Jamie Made Parole!!!

IMG_20180324_211754_745

I found out today that it was approved on April 21st!  I don’t have any other information. I don’t know if he a step down process to go through or how long it takes. I just know that it will soon be over.

I received a letter from him a few days ago asking me try and check on his status because they wouldn’t talk to him. I don’t even know if he knows.

It’s been so long!

Crippling court costs force poverty-stricken people to ‘plead guilty to crimes they didn’t commit’

Adult court does not want to take time and money to cases that are being heard by public defenders, who actually work for the DA. They get paid on average, $75 an hour for maybe three hours work to convince you take a plea. They try to stack as many offenses on top whether they are true or not and scare you with unusually long sentences. If you don’t have a paid attorney to defend you, you don’t know what to do. Out of fear you take the plea.

In Jamie’s case he wasn’t innocent. It was his choice to go with his cousin that night. But having no attorney to help him made it worse. He had no priors. But a public defender isn’t interested in doing a good job for you. He’s only interested in being done with you so he can go on to his next “client”. At first Jamie was first told he would get 99 years if he insisted on going to court. The second offer was 45 years. When he continued to refuse they offered him 17 years and told him if he went to court he wouldn’t get that. It would surely be much higher. He was scared. He took the 17 years. He has now almost done 10 of that. They don’t like to parole blacks so he is afraid to get his hopes up. He does have an uncle that works in the parole system in his area so there is hope he can somehow intervene. But since they keep him in ad seg, and can’t show he has improved himself there is still only slim hope. The prison system sets them up to fail.

http://facebook.com/jamielifeinprison . . .Blog posts and news about injustice in the world

Sonni Quick piano music complete list

Why Loved Ones Are Lost In The Prison System – Letter To Maesha

(Sonni’s note: A couple weeks ago I asked for people to write messages of encouragement to Jamie and send them to his email address at mynameisjamie2@gmail.com. He had just had a really hard time with the officers at the prison. They poked and prodded and lied to him until he finally lost his temper, which gave them the excuse to bring him out of his cell. Five guards kicked the crap out of him and rammed his head into a wall and split it open.

The abuse continued for days –  because he fought back. You can’t fight back. He couldn’t win that one. They set him up and he fell right into it. I could tell by his letter he had hit bottom.

How often can you go through that and still stay encouraged you’ll live to get out of there,  and not be so affected by it that you can’t have a normal life? It’s like coming home from a war.  yes, inmates get PTSD. When you have lost all your freedoms and it lasts for years, knowing that you can walk out the door into the sunshine whenever you want to is hard.  That is why caged animals have a hard time leaving their cage.  Fear of the unknown. Some people were kind enough to send really great emails. I’m sending them one at a time and stretching it out. Hearing from people on the outside mean more than you can imagine.

When someone has been locked up for a long time, family and friends usually have less and less to do with you. Inmates lose their identity.  I write to him often and talk about what is going on in my day. We discuss things that are happening. This is often the only communication he gets from the outside for long stretches of time. So every single letter is a big deal. If you want – you can still send an email at any time to the above email address and I’ll make sure he gets it, even if it only a line or two. Thanks.

(First the message Maesha sent to him  and then his reply.)

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Dear Jamie,

My Name is Maesha. I’m a Canadian and I live in Toronto, Ontario. I’ve just recently ‘met’  your ‘mom’ Sonni online through blogging. I have to tell you that immediately I felt her deep and loving kindred spirit. It’s easy to see that she loves you a great deal. The effort she is making to bring your story to others is inspiring and noble. I wish you could see it. What she is doing would give you so much hope!
I can’t say I’m enjoying reading about the experience you are having in life, where you are at this very moment. My world was so vastly different than yours, so much so that I have a difficult time understanding sometimes. It does make me sad. It’s difficult to learn what I’m learning about the system. And when Sonni writes a post, I feel your pain.
There’s a part of me that hopes that by taking on some of that sorrow less of it will find its way to you. Sonni is doing that for you. You may not see her directly, but she is your very own tiny piece of heaven.
Jamie, you are still a young man. And when you get out, you will still be young enough with a lot of time to bring to the world all the beautiful human worth you possess. There are sources of strength deep within you. You are a survivor. I suppose we are all survivors in some capacity. We must continuously search for strength and the courage to go on, to become stronger and stronger.
Sending strength and hope, with a side dish of love.
Mae
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Dear Maesha,

