Thursday, April 30, 2009

Totally Confused

This week a few things have happened to make me question, again, why I stay in this relationship with Brian. I do love him. I care a lot about him, I have waited 30 months so far for him, and I have about 12 months and a few weeks more to go. Yet, I am so tired of it I want to just throw in the towel. Not so much that I am tired of waiting, because I can wait for true love. But it's the anxiety that this is not the first time we've been down this road, who's to say that he is done with using dope? He certainly claims that he's done, but he's said it in the past.

Sometimes I feel like I have a 1000 lb anchor tied to me while I'm trying to hold up a job, a home and 2 kids, and then holding on to the bottom of the anchor is Brian. When all is said and done we will have been together for 12 years and out of those 12 years 7 of them he's been locked up. He's a work-a-holic when he is out and he's putting in 60-70 hours per week, and then there is the time he spends with the kids and his family and time is so small. I feel like we have had a lot of good times, but far more bad times. I'm sure that this is what outsiders see.

I have been through enough, I don't know if I can make it another 12 months. There are opportunities all around me where other men are interested in me, it's a great ego boost. Yet, I still feel like I'm letting everyone down if I left him now. I made a commitment to him and my children that I would wait....but what about me? What about my happiness? I want someone who WILL be there, who I don't have to worry about the next shoe dropping. Am I wrong, do I need to keep on this roller-coaster ride?

I will say that I do see a huge change in him. I see that he's really committed himself to a lifestyle of righteousness, and I see that he's let go of a lot of the addictive habits. There are plenty of drugs in prison, and he's quit all forms of tobacco as well. He studies scripture, and he's realized his self worth I think. But I can't predict the future.

I guess the question I need to ask myself is:
1) If you don't wait will you regret it and wish that you had if he's happy in another relationship? 2) Are you willing to put up with the unknown and take the risk that he might relapse again? And if he does, can you live with the fact that you waited in vain?

Any advise from anyone out there is much appreciated.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Cost of Incarceration per Year

What the State Pays:
  • $40,000 Housing for My Husband
  • $7200 Health Care for his family (I am currently on AHCCCS until April 2010)
  • $6000 Food Stamps (I am currently receiving at $500 per month until June)
  • $1800 in six months cash assistance (which I needed while unemployed)
  • $480 unemployment when I didn't have a 2nd income to rely on
  • $800 one time rental subsidy from Maximus (Jobs Program)
  • $500 one time utility assistance from Mesa CAN
  • $300 one time utility assistance from Maximus (Jobs Program)
  • $5160 in daycare expense for the year (I am not receiving any longer)

TOTAL: $62,240

(Mutliply just the $40K to house the 40,176 inmates AZ has $1,607,040,000 PER YEAR! I understand that these are not all low level offenders but still DOC is 29% over capacity. Lets just say that 11,651 are low level inmates non-violent that's still $466,040,000 per year they could save)

What I Pay Per Year:

  • $3240 round trip in fuel to visit
  • $1440 in vending machine for OVER priced JUNK food
  • $1200 in collect calls and that's low balling it
  • $24,000 in living expenses

TOTAL: $29,880

  • $??.?? Unknown amt in counseling and family therapy after he's released. Due to the trauma, and separation of our family.

Thank You ARIZONA Tax payers. For paying to keep my husband from supporting HIS family!!!! Contact the AZ legislators and tell them to change the truth in sentencing for low level non-violent offenders to 65%....this move would save the state millions of dollars in the first year and billions with in 5 years.

His approx income prior to incarceration:

TOTAL: $144,000

I was at home with my children before he was sent to prison (which by the way Gilbert Police threw him under the bus because he was not charged originally for the crime which he is serving time for, he was used and then thrown to the wolves)

My Income: BELOW THE POVERTY LEVEL for a household of 3

PS I am NOT making excuses for his actions, he should be under some form of punishment, restitution, probation, but NOT PRISON!! What he NEEDED was REHAB!

