|Prison on my mind!
By Joe Williams III
"You'd better start swimming or you'll sink like a stone"
That's how I've been feeling lately. Real helpless. I go to bed thinking about the plight of Black prisoners; I wake up in the morning with prisoners on my mind. Other than the victims of "crack" cocaine, I believe that prison inmates face the most repressive conditions in society.
I have noticed in the past few months a number of Black men being
released from prisons because they were wrongfully convicted. Many of these men were released only after serving long prison terms.
It is difficult to raise the issue of prison conditions, because many people believe that criminals get what they deserve. In fact, I have noticed a "new class" of Black people who I will label "neo-apologist."
These are the "You control your own destiny" hawkers. These are the people that have been given a few benefits from Capitalism, and don't give a damn about the rest of us. They are the grandchildren of the schoolteachers, who use to say, "I got mine, so you need to get yours." They are a selfish lot, a lot that's motivated by greed and fear.
And it is this mentality that will allow a great number of our Black men, women, and youth to sit in prisons and have their souls rot away.
I notice how insensitive this system that is driven by greed and selfishness can be on a daily basic in society. I see the homeless being ignored, the children who can't read, the youth who are jobless, the racism in the workplace, and the government who has controlled our lives into a painted corner.
So, it is the above reasons that my heart pains so for those behind bars, those brothers and sisters who believe that the rest of use have forgotten them, the men and women who haven't received a piece of mail in years. A different place in society, where every move one makes is a controlled action, where fear and violence are a way of life, where a candy bar or a smoke can be like a gift from heaven.
We are a society that focuses on detainment and punishment, rather than rehabilitation and redemption. We are a society that looks at prisons as how it impacts Wall Street and the stock market, rather how it impacts families, children and communities. While many that are incarcerated have committed crimes against society, those who control the prison system are guilty of crimes against humanity. We must understand that the 3-strike laws, and the death-penalty, along with "poverty sentencing" moves us away from civic-society, and pushes us back towards heathenism.
So, tonight, brothers and sisters, after you push the off button on the remote control, close your eyes and envision the inside of a prison cell, see yourself there. And then as the question, are we really becoming "all that we can be."
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