Posts Tagged ‘Prison Industrial Complex’

This is a true story about a friend of mine that was killed in a private prison.  Around the year 1996, Washington, DC started sending some of its inmates to a private prison in Youngstown, Ohio (CCA Ohio).  The agreement was that DC was to send low and medium security inmates to this prison. Rather than stick to this agreement they sent majority of maximum security inmates there. Mixed in with those inmates were inmates that had lower and medium security status.

Some of these lower and medium security inmates had never been around max custody inmates, therefore, they were easy victims. Most of them were assaulted, robbed, and harmed in other ways. For the max inmates it was the first time, for many of them, they were not caged in cells 23 hours a day. I had some friends that were in max (The Wall) years before being sent to this open population prison.

So, it goes without saying that most of them did not know how to respond to this new found sense of freedom. They were allowed to roam and mix and mingle with other people. They were able to hold and touch their loved ones on visits. Sadly, some of these privileges were abused and delinquency was pretty much rampant.

I was still in Lorton at the time that they were opening up this prison. I knew many people that were sent there. I was supposed to transfer there but I got into some trouble and was sent to the hole. Prior to going to the hole a friend of mine, I will not mention his name, was assaulted and sent to the hole. He stayed in the hole for about 30 days before being sent to Ohio. Due to the nature of what happened to him they had to separate him from quite a few people.

About 6 months after he was sent there I ended up in the hole. The second day I was in the hole a guy yelled down the tier to me. He says that a guy just got killed in Ohio. That it was in the papers and he was sending the paper down the tier for me to read. While he was yelling this out to me I had this feeling that it was my friend. I don’t know what it is but I seem to have a keen sense of things when they are not right. 90% of the time I am right.

Later that night the paper reached me and sure enough it was my friend. I knew his real name and there is was in black and white. Dead from multiple stab wounds.

One thing I found out when they began sending DC prisoners to CCA Ohio is that CCA was a company where one can openly trade and buy stocks. That used to be the talk of the prison. How in the hell can they send us to a joint where there is no telling who has invested stocks in the place??? So, for the sake of having something to do and talk about, I would get the papers and follow the company CCA.  How they traded, the price of stocks etc.

After this killing the company pulled from the market.  They were no longer listed in the papers.  I wondered about this for some time. I knew that it had something to do with the killing but did not know the facts.

About a year after this event I was sent to CCA Arizona. It was here that I met the guys that were shipped from CCA Ohio. They ended up closing the prison to DC prisoners, but they could not just opt out of the contract they had with DC.  So they just split the guys up.  Some ended up in Arizona, New Mexico, and Tennessee.  I just happen to be shipped to Arizona with some of the guys that were present when this killing happened.  The guys that did it got life on top of the life sentences they already had.  One happened to be there with me.  Actually he and I were cell-mates for about 6 months.

I will not go into the details of all that happened.  I will say that one of the guys that killed him was also in the hole for killing a guy in open population.  So, he caught two murders in the same prison.  The first one over a cassette tape, and the one in the hole in defense of his friend.  The guy I was in the cell with.

What happened was a tragedy because actually my friend had stabbed one of the guys first.  He almost killed him. That was because he was being assaulted and robbed.  He just happened to have a weapon on him and stabbed one of the guys during the course of the incident.  For that he was sent to the hole and the other guy went to the hospital.

When the guy got back from the hospital he plotted on my friend and when the time was right he killed him.  He ended up pleading guilty to killing him.  But, it did not make a difference because he was already serving a life sentence for killing a guy in another prison.  So here you have a guy, my friend, that had a 5 year sentence (this is why I call it a tragedy) and 2 years left on it before going home, killed by a guy that was already guilty of killing another guy in another prison.  Who was also serving life for the killing. The tragedy is that this guy started out with a 5 year sentence and was put in a situation where he was involved with the death of another inmate.  So, the killer and the killed both started out with 5 year sentences.

What was the response of the prison?  To lock it down and tear the prison up.  The had the roof of the buildings designed so they could open the top vents and drop gas in from the ceiling.  After the gas fills up the unit they repelled down into the units in ninja outfits and beat the inmates.  Inmates who were not involved in what took place in the hole.  They beat them savagely.  So bad that the inmates actually filed and won a class action lawsuit against CCA.  That was the cause of them taking the company off of the market.

