Race and Racism in American Prisons, and America Herself

Jerry Metcalf #251141
Thumb Correctional Facility
3225 John Conley Drive
Lapeer, MI 48446
email @ jpay.com
Facebook.com/Jerrymetcalf
Wattpad.com/JAMetcalfjr

As I sat thinking about how and what to write on such a sensitve topic, I kept asking myself where to begin.

Do I start with the fact that although blacks in America only comprise about 12% of the population, they also–stunningly–make up damn near 50% of America’s prison, jail, and detention facility population?

Or do I go further back and begin with the fact that anyone who lives in American inner cities (mostly blacks) is seldom afforded their Constitutionally guaranteed right to a trial by a jury of their peers, because when a poor person goes to trial in these United States and is found guilty, he/she is punished harshly (well beyond the norm) to make an example. That way, when the next young, poor, often black or brown, man or woman find themselves standing in a courthouse they capitulate. Because regardless of whether you are guilty or innocent of your crime, if you are poor and black in America they want you so terrified of that supper-long prison sentence that you take whatever “deal” they offer.

And the reason for this evil scheme is simple: nobody gives two turds about our most underrepresented communities. No one cares whether there is enough money to guarantee little black kids an education, let alone whether they receive the right to a fair trial.

So when those black kids grow up and are locked away for years and decades and lifetimes, they remember how they were treated their whole lives. They remember how the white–or mostly white–government held them back. They remember how the white–or mostly white–teachers in their overcrowded inner schools lacked the ability and the time to help them learn, yet passed them anyway. They remember how the white–or mostly white–police officers harassed them, beat them, and murdered them. And then, after all that, when they finally find themselves imprisoned in a world where they are the majority, all that anger and frustration comes boiling out on the new minority, the very same white people (or so they think) who screwed them over their entire lives. Only now those white people are also convicts.

To add fuel to the flames, the minority whites, not really understanding what is going on, and how this viscous cycle is so deadly, grow even more racist, or, even if they’d never had a racist bone in their bodies, they find themselves forced to mingle with racist individuals and gangs because they fear the black inmates so badly.

Luckily, over the last several years, I’ve noticed that as many of the level-minded convicts (black and white alike) start to mellow out and mature, they have begun to realize the truth. That the idea of white and black in American prisons–and across America herself–is a deceptive illusion. In prison there are really only two opposing teams: Team Prison Guard, and Team Convict. There is no Team White or Team Black.

And Team Prison Guard already always has the home field advantage, so we of Team Convict need to get our act together and realize we are all playing for the same team reguardless of race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or anything else that sets us apart.

That’s why I am calling on all white Americans to join the Black Lives Matter movement. Not because they are black and we are white, but because here is a fight we can all get behind. Here is a fight that can unite us onto the same team.

The police in America have begun to kill people in unprecedented numbers, and are seldom held accountable. True, for every two young black men killed by police, there is only one young white man whom is killed. But this number, as lopsided and demented as it is, proves two things: One; that the police really are racist. And Two; that they are actually murdering people, whites included.

The only question I have, Dear Reader, is this: What are you going to do about it?

My name is Jerry Metcalf, and I wish to make the world a better place. If you do too, please join me @ Facebook.com.

What is “Defunding the Police”?

Don’t be alarmed by Black Lives Matters call to “defund” the police. Defunding the police means that we set up community security to protect us. Community officers will still have the power to make legal arrest and perform the same duties that police perform right now. However, the “Peace-Officers” will be people who come from our communities, not infiltrators who come in and murder us.

Under the present system, police officer have “qualified immunity” that protects police officers from law suits even if they intentionally murder someone without good cause. Why can doctors be sued if they accidentally kill a patient in the operating room, but the police cannot be sues for murdering someone in cold blood.

The reason that police officers get away with murder and still keep their jobs is because the “Police Officer’s Union” has too much power. The Police Union has tens of thousands of members who stick together. They lobby the government and use their voting power to get politicians to make laws in their favor. More importantly, Police Officer Unions use their negotiation power to force cities and states to expand the rights of police officers. For example, it is hard to fire a police officer because the Police Union negotiated a deal that makes it mandatory that fired police get many opportunities to appeal their job loss. And there is a high burden of proof to uphold the firing of a police officer. That is why most police officers get their jobs back.

The Police Officer’s Union negotiated deals that protect police at the expense disregard for citizens.

By Defunding the police, we can take the power away from the Police Union. We can reinvest tax money into community based law enforcement, crime prevention, education, community recreation and other programs that will uplift the community, instead of destroying it.

