Category: Prison | Incarceration | Inmates

Home / Category: Prison | Incarceration | Inmates

Author: Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

Coronavirus marches on with time. Flipping the calendar today, I realized that on Friday, July 31st 2020, it will be our second Eid Holiday of the year.

In the Islamic calendar, there are only two main holidays. They are both called Eid. The first one, the smaller Eid, Eid-ul-Fitr to be specific, takes place after the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a month of fasting. The second Eid, the ‘Big Eid’, Eid-ul-Adha to be specific, takes place after the yearly Pilgrimage to the holy city of Makkah, called “Hajj”. A Pilgrimage that is one of the Five Fundamental Principals of Islam.

The Hajj ends with the sacrificial slaughtering of an animal according to the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham). This tradition is a commonality between the Muslims, Jews, and Christians. Although, there is a slight variation, where Muslims believe that Abraham was going to sacrifice his son Isma’eel (Ishmael), and the other two religious texts mention Ishaaq (Issac) as the chosen son.

I remember the Big Eid in Pakistan when I was a kid, the local custom was to buy an animal a month or two prior to the Eid day. That way the animal was domesticated and a bond developed between the family and the animal. So, in a way, sacrificing the beloved animal would be hard due to that affection; an obvious effort to mimic Abraham’s trial and anguish.

Among other fond memories of that time were the new tailored Eid clothes, food, visiting neighbors, family, friends, and hitting the bazaars of Lahore. But, more than anything, the receiving of ‘Eidy’ was the best, a particular tradition where the family elders would give money to the young.

For us kids, it was a happy time. And we had our favorite uncles, aunts, and cousins, whom were known to be more generous than those who were of a frugal temperament. You see, at that age the intricacies of who was well-to-do and who was not was not in our periphery.

Later on, in America, the Big Eid was a bit dull in comparison. Obviously, we couldn’t get a pet lamb, goat, or ox at home to raise and sacrifice on the Eid day. So, here in the “civilized” world, our family would either send money to Pakistan, to have a relative slaughter an animal and distribute the meat to the poor, or would buy an animal here at one of the local Islamic slaughter houses and get that very important part of the Big Eid over with.

But, we did keep other traditions alive. Such as, congregating for Eid prayer in one of the local mosques and then returning to dress up in new clothes; And then to start making the rounds from Long Island through Queens, and then to New Jersey to wish our family and friends an “Eid Mubarak”, Blessed Eid, greetings and to receive our Eidys.

I remember when some of our older cousins would make us laugh commenting in jest, regarding the need for everyone to become celibate due to the increase in the amount of children from year to year, which obviously affected their finances in paying Eidy.

As I grew older and entered my 20s, it became a sensed of pride for me to give Eidy to those who were younger than me. I remember making prayer to be more successful the following years so that I could give more and be that favorite brother, cousin, and uncle. Unfortunately, that prayer was not answered by the All Mighty. So, I still make the same prayer, still hoping for a better tomorrow.

The food spread and conversations were the best part of our special day. There was serenity to it, a calmness that placed your body and soul at ease. In my opinion, having a religious holiday, rich with over a few millennia worth of history, somehow seems to mean much more than our made up holidays like birthdays, anniversaries, and other such frivolities.

Coming to prison jars the very core of your being. People say to, “watch out in here, cause ‘they’ will come for you. ” The truth is, ‘they’ don’t come for you, ‘they’ come for your soul! In this labyrinth of evil, you tend to lose the very things that make you human. Among those things, happiness tops the charts.

Anyhow, our Big Eid is usually a simple affair. A congregational prayer is followed by a few refreshments and then a prompt return to our cages.

On our housing units we prepare our meals together as brothers in faith to give some color to our bland canvas of merrymaking. But, eating is another thing. I don’t remember a single Eid behind bars where I didn’t just stare at the food after receiving it.

Without family, a man is lost. And I’ve been lost for a longtime now. But, with the Grace of GOD, almost every time, a Muslim brother’s helping nudge or remark would break my trance. Our eyes would meet and that mutual and shared pained look would be held for the briefest of moments and then we would simply nod and carry on.

Grown men don’t cry!

This year, COVID-19 has restricted our so-called festivities even further. No congregational prayers this time again. And also, once again, the prison kitchen would send an ‘Eid Food Tray’ prepared by select Muslim prisoners to everyone. That will be the extent of ‘official’ celebrations.

Nevertheless, as I said before, among us we shall create our own mirage of an Eid celebration. As always, I would surely retreat to my cell, placing my food on the metal table that is attached to metal sink and toilet, and then I would sit next to my ‘slit’ of a window to blankly stare outside, trying to picture my parents, brother, sister in law, and the two bundles of joy, my nephew and niece, among other family members and friends, feeling yet another episode of Eid Holiday Blues.

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S38VwBbAaVmH-bXvOZoXKqI8VcCohaqH9N6-GnvOPgsOJ2PdVD0hyvQpPZMW2yvwTsD-fNMtbMpmxburBnYJzuC9mCahijmDofkoPZduY2XYKJ5DYVARTAJ2huWVVyERzB10gsqp

Who Are You?

August 1, 2020 | Prison | Incarceration | Inmates | 1 Comment

Author: Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

I don’t know what love is
Because, I know you
I don’t know its beginning or end
Because, I know you

I have experienced joy and happiness
Because, I know you
I have experienced heartache and sadness
Because, I know you

I know what it’s like to be alone
Because, I know you
I know what it’s like to have a companion
Because, I know you

I gaze the stars at night
Because, I know you
I travel the Galaxy
Because, I know you

My days turn to nights, and nights to days
Because, I know you
My little circles of life, revolve
Because, I know you

Sometimes, my heart quickens
Because, I know you
Often times, it simply flutters
Because, I know you

I have a longing and sense of belonging
Because, I know you
I am stranded and rather abandoned
Because, I know you

I follow Halos in mist filled nights
Because, I know you
I wander halls and search cloudy rooms
Because, I know you

I roam lofted pathways surrounded by gardens
Because, I know you
I follow footprints on grass sparkling with morning dew
Because, I know you

I see apparitions running among rows of roses
Because, I know you
I chase shadows under gilded canopies and verandas
Because, I know you

I can smell dandelions
Because, I know you
I see a horizon twinkling with fireflies
Because, I know you

I feel locks of velvet upon my face
Because, I know you
I can feel a breath warm on my neck
Because, I know you

I feel my lips often tingling
Because, I know you
I can taste peaches and strawberries
Because, I know you

This unending episode continues
Because, I know you
I wonder if it’s everlasting or forever withering
Because, I know you

I am familiar with your curves and silhouette
I’ve replaced a thousand pictures it seems
To imagine your face
Because, really…
I don’t know you!

