No matter how many times

Hamilton, Lacino



February 2, 2011 Dad, No matter how many times, how many ways, I explain the past 37 years of nonfulfillment, you seem to never understand. You did not understand whan I was fifteen when I repeatedly asked for your help. Who advises their child to "hustle harder?" To "get out and get it like you live?" I listened, but you knew better than me the emotional, psychological and social reverberations. But you did not care, or had a peculiar way of showing it. It bothers me knowing my life could have bean different. I had intellectual wares you know. But how could I think of books when rent was due, and I was the only one concerned with meet that obligation? My teachers were so disappointed. They saw in ms back then what I see in myself today. What I am beginning to believe you simply refuse to see--a little Stokely, a little Patrice, and a whole lot of moxie. I do not hold it against you though. But I will not pretend either. Where is the lesson in that? You were not the best of parents. Far from good at all. The lessons I learned in brothels and crack dsns are not the sort of lessons a teenage boy should have been exposed to. And if you were teaching me the best of what you knew, shame on you. Shame on you for neglecting the future, your future, for a few moments of relief. I did have a right to expect something of you. Every boy and young man has a right to expect something from their father. Well, my desk is filled with books to read, correspondence to answer, and several essays with deadlines that are rapidly approaching. I’m assisting others with the many lessons in life that will assist in them avoid places like this. Teaching them how to live. Something you have never done. And may never do. Lacino Darnell Hamilton February 4, 2011 Dr. Fardan, I know I am not suppose to identify so thoroughly with George Oackson, but how can I not? Oust seconds ago some Neanderthal disguised as a corrections officer, who barely passed the Civil Servants test, denied me two sheets of writing paper. Why? Because he could. Because his uniform is grey & black and mine issd blue & orange. Because he has no idea how far I am willing to take things. Actually, I do not think George Backson went far enough. I'm aware that the people who put me here are just symbols, props, agents of a socio-economic order they half understand. I know all to well that the historic processes which caused us to share time and space could neither be predicted or foreseen by him. Still, he bears responsibility for allowing a wage to trump what is fair, and what is right. When a critical mass of pressure is reached, which myself and others are building toward, he will prostrate. And I will show him mercy in kind. I am part of a small contingent that is building a force that will become so excruciating, the State of Michigan will beg me to leave, fhis may be bloody. It may cause incalculable suffering. But it will only be a transition. There may be worse to follow. I hope not though. Lacino Darnell Hamilton mmmmm February 7, 2011 Dr. Fardan Prison not only cheats you out of your freedom, but if you’re politicized it attempts to subdue your voice also. The State of Michigan has been trying to silence me for over a decade: systematic transfers, confiscating my writings, sequestering me in some of the state's most repressive special housing units. Rut I am not the least bit deterred. I'm still in the fray for social justice. Still doing my part to organize with and around a grassroot movement. Prison by definition is a purely totalitarian enclave, that permits no independence of thought. I could be segregated for the correspondence I send to you. There are absolutely no illusions on this end about the nondemocratic temperament of the cartoons that staff this place. F*^k them. I'm willing to take it farther than any place they are prepared to take it. History shows that penalties do not deter people when their consciousness is aroused, and mine has been. tacino Darnell Hamilton February 8, 2011 Mom & Dad, I'm in receipt of your letter and money. I appreciate both, however, in the future your letters are more than enough. Make no financial sacrifices for my benefit. I’m resourceful. One of the skills I retain from my days of making do with thread, when rope was needed. The men here who have shared these cramped quarters with me for almost two decades, who understand what it means to be denied a normal life, do pull together to make certain that I have the materials necessary to continue the work I’m committed to. Many are acquainted with me before capture. They are aware of the identities of those who actually perpetrated this crime. They are aware that when I was arrested it was for the purpose of making me a witness to events I had absolutely no knowledge of. The only people feigning ignorance of this is the police and prosecutor. There are a lot of good people in the world, black and white. Do not measure an entire group of people by the few you have encountered, when you are at the bottom, like many are, rather they recognize it or not, one will pull on anything or anyone near them to get climb out of their rut. Its the system of capitalism that pits us against each other. I mean, do you really think American style economics is the best of all passible social contracts? Having to compete for food, clothes, shelter, education? Well I don’t. I know it is difficult for you to see the success in my plans, when all of your’s