We are intelligent enough to find good people within our communities to protect us. There is no need for outsiders to come in and occupy our communities. Police officer are coming in and intimidating, exploiting and murdering black people. White People commit three times as many crimes in this country and they are arrest three times more often then African Americans, yet the police kill three times as many Black People than White People. This is nothing new, it has always been this way. So it let’s you know that white police officer’s don’t value Black Lives. They kill us like were dogs in the street and don’t lose an ounce of sleep over it.

We need to stop spending our tax money to pay police officers who have immunity to murder Black People. And don’t be fooled. If police reform does not get rid of qualified immunity that protects murderous police officers, then it is not dealing with the systemic part of racism in the police department.

P.S You can write to me at
Ernest K. Hall El #196363
Thumbs Corr. Facility 
3225 John Conely Dr.
Lapeer, Michigan 48446

Please put your return address on the letter itself because the prison does not give me the envelop, or you can go to J-Pay.com to send me an email. I will respond to all messages.

“A New Look”

UNFORTUNATELY IT’S THE NORM IN THE PRISON ENVIRONMENT TO SEE HOPELESSNESS, UNCERTAINTY, AND DESPAIR LURKING IN THE EYES OF MANY MEN. AS MONTHS TURN TO YEARS AND YEARS TURN TO DECADES THAT LOOK BECOMES HARD AND CALLOUSED AS ETCHED IN STONE. WHAT SHOULD BE A FRIGHTENING SIGHT TO SEE, HAS SADLY TURNED TO ACCEPTANCE. DOOM AND GLOOM IS THE ORDER OF THE DAY IN A PLACE WHERE THE BRIGHT SPOT FOR SOME IS A PIECE OF BAKED CHICKEN ACCOMPANIED BY A CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE FOR DESERT. IT’S THEN YOU MAY SEE A SLIGHT GLIMMER OF HOPE RESIDING DEEP WITHIN. 

THROUGHOUT 27 YEARS OF INCARCERATION I’VE SEEN JUST ABOUT EVERY LOOK ONE COULD IMAGINE; FROM THE TOUGHEST MEANEST GUY TO THE MOST MILD MANNERED AND RESERVED. THERE’S A VARIETY OF LOOKS AND GAZES IN WHICH RACE, AGE, YOUR CRIME AND MASCULINITY CAN’T SEPARATE.
THERE’S THE PRECIOUS LOOK IN A MAN’S EYES WHEN HE RETURNS FROM A VISIT SEEING HIS LOVED ONES. THAT’S THE BRIGHTEST LOOK YOU’LL EVER SEE. HIS EYES SHINE LIKE THE HIGH BEAMS ON A CAR TRAVELLING DOWN A DARK ROAD.
THE WEIGHT OF HIS PRISON SENTENCE THAT DWELLS DAILY IN HIS EYES LIKE A SQUATTER IN AN ABANDONED HOUSE IS TEMPORARILY SUSPENDED WHILE HE BASKS IN THE TIME SPENT WITH HIS CHERISHED LOVED ONES.

THE NERVOUS LOOK A MAN HARBORS THE MORNING HE’S SCHEDULED TO BE INTERVIEWED BY THE PAROLE BOARD. DESPITE HAVING SERVED HIS TIME, COMPLETED ALL NECESSARY RECOMMENDATIONS, AND HAS REDEEMED HIMSELF, HIS EYES ARE STILL FILLED WITH WORRY KNOWING HIS FATE HANGS IN THE BALANCE FROM THAT HORRIBLE DECISION HE MADE YEARS; EVEN DECADES AGO.

THE BLANK GLAZED LOOK THAT OVERTAKES A MAN’S EYES AFTER HE’S PUT BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS INTO HIS APPEAL SPENDING COUNTLESS HOURS IN THE LIBRARY POURING OVER CASE AFTER CASE, TWEEKING IT NUMEROUS TIMES BEFORE FINALLY FILING IT WITH THE COURTS; ONLY TO GET DENIED IN RECORD TIME WITH A FLIMSY EXCUSE THAT HOLDS NO WEIGHT BUT CALLED JUST AND FAIR. IT STINGS AND FEELS LIKE A SLAP IN THE FACE AFTER ALL THAT HARD WORK.

THEN THERE’S THE GHASTLY AND SULLEN LOOK I’VE EXPERIENCED SEEING IT MORE TIMES THAN ANY ONE PERSON SHOULD IN A LIFETIME.