For a long while, a lifetime perhaps
I’ve been searching, I think…
Because, I thought…
I knew you

Yet, I am always left wondering
Because really…
Who are you?

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S38VwBbAaVmH-bXvOZoXKqI8VcCohaqH9N6-GnvOPgsOJ2PdVD0hyvQpPZMW2yvwTsD-fNMtbMpmxburBnYJzuC9mCahijmDofkoPZduY2XYKJ5DYVARTAJ2huWVVyERzB10gsqp

Author: Santise “San Man” Robinson | Edited by Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

I recently applied for a pardon. But, I wasn’t afforded an opportunity to speak to the decision makers. Let me share with you what I wanted to convey:

A Human Rights Watch report states that advances in neuroscience have found that adolescents and young adults continue to develop in ways particularly relevant to assessing criminal behavior and an individual’s ability to be rehabilitated. These findings show that young offenders are particularly amenable to change and Rehabilitation.

I am not trying to deny the wrongs that I have done, nor the crimes which I have committed, neither am I seeking to try and justify them in any shape or form.

My childhood was what it was.

Sure when I committed my crimes I was an angry, hurt, self destructive young male with no realistic idea that I could have a better life. Therefore, I owned with absolute certainty, the ignorant mindset; ‘nothing would ever change!’

The belief system construed at such a young age made me feel: I had no chance whatsoever for a better life.

However after years of inner reflection and finally finding answers to my troubled childhood questions – which forced me to pause and to for once understand, that I did not have to be what my circumstances dictated – the realization came that I could actually change my own conditions.

It wasn’t easy coming to this awareness. It has taken well over 20 years of self learning in this environment for me to be able to conceive that I could break the family cycle and stand as my own man.

All that I want is a chance, the opportunity to exhibit to the world the man that I have become.

I want to be … more than some negative statistic; I want to be … much more than a prisoner who dies behind walls.

I want the opportunity to stand and walk as a man. To do enough good with the rest of my life that others will know that I have changed and grown. And I am no longer that lost, angry, and deluded ‘man child’.

I have become a man with a heart, soul, and mind who really does care and has the acuity to be a tremendous asset to my community and to benefit society as a whole.

In here where wanting is never having; day and night are basically the same, only the sun and stars mark the difference. I find myself dreaming, hoping in the face of despair and desiring what is most unlikely. Simply because I now know that I am better than my situation is and I can rise above my circumstance. I am now a responsible human being, I have no excuses.

* * * * *

‘Pardon Denied – Apply at a Later Date.’

With that simple phrase above, I was recently denied my Petition for a Pardon. Yet, with the comprehension and wisdom of my own positive change, I, fortunately, learnt the power of being optimistic as well. Yes, the answer was a ‘No’ this time, but I am hopeful for a better future.

The fight does not stop!

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S38VwBbAaVmH-bXvOZoXKqI8VcCohaqH9N6-GnvOPgsOJ2PdVD0hyvQpPZMW2yvwTsD-fNMtbMpmxburBnYJzuC9mCahijmDofkoPZduY2XYKJ5DYVARTAJ2huWVVyERzB10gsqp

I Rise Still

July 15, 2020 | Prison | Incarceration | Inmates | No Comments

Author: Kory “Hussain” McClary | Edited by Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

Even after all of the transgression and oppression
Against people of my complexion
Standing tall with a pen as my weapon
I’m going down writing!!!
I will not be silenced – By this system of recondite violence

I Rise Still

Through this concrete and steel, I will assure that my word is
Throughout this world
My pen will write, until I am free, or
without life!!!
Standing here resilient and austere

I Rise Still

Through the cracks and crevices
of this ‘penal’ development
I will not be appeased, until I am
standing free – reunited with my

I Rise Still

After years and years of disquieting
rejection, inimical reflection
of my case, by a Court
with a racist support beam
I will never give up my dream
to be standing shoulder to shoulder with the
leaders of the culture

I Still Rise

My scent spreads through the prison vents
It emanates on the other side of the gate
And spreads far and wide
emitting my fragrance

I Rise Still

Through this concrete maze, this living
I’m traveling past lost souls
Physically they’re here, but their minds
are gone!
I constantly remind myself that
this is just a Sojourn
Eventually I will be home

I Rise Still

And still I rise, I’m on an
ink pen high, chasing my life,
And still I write…
That the stenographer, the judge,
the State, the lawyer, and the jury,
were all White!
And with this black ink, I speak
the truth
Like so many, I was captured as
a youth
And still I rise like Mya Angelou’s…

I Rise Still

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S38VwBbAaVmH-bXvOZoXKqI8VcCohaqH9N6-GnvOPgsOJ2PdVD0hyvQpPZMW2yvwTsD-fNMtbMpmxburBnYJzuC9mCahijmDofkoPZduY2XYKJ5DYVARTAJ2huWVVyERzB10gsqp

(Unedited version, the Edited piece is on medium)

Author: Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

Prison is a cynical place in general. I guess over time, being crushed, chewed, and mauled by the system that professes to be the best Judicial System in the world, the inhabitants of a place like this’keep’ grow as sardonic. I remember coming to New Jersey State Prison with lot of baggage, a chip on the shoulder so to speak. Loosing trial with the most circumstantial of evidence was still a shock to my system. To tell you the truth, in my naveté, I really chalked it up as an anomaly. I STILL believed in the system.