have failed, one after another. That is because your premise was flawed. This system is not designed with you in mind. You are part of America,'s permanent underclass. Because you did not understand this, your plans did not include challenging that status. Its never to late. Your son, Lacino Darnell Hamilton February 9, 2011 Dr. Fardan, I received your criticisms. Please understand that prisons and prisoners are part of a larger world. Our problems, while distinctive and special, are not all that unique. We are not the only group of people catching the worse of it. People are being denied basic rights, basic care all over the world. What is a philosophy that pales those matters JLn an international and historical context of the greater world and the course of history. As long as we think of the conditions of prison as unique, we remain isolated. Prison is just another front, another station in which to fight the forces of capitalism. Lacino Hamilton February 1G, 2011 Dr. Fardan, The time for bagging the State of Michigan to correct an obvious injustice has ended. Legal briefs are a useless enterprise. I'm prepared to liberate myself via gaffing hook and ladder, need be. First, it expedites release and a return to the front line where my particular skill set is in demand. Second, and extremely more important, it offers a prodigious jolt to the morale of other prisoners. Liberation from the feeling of being overwhelmed by the power and seemingly invincibility of barbed wire and guard shacks. Evidence that prisons are not impervious to sheer determination. I have felt the power of the State's punches for seventeen years. It's now time for the State to feel mins. A death blow. Most prisoners do not choose this course of action because it is intractable and entails more risks and hardships than arguing legal prscedents--false hope. After conviction we are given those worthless "how to" access the courts guides so that we will not comprehend the complete desperation of confinement. Could you imagine what this place would be like if prisoners knew from day-one that the odds of prevailing on appeal is like the odds of catching lightening in a bottle? Most prisoners would turn to the Assets Shakur model. Being ready to free one's self requires a seismic psychological shift. It requires recognizing no law that stands in between us and wide open spaces. I mean real freedom involves the complete alteration of all institutional substructures that support the State and property relations. Lacino Darnell Hamilton February 22, 2011 Dr. Fardan, I do not wish to burden you with miserable tales of my confinement. I had, however, at least for a short period, flirted with the idea of there being a rogue element within the criminal justice structure, but there isn’t. From arrest to conviction my confinement was deliberate, malicious, virulent. I simply did not possess the resources to compete with the State of Michigan. Prisons are society’s ultimate means of control over people who are actually or potentially disruptive to the social order. There is no place for large numbers of people in tomorrow’s economy. Laws are passed to reflect that reality. If not explicitly, definitely in the ways they are enforced. Incarcerated people know better than most people the sham and corruption, the class and race biases of criminal law enforcement. The assembly-line processing that passes as representation by public defenders. And that prosecutors are political appointments and that judges must raise large sums of money to get and stay on the bench. The logical question then, is who gives them the money? Collectively they are called the donor class, and their vision for the future looks nothing like your’s or mine. Their vision has a need for places like this to be built without end. And it doesn't matter whose in the white house, Democrat or Republican. U.S. prison expansion was at its height during the Clinton administration. When the economy was humming and scalled crime was low. Why are three out of four shows on television cop shows? Its because people are being socialized to accept the emergence of a police state. In years past it was through the FBI’s Counter Intelligence program [fi'tjlNTELPRO] that the public image of those that dared to resist was distorted to legitimize arrest, imprisonment, and the overall scapegoating of working-class and poor people, today it is accomplished through television shows. That is because the forces of repression no longer target individuals, but instead entire classes and groups. No, there was no rogue element at all. I, like tens of thousands of others, just was not prepared to fight. If I'm guilty, of anything, I mean anything at all, its that. Lacino Darnell Hamilton March 22, 2011 Mom & Dad, Must I continue to convey to you that I'm not trying, nor have I ever tried, to folloiij the rules of the Michigan Department of Corrections? Its antithesis to everything I am—a human being. You're going to have to accept that, have to understand that i am not more guilty of this crime than you are. I will not pretend that police and prosecutors did not manufacture this case out of whole cloth, because they did. Police and prosecutors lied because I would not lie on people I did not know. And for that there is a price to pay. I'm not referring to civil suits or remotely anything monetary. That is a very small stage the exonerated play on, Those rewards are fleeting. I'm talking Old Testament. They should pay the price