Economics is a very powerful motive towards driving mass incarceration. A lot of people are eating off of the arrest, prosecution, and the imprisonment of people in this country. If mass incarceration wasn’t practical do you think America would have the highest number of people in prison per capita of any other industrialized nation?
What I find astonishing is that many who fight against mass incarceration seem not to account for the economic motives behind it when they formulate their strategies to address it. These beautiful people who embrace prison abolition have good intention, but I don’t think many of them have a clue what it will take to effectively go up against the prison industrial complex and those who have a lock ’em up mentality.
I intimately know the harm the system of mass incarceration causes. I am in solitary confinement for defying it’s reactionary policies. Now some of the young prisoners I was helping in general population are slowly falling back under the sway of the corrupt and negative influences of this prison environment I’ve worked so hard to pull them away from before DOC shut me down. And I feel I’m losing my top protege who has been released because he’s finding it difficult to adjust to the pressures of life after growing up into adulthood behind prison walls and being released a grown man, having never been taught and trained how to function as an adult in society.
So, yeah, I know how the system crushes people and their spirit. I fight against that gloom and hopelessness myself every day. And instead of figuring out effective ways to alleviate and fight the harm the system causes, some people can’t see, but without paying, risk, and sacrifice, change is impossible. This goes for almost anything in life, from marriage to business to rehabilitation. The system won’t change with debates over terms.
This is Dontie S Mitchell, better known as Mfalme Sikivu from the Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York.Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @freedontiemitchell. Thank you for listening and god bless.
These commentaries are recorded by Noelle Hanrahan of Prison Radio.