The mentality of an incarcerated criminal!

Brown, Rahasheem

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The Mentality of an incarcerated criminal! Part One The Mentality of my Youth There is a whole mentality behind, both, crime and incarceration. In criminology (the study of the behavior patterns & the mindset of the criminal) one learns how to recognize & apprehend a criminal. When someone is arrested, he is diagnosed, in different ways, as criminally insane (i.e. anti-social, narcissistic, etc.). The mentality of the criminal is acquired at a very young age, in most cases. This is why a pre-sentencing investigation (P.S.I.) report, goes back to your parents history, the history of your siblings, (especially if any of them were incarcerated or in trouble with the law) and so on. There were role-models in the hood (neighborhood) from which I hail; very few, of whom, have never been incarcerated. Even fewer have never committed a crime in my presence. When I was young (and looking up to them), they did not &, probably, could not have known that they, indirectly, planted some seed or another in my young mind. I eventually learned to think in an "every-man-for-himself" sort of way; and when age denied me the opportunity to seek legal employment, I sought other means of obtaining capital. Crime in the inner-city will always offer a means, to those who are willing to break-the-law to to earn a dollar. These dollars were fast & easy to make and without any hard-labor. I remember walking past the Schenectady County Jail once, (where several people I know/knew had been and spoke of) thinking "I wonder what it looks like in there?" In the back of my mind, I knew I need not contemplate that for too long, thus, because I knew that I would, eventually, find out. So I abandoned the first thought and began contemplating what I would be doing, to get my name uo, (become known and respected [or better fearful]) while I'm there. By this time I had already been to D.F.Y. (the New York State Department of Corrections Services, Division for Youth) for 4 years, in total. This was a combination of 2 stays that were less than 10 days apart. I had also been on probation, for 2 1/2 years out of 3, by this time. I was taken off of the streets (away from society) before ever completing my third year. I was eventually sent to D.F.Y. from the home (group-home) that D.S.S. placed me in. The first D.F.Y. facility I was in, was Pias XII, in Westchester County, New York. While there, I became a better (or worse) and more organized criminal. Prior thereto, I would steal from establishments, (sometimes I'd get caught and have to be picked-up by adult family members; from the youth division of the police department) hold guns and/or drugs for the older hustlers or I would steal drugs, from the drug dealers, who would allow me into their homes; and then sell them for less than their street value. In Pias XII, I started a team (a group) called the Inch-Mob. I was the youngest in the group at the age of 10. The other 4 members were 11,12, & 14 (two of them were 14). We would jump people who were older or bigger than us, rob people for their money and property, etc. The facility would circulate a phony money to us called dinosaur dollars. These would come in denominations of $1, $5,$10, and/or $20, with different dinosaurs on them. Fact is, these phony dollars represented real money. This means for every dinosaur dollar you possessed, you would be given a real dollar in exchange for it, when you left the facility, went on home visits or on off-grounds trips. At different levels you would be allowed greater freedoms. I never advanced to the level you must be on, to receive home visits, because I was always in trouble; but I did reach the level for off-grounds once. So I would spend most of the money I'd take at the facilities store. For every member there was, in the Inch-Mob, there was a 17 or 18 year old who would "hold him down" (protect him); so they would get a cut of the money we would come up with. These 17 & 18 year olds would also school us. In fact, this is where I learned about having a drug connection to buy from, and how much it would cost to purchase some, for sale. The property, we would take, would be sold or kept for our own usage. Originally, I was only supposed to be there for a six month evaluation, but I, ultimately, spent 10 months there; due to my behavior. When I left, it was to a more secure youth facility, called Oatca, in Monroe County, just outside of Rochester, New York. Oatca had a 3 level system at the main facility: 1) Yellow- These individuals would receive the most freedoms (i.e. they were allowed to watch t.v. & communicate with one another, etc.) 2) Level- Individuals, who were level, would have most of the same privileges as those who were yellow; but at a lesser degree. 