of bitter suffering that I haves paid the last seventeen years of my caged life. Thera is no crime I could ever commit, in pursuit of my freedom, as great as the crime committed by those who deny me my freedom. No crime whatsoever. When I leave, those that kept me all of these years will know in unambiguous terms that I was dissatisfied. That I did everything humanly possible to correct those that play a role in sustaining this dull reality. That is right, the State of Michigan, County of Wayne, city of Detroit mads me an outlaw via false reports and serial witnesses. How is it possible for one person to appear in court every few weeks with tales of another confession? The witness the State brought against me was an opportunist, a product of the prison environment. Which compels lesser men to curry favor at the expense of others. Well, not me. The roots of my discontent go much deeper than any particular prison policy or the reaction of administrators, they are to be found in the factors alluded to above--wrongful incarceration. to bo patient, as you suggest, requires a belief that there is something magical about the passing of time. As if things happen independent of effort. Well, there isn't and they don't. Ijacino Darnell Hamilton April 22, 2011 Mom & Dad, Why would you write me something like that? Alzhemiers? Neurosis? Some form of psychosis? Please tell me that is what it is. Anything but you believe I should passively wait for the state to admit I was wronged. Because that's not going to happen. How many times do I have to share with you never to advise or even hint at "being good" will somehow better my situation? What exactly is that? Following rules that denigrate me as a human being, that treat me like a child, and requires me to surrender my dignity and self-respect? Rules that forbid me from openly questioning the legitimacy of the State's authority to detain ms? rules that severely censor alternative ideas about power? I possess no illusions about the possibilities of radically changing prison simply by staging revolution within the walls. But i do feel strongly that revolutionary organization and action within prison has a place in a broader revolutionary struggle: Wisconsin, Ohio, Lansing, Tunisia, Egypt, Lybia. Revolution is an idea that is inspiring populations all over the world, an idea that is becoming more varied. I do wish you werre on the right side of history. Or at least on my side. I could teach you. You are not too old to contribute in a significant way. That is the beauty about what we are building. Principles trump politics, and people are valued over profit. That hope-starved neighborhood you live in largely bounded hy schools that don’t teach, unemployment and despair will be the next capitol. The options for support will not be limited to what can be hoaxed, cajoled or stole. And you will not have to cede the streets to deviant behavior. I have not been idle all of these years. I have painfully educated myself to the point where my vision is clear and my ability to endure pain is astronomical. I will never again allow the State, or anyone for that matter, to move on me without having second strike capacity. I’m not waiting on some super negro to fly in and save the day. We must save ourselves. I could be sitting in your living room tomorrow if you stop listening to those television evangelist and other frauds. If you would put your faith in me. But I love you just the same. I have nothing, so I have nothing to lose. Your son, liacino Darnell Hamilton P.S. If for some reason I do not make it out alive, do not send for my body, save your money, flowers and tears, my life work is not in vain. What you do not understand, future generations will. Your son. April 28, 2011 Claudia, George Oackson, whom some people say is my alter ego, explained that when a person possesses something complementary to their character, it is virtually impossible for them to hide it, or keep from telling it to people they wish to impress. It is, he says, ’’natural egoism, the need for attention and flattery asserting itself.” I have, by means of diligence and discipline, eradicated the needs. However, I do understand that my immediate future depends on the largesse of others. If people are going to invest in me commensurate to the task of exoneration and release they have to know I’m worth the time, effort and inevitably the resources. Which means I have to acquaint them with the things that enhances my complex of mental and ethical traits. Its not an ego thing at all. Mot all prisoners are experiencing the growth in awareness that I am. It has everything to do with the fact that I am innocent. The fact that I cannot and will not reconcile with the frustrating, oppressive, degrading interruption in my life. Even prisoners that hate this experience as much as I do, on some level accept the legitimacy of their incarceration beause they of some involvement in what they have been sentenced to prison for—not me. My confinement owes its existence to the partiucular political realities of the time rather than to the exigencies of law enforcement. Studying has helped me understand that. Helped me understand that I’m not just another prisoner. I'm honing the necessary skill set to present a bona fide challenge to the criminalization of poor and oppressed people. This is not just a challenge to the criminalization of poor and oppressed people. This isn’t just about a rogue police division, opportunistic prisoners, and