The last few weeks, there have been a number of violent incidents here at Great Meadow. Today in the yard, there was a two man fight with one of the guys being cut on the face. A few days before that, two bigger guys were jumping a smaller, younger guy, who too had been cut and was bleeding badly. What's so upsetting to me, is that in most of these cases, the guys involved were under 25 years old.
I often wonder how much more of a positive impact UFD could have in intervening in the lives of young prisoners, such as these, if only the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision would recognize and approve UFD. I simply don't get it. What does the department have to lose? As it stands now, the department seems not to have a clue how to stop the violence. Or do they?
There are evidence-based solutions to the problems with gangs, drugs, and violence in prison. It's hard to believe New York state prison officials aren't aware of these solutions. I think the real truth is that they fear change. Most human beings are used to doing things a certain way. We're creatures of habit. We could live in dysfunction for so long that it becomes normal to us.
This often happens within government agencies. Especially those that aren't held accountable by the public. Crime is so sensationalized in this country that criminals are demonized. Nobody looks to the deeper legacy behind our criminal justice system. One built upon racism and classism. All the public usually sees, is the victims of the result of crime. But the real victims are the American public with respect to the causes of crime, socioeconomic inequality.
I'm currently reading Immanuel Kant, "What Is Enlightenment?" And he wrote, quote:
"Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why so great a portion of mankind at the nature, has long since discharged him from external direction. Nevertheless, remains under lifelong tutelage and why it is so easy for others to set themselves up as their guardian. It is so easy not to be of age. If I have a book which understands for me, a pastor who has a conscience for me, a physician who decides my diet, and so forth, I need not trouble myself. I need not think. If I could only pay, others will readily undertake the irksome work for me."
And pay the American public does, to lock up and incarcerate, millions of disadvantaged people. Because the American public is too lazy or lacks the courage to ask one simple question: is there a better way? This is why I'm thankful for PrisonRadio.com, for giving prisoners like me a platform to prick the consciousness of the American public. For more still needs to be done.
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.