“California, We’re Here Now!”
Many of the felons arrested during the anti-crime sweeps of 1980s and 1990s; have paid their debts to society-done their time, and annually, record numbers (585,000 plus) of felons are being released from state and federal prisons nationwide. This is roughly three-times the number released 20 years ago, and authorities predict the number will remain as high for many years to come.
In influxes, we (myself included) have been returning home to the streets of our towns, our cities, our neighborhoods, and our communities to coexist with society once again.
The State of California is experiencing this same inevitable occurrence that has been concurring simultaneously across our nation. The latter events, resulting from the use of the locality, community-base, zero-tolerance policing approach that was “said” to have been so “successful” throughout our nation!
Is this true? HnmmmmmÃ¢Â?Â¦
A PERSONAL REFLECTION
In preparation for this article, I pondered over my past, which compelled me to contemplate my future. Then, I found it to be incumbent upon myself to take a deep look into the past of our society. Personally, my findings were incredulous. Moreover, my findings invoked a serious reflection from my studies during my own incarceration(s).
Believe it or not, I had to pause, and speak a REALITY that echoed all through my houseÃ¢Â?Â¦ “Damn, the White-Man is a mutha-fucka, especially Mr. Willie Lynch!”
I refer to Willie for this article because this specific topic is the greatest evident that the “Willie Lynch Letters” still controls, not only, the mentalities of our hoods, but alsoÃ¢Â?Â¦ ‘The thinking of our society as a whole.’
HOW CALIFORNIA PRESENTLY REACT TO THIS TOPIC
First and foremost, we MUST face the realization that there are more prisons in the State of California than there are colleges. Ain’t that a bitch! Stating the facts; there are 36 prisons, and only 23 colleges within the realm of our state borders.
In many schools across our state, many of California’s students are hindered from any productive forward progress, because many of our schools are overcrowded and under-funded. Despite the realities of these facts, your governor, Mr. Arnold Swasenagger, recently proposed $12 billion, 90,000-cell prison and jail expansion project.
School districts across California are basically being annihilated by cuts in education. California spends more money per capita than any other state on prisons. It costs $28,000 per year to imprison someone, while public education spending is currently $7,000 per student.
WE MUST TAKE A STAND FOR OURSELVES AND OUR COMMUNITIES, because our elected officialsÃ¢Â?Â¦ ‘simply do not give a fuck!’
The actual cost of College vs. the Cost of Prison, based on a 2002 of tuition at California University of California, Berkeley, which is approximately $14,303 vs. $22,736 for tuition at any of California Department of Correction’s Institutions.
WAS THIS IN THE PROJECTIONS OF CALIFORNIA’S FUTURE?
Our prison system in California is the largest in the Western world. Our system alone is over half the size of the United States federal system, and our prison population consist of 40,000 more inmates than the prison populations of Great Britain or Germany.
We MUST also realize, even with the ‘multibillion-dollars’ prison building expansion of the 1980s, California prisons are crowded by ANY conventional standards.
In March 1991, the California Department of Finance published a ‘projection’, which prison construction programs are based, anticipating that 224,641 people would be incarcerated in state prisons on June 30, 2000. Guess what? Our prison system was well over that outlined projection.
However, our crime rates and imprisonment trends branch out in different directions. in fact, the volume of crime and the rate of imprisonment are unrelated, just as violent crime and imprisonment. In the early 1980s, during the rapid rises in our prison populations, violent crime rates were in decline.
THE OVERALL FALLOUT OF SOCIETY
Ex felons are often punished for life, subjected to a variety of social consequences that affects the 13 million people who have felony convictions that tarnish their futures in this country.
Once convicted of a felony, a citizen of the United States of America can be subjected to bans on public assistance, and the ability to live in public housing. They are prohibited from receiving financial aid for college, and in many states, are prohibited from working in a wide spectrum of public sector jobs.
This is exactly what I call ‘the puppeteer effect.’ Control of our people by any means necessary, keeping our recidivism rates very high.
MODERN DAY SLAVES
There is still much undesired work to be done in California and all the other states across our “so-called” union. The land of this country still has to be teal. Who else is there to do this work besides societies ‘undesirables (inmates)?’
Yes, Good ole’ Abe signed the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, which was the beginning to end slavery way back-in-the-days, BUT, our society has found a new way to implement the conditions of slavery TODAY!
In prisons across our Nation, prisoners are forced to work for incredulous wages ($0.15 -$1.80). If you fall within the realm of a specified classification, a prisoner MUST work a greater portion of any day before they can attend any college classes.
Nevada is the ONLY state that offer minimum wage job within their prison system, which enables an inmate to possibly have monies to begin a new life upon release. However, these job positions are VERY limited!
A WORD TO THE WISE
Throughout my life, my mother always told meÃ¢Â?Â¦ “Boy you gon mind somebody!” Even with her words of wisdom, I, like a many of you, had to find out the hard-way. Even though I was fortunate, and not subject to a menial family structure; we still attain the simple knowledge of right and wrong. The streets DO teach us this, and that simple knowledge alone can compel one to live a productive life for our kids, families, and friends…, moreover, for OURSELVES!
Sharing my mother’s words of wisdom with you my dear readers.., “You gon mind somebody!” Whether or not, it’s here on the streets where you can make a different for the future of our people, or as a PUPPET as define by Mr. Lynch’s letters; locked away somewhere in our Nation’s prison system.
And, for my dear readers, which society has already threw away the keysÃ¢Â?Â¦”Don’t give up, you CAN still make a difference, and be an asset to your own people from your presence stance of incarceration!” Stanley Tookie Williams (California) and Gary Graham (Texas) did it before their unfortunate and unjustified demises. Mumia Abu-Jamal (granted a stay of execution) still does it from his death-row cell in Pennsylvania.