A Thoughts Is A Horrible _____ To Waste

By Vincent “Tank” Sherrill

You fill within the clean! I’ve usually referred to the thoughts as a womb, or a laboratory of life, not a “factor,” however somewhat a spot the place ideas and concepts are conceived. Nevertheless, since COVID-19 has been launched on the scene, I’ve watched a chilly recreation being performed inside two Washington State prisons: the sport between “The Development of the Thoughts versus The Regression of the Thoughts.”

I didn’t have a entrance row seat within the Colosseum to this American tragedy; I used to be one of many 2.3 million sacrificial our bodies. (A few of these our bodies had been launched, again right into a society not ready to obtain, as a consequence of their very own post-COVID well being wants.)

Supposedly, below the watchful eye of Woman Justice, prisoners are afforded sure inalienable rights and privileges, like non secular and schooling providers, for the redemptive qualities they each present. Nevertheless, as a consequence of this plague of epic proportion inside these partitions (some historic, and a few trendy), which have made my domicile for 28 years, these primary providers that present the house for the Thoughts to develop, develop, and reconcile ceased.

Applications inside jail like schooling and spiritual providers, which make for good psychological and social stimulation — particularly the packages created by prisoner’s and never jail profiteers — have disappeared. Nevertheless, when the virus, or an infection price started to subside, and prisons began opening up, it was the profiteers (packages that match into the revenue margins, and match the general public picture) who gained entry to prisoners first. For instance, Correctional Industries wasn’t affected by the closure of prisons from the outset of the restrictions, or the lockdown of prisons. It was enterprise as normal! Whereby, for over a yr prisoners had been denied our most elementary help programs: visitation from family members, and transformative packages with group volunteers, with essentially the most profitable reentry outcomes.

I witnessed the bodily and psychological breakdown of COVID each day. Personally, I used to be recognized with hypertension earlier than the pandemic. I instantly modified some issues in my weight loss plan (a serious problem in a jail pantry) and managed to get a deal with on it. However, when the pandemic hit, our alternatives for motion (Massive yard and packages) and mobility decreased to managed steps. My bodily and psychological well being declined. I skilled fatigue, muscle atrophy, anxiousness, despair, complications, and mind fogginess. I misplaced my motivation to check and socially interact with my friends, who regarded to me as a pillar; when the aware ecosystems we created inside prisons throughout Washington took successful, I checked out.

“The sudden shutting of the jail gates / from the general public made prisons much less protected / and prisoners weak to insurance policies / and the publicly perceived honorable police state / That’s till St. George Floyd got here to be the face / and crammed the already overcrowded house / of police brutality”

The Division of Corrections psychological well being workers might have achieved much more throughout the pandemic, apart from hand out Sudoku and Crossword puzzles for the thoughts. After they walked the cellblock, I’d recommend they conduct “social distanced speak remedy circles,” somewhat than handing out the paper that was utilized for gas throughout the protest. The proficient minds that created self-help and reentry packages, and challenged and altered the tradition inside jail, had been ceased and detained another time, and probably setting progress gained again many years. That’s but to be seen! For now, the scoreboard reads:

The Regression of the Thoughts (51) versus The Development of the Thoughts (50)

However I’m again now in full swing in my Concrete Root Activism™, and again to being a robust pillar in my carceral group. In closing, I wish to specific my love, appreciation, and admiration to our Restorative Justice companions, and Liberation Schooling (Faculty) Professors, who’re like our Thought Therapists in a way. To allow them to inform it, we’re their therapists. Nevertheless, their presence in our lives, and in our ostracized world, helped us to course of present occasions, and would have been a rudder throughout the pandemic and racial unrest, that erupted within the midst of the pandemic and seeped into these whole establishments. When they’re permitted to reenter prisons (or the “recreation” for our lives), I’ll be excited to see them come again, like a teammate who went to the locker room for an harm, however has returned to the sport.

In Revolutionary Solidarity,

Vincent “Tank” Sherrill, The Concrete Root Activist

Vincent “Tank” Sherrill leads certainly one of Washington State’s longest-running teams, the Black Prisoner’s Caucus.