Prison Radio
Donald Brown

My name’s Don Brown 468895; I’m calling from Ohio. This is called “Racism and the United States Penal System.”

I’m sure that y’all are all aware of the racism that plagues our penal system within the United States. From the moment that we are ushered into the prison, we are segregated and either forced to join a gang or fend for ourselves, which in most cases end badly for the person that refuses to join the gang. I have renounced the gang that I used to belong to and the debt that was put on my head, and an unsuccessful attempt was made on my life for sloppily holding my insides in. And I’ve often wondered if there were a way to maintain or even achieve a system that renounces gang violence and all racist ideology.

Since 2014, I have tried to get a [inaudible] within the institutions. We can not only educate individuals on false ideology or these bigoted beliefs, but also try to teach our studies, beliefs of superiority and/or fanaticism are wrong on every level. The realization swept over me. The reality is, at least within the state of Ohio, I feel as though this would never be a success story because the truth is the administration not only wants to keep the racial hatred strong and the race-based violence up, but it also promote and encourage it.

I know it’s firsthand knowledge that this is a fact and not a mere allegation. I have had guards come up to me and offered to pay me to have a black inmate assaulted and several other people that I know as well. They will keep the various gangs fighting by telling one gang that they heard another gang plotting on one of their members. This happens within the black gangs and the white gangs as well. People often say that prison officials want to keep the gang violence down because that helps to reform the inmates.

This is the truth. They want to keep the gangs and the racists fighting and at each other’s throats due to one simple thing: if they keep the gang and the races fighting, then they will never have to worry about another riot that happened in Lucasville, Ohio in 1992. I have sent letters to the directors of Ohio prisons and also to learn classes on this topic. And I was shut down every time to the fact that I have a statewide hit out on me. I said that someone else could do the [inaudible] and needs to be ran.

I wrote up a plan and program, but the state has shut it down time and time again. I think if they were going to actually look at the good that this will do, instead of thinking about federal dollars, then a lot of these racial hatred and racial violence could stop. You need to stop the federal dollars and look at what’s really going on. We need to end the racism, stop the hatred, and look towards our future.

Thank you. My name is Don Brown and I’m calling from Ohio.

(Sound of a cell door closing.) These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.