…the mere label of criminal has psychological implications that too often allow for greater society to stop viewing the prisoner as a human being. For just as people are socialized into what it means to be a student, friend, or worker-so too are they socialized into what it means to be a criminal. As this may suggest, this applies to the criminal himself as well. They learn the meanings of a role identity in interaction with others in which others act toward the self as if the person had the identity appropriate to their role behavior…Thereby, the transformation process previously described by Guattari and Deleuze becomes a vital element in supporting the penal institution’s livelihood. Because, as I have previously pointed, if the role identities and relationship interaction between those labeled as criminals can be manipulated-that is, be viewed as relationships between objects and people (or the classic “us” against “them”)-the manipulation can then replace social responsibility and compassion. Needless to say, the indifference that comes of this allows for a system debasing the criminal and thus justifying his being inhumanely treated.
Further, it’s been said that the control of communication formulates authority by limiting, if not discontinuing, contact between prisoners and society. As this may suggest, part of the transformation process involves depriving the prisoner of all, almost all, contact, as much as they can, with the outside world. For this reason prisons are purposefully designed for holding inside not just men, but also the mechanisms-both the physical and mental secrets-in which administrators administer their poison. The intense level of isolation prisoners are subject to is a matter of policy. Inmates are neither expected nor encouraged to have more than a modicum of healthy contact with the outside world.
This, unquestionably, creates a host of difficulties, not least of which tied to the family and community. These ties, needless to say, are treated by the administration as if criminal themselves. They are made to suffer the indiscriminate routine and inhumane treatment of the prisoner. It’s as if they are doing time themselves. Consequently, this creates an atmosphere of discomfort and alienation from their incarcerated loved ones. As can be expected, the discouragement weakens social bonds and thus causes a loss in support from the community and family base. Unfortunately, this is a predicament that befalls ninety-eight percent of prisoners within the first thirty-six months of being incarcerated.
It has been well stated at this point that the penal institution has embodied the core tenants of the institution of slavery. Very much like this institution, it has purposefully been designed to decimate the Black family and community structure. Note how chattel slaves were frequently and with great violence uprooted and dispatched to plantations far away from their family. For centuries, African mothers saw their sons and daughters auctioned off never to be seen again. Couples were routinely visited upon by the horrors of their master’s sadistic brutality-whippings, rapes, lynchings, and separation of spouses.
Today, the penal institution operates in much the same way. Prisoners are routinely dispatched to remote prison compounds that are purposefully located at inconvenient distances from their homes and family. In the backwoods of rural America where many of these compounds have been constructed to provide employment to predominately white communities-that have had little interaction with communities of color-these would-be otherwise poor whites assume roles of masters and overseers with often the same sadistic brutality of their forefathers.
However, now that their blatant acts of whipping, rape, etc., are no longer acceptable, they have mastered the art of psychological terrorism. These are those Gestapo tactics that, in addition to those previously noted, strive to rupture supports that allow prisoners to undermine the tyrannical prison regime:
1. Use of cooperative prisoners as leaders.
2. Prohibition of group formation that is not in the interests of the prison administration.
3. Development of information gathering techniques on prisoner activities.
4. Convincing prisoners that they can trust no one.
5. Treating cooperative prisoners in lenient and otherwise attractive ways.
6. Systematic distribution/withholding of mail and visiting privileges (especially with outsiders having anti-prison views).
7. Building the conviction among all prisoners that they deserve to be (and have been) abandoned by the good citizenry.
8. Prevention of any serious emotional ties among prisoners. Permitting access to as few disrupting publications and reading material as possible.
9. Moving prisoners that are resisters from one prison to another whenever they act up.
10. Use of techniques of character assassination to discredit and endanger uncooperative prisoners.
11. Making jailhouse lawyers pay for their suits against prison administrations & conditions.
12. Rewarding submission to prison discipline and religious guilt, feelings & subservience.
Having underwent such treatment, the psychological effect has us as prisoners foaming at the mouth like rabid dogs by the time we are released back into that other cage-the ghetto. After years, if not decades, of being tormented, humiliated, and isolated from our loved ones, we are extremely insensitive, volatile, embittered, sexually deviant, and shell-shocked (PTSD) having been shot-up by block guns and bombed with explosive canisters of tear gas. As this suggests, by humiliating and brutalizing us as prisoners society stands to increase our potential for aggressive violence.
Chapter 8 Excerpt of Ivan Kilgore’s recently published book Domestic Genocide: The Institutionalization of Society. READ more excerpts at http://www.willisraisedblog.wordpress.com. Friend Ivan in Facebook. Contact him at:
Ivan Kilgore V31306
P.O. BOX 290066
REPRESA, CA 95671.