Yet, I remember so many of the older prisoners in here who after hearing my summarized version of events, would often display a particular sad smile. They would then nod knowingly and pat my back and walk away, leaving me slightly confused and annoyed.

“What the hell was that all about,” I would often mutter under breath.

Then, over the years, Time taught me the reality of the system.

But, not everything, I am still naive it seems. I thought I knew it all by now. I thought that I had the comprehension. I thought I understood the subtleties, the racism, the bigotry, the failures, and injustices of the failed System of Justice.

But, even now, today, I learnt that I don’t know anything.

Georg Floyd’s MURDER changed everything. I sat there with emotions that I can’t convey with words. Because watching that man getting killed invoked passions of vengeance, which any ethnic Pakistani, Afghan, or a man from the Middle-East would feel.

However, the realization came quickly this time, with a bit of shame and a lot of regret. As a Pakistani American, I had figured that I understood racism. Especially post 9-11; I faced my share of issues with bigotry and discrimination. I felt shame and regret because over the years I have had multiple conversations, debates, and arguments over races issues with many of my African American Muslim brothers, some of whom are in their late 70s. I always thought that I could present a cogent argument or could state a point of view, and more than often they would just stop arguing with me and give me that knowing nod and pat my back and walk away. Leaving me slightly annoyed and confused.

You see, watching that Police Officer, Chauvin, pin his knee deeper into George Floyd’s neck with his hands in his pockets, opened my eyes to the fact that I didn’t have the slightest of clue about discrimination, prejudice, and real racism.

So, as a grown and perhaps wiser man, I could only do the most honest of things as a person who is not Black, and that was to shut up, listen and to hear from those of my brothers who actually know what they are talking about.

After listening to a cacophony of voices from outside and inside I also realized that there is no real opportunity or forum for prisoners in here to add their voices. So, I came up with an idea.

I simply posed a question, “What were your feelings when you saw George Floyd getting murdered? Please share your views…”

What transpired next left me sitting stunned and speechless at 2:30am at night among a pile of submissions with a heavy heart and eyes filled with tears. You see, I had a complete different plan to tackle and address this subject, but, once again, it became abundantly clear that I just needed to be quiet:

ANTHONY PEOPLES: # 303892 / 137935-B

Title: ‘Please… I can’t breathe! Don’t kill me.”

I paused and held my breath as I watched the murder of Mr. George Floyd on my 13 inch television screen. I gasped in shock as former police officer Derek Chuavin in broad daylight, with all his body weight pressed his knee for 8 minutes and 46 seconds on the neck of this already subdued young black man!

I cringed as Derek Chauvin, with his hands inserted into his pockets and a sinister look upon his face looked uncaringly into the direction of the crowd while Mr. Floyd sadly and desperately called out for his mother!

I later found out that Mr. Floyd’s mother was deceased. His mother was gone, and yet he still called out for her with his last breaths.


I witnessed a man get murdered by a police officer! My heart engulfed with so much sorrow for Mr. Floyd as I watched his life get snuffed out so unjustly! Anxiety began to set in and my heart quickened its pace! And for a few moments I found it difficult to breathe. I had to calm myself.

The same script continues to play out, just with different people. The same situations. The same outcomes. Many of these police officers who have taken an oath to “Protect and Serve” are using their authority to act out their true character and what they actually stand for. Always attempting to disguise and conceal their prejudices.

And, what of the many others who have been murdered unjustly? Some were recorded, some not. Why does it continue to be this pattern of murdering us black men and women, and other people of color by corrupt racist police?

What about all the people of color that have been and continue to be placed in these warehouses called prisons unjustly to serve outrageous sentences? Sentences that destroy families.

This is also another form of murder. Another form of having a knee pressed onto our necks! Another form of carrying out prejudices. Another form of destroying a race!


Title: “We Will Breathe Again”

What were my feelings when I saw George Floyd getting murdered?

Hopelessness! The meaning of a lynching! The 400 years of lynching of my ancestors! Great, great, great, great, grandparents, my parents, myself, and my 13 years old son.

The lynching of my Nationality! I felt the realization of the generations that are still struggling to breathe today.

I can’t breathe!

I felt the tears from the whole of my soul to my eyelids, but there were no tears to come out. I wonder if I’m a ‘Georg Floyd’, or his son.

For the first time in my life I felt and learned the exact meaning of “Systemic Racism”, a plague that affects my whole body. The whole African Nationality.

I felt breathless, when my son asked if I saw what had happened, and why?


I am unable to answer something that I wasn’t provided an answer for, an answer which my parents or their patents couldn’t provide.

I also felt the White man’s word “Nigger”! I felt the millions of footsteps behind. I felt the pain, depression, desperation, struggle, unrest, discrimination, inequality, denied loans, denied jobs, denied education; I also felt the silent voices of those whom yelled and pleaded, crying and fighting, and untold emotions, all mixed with mine.

I felt that and more, all due to a system that was designed against us. I FEEL the enslavement of “Blacks Only” of the Criminal Justice System. I FEEL being 3/5th of a human under the United States Constitution.

I felt the knee that was on the necks of my people and is still on our necks.

Still, I felt for help.

Then I felt hope. I heard the voices, saw my people around, and felt the strength of 401 years of still NOT broken. I could hear my son’s footsteps in the crowd of protest.


Instead of people yelling and screaming they were roaring along. Not being heard but felt. Not only waking America, but the whole world. The meaning of hope, and holding on, pushing through.

I am proud to be Black! I felt us! I am power of black.

I felt, our black lives matter. Our black lives do matter.

I felt us! And we will breathe again!



Title: “Fascinated”

I’m fascinated with law enforcement and the culture of military application. Both arenas filled with noble minded persons. So, I have no qualms with an officer and soldier who has been trained to go beyond what is necessary; I have a problem with the system that has trained them… not the people per se. The system needs to be overhauled – completely.

Think of the system as a computer. It won’t boot up because a floppy disk has been left in the drive. Once we discover the problem, we need to remove the disk. Then the computer will work again, but lingering problems are still affecting the computer. Now we have to Control, Alternate, Delete: Control are agendas; Alternate our course of action; and Delete the effects that have plagued the nation with inequality.