3) Frozen- This means, that all of your privileges are restricted (frozen). (e.g. an individual who was frozen would have to face his chair away from the t.v. in the t.v. area). There was also an "all privileges" dorm called 79, which was on the Industry facility's compound. Industry was another youth facility down the hill from Oatca While at the main facility, I was always frozen; with the exception of one week. That week, I made it to Level, and was sent to the "all privileges" dorm. I never made it to yellow, though, I do not remember doing anything, in particular, to get into trouble there. I was always frozen, thus, for an accumulation of small infractions; I guess. When I was sent to dorm 79, I avoided getting into anything (any trouble) because I didn't want to be sent back to the main facility. I, eventually, went home from Oacta. I was placed on an aftercare program called HBIS (Home-based, Intensive-care, Supervision). This placement lasted a little more than a week, but came to an end; when I drew a weapon on my HBIS supervisor, for making a statement directed toward my mother. When I went back in, I went through Highland Falls youth facility, Tryon youth facility, Buffalo residential center, and ended up in Great Valley youth facility: in Salamanca, New York. During my second incarceration, as a youth, I was away from society fore, nearly, 2 years. Most of that time was spent at Great Valley youth facility. I, eventually, made it to the facility's highest level; but it took me a long time to do so. It was also a very "short-lived" stay at the top. When I went home, back to Schenectady, New York, my mother sent me to live with my brother, Keith & his wife, in Columbia, Maryland. The state of Maryland wanted to put me in youth detention; because I was getting into a little trouble over there. I wasn't involved in any criminal activity, but, as a non-resident of the state, my general behavior warranted this action. For this reason, my brother sent me back to Schenectady. But it was there, in the state of Maryland, that I held my first, "under-the-table," legal job; landscaping & passing out the company's fliers. My brother, Keith, has been to prison once, back in the 70s or 80s, but has never returned. Aside from myself and him, 3 of my mother's other children have been to prison (my bother George, my brother Charles & my brother Andrew [who went to prison for, nothing more than, falling asleep at my brother George' house]). My mother bore 10 children, of which, I am the youngest. My father, who, himself, passed away in prison, bore 6 children. Of that 6, 3 of us have been to prison, (Myself, my only younger brother [Jahmal] & my sister Vanessa [who is serving a 25 years to Life sentence]). Once back in Schenectady, I was back with those individuals who I started-out in the streets with; but with a few new additions, from from New York City. I also had a new mindset, that sat well with those in my circle. They were selling drugs, having sex, carrying guns (this was nothing new to me; where I had been arrested with a gun before I was 10 years old), robbing, shooting & etc. All of this, I adapted quickly; where I had previously been schooled by the 17&18 year olds in Pias XII and other youth facilities. Another thing I learned in Pias XII, while stealing dinosaur dollars, was how to put-up and save money. There was also my dealings with drug dealers and older hustlers & gunmen, prior to my initial, youth incarceration. The above, coupled the, then, "hands-on experience," gave me a full & complete understanding of the life-style I was living. Back from "out of state," same people, same places, same results! Only, my next stay in D.F.Y. was on a 19 count, robbery & assault indictment. Despite the seriousness of these offenses, this was my shortest incarceration, to date. After just 4 short months, I fell very ill; while at Rochester Residential Center, in the city of Rochester, New York. At Rochester General Hospital, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness known as: Chrones Disease/ Ulcerative Colitis. While it is very treatable now, back in 1994, the medical field know little about my condition and/or its causes. They could recognize & diagnose the illness, at that time. I was, eventually, taken from Rochester General Hospital to St. Clair's Hospital, in Schenectady, New York; so the probation & child-placement department would be able to monitor me. Upon discharge from the hospital, I was placed on house-arrest; thus, to avoid going back to D.F.Y., I assume that the court believed that such a blow might slow me down. Fat chance of that! Bracelet, on my ankle, and all, I was back on the streets. I was, later, arrested, on house-arrest, for stealing a motor-bike; to sell to a buyer, who