, environmental justice, critical animal studies, disability studies, social movements, hip hop politics, peace and conflict studies, crime and social control.

Human Relations/Multicultural Ed Course
St. Cloud State University