I’m writing once again to share a few observations. The medical system has somewhat improved, but there are still significant problems. The food has been cut back a great deal. We are not getting the recommended 2,000 calorie diet. There are not any positive programs or art programs. People are locked in cells 23 hours a day. There are so many people who require psychological services it’s crazy. Their solution is to medicate with “chemical restraint” and place you in a cell to suffer even more. In fact, if one has systematically and diabolically tried to create mental illness, one could probably have constructed no better system than the California Department of “corruptions” and “rehabilitation.”
It’s my observation as a person of color that we Black men born in America and blessed enough to live past the age of twenty-one are psychologically conditioned to accept the inevitability of being sent to a “corrections” facility. For most of us, it simply looms as the next phase in a sequence of profound humiliations. I’m not a psychologist or criminologist, but it seems pretty clear to me that the real roots of crime in America are associated with a constellation of suffering so hideous that, as a society, it cannot bear to look it in the face. So it hands its casualties of war over to a system that will keep us from it’s sight!
It’s taken this experience to see that “crime,” in most instances, is the product of desperation- despair born of poverty, community decay, and the sense that the future is merely a continuation of the past, and certainly no ground for hope.
In fact, it is a bitter irony that the high cost of prisons (10 billion just in California) cute into the health, education, and social services needed by the very people who, lacking such supports, often end up in prison.
From my own observations, it is also quite clear that people who are denied human needs; such as adequate contact with loved ones, a decent private space to live in, some control over our own environment, some productive outlet, and a chance to learn and grow become increasingly resentful. Fear; hostility, and confusion well up inside of prisoners.
Please forgive me for venting all of this, but my pen (voice) is all I have right now.
In solidarity and towards justice.
P.S. A people already invisible can be easily made to disappear!