Food for Thought – What is the Point of Mass Incarceration?

Two pitbulls face to face, full aggression, but on a chain. It’s the sound of a correction officer arguing with an inmate. This is what I wake up to. Is this normal? Is this the teachings of how we are to conduct ourselves in our community? Please tell me….. What is the point of this mass incarceration?

Tamerra Washington #486364
WHV

Food for Thought – MDOC Visits & Chauvin Trial

“Food For Thought”

“I Thought Natural Life Would Kill My Soul it did the Opposite!”

Current MDOC Visiting

My thoughts on MDOC visiting: it has been a very long year since we have had the opportunity to have a contact visit, and me having a sentence where visiting is necessary I am thankful. But there are major problems with Gtl. How is it that this billion dollar private corporation that sucks the blood of the poor and rejected?

Gtl can’t even put in proper equipment or installations in the prisons. I thought I would have my first video visit this past Sunday, May, 2nd 2021, and it was just a white screen that popped up for 20 minutes. I was very disappointed, but what made me even more disappointed is that it had to take millions of people to get sick (Covid-19) and die before this enemy called the institutional system allowed video visits in MDOC. So just as of today it is 3 video visits and 3 contact visits which is a relief. I asked an officer: have you ever been away from your family members, or have you ever been put in a hostage situation where someone is controlling who you see and you don’t know when you would ever be able to see your family again? He couldn’t answer me and walked away… But my thoughts are thankful and peace. I had my first contact in a year and I was ecstatic. Seeing my Beautiful Mother, embracing her was beyond overdue. So no matter if it’s a two hour visit looking though Plexiglas, I am thankful for it to be back. But I’ve had a bad experience with it so far. So until I am able to finally get a good 20 minute video of quality, then my thoughts might change. But it still does change on the blood suckers who charge us $3.20 a visit for 20 minutes, plus $3.16 for phone calls, and feed off the poor.

“More Than Nine”

We all just saw an ex-Police Officer by the Name of Derek Chauvin get convicted of all counts of murder on video. We saw this man with no heart put his knee on the neck of George Floyd for approximately nine minutes. This Amerikkka criminal so-called justice system will find a way for Chauvin to be released, they always do.

Just watching the defense efforts to paint our brother as a criminal and drug dealer and push a narrative not rooted in reality. If the roles was reversed they would have painted Floyd as a murderer. If his knee was on his neck and Floyd Killed him he would have never been given the opportunity to come home.

There was widespread national and global protests everywhere, and if this trial had not ended in a guilty verdict it would have changed Amerikkka forever. But what’s one or two when these un-alikes have been slaughtering the Aboriginal since 1555 and there was never justice. So many lives lost due to White Supremacy. We all know the police roots go back to slave catcher, so this is the mindset Derek had when he encountered Floyd. The Master Slave Mentality, and “I can do what I want and get away with it”. Now the trial Tobin gave us a testimony put the nail in coffin. So in the end this caste system is still in motion and if we don’t change the way we think and if we do not separate and get some of this land of our own we will continue to get shot down. Knees on neck, locked up in jail, sterilizing the Black man, life and mind. This trial was very shocking. I really thought no matter what he still got off. Floyd is dead – there is no justice for that in my eyes. Over a piece of paper of with a dead white man on it.

Trials in Amerikkka have never been for our people. In Amerikkka either side has a police union that will get him out in less than ten. Just like Amber Guyger who walked in the house and killed a man in his own house. So my thoughts are that this still wasn’t justice. There can never be justice when it comes to the caste system.

Food for Thought – Mental Health Awareness

Food For Thought

The month of May is Mental Health Awareness. We need family, friends, and allies to be mindful of the Michigan Department of Corrections. There is a unanimous sadness and hopelessness within the prisons. Any uplifting, encouragement, or thoughtful words is needed. Any HOPE…… in prison reform, votes in favor of House Bill 4489, and advocate support makes a difference.

Thank you,
Tamerra Washington #486364
WHV

OUR FIRST RESPONSE

By: Frank L. Adams Jr. #427391

I want you to take a moment with me and think about something. I want you to think about how you RESPOND when you get angry. Do you speak whatever comes to mind? Do you lash out in a way that makes people want to stay away? Only you know the true answer to that question. I ask that question because sometimes when we get angry about something we don’t think about how our response may affect someone else. Just think of how many times we’ve had to call someone back or go into the next room and say, “I’m sorry for how I acted earlier, I hope you can forgive me.”