When I saw the video of George Floyd being murdered my feelings were:

“Damn, they did the same thing to me!”

The stenographer put her knee in my neck when she doctored the transcripts on me

for her husband

This cell is smothering me…

I’ve been screaming: “I Can’t Breathe!”

Since it’s a white knee in my neck

They can’t hear me…

Her White word against my Black word

The Appellate Court said, Nigga you got

some nerve!

Appeal Denied!!!

They all Eric Garner’d, George Floyd’d me…

“I Can’t Breathe!”



“If it wasn’t on camera, no officer would have been charged!”



In short, I felt sad first, then very hurt. To see a man trying to get air, while calling out for his mother and just die was beyond all understanding.

And not to go into a very long statement about it, but it’s part of the reason many of us are in prison all over the country. Police lie, plant evidence, the Courts uphold unlawful convictions and we die in places like this.

But this is nothing new to me; I’ve seen this all my life. My question to you is what are (you) going to about unlawful mass incarceration???

This system is broken and no one cares. It’s all about the dollars. We’re products to you people for just having a job… That’s why you treat us the way you do. I’m a victim; you just haven’t killed me yet!!!


J. BIDDLE: #616776

Unfortunately, this sad tragedy will continue to happen until a major change come about and those officers that are responsible for the Unjustified Beatings and of Murder of others are immediately held Accountable for their gratuitous actions.

But for the peaceful protest, the violent riots, and then looting, the 4 officers would never be arrested and charged with the murder of George Floyd.

Personally, I really don’t think that things will change, unless serious changes are made within the laws. Specifically, Law Enforcement officials have one set of laws for themselves, and another set of laws for everyone else.

In the Rodney King’s violent beating situation, those officers were found ‘not guilty’. In 2014, Michael Brown was murdered by officers. Here we are in 2020, some 6 years later and same old tragedy continues nationwide.

Changes will only come about, only when changes in the one sided laws are made.


A. FRANCIS: #634098 / 307375-C

When I saw the video I was angry.

My next thought was why they always need an INVESTIGATION when they have that kind of footage.

RAJHN KALIM: #420404

As a 62 year old African American Muslim, when I saw the murder of George Floyd as well as the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, back in February of this year, play out on Nationwide TV, it impacted my heart and spirit, and left me filled with anxiety, stress, and despair.

And had it not been for the video, in George Floyd’s case, he would have been labeled a common criminal who died while resisting arrest for passing a so-called $20 bill.

There was also no video in my case 19 years ago. If there was I would be free and home with my family. And not serving a life sentence for armed robbery and aggravated assault on a police officer.


IBN EL AMIN PASHA #535695 / 428449-B

I was NOT surprised when I saw George Floyd get lynched. Simply based on history, it was supposed to happen. I would suggest that you examine and research the U.S. Constitution.

Ask yourself, those who participated and wrote the Constitution, were any of them Black or African American? Research the significance of the year 1619, the Reconstruction Era, the Jim Crow Era, Civil Rights and the Black Power Movements, and see how they relate to African Americans and Black people. Research Segregation, Gentrification, Redlining, Redistricting, Busing, Poor Housing, Racism, Poor Healthcare, Poor School System, Poor Politicians, Poverty, Drugs, Crime, Homelessness, Mass Incarceration, and ‘Police’ that don’t live in the Community that police the Community, and that are of opposite race.

Once you are able to thoroughly research, examine and be sincere about your resolve, ONLY then you will be able to understand why, what happened to Mr. George Floyd was SUPPOSED to happen.


* * * * *

The above were just a few select CAPTIVE-VOICES from behind these walls. But, of course, there are other voices as well. Such as the ones who walk around wearing Blue with shinny Badges. So, in the interest of being “objective”, I reached out to a few officers for comments as well. That went as follows:


I stay out of politics man … Yeah, it wasn’t good. Did you know they burnt down Downtown Trenton? I hope he [Officer Chauvin] gets the most time they can possibly give him. If I was there I would have stopped him. I probably would’ve punched him or tackled him off that guy.

Yeah, outside some people curse me out when they see me in uniform. But, I don’t give a S**t. I say F**k you to them.

I call it politics because, you know, what happened to the whole thing about the F***ing virus. They all forgot about that on CNN, Fox and what’s that other channel, and this thing is all over the place now and people are burning and looting. Like I said, I think it’s all politics man and I stay away form that.

What I think about Racism? Man, it’s like someone getting drunk. Whoever gets drunk we punish that person but, I don’t know, I think they are just using it as a political thing. I don’t feel that way towards people. You know how I am, you treat me good and respect me and I will treat you with respect as well.

Like I said, I feel bad about what happened to that guy and I wouldn’t let it happen.



I think it was crazy. I wear this uniform but under it I am a Black man. You understand. I went to the protest yesterday with my kids. I am not for any of that stuff.

No, I didn’t feel… No one [outside] is saying anything [bad] to me. As I said, I’m a Black man.

What? No, I don’t talk to a lot of my [fellow White] officers about this, because … I know what they are about and what they put-out on social media and I see it. I don’t talk to them about it because then I will hate them.

Yeah, I separate it. Because I work here and I just don’t talk to them about it.


OFFICER “X” – ANONYMOUS (Black Female)

My heart hurt. I don’t talk about it to anyone other than my own people…. I don’t trust anyone and I would not stand for it.

How I feel as a Black cop? … I got kids. But, I ain’t allowing them to do anything like that when I’m around. Like I said, I got kids.

Subsequently, I also had a chance to speak to my family and friends about Racism over the phone. I started this piece by stating that I was stunned, to tell you the truth, I must admit that I am more stupefied at the end.

Talking to non-Black people, including some close friends, I am dejected in admitting that we have a lot more to learn. Not just about the issues of Systemic Racism, but also about our own baser instincts.

Also where we are protesting on the streets for equality everywhere, we need to be honest with ourselves. Not just in America, but all over the world. I know it is politically savvy to criticize select countries on some make believe axis. But, if we are after the truth then we must address all of our evils, not just the selected few.

