HOW TO THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT CRITICAL RACE THEORY

by Lord Serious

Before you make the decision to accept Critical Race Theory as the lastest progressive tool to help Blacks achieve racial equality in America, let us exercise prudence and CRITICALLY THINK about the potentail pros and cons of Critical Race Theory. We do not have to accept this theory on face value. We should test this theory, challenge it, and force it to prove its accuracy. There are many acedemic and scientific theories from cosmology to social science which initially appeared to be accurate but upon closer examination they fell flat on their face after getting debunked and discarded like yesterday’s trash. For instance, Karl Marx held the theory that every capitalist nation would collapse and transition into a socialist society. But, this theory was proven wrong. Then there was the theory that giving criminal offenders lengthy mandatory sentences would lower the crime rate when actually it did the exact opposite; it has only acted as a catalyst for corporations to privative the prison industrial complex and lobby politicians for tougher crime policies. Then there’s the criminal justice theory that justice is blind and that we are all innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. But the history of American jurisprudence tells quite a different story. From the era of the Black codes and Jim Crow laws, to the era of mass incarceration due to racially biased laws like the disparity in the treatment drug offenders received for possessing/distributing powder cocaine – compared to the the sentences drug offenders received for possessing/distributing the same amount in crack cocaine, to the public policy of stop and frisk, which permitted law enforcement to racially profile “suspicious looking people” (meaning Black and Brown people). These laws and their enforcement all disproved these theories and reveal that historically Whites have weaponized the laws in this nation to target and control Blacks. Now that we all agree that just because a theory is receiving a lot of media attention, or it is being endorsed by experts or scholars in academia, this does not mean we should automatically agree. Remember, it was these same prestigious institutions of higher learning who supported all of the racist anthropologists and social experts in the 19th Century who theorized that Blacks were an inferior race to Whites. Therefore we must proceed with caution and THINK CRITICALLY about Critical Race Theory.

Next, let us analyze how this society has used race to advantage Whites and disadvantage Blacks. And while doing so, we must ask ourselves… since America has used race as a means to implement social control, does this mean we should write race off as being a purely a social construct? Since the Transatlantic Slave Trade and the Berlin Conference, Whites have used race as the gatekeeper to determine who in the society is entitled to receive benefits and access to resources and who is not. Typically, in societies where Whites make up the majority, the policy has been to remain as exclusive as possible. Citizenship and naturalization is usually reserved for members of their own group. This is why early America adopted the “one drop rule”. Having one drop of Black blood in your genealogy made you a Negro in America who had no rights the White man was bound to respect. However, in areas where Whites are in the minority, yet the society is under White domination, these societies usually are far more inclusive. The trend has been whenever Whites are in the minority, they are more willing to allow fairer skinned others to pass as White. Asians, Arabs, Hispanics, and mulattoes, who are typically barred and discriminated against in majority White societies, will be classified as White or Colored when Whites are a minority in that society. A few examples of this can be found in South Africa, North Africa, Central America, and South America. This is clear and convincing evidence proving that the White race has historically used race classifications to establish White domination over any society, and it doesn’t matter if Whites make up the majority or the minority of the population. Whites have never failed to find a way to manipulate the way societies in Africa, North America, Central America, and South America determine race classifications to keep power in White hands. But using race as a tool to keep and maintain social control does not meet the scientific threshhold of proving racial classifications themselves have no biological basis.

In fact, there is an entire scientific discipline dedicated to the study of such matters and it’s called ANTHROPOLOGY. However, it’s true that during antebellum (slavery), most White anthropologists selectively interpreted the data to support their biased views on the inferiority of Blacks as a race. But does this mean we should dismiss this entire science and all of its findings as being more speculative than scientific?

Here are some undisputed facts we must consider before throwing the baby out with the bathwater. The science of anthropology has provided sufficient evidence to support the necessity of at least two racial classifications, if not three. There is a significant difference between the bone structure, bone density, and level of calcification of the pineal gland to justify acknowledging Black people and White people as two separate and distinctly different races of people. There is no evidence to support any claim that our biological differences rise to the level of requiring a separate species classification, as is the case when you compare the biological differences between our species Homo Sapien Sapiens to the Neantherthals who are now all extinct. I would also like to highlight that one contributing factor to the biological differences between Black people and White people is the fact that most White people have at least 3% of Neantherthal DNA found in their genetic make up, while Blacks have none.

