Untapped resources

Israfil, Mumin

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Running header: Resources Untapped Resources They are called the Nobodies. Men who are incarcerated in the Ohio correctional facilities. They are mostly young men. They have no outside support whatsoever. No family. No friends. No loved ones. The Nobodies live day by day, pushing the limits to the conditions of their incarceration. Rebuffed from the outside, or so it seems, they only wait until they are released from their debt to society. To qualify as a Nobody, an affinity with anarchy is a major characteristic. So as misery loves company, these young men have found a way to express this wretchedness by way of having an appetite for destruction to others. for example, destroying state property such as incapacitating the prison telephone will instantly certify one ofthese young men as a Nobody. Such an event frequently occurs. Likewise, breaking into staff offices, vandalizing the place, is considered a gift from the Game God. Those that are docile or victims of circumstance, become fresh meat for the strong until they can earn their respect, or escape that territory. But until they do, anything that they possess of value will be removed from them. All communication links (mail, photographs, JPlayers) are severed by it being stolen and destroyed. Most Nobodies are doing relatively short ”flat—time”, and as they experience this stage in their life, life as they know it obeys one rule, and one rule only: Only the strong survive. ‘ Because Nobodies behave in such a manner, the prison system chooses to react to this breed of prisoner in a disciplinary manner. Truly certified Nobodies, find themselves housed in a place and setting strictly suited for supervision of their caliber. But in the same way pressure Running header: Resources bust pipes, these more stringent security conditions, merely creates a new environment for the Nobodies to adapt to and subsequently overcome. A prevalent hierarchal ‘order is established among them. And without the privileges of communication and support from the outside world, the Nobodies find a way to thrive. Necessity is the mother of invention. The Nobodiesydisplay one talent that they all seem to share—creativity. However, these versatile talents go unnoticed by prison authorities who are responsible with managing the funding. Instead of portraits and sketches, murals in the form of tattoos are how a penitentiary Michelangelo gains his fame. Even the construction of the tattoo gun is a clear sign of engineering and ingenuity. Likewise, can be found are recipes of meals concocted from the most limited resources, but worthy to be sold in any vendor's cart in the USA. But first these untapped resources in talent, and other talents also, must be provided and enabled a positive outlet to express and improve themselves by and through those prison officials who are accountable. In Ohio, there is set of administrative rules, appropriately called ”Administrative Rules” (or ”_ARs”). The ARs are supposed to govern a mandated form of behavior by both inmate and staff, including the warden. Within these ARs is a rule that requires that there be a constant stream of funding into a prison financial account made for the sole purpose of taking care ofthe prison population in terms of recreation. This financial account is officially called the |&E account, Running header: Resources which stands for ”industrial and entertainment”. According to the particular AR that governs this matter, 5120-5-O4(B): Income from this fund shall come from, but shall not be limited to, the following sources: commissary profits and interest, donations, vending machine commissions, interest from interest-bearing checking accounts (e.g., industrial arts fund and inmate personal fund), interest from institution investment accounts (e.g., savings accounts and certificates of deposit), transfer of funds under the provisions of the revised code and rules of the administrative code (e.g., closing inactive accounts), and occupational and/or activities therapy projects (e.g., barber and beauty shops, shoe shine shops, gift shops, car washes). This account gets its money from prisoners who spend their own money. However, prison official management ofthis account tends to curtailn the use this resource, or misappropriate the system where funding is actually channeled to unauthorized sources. Those who suffer are those who need it most. ‘ ‘ f" ' 7 “What the l&E fund is supposed to be used to purchase, as according to part (C) of AR 5120-5-04: [R]ecreation equipment, entertainment, library supplies and equipment, video purchase, rental, and licensing, chapel expenses, occupational and/or activity therapy supplies, goingéhome clothes, inmate free postage, hygiene and legal kits, and repair and maintenance of equipment..., or specifically planned events (e.g. yard day). When asked as to why prison fund raising profits were being rerouted to outside sources other than the l&E account, such as community donations, the prison official whose job it is to manage the prison account, had this to say: ”These guys get what they got coming. As long as the community remains protected from these men while they are doing their time, I’m satisfied with how I distribute the funds. Besides, nobody’s complaining about it upstairs.” ( Prison Official, 2016, personal interview). Whatever the reason may be, apparently this Running header: Resources particular prison official believes themselves to be justified in actions that are not sanctioned according to regulations. As far—fetched as it may sound, an example of a solution to this problem may be found in the least expected of sources. In the book, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother (2011) by Amy Chue./,1, she has what can only be described as a very passionate approach to rearing her children and cultivating their talents. As a Chinese mother growing up in America, Chou believed that children were not responsible enough to pave their own future and this could only be done by their parents. And because she was Chinese, this parental responsibility was motivated with very strict concepts from her culture as to what this goal might be. For example, on page 4 of her book, Chou compares her style to ”Western parents” by saying that ”even when Western parents think they're being strict, they usually don't come close to being Chinese mothers”. (2011) Suffice it to say, Nobody benefits from a system that sets up more stringent usage of prison funds. Talents that are now used for what the system considers corrupt activities can be developed to instill hope and purpose for Nobody. It should be remembered that one day Nobody will one day be released, and it is better that they have skills that can contribute to society as opposed to a predatory state of mind. And taking a Tiger Mother approach to the situation mayjust tip the scales from mediocre success to a windfall. But the responsibility nonetheless remains that of Nobody.

Author: Israfil, Mumin

Author Location: Ohio

Date: September 18, 2019

Genre: Essay

Extent: 4 pages

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