Cell block society: Politics, economics, it’s social class system

Brookshire, Levert, III (Sékou)

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Title: Cell Block Society: Politics, Economics and its Social Class System Author: Levert Brookshire 11/26/18 What is a society? I am sure most people can offer some sort of definition, giving a basic or short version answer, but in my opinion this question deserves much more thought and consideration. Over a large swath of time I have given this question a considerable amount of attention - 15 1/2 years of my life's attention to be exact. Why is this? Well, because I have lived in more than my fair share of different societies, in my fifty years of life walking this planet. Now, one of the main reasons that I am writing this essay is because I believe that I have finally found a common link between all of the different human societies, including, but not limited to, the societies that exist in the most unlikely of places, where most of the people looking do not agree a society even exists. However, I argue that once seriously explored, what I have discovered can and will move people to become more open-minded, tolerant and empathetic towards people of other different, bizarre, uniquely unusual societies. To achieve such a feat, would no doubt, help our general public live more secure, more comfortable, peaceful and productive lives while walking this planet regardless of which society one may actually come from. Now, as the author of this essay, I would be remiss, even arrogant, if I did not stop, and take a brief moment to introduce myself to you, the reader, at this time. In those societies I happen to have spent many years living, people there and here, call me either Sekou or Levert Brookshire which is my birth name. I am a fifty year old African American male who, at this time, happens to be a resident at Arizona's State Department of Corrections "CellBlock Society". I am currently scheduled to be re-entering, what we here refer to as, the 'free world society', in less than two years. Now in my introduction to you I must say, that I am not only eagerly anxious, excited and hungry to finally make it to my release, but to keep it honest, at the same time, I am also quietly apprehensive. You see, after getting in roughly about one to two hours of quality television program consumption, I begin to scratch my head at the kinds of things that I'm seeing unfolding around the world, in society here, knowing that there are over 325 million people here in this 'Amerikan society' with 8 billion people in this entire world. Knowing that different societies produce different kinds of people. People who become more comfortable within the societies in which they happen to be socialized in. This is one reason why this question of what is a society must be and should be asked, given some thought and even discussed, eventually answered. Many people may ask themselves "why" and "who cares" while they read this. For me it is very important that this question of "what is a society" or "what makes up a society" must be answered because I will soon be leaving one society, "CellBlock Society" and going back re-entering "free world society" again, a completely different society. Now, to answer these questions, and many more, I invite you the reader, to step into my think tank for a minute. Join me. Let us explore these questions seriously of what a society is, and how the exploration and closer examination thereof will produce. I'm completely confident that what you will find at the conclusion will be a benefit to you and to all those whom you take the time to share this with. Showing the reader how the value system changes from one society to the next, and all of the social norms too, even the expected codes of conduct changes. All in order to fit the needs and desires of whatever we want them to. I am talking about a counter culture or sub-society, if I must label it. Now what I truly believe a society is, is a population of people, or even a particular group of people who usually, although not in every case, speak the same language. They also tend to reside in the same geographical location or general area on this earth. They also very often share the same ecological systems, and likely even use the same common form of currency and government too. Realistically speaking, I understand that all of the above can be challenged. But I am going to explore each and every elemental characteristic, and societal trait, that has the best researched based, proven, documented science that defines what makes up a society while taking you along with me in this explorations. I'm hoping that said exploration reveals some compelling, unexpected truths that shock and surprise the conscience of those who do decide to finish reading this. Truths like, weighing out everything we have been taught to believe is true, regarding everyday social norms in one society, only to see it all become totally, completely turned around, twisted, perverted, and distorted, once we walk into another society. Whereupon entering we see the value system changes, all of the social norms we were taught have been turned around. More specifically writing about Cellblock Society, one that is completely populated entirely by what the professional communities have come to label as a community, or a society of sociopathic people. People, who have for the most part, been disposed of by the free world, civilized society, alienated and even abandoned in many cases. Not all of us here, but a large majority of the population is deeply despised by their own family members and so called friends. Again, they have been left behind, banished, isolated to dwell alone behind these tall, electrified fences and corrugated steel doors. After awhile passes by, many of us here start noticing a semblance of a society around us, one complete with his very own Celldweller populace, its own governing political system, and social structure too, with social hierarchy and economic