Cultural Awareness By: Howard Mecreary, III
Everything in existence has a cultura. It's own set of
Laws that governs this culture. It's own system of defining the
Culture and , a certain mentality that shapes the development of it's culture
In prison, there's no difference. Inside the walls of a penological institution, the cultural mind state can be warped, tarnished, polished, or refined based on the individual. This culture is a world within it's own. A world that's built to create contingency in humans while rehabilitation is loosely used to generate funding for the inhumane industrial business we called "prison"
It's brutal, to say the least, And the intention to gain a Real sense of culture and self consciousness in a
Man or woman only fall in the hands of those who are
Entrapped in the pit of desolation.
But how can society truly envision the production with the walls of an institution?
How can the day to day activities actually resonate to the people that's free ... physically? Surely movies like " Blood in
Blood out" doesn't grasp the true reality. Obviously, smash hits like
"Prison Break" only created for entertainment. Some of us many have a Relative, friends or Associate that either been to prison, worked in a jail, or volunteer for An institution. Others may just found An interest in the penal system And decided to pursue A career in criminology.
Whatever the cause may be, compassion has to be seeded - And intertwine with interest - in order to understand the culture of prison. Whether you're A seeker of truth or An abolitionist of injustice, we have to have
Sincerity in our intention, Not being bias to certain
aspects of the life style And keep our mind open as
A parachute to fully comprehend the solution to this
And in my own judgement, I believe And think that, first And foremost, one has to dive in the pool of cultural Activities within the penal system to start the process of change.
Why do I say this ? ...
Easy. My own reflection shows And prove this fact. Growing up In an institution And being " property of the sate" since the tender age of fourteen, my psyche was captured by the Laws within my Environment
Laws and Regulation that's set up by the staff administration.
Laws and Regulations that set up by the peers of the caged community. Laws and Regulations set in stoned by generations of the past
Laws of survival
Laws of Race Relations
Laws of conduct
Its understanding that aggression is welcome As the
Norm with No Respect for inferiority. Violence... Extortion... Manipulation,
Are all "Righteous Principles" whereas , kind gestures, or checking
for someone was label A peasant would put you in a crossroad with trouble
Looking At yourself And your Ethnicity As superior
And Never allowing another race to gain control of your inferior brother of your race. Setting claim to certain officers, certain areas of the prison - whether it be in - boundaries that if broken, A deadly uprising will occur
At the speed of the Rhythm of ones heart
The laws of survival
It's A crucial part of developing A criminal psychological. It's apart of the orientation that All individual-
incarcerated And employer - get brief on And must commit to mind in order to guarantee their return back to the free society. Understanding the psyche of A prison is understanding it's culture. Undergoing Assimilation like the famous work of Philip Zimbardo " Stanford
Prison Experiment" or simply studying this project will give profound insight on the matter at hand
Furthermore, I call my beloved readers to A more realistic, more poignant challenge that can be substantial evidence to my [Diamond?] Thoughts ...
Imagine yourself in a bathroom. Not A bathroom of some luxury hotel ( That will be too rewarding)
Instead, picture yourself in A bathroom of An efficiency Apartment. This "bathroom" is furnish with An
Adjacent sink and toilet, A iron cold bed frame (that's mat has more Air than cotton). Depending on your behavior pattern, you may share this small space with another person.
Depending on your support from the outside of that bathroom
"compound", you get the privilege to dress that hollow caged up with state issued
Appliance and Enjoy the variety of food product
that is solded on the commissary
That bathroom ... Is where you will
Eat, Sleep, Relieve yourself, strengthen yourself, And
Connect with love ones though correspondence. That bathroom is surrounded by multiple other bathrooms, that house countless personalities And characteristics.
Those bathroom's Are ran, supervised And controlled by A set of people that, In All actuality. Are like the
incarcerated yet, since the job cause for An authority
Role, their ego's Are enlargen And their emotional responses become dull to the fact of our similarity of being .... human.
Depending on the virility of ones mind, he could go from sane to insane in a period of days. One can go form stable to deranged All from being stuck in this box. Needless to say, this box has value.
( Material And Non material value). It is consciously -
And unconsciously referred to as a "house" and "crib" It's
A place of retreat. A place of solidarity. A place to reflect. A house to plan And strategize to properly gain access back to ones real "house"
A great writer once challenged us to set Aside the certain qualities that take us - the subjugated - out of the realm of familiarity And focus on the Keen Reality of our connection to one
Another. When we look At the penological foundation that was created to separate the incarcerated from society, that was built to tear the image of the one
that plunged in a concrete jungle out the
Memory of their loved ones mind.
When we study the process that goes on within the cavity of this beast We call prison,
We see the gruesome sight of savagery. A structure that destine to break the spirit of a inmate.
