My name is Don Brown, calling from Ohio. This thesis, what is prison reform? To me prison reform goes more than sentencing guidelines: how much a person is sentenced over what crime. Myself firstly, I got sentenced 30 years for nonviolent property crime, burglaries. White people that was sentenced in the same county were given 6 to 12 years for committing aggravated murder, which was dropped all the way down to manslaughter.
Prison reform also goes inside what’s going on in prisons. Given we know that, in prisons, there’s systematic racism; this is the breeding ground for racism of every group of every color. We see the rise of Aryan Brotherhood, we see new gangs, like the Heartless Felons, the Bloods, the Crips, you know, the Nation of Islam Muslims. All of these are hate groups. Why do we do nothing to suppress these groups? Why don’t we do anything to crawl these groups, give people incentives, incentives to stay out of prison or to stay out of these hate groups, to do something with themselves, teach people vocational skills so when they get out of prison, they will have something to do?
Every year in America, over 665,000 people are released from prison. Now, if we look to how many of those people have ties to gangs or hate groups, that would be thousands upon thousands. Are these the people that we want to living next to us in our neighborhoods? Are these the people that we want released back into our society?
We want people released into our society that have a job skill, that have a mindset to be positive, to have a positive impact on their community. You know, not people that we have to worry about bringing gang violence into our community and to worry about spreading seeds of hate. The year is 2020. Right now in prisons, we’re living like it is the sixties.
The hate is enormous; this is truly the breeding grounds of hate. When I came to prison, I did not hate. Then I became a high ranking member of the Aryan Brotherhood. Granted, I turned my back on the Aryan Brotherhood after15 years. Then I was stabbed as I was laying on the ground, holding my guts in, I knew that I was done, that I was sick of living a lie of percolating hate, because hate does nothing; it does not help our heart; it does not help our soul.
That’s my piece for the day. My name is Donald Brown, 468895, and I’m calling from Ohio. Thank you.
(Sound of a cell door closing.) These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.