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February 22, 2007

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Most of the time I read anything about prisons or the incarcerated, it’s by an individual who's not been inside, or some institution with some depressing non-realistic approach as to what to do and how to do it to the prisoners or ex cons. Or just plain statistics: That a great many are not counted and fall between the cracks of society, in one group or another; of the many that are going to go back. There is a Hidden Group that is always overlooked. I know because I’m one of them. An artist, not a fine artist, but a Literary artist. The One Group exists for ex-cons, for the ''Fine arts”, and has no use for the other genres, I know, I've gotten in touch. Polite, but ''in their niche'' ''sigh'' the other side of the statistics, eh? I’ve often wondered that its maybe because that after an ex con is killed off if he goes back to ''the life'' or back to Prison his Art would Increase in Value like most good fine art. Not many know an artist like Anthony Papas for example, that Painted his way out of Prison, is the equivalent to Michael Angelo!! Thank God he still Fights for the Under Dog .He’s Met all the Politicians, Wrote a Book ''Twenty Five to Life'' and was pampered…but not swayed by the attention politicians gave him, and keeps his identity. When it comes to work, put ex-cons to work at what they do best. Tell of the streets, tell of what and how they got there. They know the streets, and that alone can save lives! How to survive as well, within. I am trying to start an organization called “Thugs against Violence” a Hip Hop Org. that has writers, poets and conscience rappers out of prison to work going to schools reading from their memoirs or their journals. And rapping with a great deal of wisdom to teach the younger set that crime does pay…but it’s always with your life, and you only have one. This generation learns from example. I’m a professional person as well as a published writer who is widely anthologized, so I blend in HIV and Anti Violence with real stories. My first book “Prison Solitary and Other free Government Services” was Poetry and subjective. My New Book “Platinum Dreams Lead Reality” was inspired by working with gangs, the high urban deaths, whose average age is between 15 and 34. It works as this is what I do. I can be driving a fine car, but I’d rather give back. I hope one day the statistics will have a bit of creativity and start a speaker’s organization for ex-cons that is successful for both sides. The stories I tell stay in the students mind, and this way they think before that act. Carolyn Baxter is a Natl. Endowments of The arts Recipient. Her new book Platinum Dreams Lead Reality at Amazon.com authorsden.com/carolyncbaxter

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