system to go along with it. Just like the 'free world' society, here in prison the social class structured system has a three level stage hierarchy, complete with its own upper class societal status, middle class and even lower class status too. In here, the lower class level is where all of the known sex offenders, informants, pedophiles, thieves and women abusers remain. Each and every one of the prisons you go to regardless of which state you go to, in the United States, all of them will have their own population of Classified Social Statistics. Now, I have decided to write about these spread-out, state constructed, "concrete", fenced in societies, which in my opinion can be labeled as societies too. Societies of social statistics. I myself being a resident here am also a statistic. I am a product of these Cellblock Societies and have been for most if not all of my entire life. I have been officially convicted socially, politically and economically, eventually criminally as well. A federal and state documented statistic. Have been since before I could ride a bike, read or even write. Inside this society, one I have come to term "Cellblock Society", is a society where the population here have all been stripped of a voice, a vote, muted, and any semblance of a dignified identity, independence or character taken from us. With my ink pen, I hope to change all of that. The struggles I have witnessed, many inside these walls I've gone through, combined with the harshest of lessons I've experienced while I've been a resident of the Cellblock Society. As a long time resident of this counter culture, subterranean society, I have come to write about it with a first hand account authority, that most have not been exposed to long enough or qualified enough to do. Unfortunately though, I am over qualified to be the one that can 'articulate' exactly what this society is made of. Having been born into poverty, thus raised in a household designated as socio-political, economically below the proverbial poverty line. Once made to live here inside this Cellblock Society, this has ironically made writing about a society of all social statistics a therapeutically, healing, writing session for me or Cell Therapy. Metaphorically speaking, or writing about this whole 'prison life' topic, trying to be the voice for over two million 'voiceless', 'nameless', 'faceless' Celldwellers has in fact become the one silver lining to my life's darkest cloud. Contrary to what alot of people may think, not all of us, who make up this prisoner population, originated or emerged from the exact, same geographical areas. But, we all still share the exact, same, social class status as the other. We are only separated by our physical, geographical distances between us, often by as much as an entire state or states. Still, sharing the same socio-economic and politically disenfranchised status, which, by the way, has been assigned to all of us here by none other than the neo-colonialist, "elitest", social engineers. This elitist Amerikan status quo who control the levers of power in the American government, has designed and built a sophisticated or elaborate, social classification 'status-system.' One that has been constructed in a way that records, tracks and designates a socio-political, economic status, to all whom contribute the most economically, and those who put a strain on their systems. These elite are themselves a society. An exclusive society all to themselves who sorts out, screens, and determines which of its citizens will receive which resources. This exclusively elite society at the top of the Amerikan social-class structure dictates and controls and decides who, what, where and when how much the rest of us will get, once divided amongst themselves. These elitists rule over all the world's resources that are essential for us all to live and thrive here as we populate this earth. And all of this is statistical information which is used to govern the socio-political and economic systems that sustain the Amerikan society in which we live today. Now, what I have found to be ironic is this, once we do find ourselves inside America's "Cellblock Society", where such completely diffrent, completely 'turned-around' society has been formed. Emerged from, out of complete dismal and 'stripped-down' surroundings for those inside here who are at the top of this social class structure. They too designate and assign socio-political, economic status to all who unfortunately find themselves landing here in this "Cellblock Society" population. Yes, whether one wants to be classififed, or not, he or she, as a resident celldweller here at "Cellblock Society", one will be either the upper, middle or the lower class socio-political and economic status, while living insider here, in this sub-culture society, hosted by the Dept. of Corrections. Here we are able to see our own educational or (indoctrination) governing systems complete with an executive branch. One that for the most part serves as both judicial and legislative branch as well. Together they operate much like the civilian criminal injustice system. Every single day, inside these state and federally funded and constructed prison walls, "crime" and "punishment" occurs, and the discipline that gets meted out daily is sometimes done so, with extremely violent and brutal prejudice. Being trapped here, contained inside these federal and state constructed institutional walls, I am writing about, living inside as a celldweller resident now for over these past fifteen and one half consecutive years now, has compelled me to reflect back on my own personal life lessons. Going over all of my past harsh life lessons, living as a celldweller going way back to my past life, in my native home state of California. Dwellling inside those wretched Cellblock Societies, both federal and state institutions. Now here inside these Arizona facilities. All of this reflection has brought me to one hard truth, and that is more years out of my life have been