Or, just keep laying off teachers and throwing guys in prison...pretty soon all the SCHOOLS are GOING to BE PRISONS!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

The First Visit After SMU Jan 9th 2009

I couldn't sleep Friday night, but 2 hours. I hadn't touched Brian in over five months, and I was going to see him the next day. I was tired and so were the kids, so the visit seemed very emotional. After not touching, hugging, and my kids not seeing Dad but twice, he was pulled in many directions and didn't know how to give us all the attention that we all have craved from him. I cried my eyelashes off (but what's new) only because of our son's reaction. He is 10, and was unusually stand offish to his father Saturday, he was holding back the tears as he looked away or sulked his head down. I whispered to him to tell his dad what he was feeling, and to not hold back. Say what he felt and let it out. And boy did he! It was a much needed release that he had been holding in I believe for years.

Brian is a work-a-holic, as well as a binge user he will go years without using but he will work until 10 just to close a deal. He put us first financially, but wasn't there as much as we all needed him to be. He'd get burnt out and then relapse and that was the usual pattern. My son told him many things, one was that he wanted a promise that Brian would be there from now on, and that he was jealous of the other kids in the neighborhood, school, church ect. that had their dads home. It touched Brian in a way that I felt he needed to experience.

Although, many thoughts were racing through my a mother I want to protect my child, I don't want him to be sad or hurt...My dad died when I was 13, and I wouldn't want that pain wished on nobody. I wondered had I made a bad decision to try and keep our family together? Should I had left him the first time? Am I doing the right thing? Maybe I should leave now, and not look I taking too big of a risk? Am I staying for the right reasons...UGH...I just couldn't pull my thoughts together as to what I had done to my son.

Then it dawned on me. I had not done anything. It was Brian who had the problem, not me. My feelings turned to anger that this man had done this to my baby, that his choices had taken him away from his child. How? How can one choice to either use or not use be so difficult? So much that one tiny piece of white substance can do such harm? I was angry at him...I had waited close to 5 months to have this visit. To hold him and kiss him and spend time with him, and now it had turned into a visit I didn't want to even be at.

It was nearing 4 o'clock and I just wanted to leave. Take the kids and not come back. I didn't even kiss him good bye. How awful is that? I wanted so badly to kiss him all this time...and I pushed him away. I left sobbing, angry, and confused, sad, and hurt. My kids asking if we were going back tomorrow, and I snapped back "I don't think so!"

He called me on my way home and I explained what I was feeling, and he told me how truly sorry he was, and that he had never felt like such an ass in his entire life (that was not my goal) I love him so much...I don't want my selfish feelings to want him, hurt our children. That is when my son told me that he was appreciative of me for trying to make it work and keep our family together, and that he knew it was hard for me to do, but that he loved his dad and would always love him. And that he was OK. So I felt much better, that my little 10 year old recognized this. He's so smart and observant.

We all agreed that we were tired, anxious, and overstimulated emotionally that we would get some good sleep Sat night and have a re-do visit on Sunday. Brian told me things that he had never expressed about his feelings toward our daughter vaiing for all his attention either negative or positive, and that he knew this was his fault. But how could he tell her no? Push her away when she gets in between our son and him or me and him, when all she wants is the love and attention that only he can't give her. I could see his point. He said that if someone told him he could come home to us today but he would have to walk bare footed on his hands and knees over broken glass to come home to us, he'd gladly do it twice, and that he'd never leave us ever again. He promised that this was for real that even all that we have been though , he has never been as happy as he is other than when he is with me and the kids. We are his reason for breathing. I believe him. I have always believed in him.

We hung up much better since the kids agreed that daddy and I could have a few minutes here and there without interruption, they promised they wouldn't fight, and that they would be happy and we'd have fun....That is just what we did! We had one of the best family visits on Sunday I think we have ever had.

Prison Psychic

In 1997 one year before I met and married my husband I worked at a credit card fullfillment center. There was this lady who claimed she could read palms, so I asked her to read mine for fun. This is such nonesence really but what she told me then I have never forgotten.

