I will start this writing by telling you I am no saint. But I am no monster ether. I'v done very bad things in desperate situations, & I have also done pretty good things like teaching art to children in a church after school program I started. My first real criminal conviction other then a few tickets excetra. was in 2006, after a one year trial . as I was kept in jail. with no bond. Befor this conviction of un-lawful wounding I had no felonies. & no violent convictions. This is how I came to be a violent convicted felon in 2006. after my first born & only son past away & then a year later in 2004 I left my wife because she kept cheating on me. I relapsed & started using & drinking again by 2006 shortly before I get arrested I ended up homeless for a short time. I took in a 18 year old man named Michael Davis His family had dropped him off in Richmond City Virginia homeless & never having been in the city before. Because they were sick of his drug habits. I let him stay with me. got him work showed him how to survive. after about a month of this. I got a new place & better jobs. & told him I could not help him any further. We where both drunk on a Island called Bells Island. He got mad & attacked me. We fought. I won. & He got hurt really badly. The judge told me on my trial date quote "I believe you were under threat of serious bodily harm & or death" However because of the severity of Mr. Davisis wounds I cannot find you innocent by self defense." He gave me five years with 1# & a half suspended over my head for life. In my time in the Richmond City jail. I witnessed much violence. One thing comes to mind. a 18 year old African American man came into my pod F-2. for a drug charge. He had smuggled in a small bit of crack cocaine He approached me & offered to sell some to me. I had plenty of money I was the tattoo man a store box man (loaning stuff out for interest) selling pills & other hustles. I said no. But a friend of mine herd & begged me to get it for him. & he would smoke it with me & pay me the money back the next week with interest. I said ok. When the top gang leaders of the Crips & Bloods saw me & my boy getting high they asked me where I got it. I told them I thought it came from one of there crews. They said no. So I told them who I got it from. It turned out this man was from D.C. & not connected to anyone local. Latter that night a very big gang banger snuck up behind the D.C. 18 year old. & put him into a quick bear hug from behind & lifted him of the ground. D.C. did not try to struggle or cry out at all. He went completely slack (limp). The big man carried D.C. to a bottom bunk in the back of F-2 & held him down (face down) & pulled his clothing off (off of D.C.) & two of there gang bangers came over & they told D.C. to ether give up the rest of the drugs or they would give him a full cavity search (put there fingers up hiss ass) to look for it. D.C. told them he sold it all. So they each went into his ass with there hands all three of them. D.C. did not make a sound did not even twitch (that is the worst part I think) Such acts of sodomy & rape should be accompanied with violent struggles & screams. Not complete silence. What makes it all even worse is they had found his hidden drugs before thay approached him. His sodomy was for nothing. The drugs he was protecting wer allready stollen from the start. D.C. threatened to sue Lt. Woddy the sherif of the jail for not protecting him in return for an out of court settlement It was arranged for all of D.C.'s charges to be dropped & he was given a $60,000.00c check. The men that sodomised him never even got charged because of lack of evidence. I recall after I got to the prison receiving & processing prison where thay decide what your custody level is & what will be the prison you end up at I met & befriended a man. He was in his late 50's early 60's a grandfather & a diabetic. He had been given two years to do on a probation violation. He had been on probation for years. & his probation officer had told him he could not drink alcohol at all. Well he drank alcohol at home one day with his wife & his probation officer showed up for a random home inspection & found out. & had him sent to prison for it. One night he got his blood sugar checked at pill call. & it was extremely high. So high he needed a insulin shot. But at Phowatan Prison the doctor was the only person that could give a shot like that & it was his time off. & so the nurse refused to call him back in. & gave my friend a pack of Nabs cheese crackers & told him he would have to stick it out till morning. an hour about latter during lock down for head count. he past away from diabetic shock. His cell mate & the rest of the pod screamed & yelled. (for the officer that was only a few yards away) at the front of the pod. for over an hour. that this man was dead or dieing. The officer refused to do or notify anyone. My friend died & not one of the prison staff responsible where ever charged or penalized at all in any way. I would like to take a moment to address a question I am asked a lot (why didnt you get an education or trade?) (When you were locked up? It free right?) Yes after you get to the prison you are to do the rest of your time in. they offer free trade school in things like carpentry, janitorial, electrical, H-vac, but the jail's & receiving prisons