Kody Scott, aka Sanyika Shakur aka Monster, was one of the most notorious members of the infamous Crips gang in South Central Los Angeles. In his autobiography, “Monster: The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member,” Scott gives the public an inside look at life in prison and its effect on him. If the autobiography was solely meant to give a depiction of gang life, he would have concentrated on the times spent out of jail and on the streets. Instead of briefly mentioning the amount of time spent in jail, he chooses instead to focus on the indecencies of prison, and street life as repercussion. Most people see the autobiography as a representation of life as a gang member; instead I view it as a portrayal of the corruptions of prison life.
When Scott was fourteen years old he was placed in Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall for a shooting. He says that “the juvenile tank has got to be the most blatant exercise the state has ever devised for corrupting, institutionalizing, and creating recidivism in youth (136).” Prison gives gang members credibility on the streets, helps them further their reputation and promote their name, and is seen as a step or a test to maintain a tough street status. While civilians fell safer with more prisons, inmates view it as a type of education. California has the largest state prison population in the country, and 97% of inmates are eventually released with even more violent knowledge and capabilities.
The fact that four out of five released inmates eventually end up back in prison at some point suggests that they have no motivation to change their ways. California was the first state to ban early release for good behavior. Inmates then do not feel as if they have to act better so they stay the same or worsen, which means they are that way upon their time of release.
When Scott was released from Juvenile Hall after serving nineteen of the sixty days he was sentenced, his “reputation was s...