You Won’t Believe This…But It Is Absolutely TRUE.

I blogged earlier about the unimaginable power the Nevada Department of Corrections has to increase prison time, to punish inmates beyond a judge’s sentence, and I wanted to give a bit more detail.

First, let me start by saying that I never thought I would be in the position to be writing such a blog, or about any such subject matter – because I simply had no idea that things like this went on.  All three of my siblings have been incarcerated at one time or another, mainly for drug-related crimes, but I had no idea how serious and severe the miscarriage of justice is – and it is ongoing.

Tonight, I talked to my sweetheart.  He has been under an extreme amount of stress lately because of a turn of events at the prison.  If you’ll recall from my earlier blog, he and several other inmates are being punished for having graduated high school; inmates cannot attend Vocational Education if they have a high school diploma.  Therefore, those who were enrolled in the program (including my man) and who had already earned meritorious credit for such, which would have decreased their time in prison – but only if they complete the program, have LOST that time.

To exacerbate this problem is the additional bombshell for my babe that if he does not get a job IMMEDIATELY, he will be dropped to Level 2.  That is a tremendous punishment, in that it means being locked in his cell for more than half the day, having extremely limited phone time, and time ADDED to his sentence.  Yes, that’s what they will do.

Now, if this next bit wasn’t so horrific, it would be funny: my man cannot have a job (he has repeatedly tried and been denied) because he has a leg injury – WHICH THE PRISON WILL NOT TREAT HIM FOR, as well as high blood pressure – WHICH THE PRISON WITHHELD HIS PRESCRIPTION MEDICATION FOR UNTIL I CALLED THE NDOC AND COMPLAINED.  That same evening, after 7 weeks of going without it, he was finally given his medication – but only part of it; he needs two prescriptions, but was given only one.

This is the same bullshit that the Parole Board did to him when he went before them  in June.  He was punished for not having attended any “programming,” yet “programming” is not offered to him because he is in Medium Security.  He asked for an in-cell study program, but was refused.  He asked for a “classification reduction” but was again refused.  He challenged his classification but was told by his caseworker that he cannot challenge unless his sentence gets reduced, or some other bullshit.

On top of all of this, the PSI report (Pre-Sentence Investigation report) that was used when he was sentenced is INCORRECT; this is not something you, dear reader, will be unfamiliar with, if you have spent any time reading blogs regarding PSI reports.  They are notoriously full of errors, yet prisoners are essentially powerless to do anything about them or to have them changed.  Even getting your hands on a copy of one seems to be an insurmountable obstacle.

What causes so much grief for me about this whole situation, aside from the obvious, is that people know this stuff is going on.  The Governer knows, the ACLU knows, the media have published reports and articles about it – there are huge groups of people who are fully aware of the serious and ongoing human rights violations, Constitutional violations, etc., yet nothing changes.  NOTHING.  How can so many people know and be able to do nothing?  Meanwhile, so many people are suffering intensely behind bars in Nevada.  What can I do?  What can anyone do?

I cannot fathom the grotesque carnival of horror that the man I love is being subjected to on a daily basis.  Not only the emotional and mental strain of it, but the physical pain, too: he is not ablet to sleep because of the pain in his injured knee, and he cannot eat because the “food” makes him sick and is notoriously “not fit for human consumption.”  And now the prison has the power to add time to his sentence to force him to stay there even longer, simply because he cannot get a job – because they will not allow him to have one?  It’s a Catch-22 of the worst and most horrific magnitude.

There is so much more to this story, and I will write more later.  For now, I need to try to un-kink my brain and try to wrap it around this nightmare so I can figure out what to do next to effect some sort of change – something far greater people than I have tried and failed to do so far.  But that doesn’t mean that I am going to give up.  Because I’m not.  I don’t know how I’m going to do this, but I AM going to do this.  I hope you’ll help me; there’s power in numbers…

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You Won’t Believe This…But It Is Absolutely TRUE.

38. 38 Parole Denial Appeals. Ah ah ah ah ah…

count_sesame_street

Tonight, Tracy told me that 38 other prisoners are appealing their parole denials, since the parole board is OUT OF CONTROL.  They are basing their decisions on erroneous PSI (Pre-Sentencing Investigation) reports, redacted court documents, assessments for which there are NO standard guidelines as to how to score them – the entire thing is a fiasco.  A FARCE.  I am sick to my stomach.