spent here in these institutions, than outside of them. Decades I can never get back. Most of these years being spent occupying positions at the highest levels of the Cellblock Society social class structure. What I find troubling of all is, when I do happen to reflect on how difficult it has proven to be, for many of us inside these prisons to (readapt) ourselves again, to the 'free world', civilized society and its social norms, once we are released. Why has it proven so hard to readjust ourselves and reassimilate ourselves back into civil society again? Reacquainting ourselves with civilian life, its normalcies and expected code of conduct. But landing ourselves inside here, we find ourselves easily adapting and quickly adjusting these here backwards, twisted, perverted and distorted ways of Amerika's "Cellblock Societies". Somehow, someway, we seem to find ways for us to become innovative, creative, and resourceful enough for us to thrive and even flourish inside these places that we all claim to despise so deeply. Some of us spend decades upon decades studying, reading, educating ourselves, and reaching our peak of potential, mentally, physically and even spiritually. Becoming highly disciplined, composed and structured in our day to day lives while we are confined inside these places. While on the other hand, once we are released back into the free world again, with these 'rigid' controls or 'structured' schedules, 'strict' controls imposed on us we become 'disoriented' and soon start to 'unravel', once they are lifted off of us and we are unshackled, given our freedom back. Suddenly, freedom doesn't look or feel the same anymore. Upon further reflection, it becomes even clear, that the answer to my earlier questions, "What is a society"? Once institutionalization or 'Cellblock Socialization' takes ahold of us on a much deeper level that we underestimate, we relate to one society better than the other. Our entire way of 'thinking' and 'living' has been shifted, reshaped and realigned into what ressembles a 'cult-like' group thought' mentality, which has programmed us here to think irrationally, impulsively and anti-socially in order to survive day to day inside this backwards thinking sub-sulture society. Where individuality is replaced with peer pressure, self-sabotaging, flawed ways of thinking. Thus setting the state in one society for a life of failure, miscalcuations and unnecessary losses and suffering, once returning or re-entering back into free world civil society again. I could go on and on about how life is inside these places, living as a 'celldweller', who is only motivated to reach their peak potential inside here through predatory, manipulative, narcissistic and sociopathic gain, using intimidation and extortion, even violence as the common means to acquire or gain everything one may desire. Instead, I'd much rather draw your attention to the more relevant facts. After living almost three decades behind prison walls altogether, I had an epiphany recently. In 2014, while I sat inside solitary confinement, as the assailant/aggressor, in what could only be described as an orchestrated, military assault, against a rival. I realized that although the assault could not be avoided at the time, I felt something begin changing inside me. I became no longer driven, or motivated by the same, self-centered, narcissistic desires I was once driven by which compelled me to exploit 'others' for my own survival. No more, I've turned my back on this kind of thinking. I no longer look for the "get rich quick schemes" while I'm incarcerated, nor do I make plans of doing the same when I'm released. As this 'switch' in thinking has occurred, as opposed to the kind of thoughts I once had, now I ask myself why can I find the necessary self-discipline it takes to acclimate myself here to this society but not the other society, the one that matters most. It seems to me that we can find the self-discipline, structure and purpose necessary to thrive and even flourish while inside these cellblock societies while overcoming insurmountable obstacles, pushing against impossible odds, we somehow reach our goals. Sadly, I must admit once I am released from these "Cellblock Societies", re-entering 'freeworld' civil society again. All of my acquired self-discipline I've gained, structure and purpose unravels, the moment that I'm confronted with mounting social pressures, sudden economic insecurity or criminal enticement. My hard earned freedom begins to give in, cave to suffocating, overwhelming pressure to survive. Small problems seem bigger than they actually are. My self-discipline gradually loosens up. Structured thinking becomes unstable and weakened, having no purpose or plans, no problem solving system. The longer I go without balance or stability, outside of these institutions, the more prone I am to self-sabotage. In reflection, I have come to realize the fact that it has taken me decades living as a resident of these state and federally controlled institutions/depositories for the 'mass incarcerated' in order for me to become programmed to the backward thinking ways of criminal college (prison). Thus it will probably take me some time to reprogram myself towards living civilian life again. So I've started the reprogramming/reprogramming process early. Those who first got ensnared by the status quo's elaborate, social 'booby-traps', whom laid the foundation for the 'Cellblock Societies' to be constructed. They were to create a self-spreading energy that has become cancerous that the many, various, conflicting, political groups with their devoted followers who, stricken with the disease, could never be cured. For me though, walking away from the backwards, twisted and distorted way of thinking, while still being in here, confined to these walls has proven harder than I originally thought it would be, when I started my own "deprogramming" process. Remember, I had risen to to a position amongst the highest level possible inside this cellblock social