I will try to keep this as short as I can. First I would like to thank you for your words of encouragement. Mom sent me your post from the blog. I must say when i first saw your your name I thought you were my cousin. Lol her name is Maesha as well. However, as I read I noticed you said you were from Canada. First person that came to my mind was Drake. One of the best rappers. He’s real gifted. Sorry for getting sidetracked.

I want to thank you for taking the time to read my story. I tell it, not just to try to get the world to understand how the system treats us, but to try to get the families to understand why their their loved one’s are lost in the system. I’m in Texas and we who are incarcerated there, there is a good chance, 50/50 that we won’t make parole. Why? Money, as well as slavery. We are worked without pay. If we don’t work it stops us from going home. But even if we work we still don’t have a chance of making parole. We are kept incarcerated and away from our families to support these people’s greed. That’s just half of it Maesha. We are treated badly and provoked by the officers. These people speak of changing our life but the way they act and treat us is crazy.

The system is really made to destroy us, and turn us into someone we are not. They are successful with that with a lot of people, and a few they are not. As long as these people get as much money out of us they can, whether it’s from working us, commissary products we buy, and overcharging  the phone system, and even bringing in drugs and cell phones to sell. They don’t care. These want us to stay criminals, even while they call for us to change. However, they are the ones who bring in the drugs and cellphones. Crazy, huh?

cxonfiscated cell phones in prison
Confiscated cell phones in prison. People visiting can’t bring them in. They are patted down and searched. They can bring nothing in quarters for the vending machine.It has to be the guards.

Well, I’m going to go for now. I hope you get this. Thanks again for reading my story.
Always, your friend, Jamie

Jamie Really Needs Your Help – Please

Credit source: Frtimmoyle.blogspot.com
Credit source:
Frtimmoyle.blogspot.com

I’ve been worried about him since he told me what the guards did to him. My gut feeling was telling me that mentally he was in trouble. This 3rd time of being put in solitary about 4 months ago was so discouraging for him, feeling as though he’s losing the fight. He lost all the progress he made. I don’t know how this will affect his parole hearing in 2016 because he can’t complete any programs in solitary.

I contacted a man I met a year or so ago, Melvin, who sometimes goes to see him and encourage him. He could easily be his father’s age. Finally, Jamie had a visitor. Melvin changed his plans today and drove to this prison. He called me after and told me how down he was. He is going next weekend, too, and I’m trying to get my daughter to let Melvin take their son in to see his father  It’s been nearly two years since he has seen him.

I could feel Jamie’s depression in his letters. If you haven’t read Jamie’s last letter, you should. A Story About Prison Guard Brutality

I need everyone who has read about Jamie to send him an email. Tell him who you are and tell him to be strong and to keep his eyes on the future or anything else. Let him know there are people who care. Send it to mynameisjamie2@gmail.com  I will paste these msgs into a jpay email that goes to the prison and he will get them all at once. If any msgs come in later I will send them, too. If you want him to write back to you then add your address, otherwise he will only get whatever name you leave.

This is important. Take a few minutes and do this. Share it if you  can.

From the bottom of my heart – thank you.

Sonni

Sonni Quick’s Jpay Prison Email to Jamie Cummings

Encouragement(Sonni’s note: I’ve posted many letters from Jamie but I’ve not posted my responses to him. Many of my letters to him were written through jpay.com, the prison email system. I can email to him but he has to write back longhand. They keep a copy of all letters. Yesterday I posted a letter he wrote in 2010, so I went back and found one of mine from the same time period. His letter to me was shortly before I had to close my store in Key West because I was losing my fight with Hepatitis C and was rapidly becoming to sick to work anymore. Add our crashing economy and the BP oil spill in the gulf and my life came crashing down. I moved back to my home state of Pa to be near a good transplant hospital, Penn State Hershey Medical. I thought being near family would be good. I could not have been more wrong. This letter was written right after I was accepted on the transplant list and the fun was about to begin.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