prosecutorial complicity. Society has been conditioned to sterotype people who are from the bottom. Who look like, talk like, and express themselves culturally as I do. In short, I just don't have possess the luxury to wait on people to get it on their own. I need help like yesterday, i'm almost two decades in, three away from my earliest release date. I ask that you understand. Sincerely, Lacino Darnell Hamilton May 2, 2011 Mom & Dad, Oust once I mould like to read your letters mlthout experiencing a migraine afterwards. There is no way you can really believe what you wrote: "God put me here for a reason." I»ve never believed in fairy tales. Not even as a child. So please miss me with your mystery spiel. You do not have to lie. It doesn't help me or the bridge I'm trying to build to meet you somewhere in the middle. Between your acceptance of a life plagued by constant setbacks and disappointments, and the life that I'm working toward for all of us. God did not put me here, Detective Dames Fleming and career criminal turned serial witness Oliver Cowan, did. I know who my enemies are, do you? I sometimes think that people Invented the God concept so they could be intellectually lazy, just like you. So that they did not have to taka responsibility for the things happening about them, When has closing your eyes, wishing a problem away, then opeing your eyes ever worked? it hasn't. You do know Shako taught us that is how Afrlka was stolen from the Afrikans, right? When the missionaries came the Afrikans had the land and the missionaries had the bibles. The missionaries taught the Afrikans how to pray with their eyes closed. When they opened them, the missionaries had the land and the Afrikans had the bibles. In order to solve a problem go to the heart of it. A problem clearly envisaged, a point succinctly made, holds the elements of the solution in themselves. Every solution must be susceptible to mathematical expression. For every problem is the result of movement and rhythms that give it form and character. God has not made our lives a living hell. People greedy for profit have. The same people who made ghettos, who re-engineered the chemical components of cocaine and came up with crack, and who eliminated jobs and schools knowing vary wall that people would do crime as a rasult. Shame on you for not giving Ford, Chrysler, Walmart, Exxon, Nestla, Firestone, Colgate, Blackwater, Compuware, Dole, and the rast of the greedy capitalist credit for creating this dull reality. tlearn to know the world in yourself, like I have. And never look for yourself in the world. That would be to project illusions. If god isn't in you, you will find God nowhere. But if God is, you will find God everywhere. Do you follow? You have the power to play more than victim. But first you must believe In yourself, and people like me. You underestimate me, mom and dad. I’m a representative of what we are building: noble, disciplined, heroic, intrepid, audacious, resourceful, indomitable. Actually, all the things you pray for. Your son, liacino Although. I Mould ve,ny muck like to get out o^ ke^ie In aside* to develop a fiew Idea* that have occuaaed to me— Although 1 Mould not like to leave my bone* heae on the hill, l£ It 16 a choice hetMeen that and Autifiendealng the thing* that alloM me to hold my head eaect and unboMed, then the hill can have my bone*. Many time* In the hl*toay o^ oua pa*t-~T *peak oh the Ah^lkan heae In the U.S.— Many time* Me toeae pae*ented Mlth the choice, too many time*, too many oh u* cho*e to live calppled exlAtence oh the neaK man, the halh~man. Well, X don't cane hoM long I live. Oven thl* 1 have no contnol, but I do cane about Mhat kind oh Hh^ 1 live, and I can contnol thl*. I may not live but anothen h^v<L minute*, but It'll be h^e minute* dehlnltely on MV TERMS! "Soledad Snothen*," By Geonge L. Jack*on Octoben 5, 2013 Pno h&**on iempent, I Identlhy Mlth Geonge Jack*on *o completely, that thene Ma* a time Mhen I *lgned all conne*pondence "Geonge £ Me." He Ma* my h^** tncounten Mlth a pnlAonen Intellectual. Someone, like my*elh, who had been penven*ely ml*lnhonmed dunlng hi* honmatlve yean*. But thnough dl*clpllne and *heen detenmlnatlon Ma* able to locjLte hi* humanity In *tnuggle; and the *tnuggle* oh othen*. My alten ego\ The *oclal l*olatlon oh pnl*onen* cneate* a ho*t oh , not the lea*t oh which l* *ecnet* about the live* oh the poon and oppne**ed. Pnl*on not only l*olate* Mojmen dehlned a* cnlmlnal ba*ed upon the pantlculan political nealltle* oh the time, but help conceal the pnoblem* oh *oclety pnoduced by nacl*m and, lncnea*lngly, global capltall*m. People ane pno houndly ahh&cted by the May they *atl*hy need*, on don’t. My que*tlon to tho*e Mho coun*el me to "tone It doMn a hit" l*: What Mould you do lh It Ma* you Mho Ma* *entenced to die In pnl*on becau*e de-lnduAtnlallzatlon canved you out oh the pnoductlon pnoce**2 Thene l* *uch an exaggenated empha*l* on pnl*onen* "taking ne*pon*lblllty" *o that *oclal ln*tltutlon* do not have to bane any. Tnlck no good! Lacino Hamilton June 4, 2014 Dear Dr. Lempert, Congratulations on another successful Training, and the Ford Foundation grant. Of course I/O will have some skeptics, to be sure, but terrorism? I am going to assume that somewhere, somehow, the trainee that dropped out has adopted a confused notion that "real" prison1work Is about saving souls, not legitimate debates and criticisms that shed light on crucial Issues of race, class, gender, and power. I am