Poem: The Steps of Going to Jail

The legal encyclopedia online

Lists step by step the process of going to jail.

Step one:

Recording the suspect’s name.

As soon as the name is marked into public records,

The name will now be eternally known as


The most dishonorable from of repute one

Could have.

It’s as if they’re reading The Crucible

In high school again.

John Proctor said it best:

“I gave you my soul, can’t I keep my name?”

Step two:

Taking a “mug shot.”

The Internet says they are helpful

To tell apart those with the same name


Once behind bars,

Besides the same label of “inmate,”

Won’t they have the same image

For the world to see too?

Regardless of various dispositions

They all have the same future of erased smiles ahead of them.

Every racist said it best:

“You all look the same to me.”

Step three:

Taking the suspect’s clothing and personal property

Into custody.

They must strip their garb of the only

Form of evident

Individuality they have left.

They will soon have no

Where to hide as well.

Such fear that must brew in their hearts.

Adam from the beginning said it best

“I was afraid because I was naked.”

Step four:

Taking fingerprints.

Step five:

Conducting a full body search.

More and more stripping to do

As if it just wasn’t enough.

As if they are now officially

The police’s stigmatized whore.

Step six:

Geez, there’s more?

Step seven:

When does it stop?

They should be done counting by now.

Have we forgotten third grade math already?

Legal Encyclopedia

Only has nine

Of the infinite amount of steps of going to jail,

Being in jail,

The amount of ticks of the clock

That become as identical as the name “inmate.”

The ticks equalize the cadence of their heart beats

As they pound to create their new set of clothes.

They are all exactly the same.

No shaking off conformity now.

Red from Shawshank Redemption said it best:

“I’m institutionalized now.”


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