November 2010

Hello son,

I don’t know the number of the institution you are in to make those phone calls you want me to make, but I am going to look on the net and I’m sure I’ll find it. I know you need to know what is happening. But also, I wanted to know if I should call as mother or mother-in-law and if it matters, especially since your mom  is not involved in your life at all. Megan told me she heard of your mom’s pending marriage when she took little Jamie over there and also found out about your sister’s pregnancy and your brother’s trouble. Maybe the person who wrote to you thought it would be better if you didn’t know but that doesn’t make much sense. It seems they keep a lot from you.

I hope the book I sent was good. On Amazon you can read the first few pages to decide, but that’s all. It looked interesting. I’d send you books every week if I could. It would at least help to pass the time.

I hated to hear about your seizure and the way they treated you. Since they haven’t been consistent about giving you your medication, I’m sure that had a lot to do with it. What is your cellie like? I’m sure they find out about your illness and wonder if you will have one in front of them. People get scared of things they don’t understand. I know that it can harm you and do damage to you. I understand that people are in prison for a reason and some of those reasons can be very bad, but that doesn’t me it’s okay for the guards to treat people as though they are less than human.

I’m sure there are decent guards and also those that get off on hurting people, enjoying having that kind of control. But people get back what they dish out. It may not come from the people they hurt, but what goes around comes around. The law of cause and effect is very strict. There is an effect for everything we do – good and bad – so just sit tight and do the best you can and ride this out because it will, someday, be over, and when you start your life again you want to feel good about what you are doing.

Yes, family is very important. But the hardest thing some people have to learn is to respect other people’s privacy. I had not spent  much time around my family and I didn’t expect them to be so judgemental. I felt that I couldn’t say anything to anyone, including my mom without everyone calling each other with their latest gossip. And my mom was getting aggravated because I don’t do things the say she does. It was hard ripping up my entire life and moving up here into to my mom’s spare 10×10 room. Not much bigger than your cell. I don’t like people talking about my life on the phone or discuss my medical tests with each other. I had asked her for only one thing. Respect my privacy, and it didn’t happen. Mike and I spend a lot of time in our room because it is our only space. But my mom is getting better about it. We’ve had fewer testy little arguments. She is 77 and I have to remember that aging is no fun. She’s losing her hearing and she repeats herself a lot because she forgets, so I have to learn to just let things roll over me and not react. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

It’s hard to picture the rec area and the cages and the way they try to get people to fight. I think I would rather stay in lockdown to lessen the chances of getting written up. Although being able to play basket ball would be good if your knees were ok. What have the nurses said about your knees? There is something very wrong. Is it possible that it is water on the knee?

It was good to hear that you were helping other people. Some people have had such horrible lives and have people that don’t know the difference between right and wrong. They don’t have a chance. You, too, weren’t raised in a way to feel that you were capable of so much more. No one to help with your schooling. Where were the adults that you could look up to and respect? You have a chance to change all that when you get out. To do something your enjoy, to feel good about yourself and have the confidence to get past the negativity.

And yes, I would like to see a copy of the things the commissary has. Also – are you still getting the mag subscription you wanted?

Well, time to eat. I made a big pot of split pea soup. I like to cook, and not being able to work right now gives me all the time I want to cook. When Mike and I get our own place my mom is sure going to miss me because I do all the cooking! She finds it hard to cook for one person and doesn’t eat as well as she should. Since she has diabetes, what you eat is very important. I’m sure you would just like to eat something that tasted good with fresh veggies and fruit and maybe some nice bbq’d ribs. Oh! I’m being mean aren’t I? Just trying to get your imagination going!

