Prison Radio
Jy’Aire Smith-Pennick

My name is Jy’Aire Smith-Pennick, and I’m calling from SCI Chester in Pennsylvania. This piece is titled “Slave to the System.”

It’s so hard for me to sleep at night. I toss and turn often, wondering why things are the way they are. Inadequate housing, underfunded schools, which lead the mass incarceration. From plantations to prisons, right back to inadequate living.

Allow me to break down the concept. You see what they did was place us in domestic war zones which they called projects, forced to run them up, yet they labeled us bomb threats and we get extracted. Don’t call me insane in the brain for doing the same thing repeatedly expecting different results, but who’s to blame for this pain? Old conservative folks don’t want change. Why would they when the fact of the matter is, well, our loss is their gain.

Black people can’t give recognition on television unless it’s for athleticism or being great musicians. Innocent black people get convicted while the Kyle Rittenhouses get acquitted. They call us stupid when they know our schools lack curriculum. White lawyers scare us into taking plea deals valued in fancy words because most young kids ain’t articulate. So we end up with flimsy sentences.

tI hear success is measured by effort, but is this true? Because we have tried. Just look at Malcolm X, Barack Obama, John Lewis, and Medgar Evers. Still no equality. Still living in poverty. Still locked in cages, stripped of our names only to be given a number because we are state property.

We must not try and ignore these harsh realities no matter how minute they seem to you. Why does it take a knee on a black man’s neck to boost morale? What happened to morals? That’s another murder. That means plural. So what happened is when the oppressed becomes the aggressor. Due to constant pressure, we riot. Now they want equanimity. Well, we want justice.

You can follow me on Instagram @free_jyaire_smith, and you can also look me up on I have two pieces titled “A Blessing in Disguise,” and the second piece is titled “How I Went From Gangster to Geek.”

These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.