certain that given time. If the trainee dug deeper, she would find the I/O program to possess Intellectual depth, scholarly Integrity, and a start!Inq level of erudition. *''J Theory Group could not nearly miss me as much as f miss Theory Group. It Is only one of me to miss. I miss ALL of you. In Individual and particular ways. The extraordinary privilege to be counted as an I/O and TG alum has by far been the highlight of my pursuit of social Justice. I suppose,^ in retrospect. It would be, fair to say that It Is a privilege that 1 did not fully appreciate In the moment. I was not as smart as I could have been about the pain and heartache dtvorced from the routines, habits, places, and people familiar and dear to me. Nonetheless, ray privileged experience compels me to not only think sharply and substantively about a wide range of Intellectual Issues but, I get the notion that struggle Is the key to the Intellectual's vocation from the communities I grew up In, and will be returning to. ' l . • A major theme In the "when I get out” conversations Is leaving. Going somewhere where the jobs are plentiful, crime Is low, and people are Judged by "the content of their character," not the color of their skin. While I am certain that such utopias do exist, the obligation to return to the places that I caused harm and contribute to repair that harm. Is on me. There Is no shame In wanting to live free of the plagues on our soda! and moral lives, and on our physical existence, too. However, ! want that for more than just myself. Those who hurt because of race, c!, sexuality, gender, age, health, environment, disability, religion, region, and the like have disturbed me Into action. If I say that as a social Justice advocate ! will bo returning to a Black ghetto to work with Black people, and thus contribute to tfie Black freedom struggle, I am not elevating the struggles of Black people over that of others. I simply see working with the people that I will be In dose proximity to the logical place of departure. If Black human beings grow and develop, society Is better; If they continue to atrophy, likewise the larger society suffers. I am no; confused about my life work or how I am charged with the responsibility to put Into action what I have acquired, right now Immediately, for more than Just ray own personal gratification. Hy blog should be up and running within the next two months, no later than shortly after fall oemoster b g. Hy primary focus will be prisons and prisoners, tailored to our needs and driven by our aspirations as a degraded and oppressed class. Two other objectives, of equal Importantance, Is raising awareness about my Innocence, and raising the necessary funds to retain competent legal representation. Michigan doss not grant favorable action (parolj/commutatfon/pardon) to people such as myself, who do not admit guilt. It Is the courts or nothing, which has In large part Influenced my behavior the past twenty years. The certificates may prove helpful only after I have won an evidentiary hearing. I am a firm believer that people Invest In people they see value In. Not of the potential variety, but concrete value. 1 will keep you Informed how the bfog and the stated goafs progress. Perhaps you wlf! be able to assist (anonymously of course) In helping raise awareness and/or funds for an attorney. While over the years ! have made thread work when rope was needed, I agree with what you wrote In the first letter mailed to me after I departed from Theory Group, ! need to be In the free world where the dynamics are not so predictable and my particular skill set can be put to better use. I would appreciate If you gav' some thought to where I might be able to procure funds. You did not mention Steve, James, Randy, Fred, Bang©, Brian, or Maurice In the last letter. It Is remarkable how each of those guys mean so much to me. Thank you for the readings. ! am starved for Intellectual stimulation. My book club has been decimated by transfers. My Interactions are confined to one housing unit. We do not Interact with others In the prison. Actually, with the exception of gym and law library, we never leave the housing unit. I did enclose a couple of my mere recent writings (they will bo on the blog). The place on racism that you shared with the class was my Indirect way cf weighing In on the Donald Sterling sage. The enclosed writing Is my direct response. I know you are busy. Please let everyone know I am thinking about them, isp:dally Jamas, Jay, E, Fred, Mario, and Steve. Thank you so vary much. The opportunity was priceless. One ! will not soon forget, and that will be Incorporated In all of my worthwhile and earnest endeavors going forward. Affectionately, Lacino Hamilton P.S. D:ir*!u" Cd "r ' hr r. c' and b~*t vIsV--. Hr "-r'sk: v ry highly 'f LV I/O experience' and hopes that an opportunity will arise thot will allow him to participate more fully with I/O and TG. I must admit If had not bean for him, my continued work would havo been strained. Dr. Lsmpert, September 28, 2014 You are, positively, my favorite person! Of course Inside-Out is too large to be dealt with in one visit and in the short time they allowed Sarah, Rrian, and you—but it was a brave scene. My small but mighty professor invading the worst of the state’s ?’minimum-maximum,, security prison. The attitude of the staff here toward incarcerated people is both defensive and hostile. Until we give in completely, it will be so. By giving in, I mean, prostrating