do not offer any kind of trades, or college schooling at all. also after you sign up for a higher education program at your (main camp) which can legally in Virginia take up to five years. thats right you can do 5# years in a jail & they are not required to provide any kind of education at all except g.e.d classes. Even if you are a VA, Department of Corrections inmate & the VA, D.O.C is getting tax dollars to take care of you thay still dont legally have to come get you out of the jail for up to five years. & even if you are lucky & get to your main camp prison the time between signing up for a education program & starting it is on average two years or more & most worthwhile classes take two years or longer from start to finish. This was what happened to me. I had a three & a half year sentence to do. I spent one year seven months of that in Richmond City jail under the controll of Lt. Woddy (Sheriff), Lt. Colonal Bernet, & Alonzo Pruet (the under Sheriff & jail chaplain),. with not one educational opportunity at all. Then I spent two months at Phowatan Prison in State Farm VA. Which left me one year & three months left to do by the time I got to Green Rock correctional center in Chatham Virginia. My first week in my main camp I signed up for college classes & electrician classes. 8# months later thay let me start electrician classes. It was a two year class my teacher put me out of the program my first day. because he said that I had no chance of completing it or getting anything useful out of it in the time I had left. So no higher education for me. Before I got sent to prison & turned into a felon with a suspended drivers license because I could not afford to pay $5,000.00c in court costs & fines I was semi skilled construction worker as you well remember in 2008 the construction economy & housing market tanked. I got released after about three years in April, 9th, 2009. I was homeless again, a suspended drivers license. a new felon, without a real trade, & $300.00c in my pocket. a suitcase of clothing & odds & ends my mom got me. My probation officer revoked my probation & had me sent to jail three times in seven month's because I did not have a stable job or home. Each time I was in jail for 60 to 90 days long e-nuff to lose all that I had struggled to gain. & lose all headway with potential employers I was trying to get work with. I'd like now to tell you about how when I was an inmate at Green Rock correctional center. (I am a life long pagan. as in religion. Like a Wiccan.) The administration of the prison would not let anyone of any faith other than Christians, muslims, & jews have or order their faith books or gather for faith study/worship or holidays at all. Religious inequality & persecution is a problem I'v seen at every jail & prison I'v been to. at least for Pagans, Wiccans, Satanists, Hindus, Native Americans, & Buddhist's, Now at Green Rock I requested permission to order books about Wicca, witchcraft, pagan faith etcetra they denied me this. I sent in a few requests asking permission to order a bible, koran, & torah thay said yes. I contacted the A.C.L.U. asking for help. after all the a.c.l.u. gets donations & government grants as a tax exempt non profit because thay are supposedly in existence to help people that have had their constitutional rights violated/infringed upon. This is their stated purpose. To protect Americans civil rights. & yet when I contacted them with paperwork proof that Green Rocks administration was violating my & about 30 other inmates rights & actively persecuting people of certain religious groupings thay refused to help me or any of the others at all. I continued to fight for religious equality at Green Rock & thay eventually gave in & aloud for us to have are faith books etcetra but before the first sanctioned faith gathering happened I was released on April, 9, 2009. at Richmond city jail any attempt to force religious equality was met with indifference or out right hostility still to this day 8-7-17 there is no religious accommodations at all for any religion's except christians muslims, & jewish people, no other faith group is aloud to gather in the chapel at all for any reason. & hear at Meherrin River Regional jail the only faith group aloud to use the chapel or congregate for faith purposes is Christians thats it. The muslims get ther meals after & befor dark at Ramadan & Jewish inmates get common fair meals after thay go without eating for an average of two days. any inmate that clams to be jewish upon coming hear is still given non common fair regular trays to see if thay will eat it. If the inmate refuses for two days or so then thay start giving him a common fair tray I'v witnessed this practice with two jewish inmates myself. However the jail employed chaplain refuses to allow any faith group but his own brand of christians to gather for faith reasons. at all. In the time Iv been in Meherrin River Regional jail I'v been unable to observe 15# holidays because of the ongoing violations of my constitutional rights at the hands of this jails administration & I am not the only one. Thay will not allow any Rabi's or Imams to come to lead religious services for the inmates. Some jail employees & the chaplain regularly make disrespectful statements about Wicca, Pagans, Jews, & Muslims. I'v heard them do so with my own ears.
