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January 11, 2007

Playground to Prison

Riots involving hundreds of inmates have rocked prisons in the past two weeks. The latest took place in the Chino California State Prison for Men, where 80 inmates were injured. The melee forced the facility to shut down for several days.

Today, Jabari Aali Shaw talks with Dick about his own life as a prisoner, including the three prison riots he participated in at San Quentin State Penitentiary. His riot memories include defending himself with a tray after another inmate attacked him with a sharpened mattress spring.

Jabari feels that he was almost destined to be incarcerated. He grew up in one of this country's deadliest urban centers--West Oakland, Calif.-- then landed in one of its most notorious prisons. He's 27 years old, and he's been out of prison for seven months. He will be on parole for three years.

Look at what I made of my life, some were along the line.

I took my eyes off the prize.

Time after time I tried to gain focus again.

Get some coke and some gin and there my good intentions go in the wind.

Im confused with confusion am I losing busting moves.

But am I realy moven doin what im doin tryen to hide my pain.

With tears in my eyes.

-An excerpt of Jabari Aali Shaw's rap lyrics. (Jabari writes phonetically.)

  • Hear Jabari's rap song "Destiny"
  • Read an essay and poem by Jabari called "Men are Not Supposed to Cry"



Last night President Bush called for an increase in the number of troops in Iraq. That recommendation has sparked debate nationwide. 

Earlier in the week, Dick talked to one military couple, Rob and Stefani Barner. Rob is about to leave for his second deployment to Iraq. Stefani is preparing herself for the months of worry that lie ahead. In that interview, Stefani talked about her feeling that other Americans don't share her sense of sacrifice. That comment got a big response from listeners including Laurie Tillet, who wrote:

I felt like I had been punched in the stomach! My car has 2 yellow ribbons, one for my son Lieutenant Ryland Drennan, USMC ("Keep My Son Safe") and one for my daughter, Specialist Kelly Drennan, WV National Guard ("Keep My Daughter Safe").

Dick talks with Laurie about how the president's plan for Iraq could affect her family.

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