Saturday, June 24, 2017

An Important Message to Respected Former Mayor John Street

TO: Former Mayor John Street:

Congratulations on the new portrait that will be in City Hall. I had every intent on attending the unveiling, but found myself sitting in a restaurant -- at no charge -- for dinner. My partner and   I are having a difficult time so he hasn't given me use of His food stamp card. {I always repay Him with a SEPTA pass the next month}. I didn't want to miss a very good dinner, so I missed seeing our finest Black Mayor. I had imagined shaking your hand and saying hello and smiling. I remember seeing you in the Walnut Street Theatre and we looked at each other as some strange energy seemed to Pass between us that has existed since the tie of the Pharoses of Egypt // Africa. I know you had the best Police Commissioner we EVER had in Sylvester Johnson. I know you had a level of professionalism and Black inclusion that has been missing ever since. I remember interviewing you when I was a cub reporter for the Philadelphia Tribune back in the late '70's and early '80'You were on City Council and I was covering North Philadelphia. I'm saying all this to ask you to continue to visit the prisons and Black men and Black women in the prisons. Thank you for being the best Mayor you could be. I probably could not have done such a job myself at including women, gays and lesbians and other people of color. The one short-falling, was I thought, the lack of new promised recognized privately-held Black hotels. We be still working on that one. Here you will find my prison reform measures. I want you to read this and send copies out to whoever you need to.  (Still working on this, Will finish later today or tomorrow.).


By Brother Tracy Gibson…


                Prison reform has to start with prisoner reform first.  Warehousing prisoners is not working and has never worked.  What ends up happening is that prisoners might go to jail with a minor violation and find themselves caught up in an in-prison lifestyle that includes permissive male to male sex; learning how to do more crimes that are often more illegal and more sophisticated than the crime(s) that the brother came in for in the first place; an overload of violence; building of a level of self-loathing and self-destruction, self-pity and addiction to illegal drugs.  Black people, especially in North America, find the current system extremely unacceptable, brutal and repugnant. This is mainly because it is the Black race that finds more and more of their men and women in jail doing hard time.  And it is the Black Community that finds these men and women back on their doorstep when they get out.  The more former offenders who are fed back into the community find there selves in negative situations and without coping skills and job skills, the more difficult it will be to take in these brothers and sisters in a positive and productive manner...  The jobs, presently, just don’t exists because when they are asked if they have a ``criminal record’’ or a ``criminal background’’ they are blocked out of many jobs if they answer in the affirmative.  Something drastic and revolutionary needs to be done. And it needs to be done very, very soon… It is a situation that requires massive surgery ``before’’ the patient is lost and another generation or two of Black and largely poor people goes down the drain—including hundreds of Black men who can and will be productive citizens if we keep on the case, demand change and build, invest and save independently…..……




1)            Start a separation system through which the least likely to recommit crimes are taken away from those who are most likely to recommit crimes.  Each prison should have a section for such people who can be given light work to do, the freedom to read books, better food, more open and legitimate contact with the outside, and direct job training that leads to a real living wage job on the outside.  The private sector could be taped for assistance in paying for these training programs, on a voluntary basis, and allowed to benefit from picking the best employees they want from the people who successfully finish such training programs.


2)            Some prisons have already started programs where prisoners who are in same-gender relationships and who are going to be in jail for a long time are respected and allowed to let those monogamous relationships flourish.  This is something that seems to work, at least in the TV documentary I saw recently [On ``Lock Down,’’ on MSNBC... ] It should certainly be examined and given at least pilot program status.


3)            Condoms MUST be given out in prison and used by men who have sex with other men.  It is a proven fact—and many of our Nation’s AIDS-Fighting organizations have the numbers to prove it—that many people who come out of the prison system in North America bring STD’s, including HIV back to the Black community.  Many men, for example, begin to take on female partners again once they leave the prison system.  This is part of the reason why some Black women are finding themselves HIV positive after they have been intimate with former offenders.  Something drastic has to be done here and accepting condom use in the prison system is a good start.  Also: more education about STDs and HIV is desperately needed in the prison system and in Black & Latin communities across North America...  If you are asking how to off-set some of the obvious political outcry that will come from the Right Wing and more family oriented and conservative elements among the electorate and the body politic, all I can say is they are giving our Brothers and Sisters in the neighborhoods and the communities a death sentence by allowing HIV and AIDS to flourish in our community.  Our babies are being born with HIV, partly due to the loose sex in the Prison system where condoms are unavailable and not being used with regularity.  It is worth taking a political hit for this one and you will be strengthening Black families and saving lives.  This must be explained to the electorate.