Many times, have I witness men that fall victim to this Reality. Rather fatally or mentally the plague conquer great mind. This culture convince it's masses that it's cool to be violence. To see if a men can survive A physical fight with varies of men upon A person initial arrival. To revolt against authority for any cause, motive, or contest
This culture convince it's staff that it is
A forbidden crime to speak to an inmate about any- thing that is not related to conduct And procedure.
Like asking an officer their political stance on our nation is An act of treason?! This culture seek to strip the will power out of it's men, wishing to reduce a strong. [Rigor?] male to A vessel of dependency
And incompetency. Like the world is not already suffering from [laxity?] And ignorance !
On the contrary, this culture , As cruel and unusual as it is, give a purpose, to the seeker of truth, A reason to rectify his/her own culture.
A prominent scholar of religion once said the knowledge is for nothing more than to implement it. The question
I propose is, what kind of knowledge should be implemented?
As I stated earlier, I have been in the school of " hard knocks" since the age of fourteen. During my adolescent years, I was a loyal member to the gang culture. I wanted to be the baddest , most dominant, fearsome member in my fraternity. I thought like A gang member; acted out As A hoodlum; studied the lives of all ' crime members in history. In my flawed perception, I truly thought that being A person of organized crime could be a profession. (Like the many examples of the wasted intelligence in history that spent their years in breaking the law wasn't enough to prove that I could never live a path that's corrupted.)
Even in the midst of my confused, dark days, I was still intrigued by other matters of life. I
thought that the reason so many never succeed was due to their lack of knowledge. Because so many refused to apply themselves. In the quest of searching,
I became interested to appreciate other nationalities, And that racism is not a ingredient of nature yet,
A trait that is learnt. Growing to appreciate our America constitution And the power in being aware of it
Fields like logic. Questioning my true reason for disliking a person because their preference of color conflicts with mines. Investigating Moral standard that were built off vague perception and misconception.
Wondering why I have dedicated so much energy to a cause that have no winners at the end of regulation?
Fields like culture
The cultivation of men from different background. The improvement of mental capacity through
positive contemplation. The development of refining ones skills And mindsets to resemble the sun As it climb to it's zenith
Comparing the object around A prison with the goals of one who ambition is determined to be successful. That is what one strive for in life, right?
To not only be culturally sound, but also productive in mind, body , and soul. This was what it took for myself to gain A solid foundation in my stance.
A foundation of culture to ascertaining the truth and forbidding the wrong.
The only way - And best way - to gain this soundness in A life of A prisoner is he - or she has to educate themselves. From self- Education- learning
Ones strengthen And weaknesses ; formative Education -going back to the basic of learning. Getting back familiar with mathematical formulas, language arts, etc. One thing I have took notice of in prison is the enthusiasm that fills the chest of men who gain interest in learning
Again. You see it in their smile As the light of understanding capture their mind. You witness it in their strides to receive the certificate that makes the completion of Art or trade they have mastered. You share the excitement with these courageous personalities when the realization set within their soul of true refinement.
Real elevation has changed their lives.
The stories Are endless And timeless. Education is the key. Reading As many inspirational books to gain A batter perspective life And their lives. Engaging in certain programs And services to fuse our spirit with A light that will purge the darkness we know so well.
Education is the key!
It's the key to psychological survival. It's the key to ones fortitude. when I embarked on
Eradicating the beast in me, I understand that
I had to set myself on A Road that's straight. I knew I had to learn new codes of living. I understand And knew that the only way I was going to completely be able to change my thoughts And actions was by waging war on
Education. Yes, it's a war we, the corrupt souls of
An institution, has to waged. How exactly? Simple.
Discipline. To Educate, one must have discipline.
Discipline to admit that what one has been indulging in has only been A hindrance instead of progressive. Discipline to face the challenge that
New ideas, New information will test And not
Allowing thoughts of failure to consume your energy. It take discipline to steadfast in positivity, be patient during frustration, And preserve oneself in the New life
God has ordained
And it's A beautiful ordainment.
When I realize that I could empower myself by Education, the feeling of being wealthy was -
And is - the only word I can describe to Explain the feeling. Not wealthy As in, with the
New knowledge I've obtain I would have some monetary
Assets in the future. No. It' deeper than that. I am
Wealthy in spirit. Rich in mind. And that, my beloved readers, is the only way for cultural Awareness to take full course in ones life.
It's the only way to gain relevance in life period. And call me a culture vulture; but
I am really passionate in raising the Awareness in my fellow Men And Women. And for the sake of our Nation And youth, you should be, too.
If you are working on an APWA-related project, please let us know how you plan to utilize the Archive. We hope to share information about your work with our readers and, whenever possible, with relevant APWA authors.
APWA is an open access archive. We encourage use of the writings for research, course planning, and projects engaged in examination of the criminal legal system. Reproduction of essays in their entirety infringes on author copyright without their explicit consent from the writers. Please contact us if you plan to reproduce entire essays; we will do our best to put you in contact with the authors for consent, and their compensation for any project that is profit making.