A Voice From Behind the Prison Wall
I find myself exceedingly disappointed with America, the country I love so much and am proud to be of. I find myself so frustrated, with America the free who seems to be turning into America the repressive. I wonder what has happened to our promise of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? Along what wayside have they fallen, as though brutalized by highwaymen during an evening's stroll? In what hospital are they lying ill and gasping their last breaths?
This might seem like strong or melodramatic words, but worry not: they are fashioned from truth. America is stalling. I am so saddened by this, but it seems to be America’s venture, its enterprise, to decay itself. Look around, we live in a nation where we have the highest incarceration rate, where our prisoners are beaten and starved, mistreated, and tortured. Our PIC (Prison Industrial Complex) has grown mature and mighty, becoming a full-fledged titan and tyrant. Our judges and prosecutors are wicked, concerned only with their conviction rates and reelections. Our governors and state administrators are privatizing prisons, making a commercialized industry from incarcerated people. Our commissioners and corrections officials protect each other, allowing injustices and cruelties go without penalty. Our police and sheriff agencies do poor investigations while wasting money on prosecuting and jailing people that need help more than a prison sentence.
Our country has become callous and greedy, truly given over the powerful or rich. And be not fooled, the prison industrial complex is an institution of the rich and powerful, and of those who serve them. The former obligations of to protect and serve and to provide for, have given away to mass incarceration, the degradation of a people, subjugation of Rights, and the pervading cancer of the justice and correction establishments. Going hand-in-hand with this illness, is the illness of American psychopathy, with its attempts to mass murder and/or mass incarcerate all of the groups of people it likes least: blacks, Latinos, gays, lesbians, trans persons, etc.
"WE NEED TO DE-INCARCERATE AMERICA."
We need to de-incarcerate America. We need to restore full rights to men and women who have been harshly subjugated and treated so cruelly.
While I had been in prison, I was hurt more by officers, my supposed protectors, than I was by anyone else. I was starved at one point, beaten on another occasion, falsely announced as a snitch in order to be killed, sexually harassed, and humiliated. When I had been sexually assaulted, Warden Marty Allen, Deputy Warden Shawn Emmons, and Deputy Warden Orr did nothing to protect me. They insisted on putting me back on the compound where I would have more than likely been assaulted by the same man again and maybe even harmed for reporting what he had done to me. If it hadn’t been for my grandmother taking my complaint seriously and then raising hell with officials in Atlanta, I more than likely would have been raped and maybe even killed. But to these wardens, it was funny. No, it was just. It was what I deserved in their eyes. Me and anyone else whom it happened to. Why? Because we weren’t shit to them. We were insignificant and, at best, amusing in our distress and suffering.
Please don’t make the mistake of assuming it was just this one facility or only the prisons in Georgia. No, you would be wrong. This is how the entire system is, excluding the very few good people trying to do good.
It is a system that takes a broken, hurt, hopeless people, and attempts to destroy them so thoroughly. And it’s hard to get away because corrections officials have designed the system as a revolving door, a trap few can shake. The courts have helped, and the lawmakers have enabled. But, there are good people trying to help, like Black and Pink. So thank God for them.
"WE NEED TO BE AWARE, AND WE NEED TO FIGHT TO CHANGE THINGS"
We need to be aware, and we need to fight to change things. Prisons are a transgender concern too, as many of our sisters and brothers are ending up there, and often for stupid or trifling reasons, but just as a means for society to put away their transgender-ness, something which society sees as a real issue. It can happen to all of us. But, we need to an aware and be supportive and fight for change.
Our country needs a major overhaul, a lot of changes for the better need to be made. We have advanced and progressed in so many ways, but we have also regressed and stagnated in so many ways. I, like many others, have a vision for America that speaks to its greatness and its integrity- though I daresay my vision differs from those of some others. I believe in our inherent goodness and dignity. I believe this because American rhetoric and bright thinkers and speakers taught it to me. So why has American ceased to believe in such? No matter, we can be reborn, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of the flames, to shine greater and with more brilliance than ever if we remember love, integrity, honesty, fairness, and hope.
So let us begin with our prison system and the way we deal with those who are on the margins of our society. I know what we need, because I have been on both sides of the fence, both sides of the world, as free and as slave. I speak with a voice from behind the prisoner walls, hoping to reach and impact those who could never even begin to conceive of the cruelties and injustices taking place right here within our own domain.
I dream of the day when prison isn’t the first resort for drug addicts, homeless people, sex workers, and society’s other unwanted. I pray for the day we return to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I pray for the day we act with love, compassion, and hope in our hearts. I think I’ll be praying for a while.