oneself at staff’s feet. Only then does their attitude alter itself to one of paternalistic condescension. An emotional and psychological diffusion of violence. How else can a small guard force be expected to hold and rule a much larger group except through terror? Hyperbolic? Unfortunately, it isn’t. Enough of that, as happy as I was to see the three of you (you in particular), it carried with it the painful echo of hearing of your retirement. I was hoping that you would tell me that Sarah and Brian were just pulling my leg, but you didn’t. Perhaps that is just me being selfish? Clearly, you’ve given more of yourself, in more ways, than I can probably ever imagine. You no doubt deserve to spend time with your grandchildren. Time will pass, we shall all miss your physical presence in our lives, but we will love you no less, just in a more extraordinary, special, and deliberate way. Do not ever think for one second that the two of us were ever in conflict. Here, in this tragic role as prisoner, by the will of circumstances being put to severs physical and moral tests, I needed Inside- Out, Theory Group. I needed you to give me the opportunity to be part of something bigger than myself. To taka me out of my frustrated world of rigid routines and challenge me to think from retreat to reveille. Words are inadequate in every respect to convey the impact you have had on my ability to serve in broader more significant ways. Besides, I know it pains you just as much, if not more, to be departing. Yet, the unquestionable comfort lies in the fact that the pain has nothing in common with a feeling of hopeless depression. On the contrary, the feelings and memories left by your magnanimous capacity to care and bend in a direction that others flee from, somehow frees me from the burden cf saying what can’t be said in one letter, or any combination of letters, and at ths same time I cannot wait until you go so ws can, for the first time in correspondence, be free to express tha broad scope of social justice. At this moment I feel such a thrill of promise. I hops that by some means you have discovered that I appreciate and lova you deeply, my friend. Oh, get ready to bock that flight. Will abreast you in future correspondence of all the developments in the case. Sincerely, Lacino Hamilton The prison is above punitive, it operates to break the human spirit, to exploit human weakness, to undermine human strength, to destroy initiative, to destroy individuality, to negate intelligence, and process amorphous; robot-like mass. The great challenge is how to resist, how to adjust, to keep in tact ths knowledge of the society outside and live by its rules; for that is the only way to maintain the human and social within. Nelson Mandela April 11, 2015 Dear Professor liempert, No one leaves prison unscathed, not even the men and women who use their time immersed in the process by which the personal and social meanings of experience intersect and become one. Still, I tell myself that I'm different. I will not only exit prison emotional and psychologically unharmed, but restored. Not because I am extraordinary, there are exceptions to ever rule, will not be the first to do so, but because I'm aware--and awareness compels one to act, and act accordingly. My particular awareness grew out of my experiences of having to make do with yarn, when rope was needed. It grew out of misery and urgency. As a child I was starved for information that would stop the torture that others called parenting. I was only four or five when these ideas first came to me. Much to small to fend off attackers, too inexperienced to make critical decisions. I developed instead a wit about myself, smarts, intelligence's practical twin. I do not trace my awareness simply back to the need to survive, or years later after incarceration the discovery of books. I trace it back to those cramped and confused years when no one wondered, cared or understood. Awareness possess an "in the moment" component. The things that are right now, right here, immediate are ths most important. They bring have a way prioritizing and ordering the things around a person. I wish that you would not worry so much about me.... Lacino Daily the Negro is coming more and mors to look upon law and justice, not as protecting safeguards, but as a source of humiliation and oppression. The laws are made by men who have little interest in him; they are executed by men who have absolutely no motive for treating the Black people with courtesy or consideration; and, finally, the accused lawbreaker is tried not by his peers, but too often by men who would rather punish ten innocent Negroes than let one guilty escape. W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folks May 6, 2015 Dear Dr. Lempert, The powerful association between Black/poor people and crime in the public mind has not developed spontaneously, neither has the ruthless policing of Black/poor lives. If Dubois’ scathing critique of ths American criminal justice system nearly a century ago is not enough to convince people that the problem is institutional and not individual, what about the blanket support for the six officers charged with Freddie Grey’s death from police unions throughout the country? Those that believed integrating police departments would solve the problems for which the Black Panther Party for Defense first came into existence some fifty years ago must be disillusioned by now, right? Such cosmetic changes in ths personnel has