Lots of love son, mom

My First Parole Hearing in Huntsville Prison

texas
Sonni’s note: This was originally written on Sept 1st 2013, as Jamie was waiting for his first parole hearing. He told me, in Huntsville prison no one makes parole with their first meeting. It’s so discouraging. He was in Ad Seg at the time (solitary confinement or G5 or administrative segregation. It’s all the same thing) One way they can keep you down is to not let you be able to do anything to show you’ve done something to better yourself. Trying to deal with prison politics is a joke, and the joke is on the prison inmates themselves. Since he shouldn’t have been locked up again for another two years in ad seg in the first place. The parole hearing is a joke. He got jumped. Even a guard testified he had no choice but to defend himself, but it didn’t do any good. They sent him back, anyway. And now they’ve they sent him back for the third time. They have their thumb on you and you can’t do anything about it.

http://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/RL34287.pdf 

This is an article by NICIC. National Institute of corrections.  I added this article as a link on the left if you wanted to point someone else to it to find it easily.   It has the statistics of offender reentry back into the world.  The percentages of inmates that stay out, according to crimes they committed.  So much depends on education, housing and community support.  I also believe it highly depends on their belief system.  The numbers are for those that had been arrested  up to 4x and then higher.  Jamie has one conviction, and he wasn’t the one who actually committed the crime.  The parole board doesn’t see it that way when they determine whether to give parole, nor does it take into consideration on whether there is a need to keep the prison full.  What is best for the inmate doesn’t actually come into the picture. )

Hi Mom,

I hope this letter finds you well. My first parole hearing is coming up in a few months. I’m trying to not think about it because I don’t have a chance of making it. Mom wrote a letter to the parole board. She sent me a copy of the letter. It won’t do no good but she says it won’t hurt for them to read about me from someone else. She says maybe it will make them feel better about me the next time. I know she would really want to be here but I’m not sure if they would even let her in for it. But I’d really like to see her again. We didn’t have enough time last time. I know I shouldn’t be complaining cause it seems as if I had a lot of visits, but they all happened in a one month. It was six years since the one visit I had before then. It would be great if I could have a visit from somebody once a month, but I doubt that would happen. It never has. Wishful thinking. These things are what gives me memories. I play them over and over in my head.

If you want to get parole you have to have an L1 rating and I’m an L3, so they’ll probably put off my next hearing for 3 years. That sucks. It stands for line class. You go up one number each year, if you’re lucky. They keep you knocked down and then they can keep you locked up. Also, when you’re in G5 you can’t take any classes or use the library. I would have to be in G2 for that. But in G4 I can go to the rec room where there’s a TV or they play cards and other stuff. The parole board will want to know what I’ve done to help myself when they know very well that I can’t do anything to help myself because they keep knocking me down to a level where I can’t do anything even if I wanted to, and there is nothing I can do about it. It’s just the way prison life is. But at least I have the books and magazines that Mom sends me.

At the parole hearing they’ll want three addresses and three phone numbers so they can call and talk about the area where I would get paroled to, but I don’t really know if they would call anyone. They want to keep us here. They make lots of money off us. Without prisons Texas is broke. There’s over a hundred prisons in Texas alone. This is supposed to be the land of the free but we have more people locked than any other country in the world. Is it because people here are commit more crimes? I don’t think so. A lot of big businesses make money off us, too, with all the things we need to buy and all the things they have to provide us, as little as it is. Prisons are big business. So if they can keep us in here then they all win and we all lose.

It’s really cold right now. They have no heat. I’m wearing all the clothing I own. It’s hard to sleep when you’re freezing. No heat in the winter and no AC in the summer. I think it’s another way to torture us. I don’t like this at all. Too cold.

( Sonni’s note: Nov 25, 2014. He is now in G4. He gets out one hour a day to go to a cage not much bigger than his cell so he can walk or pace or exercise by himself. He’s still cold and winter is just getting started. I sent him some money to buy long johns. They have them in the commissary which they’re allowed to go to twice a month. He was right, though, there was no chance of making parole. He said to me once, ” The parole board don’t like to parole Blacks”. He’s seen a lot of men get turned down. Gotta keep those prisons full. He made G2 in December and they knocked him down to the bottom again mid February. They’ve knocked him down twice to solitary for a total of about 4 years. He’s in G4 now, not G5, He’ll have to work his way back up to g2 to get his privileges back. He managed to find a GED book and he’s studying. He said he wants to be ready to start taking classes when he gets out when he gets back to G2, except he has no idea when that will be. He’ll be able to go to the library then, too. I asked him what his favorite subject is. He said it was math. Hmmm. . . . There are careers he could study for if he has an aptitude for math. I was able to get my cell phone in the system for “Friends and Family” which is a way for inmates to make calls. The process was not easy, and now they have taken it away from him. he was able to make calls for two weeks. These are all positive things that will give him a better chance of making parole sometime in the next 8 years. ( I’m not smiling) (added: march 1, 2015. He goes up for parole hearing again in October, 2016)