Our actions speak and we must learn how to be mindful of what we do when we are angered. Everyone gets mad that is just human nature but it is what we do when we get mad that makes all the difference.

Some of us may think that we don’t have any control when we’re in that place because of what our track records have shown us. But let me ask you something, have you ever brought God into that moment? Like, instead of responding and saying a whole bunch of hurtful words to someone; use your tongue to talk to God about how you feel. He is more powerful than anything on heaven and earth and when we bring God into something we are given peace and a better way to respond.

In the book of James 1:19 (NKJV) it reads: So then my beloved brethren, let every man be, swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath.

Let us take our times in those heated moments and really think about what we are saying to someone else or even about ourselves. Remember, that with God nothing is impossible no matter how long we have been conditioned to it.

Frank L. Adams Jr. #427391 @Jpay.com

#AWORD4THEDAY

MDOC Visiting

My thoughts on MDOC visiting is one of gratitude. I’ve seen family that I haven’t seen in 10 years. I’ve seen the pets and the house. Nothing compares to hugging and kissing loved ones, but video visits have its advantages. I AM thankful.

Tamerra Washington #486364

WHV

P.T.S.D.

By: Demetrius Brasher #234214

HAMJAMBO WATU WAZURI!
(Swahili for hello my beautiful people)

Whenever the topic of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is introduced, we’ve been trained to only think about war veterans. But, what about those people who have been sexually assaulted? What about those who were victims of some of the most heinous crimes, or acts of violence? What about those who have survived unbelievable accidents? What about civil servants, security guards, or good police officers who have been forced to kill someone without malice and intent? Should they be considered also?

{ Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is defined as; A psychological disorder of individuals who have experienced profound trauma, such as torture, marked by recurrent flashbacks, nightmares, eating disorders, anxiety, fatigue, forgetfulness, and withdrawal. }

We’re living in a time where the killing of unarmed black men\women by police officers is happening far too often. Every time a killing occurs, the response from Black people is the same. Why? Because, we suffer from P.T.S.D. from more than four hundred years of oppression. To comprehend this, you must understand that trauma, as well as characteristics, mannerisms, talent, disease, etc., are passed through DNA. You must also understand the history of unprovoked violence, and the killing of unarmed Black people by white men, and police officers. Therefore, Black people are born with it.

I’ve noticed that a lot of White people become irritated, upset, and sometimes angry when they hear BLACK LIVES MATTER! Unfortunately, there is a large percentage of those who are racist and could care less. There are those who have great relationships with law enforcement (be it family or friend), and refuse to embrace the idea that most of these killings aren’t justified. Then there are those who say; Blacks kill other Blacks 90% of the time. Why don’t you’ll protest about that? Well the truth is, that’s the case amongst all racial lines. Whites kill Whites more than anyone else. Latinos kill Latinos more than anyone else.

We do protest against Black on Black violence! That’s not the kind of news mainstream media wants to report. They’re all about ratings, and keeping the country divided. There are organizations in every impoverished city doing the best that they can to stop the violence without any help from the government. Foul on the play! Please stop deflecting!

The question that needs to be answered is, why are law enforcement interactions with Blacks deadlier than any other race? Historically, policing derived from slave catching. This institution wasn’t designed to protect and serve Black people, because that was only relegated to the citizens of this country, and their businesses.

When White mobs of men went on killing sprees in Black communities, police officers were right there with them. Some Ku Klux Klan members even traded in their sheets to become boys in blue in order to hide their intent, because no one would believe a police officer would use their badge to do the unthinkable.

Black neighborhoods were compared to haunted houses on Halloween, or war ridden countries in the Middle East to their children, and encouraged them to stay out of them. Some of these same children grew up, and join the military where they become trained killers. When they return home from war, they become police officers, and are assigned to the same neighborhoods they were told to stay out of. They can’t erase what has been embedded in their minds for years by their parents, the military, and the police academy. So every time a call comes in where the person or suspect is identified as Black, they consider them in the same light as an escaped convict… ARMED AND DANGEROUS!

I hope I was able to shed some light on this issue, so people can see what’s at the root of this problem. I hate when I hear people say that 99% of the police are good cops, because that is not true. Every department knows exactly who their bad apples are. But, instead of holding them accountable when they use their badge to commit egregious crimes against people, regardless of who they are, they go straight into operation cover up. Silence is tantamount to complicity. When you conspire, you are just as guilty. The lying must stop!

In my opinion, there needs to be a complete overhaul of all government agencies, because we see this behavior being demonstrated from the white house down. If the plan on putting America first is genuine, it must include all of its citizens. Justice and equality must be administered to everyone. If we can’t learn to see one another as we see ourselves, we will never have empathy for one another. Therefore, we will always be in this condition, and the saga will continue.

