Addendum to #32392 commutation application: Sylvia Boykin

Boykin, Sylvia

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Addendum to #32392 Commutation Application: Sylvia Boykin In my own Words, these are the detailed facts of my crime and how I was involved: On May 15, 1992 at around 1:30pm in Philadelphia, PA, I drove Aaron Jones and Antwan Blagman to the residence of Mrs. Pope for the purpose of collecting money owed for illegal drugs. We planned to peacefully collect the money. While inside the residence of Mrs. Pope, I asked her for the money and she told me she didn’t have it. I went back to the car to tell this to Aaron and Antwan. Aaron, Antwan and I went into the house to ask for the money again and an argument occurred between Aaron, Antwan and Mrs. Pope. Mrs. Pope’s son Albert Sutton appeared armed with a gun and shot it. Aaron also was armed and he shot his gun too. I don’t know where each bullet landed nor from which gun, but one ended the life of Mrs. Pope. Next, Aaron and Antwan ran out of the house and fled down the street. I got in my car and drove home. I was arrested later that day. Aaron and Antwan were arrested two days later. I pray to God everyday that if I could have prevented Mrs. Pope from being killed, I would have. I am so sorry that Mrs. Pope’s life was taken away. I am so Very sorry that Albert lost his mother. I am consumed with guilt for not calling an ambulance or the police. I also did another unimaginable act that day: I abandoned my three daughters. I never thought that on that day, so many families would be broken apart. As a mother to three school aged daughters, I failed at protecting them. I was caught up in survival, and got caught up in an illegal drug business. I thought I was doing the right thing and I wasn’t. I can only blame myself. Although I did not pull the trigger, I was apart of this crime and am responsible for her death. I have spent the last 23 and a half ‘years praying for forgiveness, trying to parent my daughters and learning about the factors in my life that led up to that day Mrs. Pope was killed. A son lost his mother and two young men were sent to prison as well. We were all sentenced to life without parole. Antwan was released in 1998 from an appeal to the Superior Court. Rehabilitation and Reentry: I was 33 years old, the mother of three daughters, ages 16, 14 and 13 when I entered prison. Nothing prepared me or them for this separation. My daughters were my world and I, theirs. Before I began my life sentence I was a member of the Church of Christ. I have continued to do so While in prison. I am so grateful for the support that I have been receiving from my religious community and in return, I encourage the women here, to get to know their God. My faith encourages me to help others. During the last two decades I have spent. that time thoroughly thinking about my crime and my life choices and circumstances to that point, while coping with my imprisonment and the welfare of my daughters. It has been painful, but necessary in order to honor Mrs. Pope’s death. My life began as a hurt child. I was raped not only by my grandfather and a close family friend, but by my brother when I was 10 years old. My family was destroyed by alcohol and drugs. The only way I knew how to cope was by doing drugs and becoming promiscuous at a young age. I didn’t alert the authorities. I was ashamed. At that time, incest was covered up and never spoken Addendum to #32392 Commutation Application: Sylvia Boykin about. No one knew I needed help. I didn’t know who to contact. I attempted suicide at the age of 11. I married four times and all of my marriages ended up in divorce. The groups and programs that I have participated in and the training that I have received and continue to get as a Certified Peer Specialist, enables me to help Women to cope with T confinement, overcome trauma, addictions, criminal behaviors and prepare those for reentry. This work also prepares me for reentry as well. I needed all of the groups and programs that were provided for me. Without them, I would not have been able to improve myself and help others. Whatl learned about myself the most was from the Certified Peer Specialist program. My counselors, Ms. Dixon and Ms. Scarbarough were there for me when I experienced a crisis or a difficult situation. Being a parent in prison means having to pray and to hold on to faith order to be a good listener, provide encouragement and celebrate successes. The staff at Muncy and Cambridge Springs truly were motivated to help me to reach my full potential. I am particularly grateful to the organization Kids and Kin for helping me with my daughters. The religious offerings at Muncy and Cambridge Springs helped me by encouraging me. The Reverends Johnson and Smith especially. I am very proud of my faith as it has been helping me to -survive all these years in prison. I never thought of myself as criminal while in prison. I identified with being a mother Without her children. When I first entered Muncy, I was able to bond with my daughters with the Wonderful program, Project—Impact. This was great. As my daughters grew up, our time together changed. The visits were both very enjoyable, but heartbreaking as well. We cried a lot. I learned how to cope with this sadness by praying. All the while, I couldn’t not think about the life thatl was responsible for taking. I had to change. I had to change for my daughters and I thank God that to this day, they forgive me and love me. My role as their mother consisted of mail, phone calls and visits to teach and guide them. We missed so much together: birthday’s, first days of school, body changes, graduations, the birth of their children and my grandchildren. Many times they have all experienced challenges and really needed me. The pain in my heart for my children, I