came to me about one. I was, again, taken to the youth division of Schenectady police department. this was with an ounce of marijuana on me, that was over-looked during the pat-frisk. I put the drugs in the ceiling of the building. When I was asked if there was someone who could pick me up, I told the detective "no." This prompted the detective, to research my Juvenile record, to see if there was a number he could call. In doing so, he discovered that I had lied about my age, and that I was actually 16 years old. I was transferred to the adult side of the police department and the house-arrest bracelet was removed. The Mentality of an incarcerated criminal" Part TWo The Mentality of my Adulthood I was sent to the Schenectady County Jail the next morning. I was sentenced to 30 days, jail-time, of which I served 20 days incarcerated; this was where I used-up my Y.O. (youthful offender) status. While I was in there, I went to the "box" (S.H.U. or Special Housing Unit) twice; once for a physical altercation with 2 County officers. I went home from S.H.U. and went right back to the streets; but not until after my brothers' funeral. During my first stay in Schenectady County Jail (just 2 days before I was set to be released) my brother, Charles, suffered a massive heart attack and passed away; at just 26 years old. Just one week prior to his passing, my brother George (who was Charles' only full-brother) & my brother Andrew were arrested in a drug raid; at one of my brother George' apartments. Our brother's passing left us heart broken; but the streets was our medicine. My brother, Charles', funeral was important to us all; but especially to my brother George, who was his closest ally. So he was bail-out, of jail, (on a bond) with the help of our mother; who put a lien against her home as collateral. After the funeral, me and my brother George were back to the streets & the life-style full-time. Eventually, George went to prison; which left me to control his areas, as well as, those I already controlled or co-controlled. This went well, for a time, but I, eventually, fell-out with my original constituents; who I honestly believe, were jealous of my situation. Guns were involved, so we parted ways; to avoid killing one another. I set -up shop, full-time, in a different area of town. A fall-out with a man from New York City, over that territory led to me shooting him. The man I shot told officers I shot him and I was arrested. That arrest led to my first, State prison, sentence of 30 to 60 months. After a 6 month stay in Schenectady County Jail, I was moved to Downstate Correctional Facility, in Fishkill, New York. For Downstate I was sent to Greene Correctional Facility, in Coxsackie, New York. Greene was the streets behind a fence. Weapons & more weapons, drugs & more drugs, robberies, extortion, stabbings, fights, etc. At some point, my younger brother (Jahmal) came to Greene while I was there. Instead of being a good role-model to him, I corrupted him even worse. From Greene, I was moved to Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility, where I completed the A.S.A.T. (Alcohol & Substance Abuse Treatment) program. While there, I was charged with obstruction; for refusing to admit that I was assaulted (and by whom) while at the facility. The charge was, eventually, dropped because I held fast to my assertion; that I accidentally cut "myself" while I was opening a can. To explain how it had gotten sewed with sewing thread; I told them "I passed out, and woke-up in my bunk, stitched-up already." After receiving several ticket infractions, for refusing to cut off my "Locks" (despite the fact that I was registered Rastafarian at that time), I went to S.H.U. in that facility and was, eventually moved to Great Meadow Correctional Facility, In Comstock, New York. All total, I received 48 days of keep-lock time while at Mt. McGregor Correctional Facility. I spent 12 of my 48 days on D-1, which is keep-lock reception, at Great Meadow. From there, I was moved to B-2, which is a long-term keep-lock, where I spent the next 18 days. B-2 is where all the rodents are at. Over there it was nothing to wake-up to a rat hanging-out on your chest or in your locker accross from you. When I was down to my last 15 days (keep-lock), I went back through Downstate Correctional Facility, and, eventually, landed in Bearhill Correctional Facility. There, I vowed that I would never allow myself to be incarcerated, ever, again. In truth, to some extent, I did alot of work on myself there. I began to view my incarceration as an opportunity of higher learning. I would go to the facility library and take out books; business or small business management books, accounting books, marketing, trade, international trade & trade-law books, etc. Aside from that I would study