Ben, a struggling teacher desperately trying to get his life back together, is offered a position at Riker's Island Prison by on old friend. Although haunted by his past, he takes the teaching post and is confronted with students whose outlook on life is as bleak as their future prospects. Unable to get through to them, both his job and the teaching faculty within the prison are on the line. But finding that some of his students are responding to poetry through rap lyrics, he begins to make steady progress. However one of his students shows real potential and an unlikely friendship grows, as both teacher and pupil embark on a journey of hope and ultimately redemption.