Yes, we should criticize the heavy handedness of Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China; we can surely speak about the marginalization and suppression of minorities in Burma, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Middle-East, and Sub-Saharan Africa. But, then we must also address the brutal and torturous campaign of Indian Forces against Kashmir, and the indigenous Nexalites; Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians, and Russia’s operation in Dagestan, and Chechnya. We must also address the Australians about the Aboriginal Saga, the Netherlands and Greek authorities’ mistreatment of migrants etc.

Otherwise, we are just going to be lying to ourselves.

I also feel sorry for being unable to amplify every voice. You see, I have many more loose papers fluttering about, with each screaming its own truth. Yet, I am unable to fit all of those CAPTIVE-VOICES in here.

Lastly, I want to share something that I learnt about our Black brothers and sisters. They are an extremely forgiving folk! A people whom are getting killed on every street corner it seems, because someone feels scared, or gets offended, by the mere color of their skin. In truth, they are the ones who should be scared of everyone, since they are the ones whom are being blatantly hunted.

I am perplexed with this dilemma.

But, even with that much evil, I am not surprised by their collective grace in return and their reliance on love over violence. Because, the people of, and from, Africa are some of the ancient inhabitants in this world; they are, perhaps, the sages among humanity.

Our Black brothers and sisters have preached a gospel of love. In face of tyranny, injustice, inequality, and racism, they have consistently spoken a language of peace, harmony, and love! Like Mathematics, love is also a universal language. I think it’s high-time that we all reciprocate.

So, to all my Black brothers and sisters, Assalaamu Alaikum, Peace be upon you!

Black lives matter, yes, Black lives do matter!!!


Every time I was disciplined by life, it showed me the weakness

of my intellect

And every time I increased in knowledge, it increased me

in knowledge of my ignorance!

(A quote from Islamic Tradition)

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S38VwBbAaVmH-bXvOZoXKqI8VcCohaqH9N6-GnvOPgsOJ2PdVD0hyvQpPZMW2yvwTsD-fNMtbMpmxburBnYJzuC9mCahijmDofkoPZduY2XYKJ5DYVARTAJ2huWVVyERzB10gsqp

Police State

June 29, 2020 | Prison | Incarceration | Inmates | No Comments

Author: Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

United States of America has been in denial for a very long time. Regardless of its feigned ASCRIPTION to the ‘Land of the Free’, it is in reality a very, very racist and segregated society that uses its ‘heavy stick’ on its minorities to keep them in line. A ‘line’ that signifies the difference between Whites and the Privileged against the rest of the ‘Other’ Americans.

However, the bloated, and infected, underbelly of this Nation finally burst open and the stinking puss of Racism, Bigotry, and Police Brutality oozed out before the entire world to see and smell. And with the country literally burning, I say the act is up.

If you want more proof, look into the Judicial System and resultant overwhelming incarceration of blacks and other minorities as well. I’m sure that aspect of systematic Institutional Racism and Police Brutality will be more than enlightening.

The MURDER of George Floyd by a White police officer, Derek Chauvin, with the aid of his three cohorts, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, was committed in broad daylight in front of dozens of people. The indifference by the 3 fellow officers was a real and practical example of the ‘Blue Wall’ for everyone to witness. Yet, even now, politicians, law enforcement officials, and public figures are bending over backwards in NOT calling it for what it was, a Voluntary, Knowing, and Purposeful act of MURDER.

The problem lies within the ethos of this country’s infatuation with ‘Heroism’. United States thinks of itself as the savior and the sole force of good in this world. It believes that it can do no wrong. And whenever a wrong is committed then it must have been for the greater cause.

This National narcissism is reflected in the apparatus of our country’s military and law enforcement as well. But, of course, whenever that ‘hypocrisy’ is revealed, say in the brutalization of prisoners in Abu Gharaib Prison in Iraq,; Rape and torture of Afia Siddiqui in a black-site in Afghanistan; murders of innocent civilians in multiple war zones, or State side torture of Rodney King, Ahmadou Dialo, Abner Louima, and killings of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Laquan McDonald, Dontre Hamilton, Tamir Rice, and now George Floyd to name a few; the ‘ rogue’ element or a ‘bad apple’ theory is forwarded.

The truth is, and has been, and shall remain, that everyone in the world sees this sanctimonious ‘bull-crap’ for what it is, a never ending Anthology of Racism.

The ‘cop-out’ or feeble excuse of a few ‘bad apples’ is a disingenuous face-saving farce that is shoved down the proverbial throats of everyday Americans due to their self-imposed conundrum and hypocrisy of worshipping anything that is law enforcement. For example, Robert O’Brien, the National Security Advisor to President Trump, declared on National Media that it was a few ‘bad apples’ in Minnesota, and outright denied any “Systematic Racism”, and went as far to declare that “99.9%” are good police officers and “my heroes”.

An obvious inquiry would be to ask the basis of the cited statistic of 99.9%. But that would remain an enigma, because even in the face of the obvious staggering evidence, the majority of American society is indifferent to Police Brutality and behavior.

The use of disproportionate and overwhelming force is in the Zeitgeist of our country’s stratagem at large. Being locked up in an American maximum security prison, I know about police brutality quite personally. Unlike outside, there is never ever a recording. No witnesses, no watchers recording on phones or telling an officer to “get off” someone’s neck. But, ask any prisoner in this country,and they will tell you horrible details of their own experiences of abuse.

The most hurtful thing is that this is done in the name of you – The Public. And the public’s indifference makes it worse. Because without ever doing any investigation or proper oversight, Police Brutality is neglected and the police Personnel are AUTOMATICALLY labeled as Heroes.

Police Brutality is systematic. It has bee enhanced in recent years due to a few reasons. The most important being the militarization of law enforcement. This was done in two ways. First, police and law enforcement agencies has become a landing zone for ex military personnel. From armed forces to local law enforcement, it is basically an extended retirement plan and fringe benefits formula for former soldiers. Second, with unending wars and profiteering mega companies churning out massive amounts of military gear & equipment, a problem of excessive equipment developed. The military industrial complex and their political contracts could not be stopped, so the residual equipment was passed down to local law enforcement. That thick headedness resulted in, police & corrections officers looking the part of Navy Seals and other Special Forces commandos and, armored vehicles and war zone equipment on the American Street.