made no significant difference because the problem, as we so inadequately call It, goes much deeper than the racial or ethnic makeup of any particular police department. Policing strikes at the very heart of society, where discrimination is still institutionalized from the top down, and where the primary role of the police is to control and keep in place those whom society is incapablca of integrating and treating as equals. I see value in becoming a criminologist because of the deep need for counternarratives, counter-research, and academic led activism. I never want to give the impression that I'm objective, because I’m not. I’m biased in favor of poor and oppressed paople; and resolutely believe that if packaged imaginatively, with the personal experiences and immediate needs of the recipients at the core, university level education can be learned by any age group. Houever, to accomplish this we can no longer woo false gods or invoke half measures. Frederick Douglass was right on target when ha wrote, "The whole history of progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will." Trying to get young people to struggle against police and other racist institutions Is not difficult as we are making it. Rut the attempt need not be, as it is often envisaged, and idealistic, utopian appeal to altruistic Instincts. Young people are ready right now. It is the so-called vanguard that isn’t. We need to stop trying to bring them back into conformity with a social order predicated on inequality. They are half way there already. I do not think of myself as one small person among so many. I know what I can do. I know I can build and make things happen. I have the nervous equipment for that. If nothing else, I will not have missed the opportunity to exhort the young to better organize and search for the answers to their questions. Mot to mention, I love people. I mean really dig people. Especially righteous people like you. In prison more than elsewhere one cannoit afford to be casual. We cannot to abolish institutions detrimental to human society without demanding of one’s mind and body ths labor at once delicate and brutal as the process itself. There just isn’t any other way. Lacino We aint doing crime for the sake of doing crimes We moving dimes cause we aint doing fine One out of three of us is locked up doing time You know what this type of shit can do to a niggaa mind? My mind on my money, money on my mind If you owe me ten dollars you aint giving me nine Y'all aint give me 40 acres and a mule So I got my Glock 40, now Ifm cool Dear Ashley Uucas, PCAP Director, Day Z, "Say Hello" In the February 2016, PCAP Mews, it has you saying that the more you work with the Prison Creative Arts Project, the more you realize how hard it is for any one person to see the full range of things that PCAP does. Which got me to thinking: the more I read PCAP literature or publications, the more I realize how difficult it is for subscribers to see the full range of incarcerate people's position as historical subjects. Its as if we don't possess politics or interpret our incarceration only from the lens of deserving punishment, albeit a less odious form. Perhaps I'm missing something, which is possible, and why I'm writing to you. I definitely cannot lay claim to reading any and everything PCAP publishes. But it sure appears that people who write like me, and there has to be others who pen counter-narratives, are not featured in your publications. When people are exposed to and know that counter-narratives exist and witness other people choosing them, social alternatives become possible that weren't before, liikewise, when we openly pass up voices of least resistance, we increase resistance for other voices around that path, because now they must reconcilee their voice with what they've heard/seen. This suggest that the simple way to help others see the world and its possibilities different, is to see things different ourselves, and to do it openly. As we shift understanding of incarceration, to say nothing of the social dynamics which influenced it, ^ make it easier for others to do so as wall, and harder for them not to. But when voices are silenced, even unintentionally, it promotes see' the world and possibilities as we've always seen them, and responding to the challenges in front of us as we've always responded. I'm anxious to receive your response, and have enclosed two writings as examples of ideas that don't fit the prevailing assumptions about prison reform or incarcerated people experience with the policies, procedures and practices that shape our incarceration. Re-building to win, Lacino Hamilton, 247310 Thumb Correctional Facility 3225 Bohn Conley Dr. Lapeer, MI 48446 Well-meaning heterosexual people may bemoan gay bashing and hate based assualts on gays and lesbians, but assume that the system is basically fine as is. They only see extreme examples of prejudice and live their lives unaware of the daily exclusions, insults and assaults endured by those who are not heterosexual. Teaching For Social Diversity February 10, 201 6 Michael, I've been In contact with blackflag for a couple months. I asked them to send names and addresses of other incarcerated people active like myself, your name an address was one many received. I decided to write after reading your piece, Thoughts On Trans Solidarity. I am a heterosexual black male struggling to overcome oppressive systems of social organization; and my own prejudices and ignorance