"Don't take this the wrong way," she says "but do you know anyone in prison?"
"What? No. That's wierd" I replied.
"Well, you've never dated, or know someone close to you that's been in prison?" She asks again.
"Not that I know of. No."
"Well, I see prison in your future....not you! But someone that you really care about, someone that you will love very deeply will be in prison or has been in prison."

Almost a year later I unknowingly married an ex-felon. I was quite niave' back then to prison I had no idea what parole meant. I knew that he was on some sort of parole or probation and that he had been released from jail or prison, but I had no idea what the difference was at the time.

Here are just a few people that I know that are/were incarrcerated since that day in 1997 and the root cause:

My Husband root cause cocaine (possession of gun/drugs)
Travis M my mom's best friend's son root cause meth (attempted vehicular manslaughter)
Ryan T my next door neighbor growing up root cause meth (trafficing and robbery)
David H Ryan's older brother root cause abuse (2nd degree murder)
Billy N my cousin mom's brother's son root cause meth (unlawful use of means)

There are more that I know now that I have met women that are in the same situation as me via support groups, but they don't count.

I just think it's crazy now how prison, indirectly, has really been a huge part of my life.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jessica and the Stiner Riot

My good friend Jessica, who I met online by the way. Is going to have a great day tomorrow. You see, she is one of my co-founders of Prison Wives Club...I hope that will make her laugh if she is reading this, because it's not like we founded this spectacular campaign that I'd hoped for when starting this, but what we did "found" was a great friendship. One that I hope will last. She was the first person to respond to some questions that I had posted on I guess we met practically a year ago, looking back it doesn't seem like that long ago. That means time is flying and that's a good thing when you're a Prison Widow. That was the day that Stiner Unit in Lewis had the major riot it was a Saturday while visits were going on. We had planned that a bunch of the PTO (Prison Talk Online) girls meet up and get to know one another in person. We choose to meet at Little Italy in Gila Bend at around 5. It was sort of a centrally located place, and we had planned on meeting after visitation was over. But the plans sorta changed on The Stiner Girls. I arrived earlier than usual because I was car pooling with Jamie that day and she's a freak about getting to the prison at the butt crack of dawn. We just had to get there's a good thing that we did after all. Eight AM we are let into the visitation room and I am patiently waiting for Brian to make his appearance through the inmate door. He walks in, we hug and kiss and sit down to talk about the week and with in an hour we hear the officers radio buzzing about inmates on the yard going berserk. A few seconds later a couple of guards are zipping through visitation like something is on fire. Brian and I walk outside to the chain link fence to peek in on the yard. We could see that the deputy warden's car was pulling up into the front of the Stiner entrance along side him 3 truck loads of the "Goon Squad" or "Nija Turtles" as the orangeman like to call them. Glorified prison S.W.A.T. start rushing in the prison. At this point intake of visitors had stopped and there were maybe 3 of us who were lucky enough to get inside and have access to food, water and restrooms. The rest of the visitors showing up. Not so much. We really still had no clue as to what was taking place in there until we could hear crashing, and the sounds of glass breaking and things being tossed about in building three, which is adjacent to the visitation yard. This is Brian's building. "I'm a little freaked out here!" I told Brian. "You'll be OK, I'll protect you." He says laughing. He knows darn well I can hold my own, but it was really kinda freaking me out. We went back inside to see if we could hear any more news as to what was going on through the visitation officer's radio and she informed us that a riot was happening at that they may shut visitation down and send us home. But just then they started to let the crowd of visitors waiting outside of visitation come in to the room. It was close to 12 PM by this time and people were very concerned. One by one new inmates would come through the door and greet their visitor. For about 30 minutes. "We're cancelling visitation!" an officer yells out into the sea of the irritated and concerned people. "Say your good byes!"Nice. I car pooled. And I was going to be stuck in Buckeye for 4 hours until we meet up in Gila Bend. How was I going to inform Jamie? Luckily, I was with Marianne and Jess who also visit their men in Stiner. We all rode the bus to the main exit. Except I didn't get off. I toured the complex until the bus stopped at Barchey Unit. I got off and walked up to the visitation officer at Barchey and asked her to relay a message to Jamie to see if she could come out and talk to me. She did. She wasn't about to leave Jeff, and I know I wouldn't have wanted to leave Brian if it were me, so she suggested that we head on out to Gila Bend and that she would catch a ride with Sarah (who I later realized I couldn't stand but that's a whole other story in itself and I will post soon) and meet us up there after visitation. So Marianne, Jess and I caravan the 15 miles to Gila Bend and order a pizza. Did I fail to mention that I had my kids with me? Well, I did and bless their hearts they were so good and patient. But then again pizza was involved! Between the three of us girls, the few hours that we had before everyone was to show, felt like a few minutes because we never seem to run out of things to talk about. Soon, the rest of the crew shows up one by one. Dawn, Jessica, Jamie and Sarah. I need to describe Jessica, well because I just feel it's necessary. She is much shorter that me...I mean like by a few feet. I am 5'8" and she's probably 4'11"...ok maybe 4'12". That was a joke by the way...I love you 1031. She looks like she could be related to my dad's sister Katherine who is my favorite aunt. She has long brown hair, and a fire cracker personality. and a squeakey little voice....she could seriously do voice over work for Mighty Mouse's girlfriend or something. So I dubbed her the nickname "squeaker". She's pretty and doesn't even wear make-up. Oh and she could be a manager at Hooters. One thing interesting about Jessica, is that she and her friend both, were accidentaly shot with a shotgun when she was a little girl, she is lucky to be alive and I am glad she is because I am blessed to know her. The friend, sadly lost her life. But the whole point of my story about Jessica and the Stiner riot was to say that in less than 7 hours from right now her man is finally being released from the clutches of the Arizona Department of Corrections. I am largely jealous but I am very happy for her, and I hope that her man will be good to her because she certainly deserves it. Good luck Jessica Rabbit, my Squeaker Linker friend. Oh and the linker part is because on practically every reply to a post on PTO she has a link to answer the question...I don't know how she finds all the links on the DOC website so quick she must have them all saved in her favorites.
May the Force Be With You.
Welcome to the Darkside Baby!