The investors were not willing to take the risk of investing in a prison where the prisoners were uncontrollable.  Where assaults and murder were rampant.  This was not supposed to happen with lower and medium security inmates.  This is when it became apparent that these were max custody inmates being housed in a medium security prison.

This is a sad story for all involved.  For the killer and the killed.  For the families of both of them.  For the prisoners that were beat and assaulted at the hands of inmates that they should have never shared the yard with.  For the inmates that were beat at the hands of the police.  For the inmates that lost property and pictures during the aftermath and response to what took place.  It is really unfortunate to think that at the end of the day there was money to be gained.   That peoples lives were/are put at risk for a dollar.  What makes that different from any other crime that is committed in society?

It is not the private sector that is to govern crime and punishment.  It is the job of the government.  But, today you have more private prisons opening up all across America.  No prison is considered a place of peace and sanctuary, but there has to be some accountability on those that oversee them.  Due to this lack of proper oversight a friend of mine lost his life.  What a tragedy.

Week 6: 11/8/2013

Week 6 was a different week, to say the least. It started way off course and had to be put back in to perspective. That is one of the challenges of a program of this type, or any type for that manner.

In these types of classes you get guys that think that they have it all figured out. They have read a few books and think that they have it mastered. It is one thing to read a book and another thing to apply what you read. One of the things that makes this work, or not work, is that they can say what they want; the fact is that I don’t leave with the professor. I see and hear what they do and often it does not match what they say in class.

This is one of the things that came up. See, I know what the real deal is. I know that for all of the stuff, the good the bad and the ugly, that has happened to us in life it all comes back to choices. So despite of all the horrible things that I have seen, the poverty and hunger that I have experienced, the dysfunction of my family at times. I know that at some point I had to make choices. Why do I mention this? We choose to live a certain way in life. No matter who you are or where you are. You have to make those choices.

That is what I am quick to point out. See, this is not about popularity. It is about saving lives, and not the lives of the men that are there, but the lives of those who they will come in contact when they leave. Or the lives of their loved ones. Some of us are right where we are supposed to. One cannot be ignorant and expect to go out in society, without basic survival literacy skills, and succeed. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. If one does not want to take control of his/her life this it the place for them.

I had to tell them the hard truth about life. I had to tell them what does who are close to them need to be telling them, but are to scared to tell them. That is that they are master con men. That they have learned to play the con game very well. But, there is a flip side to their con. The joke is on them. See in order to con well you have to believe the lie, the con that is being run. So, you are conning yourself if you are watching TV and think that you are going to leave here and live a BET, MTV, Real World, Mob Wives, or any of the dumb ass shows they show to dumb you down. How is this possible if you don’t know how to read and write. Some of them think that they are going to leave here and get big chains, cars, and homes with out education and hard work. When you ask them how are you going to get this they tell you I am going to work. You ask them what job are you going to work that is going to allow you to buy an Audi A 8, a car that cost almost $100,000. What skill do you have? One of the shames of the penal system, the federal system in particular, is that they breed con men.

It is about playing the game to get by. Not about changing. Part of the blame is the design of the system itself and the other part goes to the men that are playing that game. Life is not a game nor a thing that you can con your way through forever. Eventually, it will come out. This is the hard truth that guys need to hear. That they are bullshitting. But the joke is going to be on them. Some guys got mad, didn’t like it. But what do I care? I have lived a life where I have been shot at, stabbed, fought the best and toughest of my time. What do I care about someone being mad at me for telling the truth? It is what it is.

After class one guy, that I know, came and said to me, “I am a con man huh.” and I told him the truth, “yes you are and you know why.” He told me that as much as that hurt it is what he needed to hear. He knows that he is better than the way he acts.

This is not a game nor should it be taken as one. There is an obligation on those that know better to do better, to protect the interest of a society, of a generation that is the come. This is the idea of this course. Many guys don’t want to hear the truth but it must be said.

When it comes to the truth. One has to take ownership of their own lives. One has to realize that at the end of the day not many people care about them; there is nothing so special about their lives that the world must stop. Those that think like often feel that the world owe them. That everything is about them. That is not the real world. The sooner that one wakes up to that truth the sooner one can take the steps that are needed to move forward in life.

When I used this con man example I pointed out a little guy that I know that is in the same unit as me. This guy has lost almost all of his family to the “game”. He has never met his father and his mother was murdered getting high off of crack in some run down motel. He ended up getting hooked on drugs later in life, weed, pills and alcohol was/is his drug of choice. He has no GED and a young son. He spends his time watching TV or shooting the breeze with his friends, if you call then that. None of his “friends try to help him with his education and always seem to be putting thoughts of “one more time” in his head.

