Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
There isn't much the African/black community in the U.S. can do within the system to counteract that "financial "incentive"...inside this system that is...---Oshun Auset
_Unfortunately, you are right. There isn't much we can do. The prison system not only fails to effectively 'rehabilitate', the penal system will stand in the way of anyone coming to help those so inclined to improve their self-image.
Religion is the only currently successful leverage allowed. It is successful only because the system can't bar religion.
Pennsylvania's Department of Correction won't let me, or anyone of my ilk, through the door. Not anymore that is.
I also find the same 'gatekeeper' mentality in public schools and the State-operated human services agencies.
Some may recognize this as a characteristic of the plantation system. Pennsylvania is a hugh subscriber to this philosophy._
I used to go into SCI Huntingdon (maximum security - Mumia Abul Jamal was there for a number of years) and SCI Smithfield (medium security) when I lived in Huntingdon, PA as an official visitor with the Pennsylvania Prison Society. I do not know if you are familiar with them, but I they might be one means of gaining access into the prisons. Founded by the Quakers, the society came about with the creation of the penal system in PA to insure the well being of prisoners. Official visitors have the same rights to meet with inmates as do their attornies. We got letters all the time dealing various issues. I have met some of the most gifted and giving individuals that I know in those institutions, especially among the lifers.
You might also want to check out CURE. I am not sure if they are still operating in the state, but they are also pretty good about getting people into the prisons and jails who wish to help out. Finally, with the student volunteer coordinator at the college where I worked at the time, we got some students in to do some tutoring in the prisons education program.