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I been to prison six times. The reason why the prison system fails is because rehabilation is left to the individual to decide if he wants it or not. Psychologically, I became comfortable with the ability to relax while in prison as apposed with dealing with all the stress that real life brings. Humans are very adaptable first off to begin with and therefore the way the system is set up this adaptability mentality becomes even easier. This is a personal perspective because some suggest I would not say these things had I been in a more violent prison. Nevertheless, even violent prisons have an outrageous number of return inmates.

My number one point is that to correct the behavior that led me to prison all the many times that I been was my choice to decide, not the system. From a criminal perspective with brutal honesty of self responsibility, I was in prison long before I first got arrested. Prison is a state of mind which produces the behaviors or actions that will lead to the end result of prison. All inmates believe that the system was never designed with correction in mind because if that was the case the prison population would not be constantly increasing. This also means jobs for the people involved in building, maintaining, operating, supervising, staffing, policing, adjudicating... So from a criminal perspective it's all about economics and that's why we strongly believe it is failing.

Now if a person decides that he or she really wants to change. Where in prison do you go for help dealing with all the twisted social issues that led many of us to prison in the first place? Like me for an example I am a product of a very dysfunctional home where I was abused on every level that I can think of. Number one when my father left I couldn't at all be mad at him because if I could I would have left as well. So now mother dearest starts drinking more and loses focus on life and I personally become the outlet for her anger. Mom's brother started touching me in very inappropriate ways that led to many self defeating cycles in my life that are still presently a problem. But how on earth do you even begin to discuss these types of issues in a prison AODA group. Many in the system have understood that successful exoffenders need to play a pivotal role in structuring and ficilating reintegration programs in order for them to be more effective.

As an African-American we cannot deny what our eyes see. In other words, when we physically see many inmates with the same skin color as us that is opposed to many of the correctional staff with the opposite skin color; this is a physical evidence that must be acknowledged and discussed. Often time's correctional staff refuses to acknowledge this reality and outspoken individuals are punished for refusing to gloss over an open obvious correlation, which is furthermore also an obvious connection to crime itself. I learned about my black identity and black self awareness in prison through reading on my own which greatly helped me to take a different perspective in life towards my self personally and others collectively. And anything that helped me I strongly believe it can help others as well or even better especially if there is a chartered path to follow with a focused objective.

I'm strong on the concept of follow through. What began will end if there is not effective follow through measures. Society as a whole is generally not concerned with ex-offenders and the uniqueness of the issues involved with their successful reintegration to the community. We all must be willing to work together in order for us to gain better results. Through experience of constantly failing I can honestly and most effectively converse on what was beneficial and what was a detriment to me and my own recidivism; however when I'm constantly looked at as someone who has nothing to bring to the table of discussion then I can't be of assistance to you. Secondly all I need is a chance is what most of us will say and I understand that many before me messed up that chance that I might have gotten from you. Nevertheless, I have learned that for me the most important thing on earth is to continue to have the right mind. You think it's a struggle to find a job, try adding six felonies, with no stable work history, and how do you say anything positive to gloss over that to even make it to the interview process to begin with. Job or no job staying positive is my number one objective. Having the right mind is more important than having a job because for me keeping the right mind state will solve problems that having a job cannot. And I had to learn that on my own from falling through a failed system.

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