Thursday, July 8, 2010

Life On The Inside: An Omar Broadway film

On July 14th HBO will premier the documentary An Omar Broadway Film.  The following is from Omar’s myspace page:
Within New Jersey’s Department of Corrections also known as the Department of Corruption, there is a housing unit within Northern State Prison known as the Security Threat Group Management Unit. It is a housing unit that was created both as a result of New Jersey’s growing gang epidemic, and its presence within the Department of Corrections. Its purpose is for alleged gang members within New Jersey’s prisons to attend a program within it called the Security Threat Group Unit Program where the alleged members of whichever Security Threat Group that they’re suspected of being affiliated with is to denounce their affiliation, and be taught about the many reasons why they should steer clear of today’s popular gang culture. Unfortunately, as a result of the prison Administration and the supervising officers on down to their subordinates’ counterproductive behavior, not only is the intended effect of the Program not being produced, but the exact opposite is occurring. Gang affiliations are being reinforced as a result of the alleged gang members getting to the S.T.G.M.U, and being ganged up on by officers that behave just as the alleged gang members are to not to, as the officers display total disregard for the law, policy and procedure by taking it into their own hands when dealing with them, which you will be able to see for yourself. One of the officers within the prison got so tired of what his fellow officers were doing to the prisoners that he decided to break the wall of silence by going so far as to give an inmate a camcorder to actually record what transpires as opposed to just merely speaking out, which would have only resulted in him being ostracized while all of the participants, cover remains. We’ve reached out to many people and entities regarding the cruel and excessive force used by these guards to everyone ranging from the President, US Senators, talk show personalities , journalists, all four major news organizations and more to expose this cover up that reached as high up as the “then” Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Corrections, all to no avail. Now this information has found its rightful home on the world wide web for the world to see, so without further delay, here’s the 8th Amendment, let alone the entire Constitution being trampled on. Here’s a glimpse into the “Trauma Unit” that is sending suspected gang members back out into society far worst than when they left it. WWW.TRAUMAUNIT.NET THE OMAR BROADWAY STORY "EXPOSING A HIDDEN REALITY"
Omar filmed for six months in the hope that what he taped would be enough to get him out of prison.

Is it really any wonder that when these men leave prison, they are in no way prepared to rejoin the world. Prisons do not rehabilitate; they institutionalize inmates making them incapable of functioning.  The co-director of this film Douglas Tirola said in a Tribeca Film Festival  interview, that when he was on the phone discussing the film during post production with Omar, he heard three loud bangs and Omar disappeared.  It turns out, Omar had to drop the phone and run, because the man standing next to him had been stabbed. 

Inmates like Mumia have spoken out about the terrible conditions they are forced to live with and we turn our backs because these people are seen as the surplus population.  Once they become institutionalized, to the outside world they become their crime and lose their humanity.  Prisons say more about us as a society, then they do the deeds of the prisoners themselves.  What right have we to lock someone up because they have offended our social mores in some fashion and then allow the day in day out abuse of their person?  It seems that the only functions prisons serve is to create more criminal behaviour and function as source of employment.  Entire towns are built up around prisons and these people have no vested interest in seeing the destruction of the prison industrial complex. 

Instead of being concerned with the living conditions that Omar Broadway is being subjected to, people are concerned with how he got a camera into the prison.  They see the security violation instead of the horror that is his life.  Even when we see the truth we seek to deny it, because we don't want to admit that by allowing this criminal behaviour, we are no different than the criminals we lock up,