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My Felon and I Started at the Same Place

By Mame Kane, VI Form

Yo, ma, can you put some money on my account? I heard these words quite frequently while listening to inmate calls from Rikers Island. I started my internship in the District Attorney’s office assuming that all prisoners were awful people, but by the end of my six weeks, I learned that prisoners can be truly ordinary people. I listened to 206 calls and was able to profile my assigned inmate as a decent human being. My fellow interns thought that I was insane. After all, we were listening to prisoners who were affiliated members of three notorious Upper West Side Manhattan gangs. As interns, we were each assigned to a separate inmate who was a part of Manhattan’s largest drug bust, which occurred in early June 2014. 104 members of the three Manhattan gangs were arrested on 125th Street, central Harlem, a location I visit quite frequently. (more…)