Moreover, the ex soldiers also brought the battle field tactics to the American law enforcement arena and perhaps that is more evident behind the thick walls of our prisons. I, and multitude of the over 2.5 million behind bars can validate that fact. Remember the old photos of black men during Civil Rights Movements being held by White police officers and being mauled by German Sheppard dogs. – Those photos are alive behind these prison walls. The use if dogs is a symbol of the old Nazi Era, something that needs to be paid attention to.

Additionally, the militarization has ushered in the so called “wanna be” ‘ Warriors’ mentality to the police officers. Specialized “Warrior Trainings” are being paid for by the police unions and are having a devastating effect. The heavy handedness that is now very visible on streets of this country are direct result of those specialized trainings and ‘brainwashing’ of law enforcement personnel who seem to view the adversaries, American Civilians, as enemy combatants.
Where the words and philosophy of our Police Departments were “to Protect, and Serve”, it is now morphed into Police becoming the “Weapons of the State”.

The brutal tactics don’t end on the streets. The same mentality is responsible for our Mass Incarceration issues, where police officers habitually lie on the stand, plant evidence, and do everything in their power to get innocent minorities convicted. Think about it, if the police officers have no qualms in choking & shooting someone in broad daylight, what reservations would they have in lying before a jury. Those convictions, like mine, result in life sentences, and a very, very, slow death.

To make changes to this official brutality, systematic root causes must be addressed. For example, George Floyd’s Murderer had 10 EXCESSIVE FORCE related charges. Why was he still on the job? That is the same case in prison, where guards routinely abuse their powers and are ‘written-up’ on numerous occasions by the prisoners yet no one pays attention. The oversight mechanism should look deeply in the documented abuse by the police officers and they should be removed and where appropriate, charged with crimes.

Also, the Judicial System needs a look as well. Why is there a preference for Prosecutors to get promoted to the bench? The working partnership between the judges, prosecutors, and police is a fundamental hindrance to equality of justice. It is a monumental task for an average person to fight such powerful adversaries. It is just not fair!

To alleviate that, more Defense Attorneys from the Public Defender’s Offices and organizations like the ACLU, SPDF, and EJI, should be appointed to the bench and Appellate Courts.

If you really want to understand the outrage behind police brutality, you might want to start by reading Jane Coaston, senior reporter at VOX.COM, and to Van Jones at CNN. That might be a good start towards understanding the actual pain of the protesters.

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S38VwBbAaVmH-bXvOZoXKqI8VcCohaqH9N6-GnvOPgsOJ2PdVD0hyvQpPZMW2yvwTsD-fNMtbMpmxburBnYJzuC9mCahijmDofkoPZduY2XYKJ5DYVARTAJ2huWVVyERzB10gsqp

Author: Kory “Hussain” McClary | Edited by Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

I didn’t know you can cry in ya’ sleep
Till I woke up with tears in my eyes
What the fuck is going on?
Real niggas don’t cry
Take this shit like a man…
Head up … Chest out…!
I’m a man!
But still, I woke with tears in my eyes
I thought that after all the bullshit
I’ve been through
I could no longer cry…
‘Muh’ died, ‘Ta’ died, I blew my trial
‘Pop Pop’ died, ‘Dez’ died, my appeal got denied
Then ‘K’ died, Mike died, ‘Stephen’ died
Damn Cuz!
I thought that I was tough
Especially after all that stuff
I held my head up, chest out
I ain’t pout
But, Somehow,
I woke up with tears in my eyes
What could I have been crying about…?
It don’t make sense…
All the bullshit, I dealt with
Held it in, showed no emotion
Now, my time getting longer…
This cell getting smaller…
Damn! This bit getting harder…
I guess that’s why when
I woke up with tears in my eyes
What was I dreaming about…?
Probably freedom
I just got denied again
And every time I close my eyes
I see the sky
Or me having kids and a wife
Some shit that may never happen in this life
No wonder why
When I woke up I had tears in my eyes
Maybe it was a nightmare…?
I keep having this recurring image
Of me spending life in this prison
One hundred thirty years was the sentence
Is that why?
When I woke up I had tears in my eyes
I don’t know…
I’m going through so much shit …
I don’t know
I’m trying to sleep through the pain
Because in here, there is nothing
That could mask the pain
I’m innocent!!!
But, the verdict, returned guilty!
Most likely, that’s the reason why
When I sleep I cry …

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S38VwBbAaVmH-bXvOZoXKqI8VcCohaqH9N6-GnvOPgsOJ2PdVD0hyvQpPZMW2yvwTsD-fNMtbMpmxburBnYJzuC9mCahijmDofkoPZduY2XYKJ5DYVARTAJ2huWVVyERzB10gsqp

Author: Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

“Personal Protective Equipment” (PPE), it’s a term I have come to know well while watching Governor Murphy, and Cuomo, on the TV screen almost everyday. In this time of chaos in our country, both of them seem to present a calming and mature handle at the helm. And with the travesty at the federal level, our local leadership is something to be proud of.

Yet, I was taken aback when Gov. Murphy stated that he had reached out to the Chinese Ambassador, Mr. Ping, in order to procure PPE from China. The thing that bothers me to no end is that leaving the ventilators issue aside, why is it so hard to produce simple PPE for the doctors, nurses and first responders? It seems a simple enough task.

Moreover, my family and friends also informed me that there are lots of folks online who are showing people to make their own masks, and other protective gear. So, why do our leaders have to go to China?

At the end, PPE consists of plastic, elastic, and a bit of sewing. So, I have to ask this much, what is the purpose of having the most sophisticated and advanced country in the world when we can’t even manage to manufacture something as basic.

Speaking about purpose, it got me thinking….