THIS LOOK IS PAINFUL ADDING A HEAVINESS TO MY HEART THAT’S BEYOND MOURNFUL. IT’S THE CRUSHING LOOK IN A MAN’S EYES WHEN HE’S LOST A PARENT, CHILD, OR SIBLING TO THE ENEMY DEATH. 
THERE ARE NO WORDS TO UTTER TO A MAN WHEN YOU WITNESS THIS LOOK IN HIS EYES. ALL OF A SUDDEN THIS SAME PERSON YOU WALKED THE YARD WITH, EXERCISED WITH, ATE CHOW WITH, EVEN SHARED A CELL WITH…NO LONGER LOOKS THE SAME. HE DOESN’T LOOK AT YOU; HE LOOKS THROUGH YOU LIKE YOUR NOT EVEN THERE. YOU UNDERSTAND BECAUSE YOU’VE BEEN THERE BEFORE. I NEVER IMAGINED THERE COULD BE A MORE DAMAGING AND SOUL STIRRING COUNTEANCE IN A MAN’S EYES WITHIN THESE PRISON WALLS. WHAT COULD PUT SUCH A LOOK IN A MAN’S EYES CAUSING HIM TO ROAM THE PRISON YARD AIMLESSLY WITH HIS GUARD DOWN IN A PLACE WHERE VULNERABILITY IS PREYED UPON? WHAT COULD POSSIBLY CREATE A LOOK THAT’S DIFFICULT TO PUT INTO WORDS NEVER BEFORE WITNESSED?

ENTER CORONAVIRUS, AKA COVID-19. HE SLYLY APPEARED ON THE SCENE PLACING FEAR IN HEARTS, TERROR IN EYES, TREMBLING IN VOICES; RUNNING AMUK, UNNERVED BY THE HEINOUS CRIMES COMMITTED BY THE MEN HE NOW RULES OVER TAUNTING THEM WITH HIS MENACING PRESENCE. HE HAS BECOME THE “ROCK BOSS” DEMANDING OUR TIME, ENERGY, AND UNDIVIDED ATTENTION WITH AN “I COULD CARE LESS” DISPOSITION TOWARDS ANYTHING YOU HAD GOING ON IN YOUR LIFE; RULING WITH AN IRON FIST AND WRECKING HAVOC. 
“I’M HERE GET USE TO IT,” HE EERILY WHISPERS WHILE ROAMING FROM PERSON TO PERSON; UNSEEN, UNNOTICED, CASUALLY INFECTING EACH MAN DIFFERENTLY. 

A NEW LOOK NOW DOMINATES OUR EYES IN THE TRAGIC FORM OF TRAUMA, STRUGGLE, DEPRESSION, AND EXHAUSTION, ALL BIRTHED BY THE CORONAVIRUS THAT HAS INVADED THE PRISON POPULATION.

Written by: Connell L. Howard #234626 @jpay.com

C.H.A.N.G.E.-Joseph

Cultivating · Higher · Altitudes · Navigating · Growth and · Evolution

To cultivate is to bring the best out of something, To bring about a skill yet discovered. The highest Altitude on the human body is the head which safeguards the brain.

            Cultivating Higher Altitudes means to bring the best out of your thinking, to deviate from the way you once thought, to study and gain more knowledge of your culture and the intellectual awareness of self and bring about and promote positive growth for the youth. Altitudes must be reached by going beyond what many may consider a standard. We must work harder than expected. We possess total control on how we react and proceed to the circumstances and difficult situations that will arise in our lifetime.

            Navigating is a travel upon a route, yet this route is life. Sometimes it is planned and most times it’s not. In life, we know not what lays ahead, yet we travel forward. We encounter the good and the bad. Growth and Evolution is a process in life no one can avoid. It is a part of our human make up.

            Navigating Growth and Evolution means traveling on this road of life and understanding that we all have and will make mistakes. Understanding that those mistakes were needed to shape, mold, and teach very important life lessons to the individual. As we grow, we begin to evolve.

            Evolution is the very essence of our creation. From an embryo to a fetus, from a fetus to an infant, from an infant to a toddler, from a toddler to a child, from a young child to a teenager, from a teen to an adult. We will always evolve. But will we evolve for the good or bad? Our culture and world have evolved.

            Cultivating Higher Altitudes Navigating Growth & Evolution is meant to invoke thought which hopefully brings about CHANGE. We must all begin to cultivate our minds with the things we read and experience so that we think more productive than destructive.

            Mentally is where your growth can truly be seen because thought becomes actions. Aspire to show growth through actions, not just words. Let’s begin this process one day, one moment at a time, understanding that in order to do this, we all must…CHANGE.