For all of the above stated reasons we have enough evidence to conclude that the provision within Critical Race Theory that proposes race is merely a social construct having no biological basis is inaccurate. Therefore, the entire theory is false and it should be rejected and discarded.

However, I will now like for us to further dissect Critical Race Theory, because I’m of the opinion that it’s fundamentally important that we learn how to THINK CRITICALLY about things like Critical Race Theory. Historically, Blacks have indiscriminately accepted progressive policies, BELIEVING that these policies would perform just as advertised. We have taken your experts at their word BELIEVING that their latest social measures would finally deliver the long awaited promise of racial equality for Blacks in America. And as a result Blacks have historically found themselves victims of White subversion instead. Blacks were told that ending segregation would improve our quality of life and our children’s education. But the only thing integration did for Black people is it destroyed the Black community. Today, there are less Black home owners, less Black-owned business in our neighborhoods, and our children are still disproportionately receiving a substandard education. Blacks were also told by progressives that Affirmative Action would level the economic playing field. Instead, it has done the exact opposite. Affirmative Action has only fortified White privilege by granting White women the progress America promised to Black people. Furthermore, the unemployment rate for Blacks in this nation has typically remained around 14%.

So, the Black race in America must ask itself could Critical Race Theory be the latest Trojan Horse? Every progressive measure their experts promised would help with America’s race problem always benefitted the White race more than the Black race. Every progressive measure implemented to render support for Blacks who have been disadvantaged by the racism of Whites has always served the interest of Whites more than Blacks. This is why we must THINK CRITICALLY about Critical Race Theory. It is time for the Black race to learn how to use foresight so that we may predict how these so-called progressive measures could potentially harm Blacks more than help them. It is highly probable that though Critical Race Theory appears to be promoting what’s best for all of humanity, it is actually designed to impede the Black race’s ability to advance.

I’m sure there are some Blacks who saw the controversy surrounding Critical Race Theory and they thought to themselves: “Since racisist Whites are opposed to it and seem to hate the idea of Critical Race Theory being taught in schools, then I should be all for it because it’s teaching that racism is wrong.” But what these Blacks fail to realize is that as dangerous as overt racism is, covert racism can be just as dangerous. The White Liberal has to be a lot more cunning to conceal his racisist intent. So he designs these progressive measures and policies that are intended to incite and inflame Conservative Whites today so that he can disadvantage the unsuspecting Black race tomorrow.

Therefore when analyzing the potential long term ramifications of allowing Critical Race Theory to be taught in schools we need to look out for the following:

1. Black children once were encouraged by James Brown to “Say it loud – I’m Black and I’m proud!” But future generations will no longer understand the significance of how racial identity relates to their self identity, and as a result Blacks will be even less likely to successfully unite around their common racial group identity.

2.Black children who are taught to believe that race is a social construct having no biological basis will have no desire to learn Black history.

3. Critical Race Theory miseducates children to believe that it’s race and not White supremacy that is the social construct having no biological basis.

4. After a couple of generations of Blacks have been taught Critical Race Theory what is the likelihood that Black people will value our RACE’S unique experience enough to still hold White America accountable for the sins committed against their Black ancestors? Will Blacks still demand reparations? And by allowing Black children to be taught race doesn’t exist what grounds will future Blacks have to stand on when they need to be protected as a disadvantaged group?

5. What guarantees can these experts give us that none of these things will occur?

In conclusion, I hope that you find my take on Critical Race Theory educational and thought provoking. I even encourage you to fact check me, maybe you’ll believe Google if you don’t believe me. I know some of you are closed minded and you already had your minds made up. But my goal wasn’t to convince you of anything. I did not write this to tell anyone what they should think about Critical Race Theory, remember I wrote this to teach you HOW TO THINK CRITICALLY ABOUT CRITICAL RACE THEORY. Peace!

Lord Serious is a blogger, a podcaster, and the author of two books “Apotheosis Lord Serious Hakim Allah’s Habeas Corpus Appeal” and “The Powerless Pinky”. You can learn more about Lord Serious by visiting his website www.LordSeriousSpeaks.com.

Prompt: The Education of Critical Race Theory

There’s been quite a stir these past few years in the mainstream media about critical race theory. It’s extremely important for us, as incarcerated people, to understand it because it speaks to why the prison system is disproportionally black.