Way back in 2005, after a two and a half year arduous stint in the county jail, when I arrived in New Jersey State Prison (NJSP), life was very different. Besides its notorious reputation and other associated stories of horror, I found NJSP to be quite unpretentious. There were obvious lines that were drawn among this captive society and the prison life had its predictable ebbs and flow. This in turn, kept the cogs turning so to speak. What I am trying to convey, in non-prisoner layman’s terms, is that the wheel of life turned smoothly because it had a mundane but an extremely important purpose: Work!

I don’t know what it is about work and men? Perhaps it’s in our genes that provides an urge to be productive. In those days everyone’s life revolved around their “work detail”. There were food service guys, brothers who worked in the school and law library areas. Others worked the sanitation details. There were chaplaincy, and vocational school clerks. There was also a large “ice-room detail” in addition to laundry department workers etc.

More importantly, NJSP had a sewing shop, a knit shop, also electric, plumbing, welding, upholstery and other services available for prisoners to hone their crafts. There was a paint shop with artists of such caliber that would have made a Renaissance painter proud. They painted such elaborate life-like murals that NJSP became famous for it.

The work details provided a purpose, a focal point for the lifers and long term prisoners to find some sort of meaning in their complicated, yet humble lives. It provided, more than anything, a compromise for a human being to, well, being human. Being useful and of substance, providing a trace of pride.

I remember this older brother. He would often come to the mess-hall, located in the older part of NJSP, the West Compound, and look for me. I am not going to use his name. I don’t know if I have the right to do so. You see, he has been gone for a while now, finally resting in his final abode. All I will share is that he was an older Muslim brother from the South. He had a southern charm and this smile that would put all your worries away, a sincerity that is missing in this world, the genuine type. He worked in the shops area and would bring me boot laces, knit hats, new socks etc. It don’t know how many pairs of socks or laces he brought, but I couldn’t say no to him. And it wasn’t just me; he did that for every person in the prison. Not just us Muslims, he was equally gracious to all.

He would say, “Tariq, man have you seen them lil kids on TV? They be shivering in that cold, and walking bare feet in that desert there! I wish I could send some boots, socks, and hats to them babies, man”.

“There are a lot of kids who need that stuff brother, you are going to be a busy cat if you go on that route,” I would answer playfully, knowing well that he would do that and more if he only had a chance.

“Can’t give up on them babies Tariq, they need help. We gots to help’um when it’s needed. Otherwise, we ain’t no better. We gonna go see the All Mighty one day, I don’t know about everyone else, I need ALL the help I can get for the Day of Judgment. Gots to stack them good deeds brother.” He would then flash that smile, leaving me speechless. It seemed his whole goal was to help and be of service to others. It was who he was, not what he was here for.

Then like all good things, the work details were eliminated. The New Jersey Department of Corrections, NJDOC, finally realized that there was no more need to pretend. The public didn’t care and with the type of sentencing scheme the State of New Jersey was following, well, it didn’t require adherence to the “Corrections” farce. With mandatory minimum sentences, no one was given any work or ‘good time’ credits towards their sentences. Basically, no one was going anywhere, at least not in this lifetime. So, all shops and technical job details were removed and the prison authorities, in quite an unabashed fashion, embraced and promulgated the notion that they were actually in the business of “warehousing” human beings rather than the nonsensical and unprofitable idea of rehabilitation. And just like that, over a thousand men in NJSP became idle.

When a man’s’light’ goes off there is an actual physical affect that becomes apparent. In case of that older Muslim brother, he immediately seemed to sour. More often, I would be holding him back from arguing with someone in the mess-hall where he once brightened the entire area with his smile.

“I don’t know what’s wrong with me Tariq,” he once said after I forced him to sit down and glared the other person he was arguing with. “I ain’t got no job, what am I supposed to do now? Can’t just sit in my cell stare at them walls brother,” he mumbled as if he was daydreaming, looking somewhere beyond. In response, I gave him my readymade reply about being patient. And he just showed me a sad hint of his famous smile.

You guys know that saying, “Get busy living, and get busy dying””, from that movie “Shawshank Redemption”… right? Now, I don’t know if you all know what a man looks like when he starts to dissolve.

I do.

I saw my kind old friend crumble in short episodes….

Today, sitting here in my cell watching Gov. Murphy talk about obtaining PPE from China, I thought of my friend. And I thought of all of my other friends sitting idle in small cramped spaces, staring at the walls worrying about their families outside, wishing they could do something to help.

I wanted to scream and tell our Governor that we can do that work and we are willing to grind. Be part of that fight, a fight which we all supposedly are in together.

I would like to tell our Governor, Murphy, that there are men here who can work the sewing and knitting shops to produce protective gear. PPE, it’s just plastic, elastic, and maybe rubber. Not something that can be labeled as a security issue.

There are men here that would volunteer and work hard, and would do everything in their power to earn some chance at redemption, a chance to be part of the whole, a society, a state, a people.

If only given an opportunity, they would work to find solace, meaning, and yes, even purpose.

Give us a chance Governor Murphy, I promise you that we will not let you down!

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is S38VwBbAaVmH-bXvOZoXKqI8VcCohaqH9N6-GnvOPgsOJ2PdVD0hyvQpPZMW2yvwTsD-fNMtbMpmxburBnYJzuC9mCahijmDofkoPZduY2XYKJ5DYVARTAJ2huWVVyERzB10gsqp

Remember The Time

June 17, 2020 | Prison | Incarceration | Inmates | No Comments

Author: Robinson “San-man” Santise
Incarcerated writer SBI: #TMP/1000271 PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625

Remember when we first met?
Remember when I first laid eyes
upon you and I smiled?
Remember when my thoughts of you
inspired creativity?
Remember when there was nothing
capable of separating us?
Remember when We meant Us, not
just United as States but
recognizing and understanding our
united fate?
Learning and getting to
know one another
So beautiful, so strong…
I don’t remember the Time
The lack of oxygen to my brain
is suffocating my condition
a Black man;
Unemployed – Economically ill
Heart disease, diabetes – Physically I’ll
Under educated, imprisonment – Spiritually ill
There are
all types of viruses constantly
attacking this Hued Man’s condition
of being afraid of being
of carrying the burden of
someone else’s inadequacies
of struggling for each and every
breath of my existence
This is the Time of remembering, so that
we may never forget that we have the
capacity to amplify the strength and
beauty of human condition by
being the shared experience of life

And I would like to thank the agents of
oppression for taking your boot off of our
necks and replacing it with your knee
for a more violent death
Because within
the violent throes of death, the United
movement of life is born
So please
Remember the Time…
when humanity inhaled its collective breath
We ain’t asking no more!

