Prison Propaganda At Its Worst

Jamie spent a couple years in the prison in this video, the McConnell Unit, in Beeville, Texas, during the years 2010 – 2012. This is a video of a news broadcast on prisons made in 1995. Government was cracking down in a fictitious crime wave that began in the 1980’s and needed to appear to be tough on crime to the public.

Every politician is now afraid if they appear soft on crime they won’t be re-elected. But they aren’t afraid of what the people think. They are afraid of losing the donors who line their pockets and fill their war chests for re- election – the most important aspect of being a politician who is comfortable with being bribed in order to keep their job. New politicians are zealous about doing what is right for the country. Long time politicians not so much, which is why there needs to be a cap on how many terms they can stay in office.

I’ve been publishing some of the chapters of my upcoming book, “Inside The Forbidden Outside” on this blog. Last week I published a chapter about the Smith Unit in West Texas where Jamie was first housed. McConnell Unit is the next prison he is sent to. It is not uncommon to be shifted from prison to prison. One reason is it keeps the inmates from forming lasting friendships or planning something within the prison. It is located in SE Texas in Beeville, near Brownsville, not far north of the Mexican Border.

I’ve been reading through the letters Jamie sent me from the McConnell Unit. The difference between reality and the propaganda shown in this broadcast is overwhelming. But in 1995 the government needed a lot of propaganda to get the American people on board to support ramping up the “Tough on crime” stance and the “War on Drugs” which began in the 1980’s, thanks to the corruption of Richard Nixon.

A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance
http://www.drugpolicy.org › issues › brief-hist…

There were two things Nixon was passionate about; winning the Vietnam War at any cost, and his racist views of Black people. Black people were not friends of the Republican party or their view of what was good for America. Nixon put pot smoking hippies center stage. Massive protests to stop the war were beginning to interfere with his drum roll. They were getting too much support to end the war and had to be stopped. But people were done with sacrificing their sons and buying into the concocted need to fight communism. The real reason for the war had been kept from the media. If he could heighten people’s fear of marijuana and increase drug laws he’d be able to control the young people and their ablility to gather in large groups, especially at the White House.

Propaganda began appearing in the media, teaching people that pot was as dangerous as heroin. It said people were becoming addicted and violent. (I have never seen a violent stoned person who wasn’t laughing and raiding the fridge.) It justified tripling the prison population over time and created the need for more prisons. They were now seen as a business opportunity to make profit. Ironically, even today, our Attorney General is trying to revive those laws and fears again but people aren’t buying it.

NEWS – http://www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/editorials/sd-trump-sessions-marijuana-20180416-story.html

Black people have been portrayed as dangerous heroin addicts and dealers who might come to your hometown to rape white girls and addict the young. (We have since learned it is the pharmaceutical companies in bed with the government who is to blame). Women were to fear black men walking near them on a street and move to the other side. Black men are used to women clutching their purses in fear of snatch and grab putting all black men in the role criminal.  Or government has perpetuated this false identity in the quest to destroy and incarcerate many black men – and women as possible. Incarcerated Black women is the fastest growing segment of society. Since 1980, the amount of women locked up increased 8-fold and are locked up 4x more often than white women. That would lead you to believe black women were more deserving of incarceration. 

http://www.incite-national.org/page/women-color-prisons

Black men became the poster image for the heroin drug dealer . In reality more heroin was sold and used by white people than black. It’s been proven overall that drug usage is equally used by both races, but in the prisons, the black population is much higher than white. Why? Prisons are a tool to enslave black people much the same way slavery did.

This video is a good representation of the type of propaganda fed to the American people in the mid 90’s. Heinous crimes are inflicted on those in prison. Think about it. Do you really think the prisons would bow down to inmates demands for nicer prisons with benefits like what is shown in this video, saying their hands were tied and there was nothing they could do about it? That’s a laugh. I don’t think so.

Twenty-five years ago prisoners couldn’t tell people on the outside the truth about what was happening on the inside. Information coming out of the prisons was censored. Not any longer. Now there is the internet and people are demanding change.

With social media, in the past few years, information began getting out. Videos from cell phones inside were being shared online. Prison beatings and murders by guards were now known. Unsanitary conditions. They have been hard to prosecute, just like cops who kill and priests who sexually abuse young boys. There its too much money behind them.  There are too many prison abuses to list here. Texas prisons began threatening and punishing inmates with time in solitary confinement if they were found supplying their writings to people on the outside to be put on social media. The prisons needed to stop the flow of information. It didn’t work. 

