He left prison and came home to his family. But after what happened, he'll never see his kids again.

Let me preface this by saying this is the most heartwrenching 5 minutes I've watched in a long time. So keep your hanky at the ready. But if you can't watch the video right now, scroll down for a quick summary.

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Remember when prisons were run by, y'know, the government?

It's weird to say, but as prisons go, those are starting to feel like the good ol' days.


To set the stage, private prisons didn't even exist in the United States as recently as 1980. Today, there are well over 100. And between 1990 and 2010, the number of inmates in private prisons grew by about 1,600% despite an overall reduction in crime as the corporations behind those prisons lobbied and bribed their way to stricter laws and harsher sentences.

With profit (not corrections) as the ultimate goal, corporate prisons cut corners to a devastating effect.

Take it from Matthew Naidow. He's a shift captain at East Mississippi Correctional Facility, which is run as a for-profit prison:

Naidow says some pretty f%ked up stuff is happening behind those prison walls:

"Prisoners will scream for help and pound on doors, but guards are often nowhere to be found during emergencies. ... Not only are staff absent, reports Captain Naidow, but they are corrupt, 'working with gangs, extorti[ng people], [and] bringing in contraband.'"

Christopher Lindsey, a former EMCF inmate, went blind as a result of neglect at the prison.

"They know you got glaucoma and your pressure is running in the 30s, and they just walk on past you and just keeping living their day and don't even care. At that time they didn't have have no ... eye equipment or nothing."


Lindsey describes his experience as "hell with no fire."

Another former EMCF prisoner, Kenji Hobbes, was sent there after getting caught with weed.

Just to say it, that's ridiculous for a lot of reasons, but that's a whole 'nother story. Hobbes' real punishment wasn't the year he spent behind bars. It was the forcible hollowing out of his mind and spirit.


Cynthia Hobbes discusses the psychological damage her son endured in prison.

What happened to Hobbes remains a mystery. Thus far, no one has come forward to say what caused his condition.

I get that it's not easy for everyone to empathize with these men and the thousands of others who are neglected and abused in the U.S. prison system. But a truly "civilized" society is one that demands decency for everyone, regardless of their mistakes.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 11.21.16


Photographer Katie Joy Crawford had been battling anxiety for 10 years when she decided to face it straight on by turning the camera lens on herself.

In 2015, Upworthy shared Crawford's self-portraits and our readers responded with tons of empathy. One person said, "What a wonderful way to express what words cannot." Another reader added, "I think she hit the nail right on the head. It's like a constant battle with yourself. I often feel my emotions battling each other."

So we wanted to go back and talk to the photographer directly about this soul-baring project.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."