PS: My driver's licence still reflects that I have a second home in Tucson....I hope.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Solutions

I would end truth in sentencing for non-violent offenders. 65% 3-4 class and 55% 5-6 class Make Inmates WORK for their Keep, have USA business work out deals with the State instead of cheaper labor in other countries and have inmates pay for their stay. Teach them how to be productive citizens not better criminals.Let terminally ill and dying inmates out of prison that have a family to go home to or into hospice medic-aide Deport all illegal inmates back to their own county not allowed to return to the US EVER. Let the counties choose to take inmates back to county jails if they have the space. Release ALL first time offenders with class 5 and 6 felonies, non-violent with 1 year or less left to serve on house arrest or parole.Only let inmates on Death Row sit there for a max time and then times up. We waste too much money on this.Use the CO's tht loose jobs in the Prisons for Parole Officers, and space in the prisons for offices....they DO NOT need to be off site.Shut down 5 or 6 prisons after unloading all the inmates eligible for release and lease them out to private prison companies. Bring back parole, and good time for good behavior. Too many inmates get into trouble because they have nothing to work towards. Make prisons self sufficiant, use all that land for cattle/farms/gardens and crops. Again get rid of vendors, make the inmates work for their food.Allow family to purchase items from a mail order cataloge approved for prison with every thing that they purchase in the stores, but have more choices so that the few commissary business compete with eachother to keep prices reasonable. A $12 CD player from Walgreens is NOT worth the $65 DOC charges inmates!! (Because we all know that FAMILY pays for this monopolization and inmates sometimes take advantage of their family since they have no control over what the inmate purchases with that money)Let inmates who have insurance on the outside use it for their own healthcare. Create more rehabilitaion classes and gang prevention in juvinile and younger DOC inmates. These inmates ARE going to be released eventually, I would much prefer a rehabilitated inmate released than a better criminal and without programs this IS what is happening.Have Christian based prisons for certain eligible inmates. Have flat rates for collect calls with the option of a calling card that the INMATE has to pay for. $1.50 per min with no time limits. Depending on Phase Have a system for inamtes wives to pay the prison for conjucal visits on a monthly or quarterly basis. Rules would have to apply! People need to be touched and a well behaved inmate who has family need to have that time, this would alson help with behavior issues. Don't mess with a man's family visit.Have monthly meetings at the prison with inmates, staff (counselors), and family members to help with counseling and transistion in the last year of their sentence. Have family visitation for inmates with children that are less intrusive and uncomfortable (I've seen this in womens prisons for mothers but not in mens for fathers) Have on site Doctors that can do stitches and things that are simple fixes where the inmate usually get sent off site for. Have auditing done by third parties that show the TRUTH instead of all the COVER UPS that admin does with staff and inmates. Put video cameras in every prison in all common areas. Get rid of all DOC vehicles for admin, make these highers ups drive their own cars!! Have cafeterias at visitation ran by inmates to pay for hot meals again create an income stop letting vendors make all the residual. Increase the utility fee to $5 per month, and open up ALL the cable channels they already have available (built in baby sitter less drama and politics in the prison less fights less inmates killed less law suits) Have change machines for the vending machines in the front of visitaion $0.50 per every $5 change it gives generate a revenue.DOC also needs to train their K9 units better in all the years I have been daling with the prison not ONE TIME has a K9 found any dope in the prison...there is more DOPE in there than there is on the streets.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Movie Felon with Val Kilmer