I posed the question: ‘What is critical race theory?’ to many of my colleagues. To my surprise, most of them were uncertain. Education Weekly defines critical race theory (CRT) as an academic concept that observes the perpetuation racial inequality. The core idea is that race is a social construct, and that racism is not merely the product of individual bias or prejudice, but also something embedded in legal systems and policies. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not a new concept. It’s a scholastic perspective that’s over 40 years old.

Some suggest that the teaching of critical race theory is essential to the healing concerning racial conflict in America. Others say that the teaching of this history serves to maintain the divide in black and white relations in this country. Consider it a case of the ‘truth hurts’ vs. basking in blissful ignorance.

CRT views race as solely a social construction without any truth bearing in biological reality. That is to say, the CRT scholars acknowledge that there is no biological difference between races, and that the concept of races being fundamentally different is a complete fabrication. Though a construct, CRT acknowledges that the idea of race is significant and thus, guides race relations and interactions on cultural, social, and legal spectrums.

CRT suggests that this country systemically promotes a racial caste system, where minorities are relegated to the lower tiers of society.

If CRT has been around as long as 40 years ago, why is it just becoming popular now? Well, to anyone who hasn’t been living under a rock for the last decade or so, the recent events leading to what is now recognized as the ‘racial reckoning’ has brought awareness to many Americans about the unfair practices used to continuously oppress the black American population. In the view of CRT, the subjugation of black people has persisted way beyond their enslavement, and has been legally promoted and protected by law in America. The issue now — with the continuous validation of this theory — it has enough merit to guide the curriculums of K-12. Many state legislators (largely conservative Republicans) are rushing to ban the teachings of this theory at the grade school level.

I am of the opinion that, though the truth can be hard to bear, the truth sets you free. I believe that the teaching of critical race theory will be the start of setting this country free from its vile racial divide. Others believe that the teaching of CRT will lead to further the divide in this country. What do you think?

Prompt: Write a paragraph or more describing your opinion on CRT, and your opinion on whether or not it should be allowed to be taught in grade school. Additionally, if you can, trying answering some of the foundational questions of CRT to add more opinion to your piece.

*How do you think law protects racism and upholds racial hierarchies?
*How does law reproduce racial inequalities?
*How can law be used to dismantle race, racism, and racial inequalities?
*How do you think law constructs race?

— Peace and Love, Q

A Thin Line Between a Hero and a Criminal, Q’s Origin Story

I’m not sure how many people understand how thin of a line there is between the path of being a criminal, and the path of being a hero — other than the people who have walked it. More so, the people who have unfortunately stumbled upon the darker side.

I have been incarcerated going fourteen years now. Over this time, I’ve lost my grandmother, chose to pick up the practice of prayer and meditation, and through the help of a loved one, been able to embrace my great desire for higher education. Reflecting on my life, I’ve been able to ascertain the point where it all changed for me — a childhood experience where I trickled over the line where hero meets villain.

I’ve always considered myself a good kid. After several different location changes in my childhood, concepts like school and friends did not have the time to take an impacting hold on my life. However, I’ve always honored my parents, respected my elders, and was always ready to help anyone I could, when I could. My mother struggled with jobs and relationships as she tried to raise my siblings and I. She didn’t have enough energy to work long hours, endured massive migraines, chased behind three pre-teenaged boys (and a baby girl), on top of being very poor. An over-premissive parenting style seemed the viable option for her, so my brothers and I were free to roam and interpret the world on our own. Innocent enough, all of these factors set the ground for the childhood experience that changed my life.

I was ten years old when my family moved to a housing project in Durham, NC. Then, the Pokémon craze had set in heavy. Everyone had their gameboys, the videogames, and the trading cards. This craze didn’t fail to reach me either. I was totally in love with all things Pokémon.

