Prison Radio
Darren Stanley (KnowledgeBorn GodAllah)

This is Charley Hughes, better known as Sheik Bilal Abdul Salaam-Bey, currently housed at the Hutchinson Correctional Facility in Hutchinson, Kansas. This piece is titled “Programs”. A lack of vocational and rehabilitation programs in the Kansas Department of Corrections is responsible to the high rate of recidivism we see here in KDOC [Kansas Department of Corrections]. 

A lot of the programs are designed with short-timers in mind. But what about the prisoners who have been down for a while and are trying to make a change? I’ve been at ACS [American Correctional Association] since 2017. And it took me until 2023 to get approved to take my GED. Yet when I’ve tried to get into any other programs, I was told I have too much time. My release date is August 30, 2025. 

They don’t offer reentry classes to people who are getting released. They have you fill out a release plan, then a few days before your release, you file your release papers. How does this prepare someone for life on the outside? I’ve seen a lot of prisoners come back on parole violations due to them not being able to adapt to society. Those that are accepted into the programs are always under a microscope. If they miss three unexcused groups, they’re kicked out. If they go to seg [segregation], they’re kicked out. Once kicked out, they have to wait at least nine weeks before they can be placed back in. 

The only programs offered here are job readiness: “Thinking for a Change”, GED, college, and substance abuse programs. These programs offer program credits, which allows prisoners to get four months taken off of their sentence. We can only get program credit once. We who do not have jobs or enrolled in programs are stuck in our cells for the majority of the day. Rehabilitation means to bring or restore to a state of health. That is not being offered in KDOC. 

We need programs that will give us a trade that we can use once released to the outside. Some of us have been gone for so long, we don’t know how to communicate properly. We need programs to teach communication skills, pro-social behaviors, cognitive thinking, house finding, parenting, as well as technology skills. The world is all about technology. And a lot of us don’t know how to use a cell phone or operate social media. We need support from the outside to push for us to receive the programs we need. 

Thank you all for your time, efforts and energy. Those wishing to write me concerning this topic can do so by writing Charley Hughes #96576, Hutchinson Correctional Facility, PO Box 1568, Hutchinson, KS 67504

These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.