class structured system. A position of such coveted distinction that walking away from it is equal to making a challenge to the ones sworn to protects its secrets. But, my mother's unexpected passing in late 2014 was the straw that broke the proverbial 'camel's back'. This devastating news snapped me out of the programmed "institutionalized" mentality that unfortunately has infected me for over three and one half decades. Sadly, it took losing someone so deeply dear to my heart to awaken me. Today, I'm very grateful to say that I've completely reprogrammed my 'thinking' process from the old, backwards thinking, criminal gang leader who was constantly immersed in daily infighting over conflicting political views. To following the responsible, ambitious undertaking of of self-reform, with an emphasis on helping others in society who have mental health needs, learning difficulties or who may struggle with substance use addictions. The sense of relief that I have, the inner peace that I feel distancing myself from all of the deceptive betrayals, fighting for dominance and control of what amounts to nominal, scarce and even scant supplies, leftovers, resources like smuggled in 'drug stashes', contraband cell phones, 'cash notes', and even 'compromised' corrections staff who are on the take. Turning my back on a life of constant, petty struggle, all of which, as petty as it may be, usually leads to so being assaulted or killed. Now I'm finally appreciative to be in a completely different mindset, one that is focused entirely on my plans when I am released from prison. But you, the reader, have to understand something. No matter how serious I may be about this new and improved version of myself, I'm still very aware of the fact I must maintain a superficial alliance to social hierarchies inside here, in an effort to keep my own protective shield in place. That old adage, 'while in Rome do as the Romans do'. Otherwise I can be perceived as a threat to the established social hierarchy and undermine my own upcoming release. Fortunately for me, at this final stretch of my twenty one year sentence, I'm finally eligible for a lower custody, lesser security institution. What that means is that a lesser security institution has a less formal, less rigid cellblock structure and therefore less "cellblock" hierarchical influence and control over the population. I have only been here a couple of weeks at this medium security institution, already I can see an immediate difference in the formal cellblock rules, codes and structure, being relaxed, less enforced here than they are at the higher security institution what I was more accustomed to. I feel fortunate to have actually made it this far along. Being able to finally witness a lot of familiar faces finally make it with me, to these lower level security institutions which means that they too have reached the conclusion of their own lengthy prison sentences. Hopefully like me, they too will be completely focused on rehabilitative objectives. Of course the bad news is, that there is no deprogramming process in place here. There is no 'decompression' process to help us deconstruct all of the distorted, socially backwards, criminal programming that the large majority of us have had programmed into our minds, as a way for us to adapt to this sub-culture society. Real talk, there is nothing set up to assist those of us who are seeking ways to prepare ourselves for reentering a whole different society, with a whole different set of social norms. Facing a civilized society completely trained to live in a backwards thinking, uncivilized society will be foreign to us, just as someone speaking to us in a language we don't understand. I am fortunate enough to have started on the long road of self-reprogramming all alone. Those who do decide they want to take this on themselves, understand that you will be taking on a project that will be painstakingly difficult mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. No undertaking is more challenging that self-reform because self-reform involves change. It is by no means easy to make major changes in ourselves. Anyone trying to make major lifestyle or behavioral changes demands total commitment and dedication. It has to start by re-programming one's own thinking from a "criminal" mentality to a "non-criminal" way of thinking and re-socialization, re-education and re-wiring. This will require self-discipline and sacrifice in order to do the hard work. Writing this essay barely scratches the surface of what needs to be done in order to have even a fighting chance, outside of prison. What I hope anyone reading this understands is, that it's all up to us, and us alone. Not up to anyone else to change us except us. By doing whatever we have to do immersing ourselves into academics, job training, counseling, whatever skills or educational programs being offered by these state and federally funded, constructed "Cellblock Society" institutions. It will take extensive self-study and life skills training, pre-planning and even drawing lessons learned from our own personal, life experiences. All of which will help us to make better decisions, solve problems and even play it forward by helping others through social services, behavioral health services, or even substance abuse and addiction treatment counseling profession. I have already done the necessary research and have chosen this path and career moving forward. I'm in the process of converting my past failure and mistakes, into future assets. Using what I've seen, experienced and survived in my own life, 're-purposed' to be passed along to others who are going through the same or at least similar struggles, circumstances, themselves. All I'm hoping to do, is sincerely help someone, somewhere, somehow in some way .... The Celldweller Levert Brookshire

Author: Brookshire, Levert, III (Sékou)

Author Location: Arizona

Date: November 26, 2018

Genre: Essay

Extent: 20 pages

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