I had to call him out and asked him to question those around him. I see that he is being conned by those around him. Conned into thinking that this lifestyle is the life. That he does not need education to get ahead in life. That he is going to walk out of here and not have to deal with the world on the worlds terms. This is the con that is taking place here. Not just with him but with other guys as well, young and old.

I hope that through this class that guys wake up to the con. That they stop playing the game and take this thing serious. Some guys are being reached. If one person takes it and find the skills need to change I will feel that the message was conveyed. Until next week.

anPeace

Week 5 Victim Impact October 31, 2013

This week I began with a quote: “The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.” (Fyodor DostoevskyThe House of the Dead (1862))

We began the class discussing the mindsets that are bought to the prison environment and how they shape our visions for the future.

We also talked about the collateral damage that is a result of incarceration.

“Conviction for a crime, still more a sentence of imprisonment, may itself undermine family cohesion ad security, destroy the offenders prospects, result in loss of employment and assets, all quite apart from any legal measures…Those who commit crimes as youths may outgrow criminality as the get older but they may never be able to outgrow their criminal records.”
I talked about who really suffers from the acts which we have committed, the ripple effects. It is the family that suffer the most often.  That the suffering and penalty for incarceration does not stop when we are released.  But, that for the men there is a certain amount of degradation and loss of respect within the family. That the mere fact of having gone to prison for 1 day can, and is often set up to, destroy a lifetime of credibility.

The criminal justice system is a machine that is designed to do just that, destroy. What has to be understood is that there are no direct links to crime and incarceration. Crime is a result of poverty, under-education and urbanization. Incarceration policies do not respond to crime but to political agendas and climates. Underemployment , drugs and violence help create that climate due to the subculture that exists in these communities. That is what this system is designed to do. So it is no surprise that many men return to prison as the communities that they come from, and go back to, are still plagued with the very same issues that were there before they went to prison. So, there is a serious need to educate others to how to come up out of these conditions. To understand the collateral damage and find ways to work around it.

I also talked stats. In 1982 the cost for incarceration was 9 million a year. In 2001 the cost was 44 million a year. Today the cost of incarceration is 80 billion a year. Yes!! 80 billion a year!! Yet, crime has not been reduced. In fact between the years 2010 and 2011 violent victimization increased from 4.9 million to 5.8 million, an 18% increase. More money is being spent on a concept that is not working. Prisons are not reducing crime and violence yet more prisons are being built; more money is being spent than ever before.

Many of the men were receptive to the idea that they contributed to the conditions of their communities. That they are the ones that have to go back and make the effort to get it right.

In these classes, although they are not typically coaching forums, I use the skills that I have learn to get the guys to see what it would look like. What would it look like to live in a safe neighborhood? What would it look like to come home from work and be a father to ones kids? What would it look like to be respected and really loved? Many of the men, from the hardest to the meekest, all had something to say. That it would feel good to live in a community where people were not be shot and killed. Were their kids were safe from drugs and alcohol. Where they could send their kids to school i safety. So the next question was simple. If this is the community we want imagine how many other people want the same thing. Now imagine how many dreams we have destroyed, by not acting in the community that we come in a manner to be like the one that we want for ourselves. The way that others want it to be for themselves.

Surely no one wants to live in fear under the constant threat of violence and abuse. In fact many of the guys in this situation are here because we had to be a certain way so that we could survive, day to day. It is up to those that know to teach those who do not.

I challenged the men to pick up a book. There is no way that some of us have seen everything and done everything under the sun but a book! I mean it when I say that most of these men have not read a book in years. I asked them what is there to fear in a book? Maybe it is that the truth is to be found, the truth about who you really are. If that is the case than there may be reason to be afraid to open one up. When you look at the reality of most of us we have been shot, stabbed, mugged, drugged from home and imprisoned, put in cells days on top of days with out running water. We have been made to endure long trips across the country chained and shackle, eating stale and old cheese sandwiches. Yet, the thought of opening up a book scares most of us to death.

After class I had a conversation with a guy that is starting to get it. Time will tell, is what i told him. See it is easy to do the right thing when there is someone constantly watching your every move. This is not change. This is getting by, playing by the rules. What happens when the ex offender stigma will not allow you to get the job that you want and you have to settle. Are you going to remember this? Are you going to have the same resolve to do the right thing?

