A powerful debut memoir from a published poet and emerging writer.

At the age of sixteen, R. Dwayne Betts-a good student from a lower-middle-class family-carjacked a man with a friend. He had never held a gun before, but within a matter of minutes he had committed six felonies. In Virginia, carjacking is a "certifiable" offense, meaning that Dwayne would be treated as an adult under state law. A bright young kid, weighing only 126 pounds-not enough to fill out a medium T-shirt-he served his eight-year sentence as part of the adult population in some of the worst prisons in the state.

A Question of Freedomis a coming-of-age story, with the unique twist that it takes place in prison. Utterly alone-and with the growing realization that he really is not going home any time soon-Dwayne confronts profound questions about violence, freedom, crime, race, and the justice system. Above all, A Question of Freedomis about a quest for identity-one that guarantees Dwayne's survival in a hostile environment and that incorporates an understanding of how his own past led to the moment of his crime.