Beyond Incarceration: Oneika Mays


Manage episode 261330722 series 2250007
By CTZNWELL and Kerri Kelly. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

There’s a strange reference right now about how being in isolation is akin to being locked up. We’re seeing that narrative replicated around the country in the many white-led riots against the stay-at-home rules.

Let’s be clear: this quarantine is NOTHING like what people experience in prison. In fact, the outbreaks in prisons around the country reveal that incarcerated people are both more exposed and less able to protect themselves.

But beyond the current circumstances, many are questioning the role and efficacy of incarceration all together. And one of those advocates is Oneika Mays, the first Mindfulness Coach at Rikers Island Correctional Facility, where she works one-on-one with incarcerated people to help them cope with the stress and trauma of incarceration and foster resilience for re-entry and recovery.

Oneika says that our system “is a reflection of the society that we live in, and changes in society will change the way that we police, will change the way we treat certain people in schools and in certain neighborhoods. And when those kinds of things change, when we change our perception of the way that we view groups of people, that will lead to lasting change.”

This conversation is fierce and vulnerable and exactly what we all need to hear right now. Special thanks to guest host Ryan LeMere and Oneika for putting forth the courageous conversation that we all need to be a part of right now.

Connect with Oneika:

-Follow her on Instagram at @oneikamays

-Join her Monday meditations

-Stay tuned for Oneika’s virtual retreats at

-Check her out in Aligned Magazine

Here’s how you can take action:

-Support incarcerated individuals impacted by COVID-19 through mutual aid

-Women’s Pretrial Release Initiative

-The Women’s Project

If this episode resonates with you, we’d love for you to take a screenshot and tag us on Instagram stories @ctznwell, @oneikamays, and @ryan_lemere.

You can also click below to tweet:

"Changes in society will change the way we police, the way we treat certain people in schools and certain neighborhoods...when we change our perception of the way that we view groups of people, that will lead to lasting change." @OneikaMays on #CTZN Podcast @ctznwell @rplemere

-Join CTZNWELL on Patreon

-Follow CTZNWELL on Instagram

-Sign up for CTZNWELL’s weekly email WELLREAD and check out our other free content at

69 episodes