In my commentary entitled “My Life Is Worth Just As Much As Yours” I spoke about a 21-year-old young man I took under the wing because of how bad he wanted to change and better himself. He was doing good until members of his former gang forced him back into the gang. I was ready to step in to help him get out, but he was afraid.
None of you know how delicate such a situation can be. This is a perfect example of the research that shows how vulnerable young prisoners are to the negative and corrupt influences of the adult prison environment. This kid wouldn’t have rejoined the gang if not for the fact DOCCS has no gang intervention program that works.
As I said before, the gangs run the prison yard. But when prisons like- prisoners like me who know how to deal with these guys propose programs like UFD, DOCCS opposes us. I have warned prison officials what might happen to this young man if nobody intervenes, but nobody listened. Yesterday he was involved in a gang fight.
What pisses me off is how Governor Cuomo gets on TV last year and says he’s going to do something about prison violence after the new year in response to a 20-man gang fight here. But six months into this new year, the violence continues unabated. Just this afternoon I witnessed a kid get sliced in his face in the yard. What exactly is Governor Cuomo doing about this? Talk is cheap.
I have proposed a solution, with the success of the TRUE program of Connecticut, which is similar to the program I propose using my UFD organization as a platform. What excuse is there not to give my proposal a shot? Its only but so long Governor Cuomo, who says New York will be a progressive beacon for the nation, that he can keep ignoring what’s really happening behind these prison walls. Calling press conferences and making an empty promise won’t cut it. Why isn’t the rest of the media shedding light on this? Don’t we have enough of Trump’s lies?
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.
(Sound of a cell door closing.) These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.