I began publishing information four years ago, but Jamie doesn’t write it. I do. I believe people have a right to know how bad it is. Millions of people are currently locked up and many more millions have already served time. These lives have been negatively impacted through racism.

Families have been broken and left without the ability to make enough money to survive. Lack of education has hurt the ability to raise families. Children grow up with the stigma of having a parent in prison. 70% end up in prison themselves because of it and the cycle continues.

One in three black men are now incarcerated because of this concocted war on drugs. They are targeted as young as preschool and expelled from schools for the same behavior by white boys, who don’t get expelled. They portray black boys as being more dangerous. But look at all the mass shootings. Every. Single. Shooting – every one – was done by a white person. So who is really more dangerous? The government will not call these white people domestic terrorists. They have mental problems we are told. What would they call a black mass shooter?

Disrupting education is a major cause in becoming part of the school to prison pipeline – and later – part of the prison to poverty pipeline. This is intentional. It isn’t hidden. It is as open crusade to make America white again – when has never been a white country.

People really did believe inmates have had it easy. People bought it hook, line and sinker. This video shows the cells looking nice. It appears to be a vacation getaway for criminals. The good life. Crime pays, it implies. But reality was far different.

The food looks plentiful. Even the tray being served through the cell door looks piled high with food with a female pouring ice tea from a pitcher just like at a restaurant. Really?? That’s ridiculous. Hot meals in reality are served cold, thawed right out of the freezer.

Medical care is not better than at a hospital. Much of the medical care is via a computer like Skype and involves being prescribed water and Tylenol. Heart problem? Take cough medicine. The law says they have to provide “adequate” care but doesn’t stipulate what adequate care is. ally ill patients with diabetes and heart disease are left to die because it costs the medical corporations like Corizon too much of their profit. Today I got a letter from Jamie saying they are withholding his seizure medication again. Playing dumb – again. They said they forgot to order it. 

From 1995 until now conditions have gotten much worse. The prison industrial complex, the corporations that control different aspects of the prisons such as medical care, food, education and skills, spend as little money as possible on the inmates because it increases their bottom line. Many people are now aware of the horrible conditions inside but changing the system through reform is difficult. These corporations throw a lot of money at politicians to vote in their best interest. Right and wrong no longer matter.

People should know by now the government is not on the side of the people. But they have to want to understand the world they live in. Many people don’t. They prefer to live in a world of make believe.

 

itfo newsletter

ITFO NEWS

SUBSCRIBE

Help support Jamie. Share his story. Subscribe to keep up on the progress of the book and to read news about the prison industry. I also print the stories of other inmates that need telling if you have a story to tell.

When you subscribe and share other people have the opportunity to learn about the book being written which will help Jamie start a life when he is released. He needs your support.

Sonni Quicks Piano Improv – YouTube channel of the music videos being created for “Inside The Forbidden Outside.” New videos released as they are made.

My personal music website  – sonniquick.net

ReverbNation– My page of music but it is also a great site to hear and stream the work of other musicians around the world.

Skunk Radio – Indie radio out of London. My personal page

Soundcloud – all of my music can be found here plus music I have liked from other musicians. You can also stream my album “Stories without Words”

Jamie Life in Prison at Facebook . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the worldS

Improv Piano music of Sonni Quick – at Facebook . . . music news and other musicians

Twitter – My Name is Jamie. Let’s connect and fight our injustice system. There is power in knowledge.

Watch and Whirl – Sonni Quick.   My second blog. An odd assortment of rants and raves, music and poetry.

 

Do We Care About The Children of Inmates?

The lives of children are severely affected when one or both parents are locked up. What happens to these lives as they grow up to be young adults? Do they follow in the same path because they see it as normal, thinking it will also be their future? Black children have been confronted with more of their relatives going to prison than the average white child.  Do they accept it as inevitable because no one taught them there was another path they could take – before it became too late?

jamie cummings
On the left is Jamie Cummings at age 8 who was never told the name of his father and is believed to be in prison. On the right is his son, my grandson, Jamie at age eight. He has only seen his father a few times in prison behind glass. What does he think of this?  How does this affect him? Has anyone asked him how he really feels? I know what his father thinks. This is his deepest grief, not being able to be with his only child.

