My hope is that my input of over 20 yrs experience in prison

White, James

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1) My hope is that my input of over 20 yr.s experience in prison will helped us better understand the barriers and hurdles that incarcerated people face today when it comes to trying to focus on rehabilitation. First I'll like to highlighted the need for a number of improvements regarding educational and vocational programs. #1 Require certification by the New York State Department of Education of all teachers and instructors at prisons, and regularly evaluate the teachers and instructors during classroom time. This course of action will removed some bad apples from a good tree, who is only nursing a paycheck as opposed to uplifting minds. There is a overriding theme in here among prisoners of changing the way education is viewed. One person said it best, "Education in prison should be a priority not a privilege." #2 Expand the availability of vocational programs so that incarcerated individuals can enroll in any and all vocational courses that will assist in their reintegration into their communities upon release, and ensure that all available vocational programs provide students with marketable skills. This course of action will give us the opportunity to achieved something significant greater then ourselves. Please understand, those who have and is utilizing their time wisely, is'nt only motivated by a spirit to "survive" but their long to pay it forward to they love ones as well community. I speak first hand. Family and friends play a supportive role with this journey of rehabilitation. Such as mail/visits ect. ect. So when their take the time out to come visit us, we expected the officers to treat them with respect, not like criminals, which is more common then you think. When ask why? Why do some of yall treat our love ones like criminals when their are law abiding citizens like you? One out of ten said "pure hatrey" Whats the solution to the ongoing problem? I believe New York 2) State Department should view all complaints against officers who have a track record of racial injustice and physical and verbal abuse that degrades human life, then establish a class for them that teaches them about "human dignity." After all, the justice system understand that prisoners are not the only ones who need rehabilitation. The truth is we're caught in an inescapable network of slavery tied in a single garment of greed. And so their tell us wait for your grievance/motions to be heard. But most of the time "waiting" leads to a-dead-end. And in some cases prisoners men/women a-like die waiting' if you get the bigger picture. Perhaps it is easy for those who have never felt the stinging darts of segregation to say wait for a-more convenient time. But when you have gas flying in your eyes, sticks upside your head, denial of food, then you will understand why its difficult to wait. Segregation distorts our soul and damages our personality. This is part of the reason why some take their life, and some come out worse. For everyone can see but few can feel. Everyone can see what you seem to be, few perceive what you are, and those few in here (officers) do not dare contradicted the opinion of many. I remember a time in another prison, I was sharing the word of God with the church, next thing you know, I was call down to the sgt office. When I walk in the office the first thing the sgt said to me with two other sgt's beside him was "praise the lord" so I respond back in kind, "Praise the lord" next thing you know he punch me in my face and the other two jump me. People laugh at this story, but the reality is, this is the kind of evil forces that exist in this place. The segregator has a false sense of superiority, and the segregated has a false sense of inferiority. Whatever affects 3) one directly affects all indirectly. But there comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and steadfast men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. There comes a time when one understand that strength is'nt in the arms, but in the mind. And so I am using my mind will, emotions, to overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love. Its the new normal. Its the greatest vision of a better way to operate. Prison reform in here will only come out of historical connectedness born out of traumatic experiences and using those experiences as a tool to teach others about life and its expectations. Not expectations of fear and separation, but in shared knowledge, recognition, repsect, and liberating purpose! This course of action is working not only with prisoners, but with the officers too, in consistent engagement with one another. What we are learning from both sides is that we all must take responsibility for our minds and our actions that followed. For example, if one of the prisoners I deal with "curse" he has to be held accountable for his thoughts and actions that follow which is 25 push-ups. Or if he think wrong thoughts, he is check on the spot with words like...Brother, how can you think negative thoughts and expect to live a positive life? Or, quit dwelling on whats wrong in your life, and start dwelling on whats right in your life. Just a few examples. But the goal is to guide people from all walks of life, into reprograming their minds with new information and inspiration. In this area, we as a whole, really are sharing. I speak first hand. 4) The world is now fighting a unseen enemy, Covid-19. I can tell you first hand, we all are deeply concern and pray up, not just for our love ones, but the whole world. This virus is imposing itself on life at every level, from death, to economic collapse, global health epidemics and the clash of civilizations. And now its spreading in the prisons, that is producing so much insecurity, emotional and social trauma. Some prisoners are beginning to feel like sitting ducks awaiting a death sentence. New York State prisoners was given a handkerchief and told to make the best of it. The only solution right now is, to foster patience and subdue these sources of disunity in the natural heart. We must continue to stay the course, and focus on the many precious truths on which we agree. Any other course of action, "mentally" will not only divide us, but contradict the progress of goodness we are standing for. As a whole, we will never attain unity unless we all conscientiously work for it. For the sun has been up a great while, and shine in our faces, have we this light to sleep in? Sincerity of Purpose Mr. White

Author: White, James

Author Location: New York

Date: May 15, 2020

Genre: Essay

Extent: 4 pages

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