To be incarcerated is easy. There is nothing to do but breath. Yes there is danger. But, there is danger everywhere in the world. The only thing that most guys are dying from here is boredom and stupidity. I often feel the same way. There is no more lesson to be learned for me. Me being incarcerated at this point in my life serves NO purpose. So what am I doing here? Nothing too exciting, other than being bored have the time. They say that an idle mind is the workshop for the devil. Hence the stupidity that guys are getting caught up in. Due to the boredom that exists.

The real punishment is when one is released and have to fend for himself out there. Are you ready for this, is what I asked the young man. Are you ready to make choices? That is what freedom and liberty means. It means that you have to make choices and you have to be responsible for the choices that you make. He said that he was. I truly hope so.

Until next week Peace!

Week 3 of Victim Impact.

Wow today was a very intense day, to say the least. The topic started out on education and the importance of education. One of the questions was how much is enough. During that discussion the topic of race and history came up. To me this is an important topic. Some of the other facilitators did not think that this issue was relevant.

One of the thing we suffer from, not only in this country but the world over, is fear of the truth. The truth is that many African- Americans lack the information that other races have that make them feel proud of how they are. The history, as it is taught in this country, of Blacks began on a boat; on a boat in chains in shackles. What does that say about the trans-generational trauma that many Blacks suffer from today.

It is a known fact that certain behavioral habits/traits and diseases can be breed into a race of people. Look at the disposition that the Native Americans have to certain diseases, alcohol in particular, that stems from the introduction of those diseases in their communities as they were fighting for the land that was taken from them. It is a fact that alcohol was used as a means to buy off and control the natives by the white settlers.

In the case of African-Americans we suffer from some of the same trans-generational trauma, if not more. Some of the myths of Africans still are used today. From the comparisons of our penises, shoe sizes. lips hair types etc. Black women right now have a mountain of identity issues when it comes to being accepted in this country. As to what is beautiful and what it looks like. It says a lot when you see a Black woman dye her hair blonde and wear blue colored contacts. Everyone has the option to dress as they want it is just sad that the image of beautiful has to come from outside oneself. What makes a person beautiful is not what is on the outside but what is on the inside.

So what does this have to do with victim impact? A lot! History plays a major role in the acts that many of us commit. It is not the focus on the program but it is a starting point for many. An example of this is that almost everyone incarcerated dropped out of school. I believe that there are two systems in this country that allows it to thrive and fail at the same time.
The education and criminal justice system. Almost everyone who drops out of the educational system find themselves within the criminal justice system. Almost everyone who takes education serious almost never find themselves in the criminal justice system. Not to say that they have perfect crime free live but due the having a certain amount of education they have other options and more opportunities.

I believe that the more education one has the less likely they are going to, either come to prison or come back to prison upon release. Often crime is committed due to lack of education. One of the most monumental cases of our time is Brown v the Board of Education. It is a historical case in a time and era that had many challenges in terms of equality. This land mark case changed the education system in this country forever. I asked the question how many guys ever heard of this case and only 3 hands went up! If many of the young men in the class understood the implications of this case would they take education more serious? See this is one example where knowing history plays a critical role in the choices that one makes as it concerns committing crimes etc. Not to say that it is the end to all but it is a start. As we talk about victim impact it is important that we talk about education and history at the same time.

Another fiery topic that came up is role models and aspirations. I made a statement that the role of role models has been misplaced. That the true role models for our children are the fathers and mothers that bear them. Some of the guys mentioned what did I think about Obama and him being a role model. I told them that I did not believe that he will not be a role model for the children that I have one day. That, regardless of my past and the bad choices that I have made in life, I will be that role model for my kids. I also mentioned that what they were using, mentioning him to be a role model because he is the first “black” president is misplaced responsibility. That it is easier to point your children in the direction of someone else to aspire to be like than it is to change the behavior that is needed to be the role model and example that our children and communities really need.

This did not sit well with some of the men as it seems as if I was to giving credit to the achievement of Obama. It is not that I am not recognizing the accomplishment. It is I am not going to put my job off on him. This has become a pattern that is found in the urban communities. Whenever something goes wrong people place the blame on external sources. Not to say that there are no outside influences in the decisions that are made; but to say that there has to be some accountability as well. This attitude is very common in those that refuse to admit that crime and anti social behavior is a result of their actions. That at the end of if all it boils down to the choices that are made, individually.