Now I would like to move on for a moment to tell you of some of the violence & intimidations I have seen committed by guards & other jail & prison staff. To start I will tell you of a very recent set of actions hear at Meherrin River Regional jail. Last November 2016. I approached a St. Moody to ask him a question about jail operations (how to arrange a video visit) & he must have been having a bad day. Because he said dont talk to me punk. & walked away. So I filed a complaint on him by way of request form (this jail doe's not have grievance forms) & that night after about 1:30 am. He called me out of bed & out of J-pod into a small room in the hall way with me him & one young officer under his command as witnesses & he threatened to put me into the hole & give me inmate chores if I did not let this drop. Ever since he has prevented me from getting an inmate job by lying to the St. in charge of such things. Telling him he has had to write me up a lot & had a lot of trouble out of me the St. in charge of pod worker jobs has approached me & asked what is the deal because he cant find a single institutional charge on me. I have not had one I tell him & St. Moody just doe's not like me. This does not sound like much. but you need to understand. as compensation for working as a pod worker. inmates get five day's taken off their sentence for each month of work & they only have to pay the jail $1.50c a day instead of $3.00c a day. Yes this jail charges all inmates $3.00c each day thay are hear & if you dont pay it you cant go to canteen. If you owe this money thay take it out of any money you get sent to you first & if anything is left you get it. & if you cant pay it before your release thay take your tax returns & suspend your driver license. So St. Moody's interference has cost me about $500.00c so far & cost me to have to do about two more months locked up that I would not have had to do. Had I been aloud to work a inmate job. Thats so fare. each day that passes the total cost to me in money & time increases. Doesn't sound so small anymore does it? Now I will tell you about an officer named Easter. Thats her last name. One night I needed to get into my cell to use the toilet. But officer Easter was doing a cell check. Which she has to do three a night. Just looking for any contraband. I waited for a few minutes to try & give her time but she was really taking her time. & so I went up to the doorway of my cell to tell her I needed to use the restroom & what was the hold up. But before I could speak she charged at me & grabbed me by the shoulders & shoved me back. I was shocked. & said what is your problem she told me to get the hell away from my cell. I responded that I had a right to watch as she did her cell check. She responded that if I did not go away she would have my ass beat up. I responded that I wonted to see a Lt. or Capt. or St. She refused. at this point she was still going through my stuff & was tossing my faith books around & damaging them with her rough handling & I told her that the stuff she was handling was my faith items & to handle them with more respect. that she should be ashamed of herself. She responded that "this is a jail you dont have any rights & I can do whatever I wont & if you dont like it you can kiss my ass." I filed a complaint by request form on this. & a p.r.e.a complaint on the inmate phone (because of the hole kiss my ass thing) the next night thay had her work my pod (J-pod) again & let her handle my complaint against her. That night after 10:30 pm final lock down for the night I herd her talking to someone saying "It dont matter what he puts on paper we stick together. I'll get his ass after this p.r.e.a stuff blows over. Thay did not do anything about any of my complaints Thay did not even ask me any questions It was as if I never filed any complaints at all. Ther is a female officer hear. Officer . She has never called me out of my name. Yet I have wached her call meny other inmates things like "you black bitch" or "punks" or tell inmates "thay will end up someones bitch in prison" & other insults. No matter how meny complaints thay file on her nothing is ever done She never get's penalized at all & still works hear now still doing the same things. (I wont to take a second to say that in spite of what I am telling you not all jail & prison employees are ass holes. But I am more concerned with tell of what is wrong in hopes that you who read this may be moved to try & help fix whats wrong because without outside help we inmates have no hope of doing so on are own) I would like to take some time to tell you of an average day hear. at about 6:am we get up to eat breakfast. & then those of us on top tear get locked back down in are cell's until about 12:30 or 1:pm to eat lunch & start out of cell recreation the majority rules what we watch on tv. & 9# times out of 10# it is Jerry Springer & Morry Povitch & E.S.P.N I cant stand any of those myself. I like P.B.S, B.B.C, T.N.T, history, u.s.a, etcetra Now if you dont like whats on t.v. you can play basketball or cards, or chess. or take you a shower. Thats it. On Fridays at 1:pm ther is a Christian church service. Or you can just stay in your cell & read draw write what ever you can com up with. at 5:pm you go back in to your cell untill 6:30pm then you come out to eat dinner. & then lock back down until about 9:pm & get the same out of cell recreation but this time we lock back down at 10:25pm & stay locked down for the rest of the night. The next day top tear will get recreation from 7:am to 11:am & then again from 7:pm to 9:pm about. & this go's back & forth changing each day so top tear & bottom tear each get early recreation & late recreation times about equally. Thats it no schooling, no higher education, no N/A or A/A groups, no pre release classes or counseling, nothing. You sit you are warehoused & you eventually get released. Now when I get released I will not have a place