Portrait

6x8 Portrait is a research project that will explore the impact of mass incarceration on families in the New York City metropolitan area in a way that aims to trigger a national conversation on the topic. 

Takia Parham + Charles Moore, Part 3: On What the Public Should Know About Welcoming the Formerly Incarcerated Back

Takia Parham + Charles Moore, Part 3: On What the Public Should Know About Welcoming the Formerly Incarcerated Back

Charles

Denny Renshaw/6x8 Portrait

Denny Renshaw/6x8 Portrait

Denny Renshaw/6x8 Portrait

Denny Renshaw/6x8 Portrait

“That’s the famous question. I think that the general public needs to somehow take more interest in trying to see what’s going on in prison. Prison is a very isolated city, meaning that there’s very little oversight. That’s why things happen; that’s why you have the issues that you have at Riker’s Island. That’s why you have some of the abuse that you have on the state level, because there’s really no oversight. People need to be able to come in and do random tours, to come in and just see how the conditions of the institutions is. Because I believe in prisons. I believe that if you do wrong, you know the Constitution is set up that if you do wrong, this is the result of your actions. But you are not sent to prison to be abused, and there is a lot of abuse in prisons. So, you know, if you believe in the justice system…if I do A, this is the consequence of my actions. Prison is to isolate you and hopefully rehabilitate you, not to abuse you. I believe there needs to be more oversight. That is what I’d like the public to know. And when I go out and speak on behalf of RTA, I always try to close with: Welcome people home from prison after they do their time with open arms, because they’ve done their time. It’s not like they escaped from prison. It’s not like they went through the window. They have done their time. And do not judge ’em. Give them an opportunity to reintegrate back into society. Don’t always judge them: oh, ‘ex felon.’ They have a new term now; it’s ‘returning citizens.’ That’s a cute word, but it leaves a question: returning from where? So you still have to go back and define…it’s better than some of the words we use, but it leaves a question. So if we could have a fair chance to be reintegrated back into society, that would give a lot of us a better chance at success.”

Takia

“I work for the state, at ten cents an hour, because I’m property of the state, working for the state. According to the Constitution, I am a slave. According to the Constitution, I owe a service. I have a debt that has to be worked off in the sentence. It doesn’t mean I’m going to be constantly whipped, like every day. I’m doing the time, because this is what the judge judged me for. He banged a gavel; the gavel shouldn’t be banged again until they’re saying dismissed from doing that time…”

“Solitary confinement in prisons should be altogether abandoned. If there is not physical contact, the length of time in which a person spends alone, no one to talk to…maybe except for the person who is giving them water out of a gardening bucket, a gardening-tool bucket every other day. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday is when they get to wash for 15 minutes. That type of treatment of people who are supposed to being rehabilitated…you’re not even in a program when you’re in solitary confinement, so it’s not contributing to anything except to the deterioration of the mind of the person who’s supposed to be rehabilitated or corrected.”

Takia “Judah” Parham Part 1: Background, Struggles and Identity

Takia “Judah” Parham Part 1: Background, Struggles and Identity

Takia Parham + Charles Moore, Part 2: On the Surprises and Challenges of Reintegration

Takia Parham + Charles Moore, Part 2: On the Surprises and Challenges of Reintegration