I want to tell you a story about my own childhood which explains how a child could think the course of their life followed a plan.  Looking back on it my mother and I had a good laugh, but at the time it wasn’t so funny. When I was quite young, I learned my mother was raised by her grandmother, not her mother. She was only four years old. Both of her parents remarried. Neither new step parent wanted her to live with them because admitting there was a child from a previous marriage meant their spouse had been married before. Being divorced was shameful, so she was raised by her grandmother.  When she was 11 years old it went to court for a custody battle and her grandmother was given full custody. Having to go to court was a horrible experience for her, sitting alone in a back room. and it remains a bad memory. At some point she told me about it when I asked her why she wasn’t raised by her parents. I must not have understood it because afterward I was convinced everyone had to go to court when they turned eleven. I had several years of being afraid because the closer I got to eleven the more was scared I became of having to go to court. By the time I reached eleven I matured enough to know I wouldn’t have to go, but not once did I confront my mother about how I felt because I thought I already knew the truth. It may sound silly, but at the time I thought I had no choice. This is the way a young child thinks.

children-hopeformiami-org
source credit: hopeformiami.org

How do children deal with life knowing their father mother, or both, is locked up?  How many children grow up and the only visits they remember are in a prison visiting room, often behind a panel of glass with a telephone to speak into? Do we assume they know how to mentally process that?  Are they more apt to think what happened to their parent will be part of their life if they see it all around them? Why would they think their life would be different? Even the act of “stop and frisk”, which was condemned in New York City as racial profiling, are acts children learned by watching what happened by cops who crossed the line by stalking black people for no other reason than because they were black and hoping they would find something on them that warranted an arrest. Is this all black children?  Of course not, but it affects far too many.

black-white-acheivement-gapjpg-f7b89770bb2374b5
credit source: Mlive.org          This looks like white children are smarter, but the real reason is they aren’t given the same quality of education with equal accessibility of educational programs and materials that cost money to provide.

In addition these children need to get a worthwhile education in schools that are often underfunded or perhaps closed because they are in disrepair or don’t have books and even qualified teachers. Going to a school far away is not easily accessible. Low income families often don’t have enough food and kids only have school lunches too rely on for food. I could go on.  Many of these kids do not graduate.  They fall in line with what others kids do and the cycle continues on. Many youth end up in juvenile detention and even truancy from school is one of the reasons they are put there. They become part of the school to prison pipeline. That becomes the prison to poverty pipeline. No education means no job.  They have no life to go back to when they get out. They have to eat. If they want to be “rehabilitated” there has to be an open path to do that. There are few options. We need to stop this cycle and concentrate on raising capable people. But who cares? “They are just black kids and they get what they deserve,” is the thought of too many people.  This is why there are more black kids than white who are locked up, and more black men than white in prison.

children-breakaway-outreach
source credit: breakawayoutreach.org

Blacks have long been sought after to fill the prisons starting with juvenile detention. Teachers have admitted they suspend black children much more often than white children. Is it too late to re-educate teachers about this treatment? Is it too late to re-educate cops? How many teachers would not be able to say out loud that they have been unfair? Their own education probably began with how they were raised and how their own family felt about blacks. But even today many people still believe black people are are less able than white people. They think blacks do more crimes, consume more drugs and the reason there are more blacks than whites in our prisons is because they were born with a gene that makes them want to commit crimes. This has been proven to be a fallacy, but it was what the media has reported and some people believe anything they read if that is what to believe.

But the real reason is so many children were raised themselves with one one parent or relative – if they were lucky – and the foster care system if they weren’t. Mothers can’t be fathers and young boys need the guidance of a man. So many didn’t have the experience of having a family who provided stability. That isn’t a guarantee, but sure helps. Kids look around them and follow the course they have been exposed to and that often leads to prison. At the same time that very system is doing everything they can to lock them up whether they are guilty or not. If this were not true, how could most of the people given pardons be able to prove they are innocent, even after they have 20 plus years imprisoned – and most of them are black people. This is the race that has been blamed for crimes and imprisoned even if they were out of town when the crime was committed.  It didn’t matter.  The police only needed someone – anyone – they could pin the crime on not caring they were ruining not only that person’s life,  but the lives of their children.

Can these children now go out into the world as adults and lead a life they have never lived that makes them acceptable in society? Many don’t even have a GED or work experience and have to look for manual labor jobs. Many test with low IQs – not that they are retarded but because they don’t have enough education to pass simple tests. Children grow up to be adults and they have to live their lives still shackled. Finding a landlord to rent them an apartment is harder than getting a job. So it all goes back to their childhood and not having many of the advantages other children have. The children of inmates become the next generation of parents whose children are on the other side of the fence.

download
ITFO Newsletter

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Sonni’s Pinterest
If you haven’t “liked” Jamie’s facebook page yet you can do so in the info under this post.