Last night I popped in a movie that someone had told me about called Felon. I had an idea as to what I was to expect, boy was I wrong. Not wrong about what I thought the movie was going to be about, but wrong about the emotions that I might feel watching this movie. It was so overwhelming at times I had to pause the movie to take a break with the tissue box. I have seen a handful of movies about prison but by far this one depicts what prison is like. Well, big boy prison. Not camp snoopy medium and minimum yards. Yards like SMU. During the time my husband was awaiting DOC's decision as to where they were going to put him he had to be in SMU special management unit in Florence. The Eyman complex to be exact.

My fist time visiting SMU was pretty scary. The CO's were very helpful there and made it more comfortable but as I am led towards the belly of the prison by the visitation officer down that long sidewalk my heart starts to rapidly accelerate. From East to West there are grey buildings where faint voices yelling are coming from. I walk into the visitation area and there are two rooms that you can enter through a doorway that is painted blue gray the department of corrections' favorite color. There are visitation booths on both sides of the room where inmates are waiting for their visitor. I can feel their eyes on me as I are search for our booth. A few times I have been there before him and I have to watch while he comes up cuffed and leg shackled to the honeycomb metal door. The CO opens the door for him and closes it before removing his handcuffs. He slides his hands through the food tray pass through and he is released from the handcuffs. He is wearing a bright orange jumpsuit with an orange t-shirt, the top half of the jump suit is off and tucked around his waist to keep it from falling off. I am sitting in a very uncomfortable chair, while his is sitting on a round metal stool attached to the floor with bolts. The thick glass window between us glares my own reflection and I have to put my hand up to block the light so that I can see him better. There is 2 phones on either side of me and one on his side. The visitors around us are talking in elevated voices because the phones do not work very well. I pick up both phones and put them one to each ear to block out the sounds around me. I can hear his voice clearly in surround sound. We put our hands together on the glass as we talk the entire time. What seems like minutes is two hours and the visit time is over. I have to leave him behind that glass to wait to be cuffed up again to be taken in shackles to his cell. I can only imagine what it looks like in there. Pelican Bay in CA is set up very similar in structure and floor plan. I have watched MSNBC's Lock Up and have seen the Pelican Bay episode, so I have a good idea how it looks in there. The fishing lines that are thrown about to send Fritos or tobacco, notes and other items. My husband tells me that he's a good fisherman...I'm sure he is. A few times he was able to make phone calls on a cordless phone that is passed around until the battery is dead. I can hear the other inmates there calling out to each other through the ventilation system. The profanity and the callousness of the other inmates bother my husband. He reads the Bible aloud and the pod quiets down. As he is taken 3 times per week to shower, he must be cuffed and shackled as he walks by other inmates yell profanity at him since he is still undetermined protective custody. There is a stigma in prison for the PC cases. Although, Brian was involuntary it doesn't matter. He is considered the lowest of the low in prison by the hard core prison politics. He takes a shower alone, one of the only times that he can be alone. Sometimes he has to wait an hour for a CO to come and get him from the shower. I'm sure this was one of the things that he could look forward to doing, just a simple shower and shave. He was moved from one cell to another on his shower days preventing him from a shower for 9 days straight. But it was better that he get moved since he was having to force every cellmate DOC was trying to house him with out of his cell to keep the politics off his back. Once he was put in a cell with someone that was PC things were much easier on him. He endured 6 months of SMU and he told me that had he been to SMU from the beginning he'd never step foot in a prison again. It was an experience that he or I will never forget.

