Phone Wars (2:21) Dontie Mitchell

4/20/20

There's a crisis brewing here at Great Meadow Correctional Facility in Comstock, New York that keeps spilling over into violence. And it has to do with how badly mismanaged this prison is. Before I was unjustly placed into solitary confinement I was a member of the ILC here, which stands for the Inmate Liaison Committee. The ILC represents the prison population for our regular, monthly meetings with the facility administration. I became the A block ILC rep after A block prisoners voted me into that position in a landslide.

In fact, I was the only ILC rep in general population. The other three guys were on the block, which has minimal contact with the larger general population blocks. The number one issue I hear over and over again is the lack of phones in the prison yard. There are only 35 phones out there and they continuously go out of service.

On any given day down about 200 to 300, prisoners in the yard vying over about 30 available phones, and many of these prisoners are gang members or are part of some clique. Guys regularly get cut or stabbed over phones. One prisoner in Attica Correctional Facility was stabbed to death over a phone. Despite my best efforts as ILC rep the facility administration refused to push for the installation of additional phones to alleviate the conflict and tension.

Does this make any damn sense? These people always holler security this and safety that. They placed me in solitary confinement due to the false narrative that my UFD organizational work threatened safety and security, but UFD members don't cut or stab other prisoners over phones. These people got stupid and backwards priorities.

Next to drugs, phones are the second leading cause of violence in prisons. You would think that they would ensure there are enough phones for prisoners to use so we don't kill each other or guards over them especially now that businesses are suspended. Why isn't anybody on the outside speaking about this? This is Dontie S Mitchell, better known as Mfalme Sikivu from Great Meadow Correctional Facility and in Comstock, New York.

Following me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @freedontiemitchell. Thank you for listening. And God bless. These commentaries are recorded by Noel Hanrahan of Prison Radio.