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10 Prison Inmates Share Advice To Their Younger Selves In This Striking Series

10 Prison Inmates Share Advice To Their Younger Selves In This Striking Series image

10 Prison Inmates Share Advice To Their Younger Selves In This Striking Series

In this series by photographer Trent Bell, inmates in the Maine prison system are asked to write a letter to their younger selves. The letters are then paired with their portraits for a striking reminder that all of us are just a few bad decisions away from a total loss of freedom.

Bell, a commercial photographer by trade, began this self-initiated project after finding out that his friend had been sentenced to 36 years in prison. The news came as a total shock. His buddy was an educated professional, husband, and father of four. Yet due to a series of bad decisions, everything changed.

During the months following his friend's sentence, Bell felt haunted by the reality of how easily one's life can take a terrible turn. Rather than dwell on the dark possibilities, he began collecting stories and portraits of inmates.

“Our bad choices can contain untold loss, remorse, and regret,” Bell writes on his website, “but the positive value of these bad choices might be immeasurable if we can face them, admit to them, learn from them and find the strength to share.”

Find more of Bell's work here.


“Just know that people will always try and test you, and no matter what you think, only a real man can walk away.”


“If you think something might be a bad idea, believe it! Don’t do it.”


“Never lose the person you really are because it may be too late by the time you find yourself again.”


“You must be willing to forgive those that ask or deserve for forgiveness in order to be forgiven yourself.”


“I have spent most of my life behind bars and you are worth much more than that.”


“Life is far from over, Jamie. The mistakes we made in the past are the mistakes we will learn from.”


“We let drinking and drugs shatter our dreams and our potential future.”


“Be quick to smile, slow to anger, and treat all people with respect they deserve. That is how you will avoid becoming me.”


“Every decision you make affects everyone around you, most importantly your own future.”


“I believe in you, so many people do, you just have to believe in yourself.”


Via The Awesome Daily

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