If you would like to see a small glimpse of what we have been through and what prison is truly like watch this movie.

Monday, April 13, 2009

This Is Not My Life!!

I wonder sometimes when I'm going to wake up and realize that this was just a bad dream. That loosing out on so much because of one man's choice it's MY reality. You throw a pebble into a pond and the ripples affect the entire body of water. I think I'm having the hardest time with the fact that I am 32 years old, that I am in the prime of my life, and I should be in a better place. I was in a better place until Brian choose to screw it up for me. I know I choose to stay and wait for him, and that's my choice so I shouldn't complain. But I live with that choice everyday, contemplating if it was the right or wrong choice. I worked very hard to get to where I am at in my life, and to have someone holding me back drives me insane. I deserve better than this I know that for sure, but how do you escape? You don't. No matter what I do Brian will be the father of my children, he will be the love of my life, he will be the one I will always want to be with. What is one more year? One more year alone, one more year of one income, one more year of no intimacy, one more year of prison....that's just one more year too long.

I haven't been to visit Brian in what seems to be a month now. And I can tell that I am loosing focus on us. As much as I want to put this world behind me I tend to shut him out. I guess that's par for the course. I know that we will endure this until the end, I just hope that the end is near.

One thing is for 100% certain, I WILL NEVER DO THIS AGAIN! I will not deal with prison ever again, or will I allow him to take me down this path once more. He ever leaves ONE night, or he relapses ONE time. I'M DONE! Mark my words.

I have too many good things to offer a man here is my mom's list but maybe she is partial:
I am a GREAT mother, I take good care of my home, I am pretty, I take good care of myself, I am smart, I have a good job, I am responsible, I don't over indulge, I am a GREAT cook, I am handy and can do just about anything around the house, I'm not a goody-goody but I have high morals and standards, and I am loyal and forgiving to a fault.

So, I guess I do believe these things are true as well, and I know that Brian sees what a good thing he has...but eve when you got it good addiction can be stronger than any good thing you have. I have to pray that he really sees that this is it for him, he has no other chances at life with me or his kids if he falls off the wagon. It's totally up to him....and I can't say yet that I fully trust him with this. I'm not afraid, because I know that I can do all this on my own and I know that I can move on if I have to. But I just want the trust re-built. Unfortunately, you can't build it while someone is in prison.

I have a strong feeling that I will not be dealing with prison for very much longer. Cross your fingers for me and say a little prayer. The poor AZ economy might just be good for us this year!!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

How Would You Change The Prison System?

Please Leave Your Comments....I want to know what you think????