can’t put into words. I can’t describe it in a card or letter. When a parent is sent to prison, so are their children. They are locked away from us. I missed the funerals of my parents. That is one of the most painful aspects to being in prison for life or any time. While we continue to love and support each other, I feel it would be best if I live with and Work for my godmother, Mrs. Jackie Schulze on 2200 Sheridan Street, Williamsport, PA. Jackie has offered me an apartment in her house and a stipend to care for her in her home. I love Jackie and she truly believes thatl will be successful taking care of her. Andl really Want to. Being released from prison after 23 years means adjustment. I will have support from my church family to learn how to face these challenges. From all of the letters of support you can see that they will be there for me. Addendum to #32392 Commutation Application: Sylvia Boykin There haven’t been many women released on commutation in Pennsylvania, so it may be of concern to you that I might reoffend. There are no statistics for women like me applying for commutation and the risk that you are taking. However, of the 9 Women how were commuted from a life sentence, not one reoffended. I plan to continue that trend. I plan to conduct myself so that I do not ruin the chances of other women I know who are worthy of a second chance. Its is a lot of responsibility, but its one that I can handle. I have prepared‘ myself for a positive decision. Significant Details of My Life Before Prison: I was born on May 26, 1958 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am the youngest of 6 siblings. ) One sister, Rose is alive. I graduated from high school in Richmond, Virginia Theresa (sister) died in 1979. My brother William died in 1987 and on the way to his funeral a car accident ended the life of my sister Juanita and a niece became paralyzed. Shortly after, I had a nervous breakdown and spent a month hospitalized. Attended Community College of Philadelphia in 1991. Thelma (sister) died in 1994. My father died in 1995. He was an alcoholic. My mother died in 2007. Three of my sisters died from cancer. I was employed at the Federal Reserve Bank, Investigations department from 1980 to 1997 and the IRS from 1987 to 1991, all in Richmond, Virginia. My three daughters: Penne was born on January 19, 1976. Kim was born on October 10, 1979. Tisha was born on May 24, 1978. I was sentenced to life without parole in1992. Penne is the mother of three children: Nafees, Bruce and Amir. Kim is the mother of Aaquay and she adopted Diamond and Faith. Tisha is the mother of Heaven, Diamond and Faith. Heaven is currently in foster care. Generally my health is good. I am on daily medication for high blood pressure and cholesterol. I have asthma and some arthritis. STATUS incarcerated in 1992 at the age of 33 Hometown: Philadelphia, PA SYLVIA BOYKIN 451 Fullerton Ave Cambridge Springs, PA 16403 WORK HISTORY/SKILLS Laundry and Housekeeping, PICC, Philadelphia, 1992 Library Clerk, PICC, Philadelphia, 1993 SCI Muncy: Project Impact, 1994-2005 Chapel, Clerk, 1994-96 Law Library, Clerk, 1996-97 Tutor—Teacher’s Aid: GED, Computers, New Choices and Homemaking, 1997-2008 Unit Detail, Housekeeping, 2009-12 SCI Cambridge Springs: Mental Health Certified Peer Specialist, 2013-14 General Labor Pool, 2015 Time to Read, 1995-96 Business Math, 1997 Personal Tax, 1997 Microsoft, Word Perfect, 1998, 2001 Mavis Beacon Typing, 2001 Alpha Numeric Data Entry, 2001 CPR/First Aid, 2003-04 HIV Education, 2006 Money Smart, 2010 Outpatient AOD, 2013 EDUCATION continued: AOD Peer Training, 2015 Building a New You, 1994 Conflict Resolution, 1996 EDUCATION Payroll Tax, 1996 Bookkeeping l, ll, 1997 Literacy Tutor, 1996-98 ADHD Training, 2001 Business Simulation, 2001 Microsoft Word 4.0, 2001 Entrepreneurship, I and 11, 2004 International Computer Drivers License, 2010 A Certified Peer Specialist, 2013 PROGRAMS Self Esteem, 1994 Teen Parenting, 1995 Homemaker Services, 1996 Anger Management, 1996 Stress Awareness, 1997 Parenting and Parenting on Anger, 1998 Long Term Survivors, 1998 Grandmother’s Group, 2000-01 Character Development, 2002 Parenting Skills, 2002 Fresh Start/New Mothers, 2003 Assertiveness Group, 2006 Self—Esteem, 2006 Seeking Safety/Abuse, 2007 House Of Hope, 2007 Long Term Offenders, I and II, 2009 Thinking ForA Change, 2009 Violence Prevention, 2009 Positive Relationships, 2013 COMMUNITY ENGAG EM ENT Talent Show, 1998, 2001 Muncy Inmate Organization, 1995-2013 Inmate General Welfare Fund, 2004-13 Monthly Messageof Encouragement on Sharon Wiggins Facebook, 2015 to present SPIRITUALITY Gospel Echoes Bible Study, 1994 Steps to Christian Growth, 1995 PA Baptist Seminar, 1997 Getting To Knowjesus, 2008 Ancient Face of Modern Man, 2009 Kairos Retreat, 2013 Walking Your Faith, 2013 Light of Hope, 2013 Member of Churchof Christ: Meadville, Williamsport, Philadelphia, PA and Richmond, Virginia; Sisterhood, The Netherlands I am a Christian of great faith. I attend church every Sunday, go to bible study, read my bible several times a everyday. God is first and foremost in my life. I know that its His Grace and Mercy that has kept me. THE WOMAN I AM NOW I am a changed woman. I have a different outlook on life. I made a lot of very bad choices in life that I am very sorry for. I was young with a lot of pain from being abused and raped as a child growing up in a dysfunctional home. I always wanted someone to love me. I have lost many family members since being here and all three of my daughters are very sick now. But through all of this, I know it was my time in prison that made me healthy and confident and who I am today.

Author: Boykin, Sylvia

Author Location: Pennsylvania

Date: October 25, 2016

Genre: Essay

Extent: 5 pages

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