You can also follow the blog by email so you don’t miss any posts. That, too, is in the info beneath the post

The Prison to Poverty Pipeline

americancivilwar-com-f-douglas
source credit: american civilwar.com

Frederick Douglass, a slave in Maryland who became an abolitionist and journalist said, “It is easier to build strong children than it is to repair broken men.”

“To make a contented slave it is necessary to make a thoughtless one. It is necessary to darken the moral and mental vision and, as far as possible, to annihilate the power of reason.”

How often have you heard: Black people are stupid.  Genetically they don’t have the abilities of white people. Genetically they are predisposed to be criminals. If you hear anything enough you start regarding it as truth.  Many white people thoroughly believe they are a higher cut of human being.

In July, Bill O’Reilly making an extremely stupid remark on air at Fox News, commenting on Michele Obama’s comment that slaves built the Whitehouse said, “Those slaves werewell fed and had decent lodgings provided by the government.” However, the feds did not forbid subcontractors from using slave labor. 

women prison labor
photo credit: popularresistance.org

Most people do not realize how many of the products they purchase off the shelf and on online sites are products made by slaves in the prisons for as little as .29 an hour.  From Eddie Bauer’s jeans to Victoria Secret’s lingerie to military ammunition and supplies our police force needs to needlessly subdue anyone they choose to stop and harass. These products made by prison inmates are used against themselves. Inmates who are paid a ‘wage’, when released are presented with a bill for room and board which puts those released in high debt in a society where it is nearly impossible to rent an apartment or find a job.  It is important to keep the prisons full, and no politician shooting off his or her mouth about reducing prison populations will be able to accomplish more than a small amount to make it look as if something positive is happening.

How do they keep the prisons full? They start with the children and separate them from their family intent on ruining their chances of getting ahead.  Are their children who are uncontrollable.  Yes, but you have to go back to the beginning of their lives. How many of them have parents in prison?  How many of the men in their families have been to prison, because the odds for a black man is one in three.  The odds for Hispanics: one in six. A black man with a high school education has a 70% chance of going to prison.  So, logically, keep a black man out of school and there is a greater likelihood of filling the prisons because – no education means no job.

When Jamie gets out of prison when he is 40, and so far they have kept him at a level where he is allowed no phone, no job and no education. The property manager at the prison physically took his GED book and 18 other books from him – for no reason, when he was transferred .  I can only conclude that she didn’t want him to self-educate.  One of his greatest worries is wondering what will become of him when he gets out, because although he knows I am here, I will be pushing 70 when he gets out and my health is not the best.

Most people have heard of the ‘school to prison pipeline’, but it is more than that. It is also the ‘cradle to prison pipeline’, the ‘poverty to prison pipeline’ and the ‘prison to poverty pipeline’. Why is there a funnel that keeps a never ending supply of children being forced through it knowing it will irrevocably alter the course of their lives. Sadly, many, or perhaps most of these children won’t have a chance to build a positive life.  They can never play catch up because they are too far behind the eight ball. They will have to support themselves anyway they can find to do so. Legal or illegal because you have to eat.  The prisons bank on the revolving back doors of the prisons.  It is the least costly way of keeping the prisons full.

If these men and women had a support structure in the beginning, there is a good chance it isn’t there any more. Their life experiences and what they learn living in a biased justice system that doesn’t supply them with the experiences and subsequent wisdom they need, or the courage and confidence to have a life filled with love and hope. These are broken men – and women. The odds are completely stacked against them unless they are lucky enough to find an organization that guides them into the right direction.

I have read, if a prisoner is paroled they have a step down program that counsels them on re-entering society and helping them find at least a half-way house. Prisons do not have any programs for those that do their entire time. They are simply put out the door with 30 days of medications, a bus ticket, a few bucks and they are on their own if there is no one to pick them up. There are some programs if they can find them after they are released. If they had been in solitary confinement – they go from their cell to the street.  I can’t even imagine how horrifying that is.

What we learn as children sets the stage for how we make decisions in our lives when we become adults. If a person comes from a dysfunctional or broken family who had children without knowing themselves what it means to parent children, how are they able to learn what behavior and control is needed in society. They may end up in foster care bounced from home to home until they drop out.  What do they have the time to learn if their education has been totally disrupted and no one cares one iota if they succeed or fail?

Not every child who has been suspended from school came from a family such as this. Some just had the misfortune of having a teacher with the tendency to suspend more black children than white. Teachers often have more tolerance and leniency toward white children. They suspend 4x more black children than white. Without realizing it these teachers when they were children may have learned their bias from the adults around them. They may never say it aloud, but they can’t help but believe and expect their black students to be trouble makers.