I was at a cousin’s house, walking around their neighborhood. I was showing my cousins my rare holographic Pokémon cards, when a group of three older, unfamiliar kids walked up. I remember them clearly. One was a light-skinned boy, his hair was unkept and his clothes were a bit ragged and dirty. There was a kid who was big and round, he wore an old dress shirt that was too small for him, some old khaki pants and had a chipped tooth. The third was a very small boy who looked way younger than us. He had a bandana wrapped around his head with the knot tied to the front. “Hey, let me see those,” the light-skinned boy said. I looked at him with a smile on my face, and without hesitation gave him the cards in my hand. Excitedly, I began to explain the different cards and my love of Pokémon. Suddenly, he punched me in the shoulder and said, “These are mine now,” he then jumped back and threw up his fists in a fighter’s stance. I looked at him in amazement for a second before I understood what was going on. Outside of play – wrestling around with my brothers on the living room floor, I never had been in a fight before. Recognizing what was happening, I took a stance in defense of myself and my property. We danced in a circle, and before any strike was thrown, I saw a shiny piece of chrome glimmer in the corner of my eye, and then was frozen in astonishment. “What you gonna do now!?” is what the tiny bandana-ed boy said as he pointed a small handgun at my face. My mind and body were locked in place. Of course, I had never since an actual gun before, but being predisposed to cartoons, movies, and video games, I knew just how deadly a gun could be. Noticing how petrified I was, the boys turned away and fled with laughter and my trading cards in tow.

Seeing them disappear behind the houses of the neighborhood, anger and sadness boiled up inside of me. A raging ball of newly recognized emotions exploded, and I just erupted into tears. I sat on the porch of my cousin’s friend’s house shaking uncontrollably and bawling with my head in my lap. My younger brother sat beside me, his hand was rubbing me on my back in an attempt to comfort me. Strangely, I felt shame, cowardice, and disgust with myself. “Why didn’t I do something!? Why was I so afraid?” I cried inside and began I blame myself for being too kind, for giving the boy my cards. I looked at my little brother… I wanted to be strong for him, be his hero, and I felt like I had let him down. Through tear-filled eyes, I looked him in the face and cried out a promise, “I will never let anyone take anything away from me again!” Little did I know, that day and that promise would change my life forever.

Not too long after that encounter, I found it harder to walk away from confrontation or any type of situation that I could prove how brave I was. I found it harder to walk away from fights with the other kids, to walk away from challenges of thievery and delinquency. My behavior lead me to a childhood of truancy, underaged drinking, doing drugs and even joining a gang at the age of eleven. I no longer felt like a coward or a victim, but I didn’t realize at that age, that I was victimizing my mother and eventually myself with my erroneous quest for bravery. As a child, its hard to determine the line between being a hero and a villain. Even as adults, we look at most criminals as fearless or unhinged. These assumptions are not entirely true. Most of us here in prison were fatherless, scared children who managed our fear in distressing environments by imitating what we thought was brave.

Through meditation, prayer, and education, I’ve now come to realize what bravery truly is. I earned my GED within my first years of incarceration. I have been mentoring young men for over 10 years, helping them find their own spiritual journeys, tutoring various subjects, and motivating them to seek higher education. I currently take print-based college courses at Ohio University, studying to receive a degree in social sciences. I plan to use my education, reinforced by my experience to help deter youths who have fallen on the wrong side of that thin line. I also want to work with local legislators to create policies that support them.

While I’ve been able to achieve this level of growth during my incarceration, my story did not have to have this chapter of imprisonment. That leaves me with the questions: How can we save those noble little boys out there who are only seeking to be heroes? How do we teach them not only courage, but righteousness and strength, without ever having them see a jail cell? Through my story, I hope to increase the awareness that the world is full of these misguided good kids, who didn’t have a proper chance to find the heroes they truly were, before it was too late. If we can do a better job of identifying these special children, we can help them be more than just villains society believes deserve nothing more than a life of incarceration. We can create more heroes…

Our mission focuses on remembering the brilliance behind bars, giving incarcerated people who want to be heroes a chance to show the world that they CAN be.

– Q. Patterson, Creator and Organizer of BrillinaceBehindBars.com

Lessons

“Education is our passport to the future.”
-El Hajj Malik El Shabazz

Education isn’t just what we learn in a formal setting such as a classroom, in fact the lessons we actually hold onto the most and build off of are those we experience and or learn on our own, not those we are taught in a formal setting.

Human intellectual development depends on problem solving using what we learn from two sources; Nurture and Nature… Our future is determined by how well we are able to identify, extract, and use the lessons from each of those experiences. Our ancestors captors went to great lengths to keep them (and us) ignorant because they understood that ignorance breeds dependency.