to live a suspended license. & no ride to any place I will be on indefinite probation in Brunswick County Virginia & have one year's probation in south Hill Virginia. I will have about $25,000.00c in court costs, fines & restitutions to pay to a total of 8# different counties If I do not pay at least $50.00c on my debt to each of the 8# counties within the first 30# days of my release each of them will revoke my probation & lock me back up for non-payment of court costs & fines & restitutions. & give me more jail time maybe even more prison time out of the time thay suspended over my head. Now I ask you how in hell am I supposed to pay $400.00c in the first 30# days of my release & every 30# days after with no home or place to live the counties of which I have probation I'v never lived in & dont know anyone & was just ther for an hour or so at the time of my crimes. No drivers license, no education other than a g.e.d. No trade skills at all. No support network at all. No money at all. Just the clothing on my back & thay can & will send me back to jail if I dont have a job & stable home within the first 30# days as well. & I will have been locked up for a total of 4# years by my release. Tell me how anyone could accomplish such a thing?
I would now like to tell you about some of the ways thay seek to demoralize & dehumanize us inmates. first we are subject to random strip searches at any time without any reason. When thay do a strip search thay make you take off all your clothing & make you squat down grab & lift your testicles & cough. Thay read your incoming mail. When you get to prison thay shave your head & face then do a group strip search with five or six other inmates & make you in a group cover yourself with delousing powder & then in a group shower naked. Do you think thats okay to do to your adult child? I dont. Thay refuse to give you accsess to any information regarding your constitutional rights, Federal rights & state rights. So thay can do whatever thay wont & you wont know better. If a group of inmates gets together & signs a petition of complaint. Thay call that insighting a riot & write institutional charges on them all & lock them up in segregation (the hole) So for example back in 2006 a group of inmates on F-2 pod got together & signed a group petition of complaint about the in-human conditions of the jail that really were in violation of multiple Federal laws excetra. & thay sent it to the local newspaper & the people at the newspaper called the jail to look into it Sheriff Lt. Woody told the news people it was all lie's & then he charged each of the inmates that signed the petition with insighting a riot. & put them into the hole I never seen them again. Hear at Meherrin Rive Regional jail are toilets are in are cell's directly across from the windows in are cell doors When I take a dump (defacate) I am forbidden from covering the window in my cell door & so any one officers or inmates that walk by will see me on the toilet. If I try to cover the cell door window so no one can look at me & thay catch me thay will write me a institutional charge & punish me so my options are let people see my genitals as I defacate or risk a institutional charge & punishment. Is that humane? I would say no. You are only aloud 2# canvas jump suits & one t-shirt & two pairs boxers from the jail So you are in dirty clothing about half the week You can put your clothing in the wash but only one jumper & one pair of boxers at a time. That is very un hygienic & a risk of staph & other infections.
Say someone does not want something on ther dinner tray, bread, a cookie, a piece of fruit whatever & I save it to eat later. If thay find it they will take it & throw it into the trash rather then let me eat it & say it is contraband. I just went to see the jails dentist about two months ago. Because my gums keep bleeding. The dentist told me I need a deep cleaning & to start flossing to get rid of the problem. & if I dont get that done I may end up losing my teeth as a result that I have something much worse than but like gingivitis. But that the jail does not allow her to do deep cleanings & of corse I dont have any money to pay for the expensive dental floss thay sell on the jails canteen (a store for inmates with money to get things like hygiene or food excetra) So I just have to except that my gums bleed each & every day. Biting into bread makes my gums bleed. But the jail administration just doe's not care. Tell me is it right that I am loosing my teeth like this? Id like to mention that Meherrin River Regional jail is a for profit jail. It's a private owned business. So to is Green Rock correctional center Ther are a ever growing number of for profit jails & prisons in Virginia
One of the most destructive side affects of the jail & prison system. is that inmates are locked away for extended times, years. & provided (most of the time) with no real way to better themselves. I'v been locked up from 10-5-15 I will not get released until about 3-15-19 & as of yet I have not been able to get a education to increase my odd's of success at getting & keeping a job upon my release. You lock a man up for about four years you take away his right to drive a car. You give him $25,000.00.c to pay at a rate of $400.00c each 30# days upon release (& if he cant you will lock him back up) You do nothing to insure he has a stable home or support network upon release or otherwise. You create a situation in which he is almost guaranteed to lose touch with his family & friends. & you tell him that he needs a stable home & job within 15 to 30 day's of release or you will lock him back up. & you create a situation in which a higher education is completely out of reach. & then you act surprised when he breaks the law trying to get money or he relapses back into drugs & drinking out of hopelessness. Because he knows he has no chance at all of success with the way you have set things up? Really?
