Infatuation with Incarceration

Last week Friday, we were blessed to be in the presence of Steven “Flow” Pacheco. The alum from the FI Institute came to conduct a discussion with the group of mass incarceration and the industrial prison complex that plagues the nation. We were presented with this question before we had our conversation. The question was: “Do you believe incarceration could be/is a viable option for rehabilitating people who may be accused or convicted of a crime?”.

Before the presentation, we got my answer was no. I believe that prisons do more harm to the individual and promote what many people try to stop. In some countries, prison is used as rehabilitation for criminals and helps them reintegrate themselves back into society. This past summer rapper A$AP Rocky was arrested in Sweden and held for almost a month. This sparked me researching the Sweedish prisons and the conditions Rocky was in. Those cells looked like college dorms compared to how Rikers or many other facilities are described. The inmates cannot grow in inhumane conditions and the reality hits when hearing accounts of inmates that have been through this gruesome system in America. The jails are meant to break you, keep you crazy, and damage you enough to where the only thing that suits you is a prison.

Before our talk, I said no to the question posed. Post our conversation, my answer remained the same but I felt different. I felt compelled now to watch the documentary on Netflix called “13th” which in it details the history of racial inequality in the United States, focusing on the fact that the nation’s prisons are disproportionately filled with African-Americans. After watching this I felt strong in keeping my answer no. Being caged and demeaned through this modern form of slavery isn’t helping anyone. Prison is a big cog in our economy now so the government wouldn’t help. In my opinion, being in that system doesn’t help society advance. You either die in there or can’t stay out of it. Regardless of if you make it out, you will always be chastised by the government because of your time as their property. I don’t think subjecting people to prison is an option to rehabilitate people who are convicted. Maybe we need a better system in place so people can be reacclimated to society without becoming a number. I don’t justify the nation’s “infatuation with incarceration”, but I see how influential it is, unfortunately.  I rather we close jails instead of putting more of our people through hell, just food for thought.

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  1. Dear Moses,

    Thanks for your serving of thought. I agree with you, the system is not one that is for growth and rehabilitating people–and it never will be. I am glad that you enjoyed Steven’s presentation and that it made you look into a system that affects so many Black and Brown people.

    Your writing is starting to look like that of a young prison abolitionist. I would connect with Lucien and Steven, if this is something you are interested in.

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