“The Socialization of Anti-Social Behavior in Prison.”
Yesterday, I was in the yard with two of my young [inaudible], Racks and Smokey. Both are 21 years old. We were having a conversation about them engaging their peers about UFD. They feel uncomfortable with the idea of striking up conversations with random guys I identified to them as prospects for our organization.
This has been a problem I’ve had with the young prisoners I work with for years. They find it hard to have positive and intellectual discussions with each other, especially if they don’t know one another. So, getting them to introduce UFD to their peers is like pulling their teeth with no Novocain.
This is all a part of the antisocial behavior they have that will hinder their ability to transition back into society as law abiding citizens. I continuously teach my younger [inaudible] that the ability to socialize with people beyond talking about drugs, clothes, hoes, rap songs, in neighbor- in the neighborhood, is essential to their success in the outside world. So, I challenged them to build positive relationships with each other.
What I’m doing is still very difficult because New York state prison system is a reactionary one. The prison environment here makes it hard for young prisoners to believe that they can trust and care for one another. They get it sometimes, because they interact with and listen to me. But they say I’m different.
Yet what’s really different? I tell them. I didn’t know any of them from Adam. I decided to reach out to them at random, and they so happened to be the ones who took heed. I understand however, the way they feel isn’t their fault. They’re only responding to their upbringing, coming from neighborhoods where their lives are always in danger from gun violence.
When you grow up from 11, 12 years old, getting shot at and seeing people you know get murdered, how social would you be in prison?
This is Dontie S. Mitchell, better known 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.