No people solely dependant on another can ever be in control of their own future.

– Sincere Born Allah, #1131459, Nottoway Correctional Center

On Education, Change Starts With Our Youth.

Greetings readers my name is Brandon C.L. Hope, and today I will be writing to the topic of how I think people incarcerated can benefit from a higher education. Now, while I do believe that people incarcerated can benefit from a higher education, I also believe that a higher education should not just be a privilege, but an obligation. My brother and role model so gracefully pointed out an age-old saying: “if you know better, you’ll do better.” So, if the point of incarceration is really rehabilitation, then our political leaders and captors would make sure that we knew better.

I also do not believe that it should start here with incarceration, it should start in society and in our homes. Now, not to say that college is meant for everybody, because everybody has free will so they should do with their lives whatever they choose. However, I do think that there shouldn’t be so many obstacles for those who do choose the path of higher education. But, having said that, I still believe that we should be focused on the generation under the ones who are preparing for college.

See, I was the generation under those preparing for college when I ultimately made a decision that was so life-altering, that if I had known what the outcome and consequences would have been, I know that I would not be incarcerated. More than likely, I would be pursuing my higher learning at this point in time. If I would have had faith in the school system, then maybe I would have actually gone to school. During my 9th grade year of high school, I only had four full days of attendance that were accounted for because at the time, I didn’t care. School was just so boring, and I didn’t understand why I would possibly be doing this school stuff when I could go hang out with the guys in the neighborhood.

Now, I am not justifying the way I felt, but I am saying that even when the youth doesn’t have the understanding to care about these things, it is our jobs to care for them. But there’s only so much we can tell them at that age, we are no longer able to watch over them and tell them what to do, as they will make their own decisions whether we like it or not.

Being that it is our job to care, we must find a way to make school interesting to the younger demographic. I know that you’re probably saying “I heard this before”, and I’m pretty sure that you have, because I have heard this before. But somehow no matter what we try, we still get the same results… or maybe that’s not true. Maybe the truth is that no matter how hard we say that we try, in all actuality we don’t try hard enough. Because I know that this idea that I’m stating right now that everybody has heard before was definetly an idea when I was that kid in 9th grade, yet somehow, no matter what they said they were doing it still doesn’t account for why I only had four full days of attendance and nobody cared.

It’s the school system that failed me and the system period, for allowing the school system to fail me. Nobody cared, and this can not be a continuing cycle or we will continue to lose our brown and black children to incarceration and/or street violence. So it’s time for change to happen, and change starts with us starting with our youth. Thank you for your time.

– Brandon C. L. Hope, From Hampton, VA

Education is the Key to Every Problem

Here’s a topic that I live to expand upon, due to around the time of my incarceration, even before then, I honestly know that had I knew then what I know now, things would surely be different!

Education is the key to every problem. In order to solve a problem, you have to be educated on its solution. I strongly believe that applies to every dilemma that occurs (day-in/day-out). Proper education keeps us ahead of problems that may occur. From the smallest of them, to the big ones.

Prime example here is this Coronavirus that is plaguing the world right now. With the proper education, we can safeguard ourselves, while learning the correct chemicals to combat those sickened by it & it’s spread. “That means to mask up!”

There’s a quote that I always reference because of its realness, and it goes like this: “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance…” I reflect upon that quote to the bitter end, due to my personal experience. I’ve paid dearly for my ignorance. A very steep price that no amount of money can compensate, and that I can never get back or replaced. I’ve paid with precious time – over 25 years. That comes from the lack of a proper & healthy education. Now I know… too little, way to late. But the lesson is definitely learned.

If people are properly educated in certain areas of life aspects, trials, and tribulations, then they can avoid the many pitfalls life will throw their way. Take it from me, I’m living proof. For those of you out there, take complete advantage of the education highway and learn all that you possibly can to help you evolve into the best person you were destined to become. Education is the key to life.

D. Moyler #1119539, Lawrenceville Correctional Center, Virginia

Education Helps People Gain Self Worth

I believe people can benefit from a higher education while in prison because education helps a person gain self worth and belief that they can achieve whatever they put their minds to accomplish for themselves in life personally, and from an educational perspective.