I Couldn't Have Said it Any Better
Get-tough policies that lock up offenders for longer sentences are propelling a projected increase of nearly 200,000 in the nation's prison population in the next five years, according a private study released Wednesday.
The increase - projected by the Pew Charitable Trusts study to be three times faster than overall population growth in the U.S. - is expected to cost states more than $27 billion.
"As a country, we have a problem," said Susan Urahn, managing director of policy initiatives for the Pew Charitable Trusts, which funded the study by its Public Safety Performance Project.
The study is the first of its kind to project prison populations in every state through 2011, based on state projections, current criminal justice policies and demographic trends.
Urahn said she hopes states use the study to prepare for the future - either by building more prisons or by adopting policies to slow the growth through alternative forms of punishment.
The projections, she said, are not inevitable. They can be altered by state policies as well as economic and cultural changes.
"What we have seen is there are a growing number of states really focused, not on being tough on crime or soft on crime, but on being smart about crime," Urahn said. "Every state faces unique circumstance and challenges."
There are more than 1.5 million inmates in the nation's state and federal prisons, a number that is projected to grow to more than 1.7 million by the end of 2011, a 13 percent increase. The nation's population, by comparison, is projected to grow by 4.5 percent in that time.
States are projected to spend up to $27.5 billion on the new inmates, including $12.5 billion in construction costs, according to the study.
Men far outnumber women in prison - nearly 14 to 1. But in the next five years, the number of women inmates is projected to increase by 16 percent compared with a 12 percent increase for men.
Florida is projected to add the most prisoners, about 16,000, followed by California, Texas, Arizona and Ohio.
New York, Connecticut and Delaware are the only states with no projected growth in the number of inmates. All three are projected to have stable inmate populations.
Florida's prison population has been growing since the 1980s, when many inmates had to be released early because of crowding problems, said William Bales, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice at Florida State University.
Since then, the state has eased crowding by building more prisons and changing the way it sentences offenders, Bales said. The state eliminated parole and other forms of early release, but only 20 percent of those eligible for prison are sent there, he said. Instead, many lesser offenders are sentenced to home confinement and required to wear electronic monitoring devices.
"But if you go to prison, you will go for a long time," Bales said.
In Connecticut, the state reversed years of crowding problems in part by investing in programs for inmates who are about to re-enter society. The state also increased the number of probation officers to monitor those who have been released.
"Truth in sentencing, three strikes and you're out - it looks great on paper, but try to make it work," said Connecticut Rep. Michael Lawlor, a Democrat and co-chairman of the state legislature's Judiciary Committee.
Lawlor, a former prosecutor, said Connecticut lawmakers focused on ways to reduce recidivism rather than campaign pledges to get tough on criminals. As a result, he said, crime rates have dropped along with incarceration rates.
"There's a pretty long list of people who deserve to be locked up forever, but it's not the majority of people in prison," Lawlor said. "If you can get people into a room instead of a campaign debate it's really easy to come to consensus.

Virginia US Senator Jim Webb's Bill...WOW what a Concept!

This is taken from his web site

The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009 that I introduced in the Senate on March 26, 2009 will create a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom. I believe that it is time to bring together the best minds in America to confer, report, and make concrete recommendations about how we can reform the process.

Why We Urgently Need this Legislation:
With 5% of the world's population, our country now houses 25% of the world's reported prisoners.
Incarcerated drug offenders have soared 1200% since 1980.
Four times as many mentally ill people are in prisons than in mental health hospitals.
Approximately 1 million gang members reside in the U.S., many of them foreign-based; and Mexican cartels operate in 230+ communities across the country.
Post-incarceration re-entry programs are haphazard and often nonexistent, undermining public safety and making it extremely difficult for ex-offenders to become full, contributing members of society.

America's criminal justice system has deteriorated to the point that it is a national disgrace. Its irregularities and inequities cut against the notion that we are a society founded on fundamental fairness. Our failure to address this problem has caused the nation's prisons to burst their seams with massive overcrowding, even as our neighborhoods have become more dangerous. We are wasting billions of dollars and diminishing millions of lives. We need to fix the system. Doing so will require a major nationwide recalculation of who goes to prison and for how long and of how we address the long-term consequences of incarceration.

For More info here is a Fact Sheet on the Bill:

When Calling and writing AZ Government Leaders tell them you support Senator Jim Webb's Criminal Commissions ACT of 2009

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Not So Good News

This was a meeting on 3/17 after the 3/6 budget proposal draft was created by the DOC.