To complicate matters for US, the prison – for some reason – has fucked around with Tracy’s mail.  TWICE now, he has mailed the paperwork he was given with the parole denial, including the reasons the board denied him, and TWICE the mail never got to me.  TWICE.  Now, this is particularly troubling, because a letter I mailed to him yesterday morning is already there and in his hands; he told me that tonight.

Appeals must be filed within a certain amount of time, and the hold up with the mail just complicates things, obviously.  So, it’s a nightmare.  But what is exciting is that so many others are going to appeal.  As soon as the NDOC and the state realize that they’re going to have many, MANY lawsuits on their hands, they might start doing the right thing.  But probably not.  No one wants to do ANYTHING without being forced to by law.

I’m sick of the fact that there is no oversight.  There are no rules.  Cops on the street murder black people and get away with it, and guards inside this particular prison shoot, injure and murder inmates – not to mention the race baiting that goes on, as well as the general horrific mistreatment of the inmates by the guards – and answer to NO ONE.  Well, they can start answering to ME, because I’m not going to sit down and shut up.  I have a big mouth, a cause, and a man I love – and I will fight.  I am a KNIGHT.

THIS KNIGHT WILL FIGHT.

I love my man so much, and he is worth it – as are all the other unjustly and unfairly incarcerated individuals sitting behind bars right now.  Their lives mean something, too — their lives matter.

The battles wages on.  Tracy, I love you.  I am fighting for you, and I always will.  ❤

38. 38 Parole Denial Appeals. Ah ah ah ah ah…

Keeping Hope Alive

I don’t think anyone could truly know how incredibly difficult it is, nor how painful, to try to buoy the spirit, heart and mind of someone who is locked up in a cage and who feels hopeless unless that person has also tried to do the same for someone they love.

Every day seems to be a rollercoaster; some days, we’re up, and we’re happy.  Other days, like today, everything seems to just fall to shit.  Doubts take center stage, the future looks not only out of reach and impossibly far away but also without any prospects for normalcy; just survival.  I’m not even talking about joy or prosperity, but just survival.

To worry about not being able to find a job, not having any way to support yourself and no matter where you turn, after your years of incarceration, no one will hire you – so the punishment effectively never ends.  Family and friends turn on you, no one has the time or inclination to stand by your side and give you that hope.  And if those people won’t, who will?

Loving a man who is incarcerated, and listening to him express his fear, apprehension, doubt, anxiety and all of those other feelings that go along with the uncertainty of his future and NOT to be able to reassure him is tantamount to torture.  When he speaks about the things he is going to have to face, and then about the necessary rebuilding of his life once he is free, he speaks in terms of “I” and “me,” not “us” and “we,” and that is painful.  I want to rebuild with him, and I want to be there to support him, keep him strong, be by his side and help him get through the struggles and challenges.  But I don’t hear myself in his description of the picture of what he knows he has to deal with.  And the sad thing is that I know I am there, but his focus has to be 100% on himself; that is what rebuilding his life is going to be all about for him.  It won’t matter how much I want to do, or how much I love him, or how much I show him that I am on his side – all that will really matter is, well, I can’t write any more now.

Prison is punishment for not only the person who is convicted of the crime, but probably even more so for the people who love the prisoner.  I cannot put my arms around him, I can’t text him stupid silly jokes or dumb things I see on facebook, and I can’t call him when I’m sad or unsure or just need to hear his voice.  We can’t just decide to go see a movie, or run out and grab something for dinner on the fly; everything is strictly regimented, and the rules have nothing to do with me or my schedule, or my needs.

I need him to come home, and I need him to be whole.  I need him to know that I will always be here, but there is no way I can effectively communicate those things to him on the other end of the telephone.  I also have to keep my emotions in check and know that the ebb and flow of emotion through this experience is something I have ridden through before, and I will get through it this time, too.  It’s so painful.  Even though I am getting better at self-soothing, it would be much easier to be able to work through it with him by being able to talk when we need to talk or better yet, to not have to go through it at all.