i.e., theories of crime and criminality have historically focused on men, with little accounting for women, gays, lesbians, and transgender people. In the interest of identifying particular gendered practices that affect those populations, I'd like to open up a dialogue with you. I've bean incarcerated 22 years of a 52 to 80 year sentence. I've spent the overwhelming majority of that time in pursuit of information and knowledge that places me on the right side of history—poor and oppressed people will not remain oppressed forever. While I embrace that as both an historical fact and inevitable reality, conditions have never changed independent of action commensurate of the task at hand. I'm open to a broad range of debate and dialogue, if you are? I'm hoping interaction with you will expand the lens through which I see the world and strengthen my writings and activism, find if not, perhaps we can become friends and support each other through this "man-made" nightmare? In solidarity, Lacino Hamilton, 247310 Thumb Correctional Facility 3225 Cohn Conley Or. Lapeer, MI 48446 March 9, 2016 Dear Peter, Do I mind you asking where I receive my information from? Of course not. Let me begin though by sharing a little personal history, okay? Like many young [19], impressionable Black males that entered the Michigan penal system in the mid 1990s, I was heavily recruited by a non-orthodox Islamic sect. It was part religious, part Black nationalist, part civic, radical in a physical sense, but grossly philosophical and ideological backwards. No clearly defined political lines, and no effort toward developing or practicing social change theory. However, the group did introduce me to books. Four of my first five years incarcerated were spent in solitary confinement, where there was little else to do but read to escape the attendant activities characteristic of that environment. In the beginning I was reading almost exclusively Islamic related material and books and literature with narrow nationalist views. Far more lasting than any specific set of facts or pieces of knowledge, those four years of reading provided me with the unders tending of how to mine for my own knowledge. I learned how to read an essay closely, search for sources, find data to prove or disprove a hypothesis, and detect an author’s prejudice, among other skills, that were not promoted during my K-12 experience. Considering the inescapable oppression of long term solitary confinement, it was inevitable that my reading would turn toward ideas and actions to prevent future experiences. I parted ways with the Islamic group during that period. Now, for where I receive information? From any place I can. One of the poorest sources is television. Most everything is reduced to sound bites; and what passes for debate say on CNN or Fox News, is actually a diminutive cadre of 'government officials, academics, and corporate elites who differ in tactics, not strategy. I have actually learned to watch and listen not so much as to be informed about the news of the day, but to learn the biases and prejudices of those who program the news. I read just about anything I can get my bends on, despite the department’s policy of censoring information that reinforces behavior modification. There are people kind enough to send me books. I keep a list just in case people ask. I have friends who download articles and information and send to me. find I write magazine/nawapaper editors and basically bag for free subscriptions. When it comes to my education I’m not to proud to beg. What matters is that I learn and share it with others, in here and out there. While I’m not oblivious to what is going on in society, its doesn’t take exact details to know. What I mean is, society is just as segregated today as it was In the Civil Rights era, except the major determinant is class and not race, even though the two are often intertwined. Most of the arguments about a socalled broken school system, lack of community control of schools, and so on from 30 or 40 years ago, apply today. Elections are still being bought, as they all ways have been [and Bernie Sanders only looks radical in comparison to Hillary Clinton. That isn’t to say he isn’t pushing the conversation further left than what it would be if he wasn’t in the race, but he’s still a member of a corporate controlled party whose record looks no different than the other corporate controlled party.] You follow? I write people all the time trying to open up lines of communication. When I’m successful, I find that the exchanges themselves are informative. I would go as far as to say educational. My goal is to learn all that I can about as much as I can. And I give just as much weight, perhaps some times more, to my personal experiences. As far as the #Incarcerated Lives Matter essay, I simply would like you to post it or tweet it so others can possibly come on board. I definitely would like you to place me in contact with the people you alluded to in the jpay letter. Prison is a closed environment, if I’m not able to connect with others, In a very real sense, I die--a social death. I hope that the two of us can find ways to build a working relationship, as well as a friendship. I must go but will write again when time and finance permits. In solidarity, Lacino

Author: Hamilton, Lacino

Author Location: No information

Date: October 24, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 30 pages

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