Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Educational System in Prison Is a Joke: Letter from a Prisoner in Marquette Branch Prison

Written by Lee Lambert, #398191, Marquette Branch Prison.

During my 16 years of incarceration in the Michigan Department of Corrections, I've noticed an alarming trend.

Young African American men are being locked up and funneled into the Prison Industrial Complex. The State of Michigan incarcerates these young men with no concrete plan on how to rehabilitate them, educate them, or steer them in a positive direction. These young men enter the prison population with no idea that incarceration is the new form of slavery.

It is not uncommon to see large groups of black men, crowded around the day room television, watching the latest "Love and Hip-hop" or "Basketball Wives" or "Black Ink," shows that portray black men and women in a very negative light. The conversations are laced with profanity, disrespect and rap lyrics. Very rarely do I find a young black man involved in elevating his mind.

The prison educational system is a joke! My prison job is "tutor" for Employment Readiness and G.E.D. I see, firsthand, how the prison system doesn't care whether you learn how to create a resume or if you obtain your G.E.D. They only care that the public knows that it's offered to inmates. I've seen men in G.E.D. classes for 2-3 years, unable to pass the tests because the teachers don't care. The adage, "The money isn't in the cure, it's in the treatment" applies here. "Why teach them to think for themselves. Let's keep them ignorant and locked up."

It is our duty to lift each other up to higher ground. We must not just plant information, but impart wisdom to these young men. The effort of planting information must result in making a man think and do for himself.

I have approximately 96 days left on my prison journey. I have dedicated myself to speaking out about mass incarceration. We need to lift the incarcerated black man to a higher ground.

Will you help?

Lee Lambert #498191, Marquette Branch Prison