When I was a child going through middle school in the 60’s not one child was handcuffed

kids in handcuff
photo course: bordc.org

by the police and put in the back of a police car. Not one. Not a single solitary one. But then, the first black classmate I had was in 5th grade and he was the only one. Through 6th grade black students were segregated simply because they lived in the black neighborhoods.  I never went into those neighborhoods.  I was too scared. Why? Why did I feel that way? What did I hear, and when, to make me afraid to go where they lived?  I couldn’t tell you. Not one school had a cop – a trained and sometimes brutally physical cop, who sometimes slammed kids to the ground, the way they do now. There were no cops on school premises every hour the school was open. What the hell happened? Children haven’t changed. Parents and parenting changed. Adults, coming from the baby boomer age wanted to be friends with their kids, gave them more freedom, didn’t teach them to respect the generation that raised them. Parents lost control.

At school it became  easier to suspend students than to work with them. Many schools no longer have on site guidance counselors or nurses. (This article should make you cry or get very angry) There have always been mischievous kids – pranksters – kids who picked on other kids and kids who would get into physical fights. They were sent to the principal’s office and he meted out punishment. Maybe the paddle, which I admit to getting, and it was never considered abuse. I deserved it, I’m sure. Or we got detention or a meeting with parents would happen, but never was a child handcuffed and taken away – until it became profitable. Then the child would have to see a judge and often, most often, if you were black you went to juvenile detention. Why? Why is there zero tolerance for young children doing what children do? Why did it become so necessary to ruin so many young lives?

This funnel was called the “school to prison pipeline” because so many children who were forced through it could never get their lives on track. Juvenile detention changed them. Many became angry. Many were sexually abused. Until just this year juvenile facilities used solitary confinement as punishment if they ‘broke a rule’. Now children cannot be put in solitary, but it took one boy committing suicide to make the change. If adult brains can be permanently scarred, what would it do to a child? It is heartbreaking. I’m not talking about children who have committed a serious crime, I’m talking about a child who had a teacher who couldn’t, wouldn’t take the time to help  because perhaps they had too many kids in their classroom, so it was easier to call the on-site cop who feeds him into the system.

It is quite odd and very disturbing that the majority of the children fed into this pipeline are black. Teachers who were interviewed admitted they are more likely to kick a black child out of class than a white child. Hispanics are in the middle. What does it say about us as nation, supposedly a Christian nation, some people think, yet our dislike and fear of black people even extends down to children, who are also supposedly children of God, if you believe in that sort of thing. Why are black children treated as though it is in their genes to be criminals, which is impossible. The state system, quite frankly, took away their realization that they, too, have just as much to offer as white children. Many have been set on the road for failure because the new definition of slavery lives in the prisons.

It is drilled into them that they don’t fit into a white man’s privileged society. I know we have many successful people color. I am talking about the ones the juvenile justice system got hold of and created a revolving door class of uneducated children who grew up and couldn’t get on their feet and landed in prison quite often convicted erroneously.

This blog is dedicated to Jamie Cummings who spent far more years in juvenile detention than what he was sentenced. He should not have been sentenced in the first place.  It is appalling what they did to him. No crime was committed. A cop who had harassed him earlier illegally kicked his way into his house with no probable cause and no warrant. His mother was badly hurt. Since Jamie was a minor they gave him 9 months in juvenile detention because he was the only one they could “punish”.  His brother was over eighteen and there was nothing they could charge him with.  His other brother was just a young boy and his sister was pregnant. So Jamie was it.  There needed to be some reason why the cop kicked the door in. But they didn’t let him out in nine months. He was in for more than four years, until he turned 21. By then he was seriously depressed in a juvenile facility for kids with mental issues. He did three stints in solitary confinement which they called Behavior Modification Programs or BMP. The day he got out, walking home from visiting a cousin he was arrested again for only walking and someone thought he looked suspicious. You can read this story in more detail. What do you think happened to his education?

Jamie didn’t need to be sacrificed for the Prison Industrial Complex as someone to increase the profit of their bottom line. The possibilities of his life was shattered. But would he have had a successful life coming from the poor section of small town in east Texas where job opportunities were slim? We’ll never know. He has grown up while being locked up, a total now of more than 14 1/2 years with 6 1/2 to go.

How many more children have suffered the sadness of having their lives stolen from them for profit. So many of these children end up getting in more trouble and ending up back inside. What else do they know?

***************

 

download
ITFO Newsletter

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Sonni’s Pinterest
If you haven’t “liked” Jamie’s facebook page yet you can do so in the info under this post.

You can also follow the blog by email so you don’t miss any posts. That, too, is in the info beneath the post