As I insert this photo of Jamie I thought of how nice it would be to have new pictures. This is from my last visit October 2017.
My Apologies For Disappearing Lately
The last six weeks or so I haven’t posted much. Before that I spent more time writing the book instead of blog posts so most posts were chapters or music. Life got complicated and I’ve needed 36 hours a day to stay on top of it. In addition I’m going through radiation on my head for another bout of cancer. But since this blog is for Jamie I will begin with the most important news. Jamie’s parole news.
Jamie was approved for parole. I found out online before he found out. I received a letter asking me to check on the parole hearing he had LAST AUGUST, because no one would tell him anything. I’ve been in high gear ever since.
I was doubtful about him getting parole because he had nothing to work with. No trade, still in agseg and no certificates to show he had done anything to improve himself – because the prison wouldn’t let him.
There are different kinds of parole, different levels of releases, which was new info for me. It depends on the crime, or if it was for drugs and even if he had been a user, because they don’t want ex-inmates to hook up with the same people again. There are plenty of ways to get drugs in prison so if you’re an addict you don’t have to get clean. But drugs were not Jamie’s thing and he didn’t go near it inside. There are also different kinds of supervision if you are paroled, and how often you have to see a parole officer. There are also fines you might need to pay.
Parole isn’t cheap. You have to pay your parole officer each time you go. I don’t know if rules are different in each state, but I’d guess they are since everything else about incarceration is different. No prison is ever fun, but some states are REALLY not a state you want to be incarcerated in.
Jamie’s classification is Fl-1. I think it goes up to Fl-7. I contacted the women in a Facebook group called, “Loved ones in Allred Unit”, to see if anyone could answer my questions about parole. They said it would probably get a date in 1-3 months. On Facebook, some of the large prisons have groups so wives, mothers and girlfriends (and the occasional man) can communicate about what is happening at a particular prison – lockdowns, visits and even weddings. They share photos of their loved ones and often just need to talk and share their worry when they haven’t heard from someone inside. Often they are new to the prison system and have questions.
There is also a group for those incarcerated anywhere in Texas, “Loved ones in TDCJ. ” Texas Department of Criminal Justice. Allred Unit is the largest prison in Texas so there are enough people to keep a group going. Even when Jamie was moved to Hughes Unit last year for a program that really accomplished nothing, I maintained contact in the Allred group because they know who Jamie is.
Fl-1 means they have to investigate if he can survive on the outside. They contact family and make sure he has support on the outside. They don’t approve you and set you out the doors. You are moved to a “pre-release” prison where they have resources and try to prepare you – a step – down program. I am still learning what happens next. They have to make sure he has an address to parole to; family or a halfway house. Will he have a job? He had been on disability for epilepsy. Can he reapply? How does he get his epilepsy meds? He has no work history. He doesn’t even have a GED because the prison wouldn’t raise him to a classification that would allow him to take any kind of classes.
Jamie’s family haven’t helped him during these years except at the very beginning, so I wonder what they’ll do when the novelty of his release wears off. Paying his way will take even more money now. What kind of job could he get that would enable him to pay rent IF a landlord would rent to him. He will go to his brothers house who has wife and two very young children. Will his brother begrudge the time and effort support him long enough?? He wouldn’t visit him in prison.
In January of this year his brother visited him for the first time in TEN years. When I tried to convince him to visit a few years ago his response was, “Its not my fault he’s in there.” Excuse me?? Is that a reason? Ten years? Maybe it will be okay, but that attitude doesn’t make me confident. All these years his family knew I was taking care of what Jamie needed and not once did anyone say, “I’ll pay his medical fee this year,”or “I’ll buy his food box this quarter” or put money in his account, even for hygiene. Yes, I have doubts about how this will work out. They can’t pretend they were there for him. How long will his brother and wife be tolerant of Jamie being around – feeding him, buying clothing, driving him places. His brother wouldn’t help him buy a stick of deodorant at the commissary so supporting him until he gets on his feet might be more than he is willing to do. That worries me.
So I’m asking for help from anyone who will.
I wanted to be better prepared. I wanted the book to be published. I understand better what it will take to promote it. I wanted to be father along.
On Facebook, just search Watch and Whirl. I don’t have a Url yet. I am also going to be turning my WordPress blog into a business site and put the site there, too.
A few months ago I opened an online e-commerce store in three locations, selling a variety of items from things for your home, nautical furnishings, musical items, jewelry and more. I’m choosy. Some online stores have thousands of items hoping to sell a few, but I only add items I like if have in my own home.
I opened these stores because I am on disability and need to pay a story editor to go over my book manuscript for “Inside the Forbidden Outside.” I also need a line editor. I have worked for four years writing and rewritingas I have learned how to write (and still learning). There are hundreds of letters strewn across half of my bed as I cross check what happened over the years with my letters that are on file online at JPay.com which is how I “email” letters to Jamie. It takes both his letters and mine to piece together his story.
In addition, there is the music I have recorded to go with each chapter. I spent four hours today working on a new recording. This is a much longer process than sitting down and writing just the book. Although I have used fiction to piece the story together, the events that happen in the book did happen. I did have to create some of the dialogue, especially in the dream sequences I use instead of printing parts of letters.
The amount of time I have put into this, if I did a crappy job during the editing phase it would put it all in jeopardy. But I’m on disability. My age and health doesn’t allow me the luxury of working an outside job. Writing Jamie’s story has given me a reason to keep going. It has been my purpose. We have much to do when he gets out, including writing the sequel – from 2016 until.. . . now and through reentry.
I opened a store. I’ve written about it already – Watch and Whirl – at three locations, because I desperately need to make money. My disability check doesn’t cut the mustard. I have an online location, and a store on Facebook and eBay, which also has auctions.
I had no idea how many hours it was going to take each day, or what I was going to have to learn to make it work. I’m still learning. I also don’t have the advertising budget that is needed to put out Facebook ads, which has the #1 spot for marketing businesses online.
Yes, I’ve been having some sales success, but not enough to cover the overhead I have accrued with even the monthly fees of being in business. And trying to work on finishing up the book, writing music and taking care of 2 blogs – well, there are only so many hours in each day.
So those who know what I do – and some of you have followed me for 5 years – go take a look at my store. Maybe it will be of interest. Maybe it won’t. It continues to grow and change. All of this is to help Jamie. Now that he is being paroled, the pressure to make it come together is real.
I can’t sell internationally yet, but you could share my store on Facebook on your social media pages. It is all about people sharing.
In the meantime, I have a PayPal account. If you could send even a couple dollars to help, go to paypal.com and send it to the email address set up for him: firstname.lastname@example.org