history & science; which are both fields of study that I have always had some interest in. What I hadn't changed, was my behavior issues; in regard to my impulsiveness and my need for instant gratification. One incident that I can, vividly, remember, involved me taking it upon myself to harm another man. Thus, for a cause that I 'thought' justified that action; though I know now, that there is no lesser of two evils. When I look at it, in hindsight, it shows nothing more than that I was still impulsive and with the propensity to commit a crime. What took place was: a man came to the facility claiming to be a member of the Nation of Gods & Earths (an advocator of peace) as am I. It was, later, learned that he came to prison for the rape of a seven year old girl (child); which is a crime that is frowned upon, (even by other criminals) and people who commit such crimes (according to an unwritten rule amongst prisoners) are to be mistreated. I was told by other members of the Nation of Gods & Earths, to "leave that man alone (because we advocate peace), and let those who do not care about peace handle him in a negative way; if they choose to." Instead, with just 7 days left before I was to be released, I assaulted this man by hitting him in the head with a large, sharp, stone. Seven days later, I went home. Just as I had planned. I got a job and went back to school. What was not in my plan, was my selling marijuana; which I began doing just days after being released from prison. I chose to sell marijuana, because to sell cocain, crack-cocain, dope and etc., meant going back to prison; if I were arrested. In my foolish mind, I was willing to except frequent stays in a county jail rather than go back to prison. But "if nothing changes, nothing changes." So frequent stays in county jail was what I got. What I didn't know is. if the state chooses to set a person up (as they have done to me in this case) being in the streets, selling marijuana, makes this possible. My current incarceration came about in this way: The District Attorney's office and the Homicide Detectives (Schenectady) were investigating a murder in their city. It was believed that I had information about such crime; due to my prior association with a particular suspect. So. on several occasions, I was arrested (and charged) for petit crimes; solely to justify the searching , of my person, for more incriminating paraphernalia. Because I wasn't con-commiting felonous crimes, to avoid prison, none were ever found. The leverage the District Attorney's & Detective's felt they would need, to get me to offer information, was a felony complaint. Thus, I was framed for selling & possessing crack-cocain. This, coupled with my criminal record, was their leverage. The only problem was, I had no information to offer them. I was no longer associating with their suspect; and I hadn't been, for quite some time, at the time of my arrest. My lack of knowledge, eventually, led to an 11 year prison term, with 3 years of post-release supervision. At times, I point my finger at the justice system, for my current situation. Only, everytime I do, I look at the three pointing at me and say: 1) you were still in the streets. committing crimes, which made it possible for you to be framed; 2) you, previously, associated with an individual, who you knew the judicial system would stop at nothing to pin-up (where that individual had once been given a 52 to 111 year prison term of which he did only a fraction after the sentence was reduced to 4 to 12 years, due to a technicality); and 3)you still needed to work on your impulsiveness and your need for instant gratification. Some people knowingly or unknowingly, glorify their criminal behavior. I, on the other-hand, do not; because I know that it is this mentality that has gotten me incarcerated again & again. Because of my accountability, in retro-spect, I'm looking forward to a bright and promising future. I have both skill and knowledge (as well as a support-group which includes my brother, Keith, who never came back to prison, my mother, who worked-hard for everything she has, my sister, Eileen, who is moving on the right path and my niece, Shawanda [Eileen's daughter], who is following in her mother's foot-steps) . So now that I have focused my attention upon rehabilitating myself, in the areas of impulsiveness, instant gratification, selfishness and etc., (those behavior problems, that have cost me so many years out of my life) I can finally live a productive life and become successful. Rahasheem Brown Green Haven Correctional Facility P.O. Box 4000 Stormville, New York 12582-4000

Author: Brown, Rahasheem

Author Location: New York

Date: October 19, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 12 pages

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