The fact is that most inmates of jails & prisons do not get a realistic opportunity at a college or trade school education unless thay have a five year or longer term to serve. & thats only if thay get into a prison within 12 months of arrest. I have been court ordered now to the custody of the Department of corrections three times. The first time for about three years. & in spite of my attempts could not get a college or trade degree. My second time I was locked up long enough to loss everything but still not long enough to get a college or trade degree. & now this my third time I have been ordered to do two years (which means if I stay out of trouble I will only do 21# months) I could very likely do the whole term in this jail (which doe's not offer any kind of education or counseling at all) & even if I get to a Virginia prison I most likely will not be able to get any kind of college or trade education due to the limited space & long back log of inmates ahead of me. give a man a fish he eats for a day. Teach a man to fish he eats for a lifetime. Yes some inmates are un-willing to change & always will be. But a large number of us really would make the most of a real world useful trade or college education & with it seek to change are lives for the better. Almost every inmate I meet has three things in common. (1) addiction's (2) no legal drivers license. (3) no college or trade degree So I know that preventing the courts from taking people's driving privileges for non-driving offenses. & guaranteeing each & every inmate of all jails & prisons has a "real" opportunity to get a "realworld" useable trade or college education & degree will not only reduce the rate's of return visits to incarceration but will vastly increase productivity, tax revenue's, & increase the rates of offenders paying off their court costs, fines & restitutions. Education is key to reducing crime, poverty, & civil discontent. The United States incarcerates more people then all other countries combined. Yet we have only about 4% of the worlds total people. The prison & jail & criminal justice system is now a profitable industry. I has a billion dollar privatized jail & prison industry that is rapidly growing. & an intrenched bureaucracy & unionized force of employees who form superpacs & pay lobbyist's to pressure law makers to limit education. & rights to inmates & as well to increase sentence mandatory minimums all of which increases prison populations, rates of re-incarceration, crime rates, poverty, drug use & alcohol abuse, & the justice systems budgets which all serves to give them job security & pay increases, increase education, prevent frivolous driving privilege revocations, ban private for profit jails & prisons, prevent any & all political lobbying on the part of justice system employees, & enforce limits of the amount of years any one in a bureaucratic posting or judges & prosecutors can serve limiting intrenched self interest's. & things will vastly improve. as well make all such changes Federal Law. & further more create an impartial civilian oversite state & national committee with the power to do onsite interviews, investigations at random without interference from jail or prison staff powers including but not limited to reviewing & copying secret camera footage. & makes all operations of its organization free & easily accessed by public. I would also say that as long as the courts can send a man back to jail & prison for years on simple probation & parole violations *I'v known many men that have gotten simple misdemeanors such as simple trespass, possession of a joint, public intoxication, excetra) & because thay had time still suspended over their head. often from charges that happened 10# or more years before thay where revoked on that old time & sent for multiple years back to jail or prison. This cannot be aloud to stand if you wish to reduce crime & poverty. a man builds a life a family & good job over years. & then get's a disorderly conduct charge on Fourth of July outside a bar because of a argument & next thing the courts have revoked his suspended time from a conviction that happened 7# years before & send him back to jail & prison for 12# to 24# months because of it. Just long e-nuff for his new wife to move on. His boss to let him go. to lose his home & all he owns. Damage his resume' with a long un-employment gap. Lose his car. & all personal connections he has built. Then release him with nothing not even a home or friend in all the world. & you are surprised when he starts getting high stealing & selling drugs? But as I'v stated less crime & incarceration means a lesser need for judges, prosecutors, cops, public defenders, guards excetra. Thank you for your time please forgive me for my miss spellings excetra Blessed be yours
Michael John Reese 8-12-17
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