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc

Author: Tariq MaQbool
Incarcerated writer, fighting to prove my innocence. You can reach me at Tariq MaQbool #532722/830758C PO Box 861 Trenton NJ 08625 or via

Merry making is a common human trait. Regardless of culture, creed, religion or ethnicity, we all have our own celebrations.

Eid in prison is like building a sandcastle with the tide approaching. Even when you are having fun building it, you know the impending doom. The reality of disappointment washes over as fast as the waves level the sandcastle on the beach.

Usually on Eid days, as soon as the doors are open at 6:30 am morning count, Muslim prisoners rush to take their ritual showers and get ready for Eid Prayers in the big visiting hall. After that we get to enjoy a few refreshments, courtesy of the NJDOC. The affair is a simple one, some cake, donuts, coffee, milk, and juice. For an hour or so, we get to play and make believe that this is normal somehow. It is not. After that, we are unceremoniously kicked out of the hall to return to our housing units.

Once on the unit, we do try our level best for some sort of normalcy. For example, brothers on the unit get together to make a meal for everyone, this comradeship is something that kindles the semblance of family, and for that much I am truly grateful.

However, for me the actual festivities start when I get the phone on my allotted time. That is when I get to call home and talk to my family and loved ones, and for the duration of that invisible telecom link I am in heaven. Usually, I will call home and speak to different members of my family who gather at my aunt’s house. Hearing their voices and knowing that they all got together helps me, for a briefest of moments, to enjoy the Eid vicariously. For that too, I am truly grateful.

After the customary call, I usually sit next to my slit of a window and look outside feeling rather blue. I reminisce about the good old days of freedom when I was home. It was a time that now is a very, very distant memory. Actually, now it’s more of a yearning then memory, a longing, a hope in this dark place. Disregarding the futility of my situation, I would then remind myself and find comfort in an old Urdu proverb: “The world rests on hope!”

Alas, COVID-19 restrictions placed all of the usual out of the window so to speak. This year there are no gatherings in the big halls for Congregational prayers and we had to pray alone in our cells. But, we did try to stay with the normal routine of showers in the morning and meal preparation among ourselves on our units.

Anyways, coming back to my main subject of Eid Holiday Blues, over the years, there has been a gradual shift in my accustomed ‘tradition’ of calling and talking to everyone on Eid. I started to notice some changes in the people. I noticed it today as well.

When time passes and something changes in relationships there is an awkwardness that hangs heavy. I guess time is like gravity in a sense that it places an invisible pressure on all things and the result is different for everyone and everything. Time heals; it makes you forget, it makes you indifferent, and makes you a multitude of things. Some good, some bad, some ugly, and that too perhaps depend upon the person, place, or thing. So, overtime, as with all things, people and their attitudes change as well.

In the beginning of this journey I had family and friends present for some support. Over the years some would fall off the ‘contact-list’ and would then come back. Yet, it was the Eid Day calls where we would get in touch and rekindle our ties of kinship.

Later on, it was work or this engagement or that meeting that kept some missing on those Eid calls. I chalked it up to the busy highway of life with all its exits and off ramps, firmly holding on to the hope that sooner or later we will find our way back home. But, in reality, there was more than I had unfortunately inferred. You see ‘wishful-thinking’ cannot marinate in the pot of reality.

The CoronaVirus pandemic has been teaching a lot of lessons all around. It taught me one on this day as well. COVID-19 restrictions sort of made almost everyone available. So, the regular excuse about you just missing him or they left already or she is at work didn’t really materialize. And speaking to my extended family, I realized that some spoke to me not with ‘want’ but with more of ‘charity’ in my mind. Others did so to appease someone who actually did care, and some avoided speaking at all. I almost felt as if I was a stranger among my own. But, then again, as I said about ‘wishful-thinking’, I have known this reality for a long time.

A friend once asked me how it felt to be locked up for such a long time. I told her that it is like being frozen in time. I was locked up at the age of 25, and for me the time stopped. All of my points of reference for the life outside ceased at that very moment. Every perspective I had was defined by the perception of that 25 years old Tariq. I only knew life, family, and people, from that angle. To me, nothing ever changed.

But, of course, everything has changed; time doesn’t stop for anything. I feel like a twig that was floating on a river, and I got too close to the riverbank when the winter came in perpetuity. A 150 year sentence winter, a never-ending, everlasting, amaranthine of a slow death. Yet, the reel of my life didn’t stop, and my family and loved ones are flowing by in the center of the river-run. I can see everything but being frozen I can’t say anything. I am not part of that free flowing life. Over time I have seen many changes in my family. At times I am screaming but no one pays mind to a frozen-in-time twig. It feels cold, and blue.

It is hurtful as it highlights my loneliness and a sense of being abandoned. Being invisible and irrelevant is not easy to swallow. It is beyond humbling to realize that I am not who I used to be. I am a shadow, an abstract thought, a concept of a bygone era, a very, very distant memory.

A close family member once told me, in a not so subtle manner, “We have to prioritize in life!” – I got the message then. But, with COVID-19 pandemic, as a prisoner, I find myself dropping steeply on the ‘priority list’ of both family and society.

Yet, even in the midst of the cold winter it seems, hope in God’s Mercy prevails like sunshine for me. Like all storms, hurt, sadness, and heartbreak, this feeling shall pass too. I am blessed; my parents gave me the best gift in life, a brother, a friend, a mate for life. I top his ‘priority list’. For me, his closeness above all shall suffice. His love and loyalty are also never-ending, everlasting, and amaranthine. And on this holy day, thinking of him, his wife and two beautiful children, with a smile on my face, I am feeling a lighter shade of Eid Holiday Blues.

All content on this website is protected and copyright of MaQbool Inc