Joel Castón

Becoming a Citizen


Washington DC

Although I was released on November 22, 2021, my first dose of true freedom occurred the day I was able to vote two years ago. Having been incarcerated since I was a teen, I dreamed about the day where my citizenship would really materialize. 2020 was the first year where incarcerated people like myself could vote in Washington D.C. So when the opportunity for me to vote presented itself—at age 45 after 26 years incarcerated—that's when I felt I became a citizen. It was a reality. When I cast my vote, I was no longer on the democratic sidelines. I had a seat at the table. I now have an opportunity to advocate for myself, and for me, that's true justice.

Photograph by Taisuke Yamada
Photograph by Taisuke Yamada


Orange Barrel Media

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