4)            Rape MUST be disallowed, not encouraged. The level of brutality can be curbed if men are allowed to have training, art classes, access to libraries and even passes out of the prison system for great behavior.  {Remember this is for first-time offenders and people who are deemed to be non-repeat offenders. }


5)                The level of illegal drug use and illegal drug abuse can also be curbed greatly when men see other men getting real training in carpentry, electric, journalism, computers, housing construction (electronics), administrative office work, and engineering etc. Women should have full access to such training as well and be rewarded for great behavior as well. ALL programs should reach across gender, race, religious and sexual orientation lines…


6)            People will have access to this training and an outside job as they are pulled out of the general population for great behavior.  There could even be separate places for the best prisoners far away from people who find themselves in situations where they want to destroy people, property and themselves.  Low level violators who display such ``great behavior’’ should have access to healthcare, dental care, eye glasses, and other benefits as well such as those mentioned before in this document   {like free library use, access to educational television, and conjugal visits…. 


7)              I feel that hardened criminals and repeat offenders DO NOT benefit from harsh treatment.  They should get psychiatric treatment and be allowed to stay alone as much as possible – especially if they are violent or have an extensive record of violence.  All prisoners must have a right to healthy, decent food and food must not be part of any type of punishment. Neither should being put among men who are hostile or violent to any group you might ``belong to.’’ The entire North American society needs to take a real hard look at the level of violence within our prison systems, & our borders and find ways of stemming the violence through less violence on television and in movies, more educational programming on television {some centered on How bullying hurts children and all people.  Greater emphasis on education in the school system on using peaceful means to stem conflicts, and through other avenues such as positive & constructive programs in churches and Mosques throughout the United States of Native America & much of the rest of the world......


8)            Violence coming from staff, guards and other formal prison officials is deeply unacceptable and should be met with criminal charges and financial liability.


9)            Prison populations are now, in North America, as diverse as the general population.  Diversity should be respected and differences should be celebrated and understood, not punished and repudiated.  An increase in cross-cultural experiences should be emphasized, not de-emphasized.


10)          Celebrations in prisons, for birthdays, holidays, and better food for such events should be given out according to great behavior as well as free access to educational television, radio, libraries, computers, music and constructive movies…


11)          As mentioned earlier, there should be an emphasis on family visits, better food and other benefits for people who want to work and who have ``Great Behavior’’….

12] If Brothers are well behaved it seems to me that short of prison allowed sexual liaisons with their mates or husbands or wives from the outside they could be allowed to have space alone with a nice bed to watch adult videos and have the proper materials such as lotion and towels to be intimate with themselves {masturbate} so the sexual tension and rape could be greatly decreased and brought under control. We all know, and it has been proven by other activists, that our Brothers and Sisters are being warehoused and railroaded into the Prison Industrial system to be used for labor {at $22. An hour by  corporations like Monsanto and Halliburton.} 

13] For Men and women who have really been obeying  the rules and treating themselves and others with respect, they MUST be allowed to have sexual liaisons with their mates or husbands or wives from the outside.  These visits MUST be totally condoned by the prison authorities and space MUST be provided that is comfortable, well heated or well air conditioned and special meals must be prepared.  Of course the main goal is for the Brothers and Sisters in the prison systems to get their freedom, and earn it, if you will, through their good behavior.  Taking part in programs that allow them to re-conform and acclimate themselves to dominate society will benefit our whole society and the prison population.  They MUST be given every opportunity to readjust to society and find jobs and programs where they will fit in the communities from which they came from in a timely fashion. 

A previous version of this document was submitted to the Obama Transition Team in November of 2008 by Brother Tracy Gibson; Re-submitted to the President of the United States Mr. Barack Obama, on April 11th, 2012.

Also sent to the Prison Commissioner of PA. in April of 2013. And to my cousin: Activist, Poet, Actress Liza Peterson on May 12, 2013.

A further edited version of this Prison Reform Statement will be sent to all prison Administration officials and all prisons within the United States of Native America or Turtle Island over the next few weeks as money allows us to do so.


Reach Brother Tracy Gibson  at 1 (215) 823 9985 // or  BrotherTracy11@GMail.Com

No comments:

Post a Comment