It is unfortunate that the institutionalization of these communities are as such. The harsh reality is that a lot of the conditions we have created ourselves. If one does not want to admit to that at least admit and own up to the conditions that, individually, have been made. Choices that have lead to the destruction of communities and lives. That is the part that as individuals we have control.

Those around us are our best teachers. What we learned we learned from others. So when we talk about role models we have to be the example that we want others to live by. It is not the job of another black athlete, politician, doctor etc. It is the role that we must fulfill. This is where it becomes important to know history, as a starting point; To use as an example.
This is not an easy journey as it means changing belief systems, values and mind-sets. It is a challenge to get someone who has been a victim to realize that through this he/she has become the victimizer. It is a challenge but hopefully some one gets it.

I asked a question in the last class and yesterday one of the younger guys approached me and mentioned to me what happened to him. I challenged all of the men there that had children that if they told their child that if they had one wish what would they wish for. I told them that most of them would wish that they were there with them. This guy did this and his daughter told him, ” I wish that you were here with me.” He said that it bought tears to his eyes.

There is another guy that meet is father in prison for the first time. They were in a state prison together doing time together. His father went to prison shortly after he was born for Life. He never meet his son until his son came to prison 20 years later. They spent 4 years together and when the son left he knew that he was leaving his father behind forever; that he would never see him again.

This guy came up to me later and vowed to do and be better for his son when he went home. I thought that it was all talk. He began getting serious about his GED studies, he even got a tutor to spend time with outside the class. He has opened up more in class. He has even severed some of the negative ties that he has.

So although it is a challenge it is worth it. If one persons life is change it makes a difference. Until next week.
Peace

part 1 this is part one of a series

talk about history repeating itself we are seeing that today with the growth of the Hispanic population in America. the things that African Americans went through the Hispanics are going through the same thing but the difference being the slave trade has been replaced with incarceration. let me share with you a story that i heard the other day and from here you can draw the parallels.

as a male prisoner i am very aware of how prisons operates and how it effects the men but i never considered how it effects the women that have kids. when a immigrant woman is locked up her kids are taken into custody at the same time. that is if they are there during the arrest. if they are not there than there is no telling what happens to them if they have no family members here in the states. can you imagine coming home from school to find that your mother is not there and has been taken into custody? the worse part of that is that you cannot go and inquire because your status of being free may change upon inquiry. you are illegal so you have no legal rights to get a lawyer and fight to make sure that justice is served. than you don’t know any of that as you are a child and have not idea what all of this really means. this would be hard to imagine! yet everyday this takes place and people are oblivious to it. draw the parallel of slavery here of when the tribes were raided and Africans where kidnapped to be enslaved. when the child was off somewhere else to return to the tribe after a day of playing and hungry for the days activities, anxious to get home to tell mom about something spectacular that may have happened only to get there and find that the land had been raided and no one left. who raises that child?

when an undocumented woman is locked up for her status here her children are either placed in foster care, more American dollars spent to take care of this child, the child is turned over to other relatives or the child ends up homeless and locked out of society. with that being said it is no wonder that the gangs have become surrogate families for many Hispanics in this country.

when a person of illegal status is locked up the sentences have various ranges from months to years. if a person is released to their country and come back that time doubles, there are guys here that are doing up to 10 years for crossing over into the us. not for crimes but for re-entry. most of them are coming back to reunite with family. the women are willing to risk death, and a host of other crimes against humanity that goes along with cross the middle of the desert with a group of men who are crooked minded, and incarceration just to get reunite with their children. the bond of a mother and child is that strong that they would endure that and risk coming back to prison for a longer term than the first time.

often these women have their minds made up prior to release that they are coming back for these children. this is the same mindset that many women on those slave ships had. all they wanted to do was get back home to their children. they were bribed into thinking that after a certain amount of time they were going to be taken back home to reunite with family. this was to get more production out of them. so when Michelle Alexander talks about mass incarceration and how it parallels slavery and the era of Jim Crow all we have to do it look at the Hispanic issue and make parallels and the picture that she paints becomes clearer.

School To Prison Pipeline

Meridian, Mississippi Sued By Federal Civil Rights Lawyers For Operating ‘School-To-Prison’ Pipeline

Federal civil rights lawyers have filed a lawsuit against Meridian, Mississippi and other defendants in which they accuse city officials of operating a “school-to-prison pipeline” that jails students days at a time for minor infractions, without a probable cause hearing.

