“If I Were A Rich White Kid.”
In 84 days, December 24th, Christmas Eve, I’ll be 40 years old. Wow. 40 years old. From 17 to 40, I’ve been in prison. That’s 23 years behind prison walls. From a boy to a man, in prison. I grew up into adulthood, in prison. I have no adult experiences outside of prison. None.
Those of you who listen to and follow me regularly, I would hope there are a few of you, you already know my story. While everyone’s talking about criminal justice reforms affecting only nonviolent offenders, guys like me get ignored and passed over. I’ve done more than enough time. 23 years, and I didn’t so much as scratch anyone. I didn’t even get much money. The big banks responsible for the 2008 housing crisis did more real harm than I did. Ask how many of the greedy bankers responsible for stealing billions of dollars from Americans went to prison. Only one. The rest received bonuses.
After a while you can’t call what is happening to me justice. A Black teenager can be thrown into prison for stealing a few thousand dollars, but some rich white bankers, or corporate executives, can steal billions, causing hardworking citizens to lose their homes, life savings, 401ks, and pensions, and not serve a day in prison. How is that justice? I’ve been in prison over half my life, but nobody has gotten hurt. Nobody.
Let’s call it like it is. I’m still in prison because very few people have the courage to do more than pay lip service. Criminal justice reform for nonviolent offenders is politically safe. Talking about parole and probation reform, and eliminating cash bail, are all safe. But exposing the fact that the entire criminal justice system is erected upon a corrupt foundation of racism and classism that prays on poor people and people of color take bigger balls than most people have.
If I were a rich white kid, 23 years ago, would I still be in prison today? Think about that.
This is Dontie S. Mitchell, better known as Mfalme Sikivu, reporting to you from Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York. Follow me on Facebook @freeDontieMitchell.
Thank you for listening, and God bless.
Also, I need volunteers to please help with my free Dontie Mitchell campaign. I only have 90 days to build enough public support to convince Governor Cuomo to grant me clemency before he makes his yearly clemency dishes. Please help. Thank you.
(Sound of a cell door closing.) These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.