Recently I applied to help out a reporter. They wanted information on prison life:
Here it goes!
My name is Evan Baker and I am a Licensed Master Social Worker employed at Rikers Island Jail, located in New York City. Although Rikers Island Jail employs many African Americans, I am one of only a handful of African American male mental health clinicians, as most Black men are in jail or undereducated in New York City. I have written a book titled Rikers Isand Theories of Racism which is available on line on demand through Barnes and Nobles as well as Amazon. I was able to place copies in the actual Barnes and Nobles locations in New York where they all sold out! Recently I have started a blog. My site is evandrake.blogspot.com.
As a mental health therapist in Rikers Island Jail, I am responsible for running the dialectical behavioral therapy program. This program is designed to work with adolescent males who are housed in solitary confinement, punitive segrigation housing area. This area often referred to as “the bing” or “the box”, is designed to house adolescent inmates who have been infracted for fighting with other inmates or DOC officers.
The DBT program is designed to work with adolescents who have a wide range of behavioral disorders. These disorders include but are not limited to anxiety, depression, adjustment disorder, self harm behavior such as suicidal ideation, suicidal gestures, self harm which includes cutting their own body or self mutilation. The DBT program helps these children manage their frustration which can lead to violent or inappropriate behavior in this housing area as well as in general population housing. Inappropriate behavior manifests itself in the form of throwing urine or feces on staff, flooding the tier by overflowing the toilet bowl, wiping feces on the cell or eating their own feces in protest for being placed in solitary confinement.
Although this program is helpful as it offers a rehabilitation component, as is the purpose of mental health, I could elaborate further about the negative impact incarceration has on the larger Black community.