I believe there should be additional educational courses provided to all prisoners who have and/or don’t have a GED. This would be a tool one can use to further their education and complete their education if they don’t already have it. I believe the state department of education funds haven’t been used to its fullest potential when it comes to prisoners having options to receive their education. As it stands for VADOC, a GED is the only option provided from the state. The educational funds can be utilized with outside schools who would agree to offer high school diploma programs to prisoners, to receive their education as well.

– Kamu Lumumba

Prompt: Education and the Prison System

Can you agree with the age old saying, “if you know better, you’ll do better?” I, myself, take the phrase as a praise to education as a means to curb criminal behavior in light of a better society. I believe that education, especially at the collegiate level, can help to reinforce moral values of ex-offenders and strengthen them with critical thinking, creating a line of innovative professionals and reputable contributors to society. This would ultimately result in curbing violent crime and would be a more effective use of the state’s rehabilitative efforts. Education is defined as training. So, lack of proper education can be synonymously linked to criminal behavior. Thomas Jefferson even linked being a good citizen to education by saying that ‘no one can properly use their freedom as Americans, if they do not have a proper education.’

Examining my own shortcomings, I could say that many of us who had turned to crime suffered from a sort of mental strangulation brought on by lack of education. Not only were we captives to our resources, being children of poor black families, our belief in getting a college education was shared amongst us too far and few in between. Having been one myself, its hard for a poor young man to really get behind the idea that an education would solve all his problems. Hefty tuitions discourage many poor people from even believing they could actually go to college. College to them is a pipe dream and fit only for the affluent; increasing the gap of disparagement mentally and literally. Instead, they see school itself as a waste of time and shortsightedly decided on faster, more lucrative options to relieve very real, very immediate stresses. It is becoming a common fact, the money it takes to house a single prisoner, could be used to send a person to college for four years. Why do we as a country continue to allow the school-to-prison pipeline target and claim wayward young black men’s lives? Corruption of the prison system became racists’ main weapon in retaliation to the emancipation black people. Now, it has been a system in motion coldly devouring young black and brown lives before bloom. Making higher education readily available to incarcerated people would at least help put us on a path to correcting some of the damages caused by the corruption of a justice system plagued by generations of oversight.

Rehabilitation through education… that isn’t a hard idea to get behind, is it? Maybe even a community college program could work with justice departments and start getting involved with lost youth looking at potentially life-destroying sentences. Me, I sacrificed my high school education because I became a teenage parent. I knew it was a bad decision then, but failed find another way. If I had had the opportunity offered to me to go to college, as an 18-year-old boy who’s life had gotten away from him, I would have jumped at the chance. I know the resources are there.

There was a program that made collegiate education readily available for many incarcerated people – involving the use of grants called Pell grants. This program has long been restricted to the point that only about four thousand inmates within correctional systems across America (less than 1%) receive them. Plus, the program goes up for review every year, leaving those few incarcerated individuals to worry if they’ll be able to finish their college courses. There must be a better way… to achieve this ‘better way’ is the job of both the people and their political leaders. The people with respects to raising concerns to their local politicians that they want safer streets and actual, effective rehabilitation efforts. Simply imprisoning people alone does not rehabilitate them. In fact, it may actually only make matters worse. Men and women, who were deterred from a path to higher education, could benefit by getting another chance at higher learning. Most of all, communities deserve to be safer places to live and raise children, and in a space where a person doesn’t have to be relegated to criminal thinking because of lack of education… its possible.

I believe if the upcoming administration wants to stick by their promise of relief from systemic racism, they would be more than open to providing greater swaths of incarcerated people with a readily available path to higher education. Only time will tell if change is really to come for race relations in America. Or, will it be the same story: America continuing to fail at acknowledging black oppression, and continue holding our country back from fulfilling a dream of establishing a greater union. Until then, whether behind the wall or on the streets… the struggle never stops…

Prompt for the Incarcerated:
How do you think people can benefit from a higher education while incarcerated? Do you believe there should be any specific types of educational course that should be offered to incarcerated people and why?

Remember… you may expound on the topic in a variety of forms: essays, poetry, art, etc. make sure to let the people know who you are and any project you may be or have been involved with. Thank you for your contribution. We are working together to bring awareness to the brilliance they have locked away behind bars.

-Q. Patterson

Thank you to the readers of BrillianceBehindBars.com. Answers to this prompt will be coming in through December of 2020 from those incarcerated across Virginia.