Students are apprehended and arrested for such infractions as talking back to a teacher, being out of dress-code, or tardy to class.  The lawsuit says incarceration is used as a “medium for school discipline,”  Meridian is not the only place in the country operating this sort of system, but so far it is only county not completely compliant with federal investigations.

Many experts have attributed the school-to-prison pipeline to zero-tolerance policies— a holdover from the war on drugs — that punish all major and minor rule infractions equally, bringing police disproportionately into high-minority schools.

in response to the questions that were posted by blackinside2012 regarding Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow,

how did we get here? and is it possible to reverse course?

to the first question i will say that the biggest weapon known to man is EDUCATION after having spent 20 years in prison and as i look back i am where i am today because of education. i can even say that the education that i had prior to coming to prison gave me a edge over most inmates. there has to be a renewed effort to change the way that blacks are educated. there has to be an effort within the homes of black families to educate the youth about the mis-education that many of us have received about life and who we are and were supposed to be. even as i write this i have apprehensions as to what term do i use when i talk about this issue, black or afro american. i prefer afro american and that is due to the understanding of  how significant that part of my heritage is to me and what identify with. yet i remember in the early 80s there were discussions in the black communities that surrounded the question of do we identify ourselves as blacks or afro americans. and ironically this was a topic of discussion with many opponents on both sides. yet what i didn’t hear was how do we identify ourselves in terms of morals and values. i think that we got so caught up in the ‘discussion’ of acceptable nominal terms as if this solidified our position and status in this country. so in this we lost ourselves and a part of the struggle was forgotten. there has to be a reinforcement on education. as it was a lack of it that created certain situations that made it easier for blacks to be sucked into this war against blacks by way of drugs. see for those of us can remember the early eighties was the tail of a movement where there was emphasis on black pride and education. this push was so strong and forceful that a government movement was created to stop it COINTELPRO, being one of them. with the death of some of the most prolific black, educated leaders of that time caused other elements that caused many blacks to forget the real issues at hand. blacks have proved themselves to be very intelligent and capable throughout the course of history, whether you agree with their ideology or not is not theh issue. we are talking about them reaching a certain level education to even be able to reach the world podium and get the ears of the masses. with the push of this war on drugs we see that the intended target were the children of that future generation of black youth that followed. as i sit here in prison and compare the time and era in which i came through and now i see the ill effects of the ‘crack babies’ and the broken homes in which they come from. and it shows the most in the mental capacity of these young men. the irony in all of this is that the elder men that have been active users of the drugs at a older age still have better cognitive skills than the younger men that inherited this thing. they older guys that came up in the 60s and 70s are very well aware of the issues that plague them while the youth don’t have a clue. i see this all the time. so these prisions were built for them not just as the prisons that they build today are for those that come after to me.

so how do we stop this? by educating those who will be effected to most by the thing of mass incarceration. that is the beautiful thing about Michelle Alexander’s book it educates.

as to the next question how did we get here? it is understood that certain atrocities took place and that as a result of that there are stereotypes, biases and prejudices that do affect the social status of blacks in this country. but we at the same time have lost touch of what it is to be family and the values of community. to me community is about common/unity. that is what it is to me. we have lost touch with this. and as much as i hate to admit it it i am here in prison as a result of something that i chose to do. yet the idea was planted by someone who looked like me, black. the drugs and guns that come into the community come by way of another black person. the violence that is perpetrated in my neighborhood is done so by those that look like me. as it was pointed out in class. what good is a terry stop if you are not packing or holding? why change the laws of racial profiling when 90% of the time gold is struck? if we want the laws to change and be amended we have to stop breaking them. once this happens these laws will be seen as ineffective in fighting crime and drugs. i am not concerned about the numbers of blacks to whites in who uses to most drugs and gets off etc. what i am talking about is us taking accountability for our own!! there are a million arguments that we can make about racial disparity yet those arguments are not going to stop the violence, rape and murders that are being carried out in the black communities right now. we need action not arguments!! we get the numbers and the studies but who is going to step out on the limb and address these issues. this is the role that have to play and i encourage all of you to play the same role. we say that the white man put us here for whatever reason do you expect for the same one that put you here to get you out? to raise your kids? we complain about the white man and his system yet we turn to them for the answers to our problems. we need to be real and upfront with our own and learn to solve these problems ourselves because we are the ones who suffer the most from these ills.