Sincerely Written by: Demetrius Brasher #234214
A.K.A.
Muhammad The God!

Mpaka Halafu! {Swahili for until next time}

CRITICAL THINKING: A Radical Approach to the Greatest Question One Could Ask

By: J.C. Riley #288310

I can remember it as clear as day. I was in the 3rd grade at Mary McCloud Bethune Elementary. I was just a baby duck and my teacher was preparing my class for recess. She ushered us all into a line and one by one the other children stood in single file.

I remember thinking, she never told us to “stand” in line. So I sat down and waited while the Teacher got everyone else in line. When she saw me sitting near the door she asked me, “Jerry, why aren’t you in line?”

I told her, “You didn’t say we had to STAND.”

So the teacher walked up and asked me, “Jerry, why are you always the one who can’t do what everyone else is doing? If you can’t get in line like everyone else, then you won’t go to recess like everyone else.” She stood me up and pointed out the door towards the hallway and told me, “Now go to the Principal’s Office!”

The message was sent at an early age. Get In Line. Throughout Grade School, Middle School, and High School I was taught a similar lesson. Get in line, do what everyone else is doing, give the same answers and if you don’t, you’re wrong. In English, in Math, in Social Studies, we all were tested and graded based on whether we thought and did what everyone else was doing. And even in Gym Class we all got in Lay-Up Lines.

Why?

When a child is taught to get in line, give the same answers, do what everyone else is doing, what are they actually learning? If they step out of line, give a different answer, or find something else to do, what is that child expressing? And when that child is punished or failed based on how they freely express themselves, what are we creating in that person that can haunt them later in life?

This article is not about raising your children. It is about learning all your life to do what everyone else is doing, and when your peers pick up a weapon, when your peers decide to do drugs, when your peers want to rob or car jack, how most teenage young adults are paralyzed in indecision on what to do. It’s not that they don’t have the Critical Thinking Skills necessary to challenge to group. The question is how many of us use those skills when we’ve been punished all our life for not doing what everyone else was doing.

A wise man once said that the single word WHY is the Greatest Question one could ask. The question Why is a challenge to conventional thinking and causes the person who asks the question to measure the response for understanding. In today’s society, Why is a radical idea that often creates opposition to a mass, group think mentality. And when the question Why can’t be answered, it freezes the recipient of the question in a challenge to their own motives, beliefs, and knowledge.

When you ask WHY, you’re asking for what purpose? What cause? Why is a critical question that takes a person to the root of what is not understood. Why should I stop smoking? Because I said so? No, because smoking is addictive, it causes Cancer and other diseases that kill you slowly, and it is a gateway to other harmful habits that can destroy your health, appearance, and life.

In the political climate that we live in today where you are either a This or a That, Republican or a Democrat, again Critical Thinking and the question Why is banned from conventional thought. The nuances in life are restricted and constricted to black and white with little room for the shades of gray that come with the independent mind children sometimes display when thy act “out of line” (Pun absolutely intended).

As I walk through the prison complex today I notice that there is a line for everything. A Chow Line, Med Lines, Gym Lines. They have Lines drawn out on the concrete to direct prisoners to this building or that building. The all famous Gun Line. It all draws to mind the lines we had in the hallways of Winship Middle School directing students to this class or that class. And my question is, Why?

Is the Public School to Prison Pipe LINE (Pun again intended) really that Real?

Good Time: The Hope Michigan Needs

During the past two years our country has had to take a hard look at itself. We have transitioned politically, examined our social mores, and faced an unseen killer. So, why should we concern ourselves about whether the state of Michigan implements “good time” to prisoners?


At one time Michigan’s prison system (and its sentencing scheme) did have good time. Good time is the process which awards a specific number of days to be taken off a prisoner’s sentence, if the prisoner does “good time”. In theory, it would seem as if the prisoner receives an award. This short essay may dispel that belief and enlighten the reader as to why “good time” is a good idea and should be “re-“implemented in Michigan.


Critics of good time and supporters of “truth in sentencing” (which means a prisoners must serve every day of a sentence) have put up a nearly impregnable position. Quoting a classic crime drama, “Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time.” However, sentencing in America and Michigan has been disparate between social classes and races (remember confronting our social mores?). The time is long overdue for the sentencing schemes and parole processes in Michigan to be reviewed and overhauled. The restoration of good time is a good start.