But that is the choice I made: I chose him, ergo I chose this.  So, I will cling to my life preserver and tread water in this huge expanse of ocean – the ocean of our tears, and hope that I don’t drown before I make my way back to shore to find him there waiting for me, just like in that song, “Beyond the Sea.”

I love him, and I even though I feel so exhausted, I will stay strong so that he can be strong.  I don’t know how I’m going to do it, but I am going to do it.

Keeping Hope Alive

Kristina Wildeveld

I am thrilled to confirm that, as of this moment,  attorney Kristina Widevelde does, in fact, handle parole denial appeal cases.  I know this because I just called her office to make sure, prior to our appointment next week; I would not have liked to pay the pricey consultation fee only to be told that she doesn’t handle our particular action.  I mean, she is certainly not the most expensive attorney in Las Vegas but the cost of the consultation is a bit of a chunk.   That said, I am not complaining about it, since she is absolutely worth the price.

I am delighted and thrilled that she does handle parole denial appeal cases, despite the fact that her website does not specifically list that as one of her practices.  I also want to publicly thank her office staff for their kindness and patience; this is a very emotional, trying experience for me, and I have had lots of questions, as well as the need to reschedule twice.  Ms. Wildeveld’s staff has always been courteous, professional and understanding;  I really appreciate that.

So if you or your loved one find yourself/yourselves in the position of wanting to appeal a parole denial, call Kristina Wildeveld’s office with confidence.  She may not even agree to take our case, but knowing she will at least meet with us to discuss our options, etc. gives me great hope.

Kristina Wildeveld

When An Attorney Calls…

One of the most exciting phone calls in my life *just* happened: an attorney who handles parole denial appeals called and spoke to me about Tracy’s case; it looks like we ARE going to be able to appeal, since what has happened to him is absolutely WRONG and unjust. I cannot move forward with any cause of action until I have the paperwork the parole board gave, detailing their reasons for denial, but since parole is discretionary and depends almost solely on the “mood” of the commissioners (I wish I was kidding; I’m not…), and since they did not follow their own rules and laws, I think we’ve got them by the balls. Not only will we be seeking a reversal of denial AND an approval, but we will also be seeking compensatory *and* punitive damages against the State of Nevada, the Nevada Department of Corrections, et al.

I do not know the status of the article we hoped would be written; I have emailed the reporter and asked for an update but have not had a response. So, I will reach out to *other* reporters, since this is a timely and newsworthy issue, and has received coverage recently (May, 2015).

I feel very encouraged and energized, and that’s a good thing; this is going to be one hell of a fight, but I thoroughly intend to Fight the Nevada Department of Corrections, and I will not stop until justice is done for my loved one, and for all others who have been victimized by this corrupt, unjust system. Watch this space…

When An Attorney Calls…

I Am A Knight

Sometimes, I wake up crying. Sometimes, I go to sleep crying; loving someone who is in prison is extremely difficult and painful. I told him this morning that nothing could be harder; even if he was ill and in the hospital, at least I could be by his side to keep him company, watch him sleep and just be there to try to soothe his pain and assuage his fears.  And death, as devastating as it is, at least has some finality to it; the person is gone, and I have to accept that I will never see or speak to that person again so I can start to heal and move on with my life. But loving someone in prison is continual torture, because I can hear him, and I know he’s there, but I can’t see him or be with him. And I know that he is siffering every minute of every day, and I am almost powerless to do anything about it. *Almost.* I am fighting with everything I have, and with every bit of my strength and determination. I will not give up. And I will not stop loving him. I know there will be more oceans of tears to cry for the loneliness, the desolation and despair, but I also know that this distance and separation will also eventually come to an end and he will be free, and knowing that – along with knowing how worth it he is – will keep me going.

I will not give up, and I will not leave. I love him, and I will fight for justice on his behalf, and for his freedom. I was born for this; this is my cause, and what all of the experiences in my life so far have been leading up to. Even in my weakness and tiredness, I feel very strong and energized. I also really miss my dad; he would know just what to say to keep me encouraged. He would tell me “You’re a Knight,” and I know exactly what that means, not only as far as the namesake, but as what Knights actually are: warriors.

This Knight Will Fight. ❤

I Am A Knight