My Parole Hearing is Coming Up.

It’s my first one, coming up in a few months. I’m trying to not think about it because I don’t have a chance of making it. Mom wrote a letter to the parole board. She sent me a copy of the letter. It won’t do any good but she says that it won’t hurt for them to read about me from someone else. She says that maybe it will make them feel better about me the next time. I know she would really want to be here but I’m not sure if they would even let her in for it. But I’d really like to see her again. We didn’t have enough time last time. I know I shouldn’t be complaining ’cause it seemed as if I had a lot of visits, but they all happened in a one month. It was six years since the one visit had before. It would be great if I could have a visit from somebody once a month, but I doubt that would happen. It never has. Wishful thinking. These things are what gives me memories to think about. I play them over and over in my head.

If you want to get parole you have to have an L1 rating and I’m an L3, so they will probably put off my next hearing for 3 years. That sucks for sure. It stands for line class. You go up one number each year, if you’re lucky. They keep you knocked down and then they can keep you locked up. Also, when you are in G5 you can’t take any classes or use the library. I would have to be in G2 for that. But in G4 I can go to the rec room where there’s a TV or they play cards and other stuff. The parole board will want to know what I’ve done to help myself when they know very well that I can’t do anything to help myself because they keep knocking me down to a level where I can’t do anything even if I wanted to, and there is nothing I can do about it. But at least I have the books and magazines that Mom sends so I can keep my mind busy.

At the hearing they’ll want three addresses and three phone numbers so they can call and talk about the area where I would get paroled to, but I don’t really know if they would call anyone. They want to keep us here. They make lots of money off us. Without prisons Texas is broke. There’s over a hundred prisons in Texas alone. This is supposed to be the land of the free but we have more people locked than any other country in the world. Is it because people here are commit more crimes? I don’t think so. A lot of big businesses make money off us, too, with all the things we need to buy and all the things they have to provide us, as little as it is. Prisons are big business. So if they can keep us in here then they all win and we lose.

It’s really cold right now. They have no heat. I’m wearing all the clothing I own. It’s hard to sleep when you’re freezing. No heat in the winter and no AC in the summer. I think it’s another way to torture us. I don’t like this at all. Too cold.

( Sonni’s note:   Nov 25, 2014. He is still in ad seg. He gets out one hour to go to another small solitary space not much bigger than his cell so he can walk or pace or exercise by himself. He’s still cold and winter is just getting started. I sent him some money to buy long johns.  They have them in the commissary which they’re  allowed to go to twice a month. He was right, though, there was no chance of making parole.  He said to me once, ” They don’t like to parole Blacks”.  He’s seen a lot of men get turned down. Gotta keep those prisons full. But he’s supposed to make G2 by the end of this month.  G5 is solitary confinement, or ad seg, a level they kept him at for a total of about 4 years.   G4 ( where he is now, lets him go to chow and to spend a limited amount of time in rec.  Then it skips to G2.  He managed to get  ahold of a GED book and he’s studying.  He said he wants to be ready to start taking classes when he gets out.  He’ll be able to go to the library, too.  I asked him what his favorite subject is.  He said it was math.  Hmmm. . . .there are lots he could do if he has an aptitude for math.  I’ve been trying to get my cell phone in the system for “Friends and Family” which is a way for inmates to make calls.  Getting his G2 means he will FINALLY be able to make a phone call!!.  These are all positive things that will give him a better chance of making parole sometime in the next 8 years. ( I’m not smiling)