Good time should not be viewed as giving bad people a good thing. It does not take a quantum leap of faith to understand that everyday people receive no reward for doing what they are supposed to do. A mother is not called to the White House lawn to be awarded a Presidential Medal of Freedom just because she ensured her child’s safety, provided shelter and food, and determined to educate the child. So, a prisoner should not be rewarded for following rules and attempting to return to society as a productive member. Instead, good time should be compared to the act of providing hope. It is the dispensing of mercy.


Shakespeare penned that “Mercy is mightiest in the mighty.” When a mother provides for her child, she does so with hope. She fills the child with hope. She points the child toward hope. She, herself, is hope. Good time is hope to a prisoner. Hope is not wishful thinking. The Bible demonstrates what hope is.


Hope is the looking forward to the fulfillment of a promise. When YHWH prophesied, or made a promise, He fulfilled it. As He promised the Messiah, the masses looked with hope to His advent. Thus, a promise is made; the masses look with anticipation; the promise is fulfilled.


As a man who has been sentenced to die in prison, i (the lower case “i” is intentional) have no hope. I have absolutely nothing to look forward to. Death, destruction, and despair loom on my horizon. The sun has set long ago on my hope. (And, my sentence is another point–which i will not lengthily discuss. The sentences in Michigan are too lengthy. Prisoners with long, indeterminate sentences are routinely denied parole. Therefore, restoring god time would lead to earlier releases and subsequently save this state lots of money. That saved money could be allocated elsewhere, such as K-13 education.) Nevertheless, when i look at the young men around here who have hope, i find that they lead a better life. The small and insignificant things remain small and insignificant. A focus is made on becoming better men, who lead better lives, because hope has begun to color the sky. Clouds and doubts pass away. If, as the proverb declares, weeping endures for the night, then, joy does come in the morning.


Good time reflects the joy that our society can share. As men and women work together toward a better society, prisoners should not be forgotten. Just as President Trump (and his Congress) included prisoners in the stimulus packages (as did President Biden and his Congress), so should prisoners be included in the building and maintenance of our country. Good time provides hope for the prisoner and for our society. The Great Lakes state of Michigan should implement good time in the prison system and hope to the prisoner.


/s/ hassan-azzard: mohammed

Punishment or Rehabilitation?

Q: Why should good time be implemented in the Michigan prison system?

Okay, good time credits where an essential tool used at one time as an incentive for those to govern themselves concerning their behavior and/or program participation. Good time was/is a good thing that Michigan should bring back into the system as fundamental fairness to those eligible.

The Michigan prison system seems to be more about Punishment than about Rehabilitation these days. It’s clearly seen by us within this system that Warehousing of human beings for profit is more important than what this prison system use to represent. Most of the tools used to and for Rehabilitation have been removed so, I say yes to good time being re-established back into Michigan prisons, because which one takes priority, Punishment or Rehabilitation?

Roderick X.

PS: This topic goes back many decades concerning the root cause of Good Time discipline credits being taken out the Michigan prison system.

I’m approaching FREEDOM!!!

By: Tamerra Washington #486364

“You’re too emotional! Get away from emotions and focus on black and white.” – What if each speck of black on the white are lies?

“Those emotions won’t free you.” – Emotions all I have! How can I not be emotional about my whole life?? At 30 years old sentenced 32-50 years in prison for crimes I did not commit. I do not understand!


It took years to absorb that reality. I’ve entered a world where I’m not allowed to feel. It’s an infraction to cry. Each disappointment, every denial….. I feel less and less. I’m numb.


Let me look at this paperwork from an objective approach. There are manifest errors presented, but always ignored. Why do they keep saying I aided and abetted him, whose case was dismissed? He was in jail on unrelated charges at the time of alleged offense. How could this be? They convicted me of acting in collusion with him…. the prosecution knew his case had been dismissed. Yet, the courts not persuaded to grant relief. Is that so???


The numbing sinks to half dead….. Fight or flight in motion. I have to make it out!


The years turn to a decade and there is something I must be missing. Although I did not do what I’m accused of, there must be a greater explanation for this experience. I look within. I AM that I AM. I heard of my grandmother’s GOD. I admired my mother’s GOD. I cultivated relationship with mine. Freedom is near!


Seeking a spiritual understanding gives me new life. My breath becoming full again. Not as shallow while crawling to the Light. The dim flicker getting bright.


FREEDOM…. I’m approaching FREEDOM!!!

WRONGFULLY CONVICTED
Tamerra Washington #486364
WHV
3201 Bemis Road
Ypsilanti, MI 48197