Malik Sheppard spent a total of 15 years in prison on an armed robbery charge, nine of them in solitary confinement. The experience turned him into a spoken word poet.
"Why do most ghetto dreams die stillborn?
Could it be the vision is blocked by the immense mental barriers of project walls?
In which reality seldom inspires
Leaving kids' hope forlorn"
This piece was produced by NYC in Focus reporters Monica Alba and Sarah Alvi as part of a semester at Columbia Journalism School covering the public housing beat in New York City.