#BryandaNotes: Remy Ma Discusses The Perils of Incarceration

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By, #BryandaNotes

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In a recent interview, Rapper Remy Ma discusses her personal experiences with incarceration including powerful insights on what she’s learned while being in the system. She emphasizes that prison is “designed to be horrible” and is “designed to break you”  in spite of the institution’s claims of rehabilitation and correction, “it does not correct anything and it does not rehabilitate you.”

Among other issues a felon may face, Remy states how the current system does not prepare ex-convicts for a proper transition back into society. This in turn creates a burden, continuing the outsider effect that has been placed on them. Employment is difficult to obtain for them, and there is this bright-red scarlet letter that gleams with them wherever they go. Family ties are estranged if not completely broken (unless you’re blessed with a wonderful support system like Remy is), and housing is difficult to obtain because most management teams don’t want convicted felons living within their residential communities. 

Insightfully, she encountered the behind-the-scenes scoop of women who don’t receive visitors from their friends and family, sharing how most people literally “throw away” their relatives once incarcerated. Furthermore, Remy describes the conditions of prison as being “inhumane” noting how “that time of the month” is awful especially since they’re only allowed 3 showers/week, and the system doesn’t allow them to have pads, tampons, and other sanitary products that would benefit them. 

Not only does the penitentiary disenfranchise those who fall victim to the system, it also dismantles those who may have gotten close while doing hard time. The very friends who helped Remy get through a rough patch in life are now prohibited from speaking to her because of probation laws. To me, a person figuratively walks away from a mental hellhole into a potentially catalytic meltdown. A support group is vital, yet it seems as though these people are otherwise left to their lonesome to figure it all out. 

Remy also makes a brilliant observation about the feasibility of the system’s faculty to remain uniform with it’s sentencing. There’s no cut/dry list of sentencing times associated with crimes, and the judge or jury can sentence you to whatever amount of time they see fit during each individual trial. 

Her detailed account of life behind bars pre-, post, and during is enlightening, powerful, and something to truly reminisce! 

Currently, the #BryandaNotes book club is discussing Angela Y. Davis’ book “Are Prisons Obsolete?” where she carefully discusses the parallels between the modern penitentiary, and it’s roots in American slavery. 

Remy’s experiences provide a first-hand account to the perils of slavery via the continuation of the prison system, as well as the mentalism it continues to perpetuate. Watch her segment below, and click this link (or search #BryandaNotes Book Club on Facebook) to join the discussion and answer the question: Are you in favor of prison abolition or prison reform? (One of them has to occur in order for our society to transform into a healthy and productive arena for the future.)

Remy on prison reform: “There has to be something where the person is still treated like a human being.”(https://youtu.be/bPhP_YtUUes)

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