The agenda for both the house and senate in regards to department of corrections budget cuts and the video footage of this meeting. (You can just click on Department of Corrections to skip over the Judiciary)

The first guy that's talking is Martin Lorenzo, he is the budget advisory chairperson for DOC.

Charles Ryan, the DOC director is the next to speak in regards to cutting the inmate/CO ratios.

Last to speak is Dr. Mike Dolny he just gives more statistics on house arrest.

They have yet to, at this point, even discuss the truth-in-sentencing.....and by the sounds of it, they are NOT going to look at releasing "bad guys back on the streets, just because there is a budget crisis right now"

There is a heated disscussion between one of the representatives and one of the senators about other "options" to reduce the budget, they don't go into much detail but one can assume they are talking about releasing inmates.

PS I did find out, however, I could still be misunderstanding, what ever is put in the budget doesn't have to be passed into a bill, they will just strike the current bill and revise it based on the need to uphold the budget.

Unrelated, the HB that takes tobacco from inmates looks like it passed...

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Burnt Out

I can't do this any more. It's not in my hands anyways. I'm just one person and I can't do it alone. Whatever happens, will happen...I just give up.

I hate visitaton, it's like cruel torture. The phone calls are nice, but they only last so long, and cost so much. Writing, I can't even pick up a pen and think of anything to mind is blank.

What if this whole truth-in-sentencing thing doesn't change. So, we've got a year left. I met a man that goees to my church that spent time in Alcatraz and Leavenworth Prison in KS he's 80 yrs old. Said he could do one year standing on his head. He spent 12 years in prison. Puts our situation a bit in perspective.

I just hate prison, and I am burnt out....I love my husband and I will wait for hm, but I don't like it.

God Please let him come home September 1st, 2009.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Arizona Department of Corrections Budget Cuts;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Please send an e-mail BCC to the above AZ State Representatives:


March 6, 2009 the Department of Corrections submitted a budget proposal with many priorities to reduce their one billion dollar Budget. In particular priority #10C is to reduce the mandatory time served for inmates in AZ, otherwise known as Truth-In-Sentencing. I completely support this move by the Arizona Department of Corrections and strongly urge you, as a representative of the tax paying citizens of AZ, to implement this plan in what ever means necessary. There is too much spending in corrections and not enough on education and other important agencies. It's time that the mandatory minimum time served of 85% be reduced and other monitoring methods and programs utilized for those qualified inmates in the proposal from the DOC. If in fact, this part of the budget reduction happens there will only be approximately 6500 non-dangerous low custody inmates eligible for parole. Ten prisons could be shut down and possibly leased out to CCA (Corrections Corporation of America) generating a revenue, as well as creating jobs for Correction Officers that will be laid off. Correction officers could transition to Parole Officers and utilize space in the prisons rather than outside office locations. This is a win/win situation, none of the other budget cuts the DOC is proposing would need to be cut (if AZ is asking DOC to cut 8.5% of their budget) including programs for inmates, staff benfits, and operations expenses.

Thank You For Supporting My Request.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Devil's Advocate

View state-of-arizona-budget-reductions-options-fy-2010-gf-pdf

You know, I am going to play the devil's advocate.

First of all, out of 10 priorities, this one is number 10. Number 11 is really just an extention to #10C.

Second, by unloading 10K plus inmates either into county jails or on parole would eliminate 10 plus prisons.

Third, the county jails will have to house more inmates 600 plus from DOC and that isn't going to fly with the counties too well.

Fourth, eliminating 10 prison facilities means laying off close to 1200 employees. Although, one suggestion is to lease out the DOC prisons to private prison companies (creating an income) and house out of state inmates possibly opening up new jobs for those employees that will loose their job with DOC.

Fifth, AZ will either need to increase the parole officers case loads or create new jobs, because the parole officers are already over loaded. Again, possibly more jobs for the laid of DOC workers.

Sixth, there will need to be a revision of the current law, something that is very complex, because of other language that is used in ARS codes determining inmate eligiability. Would this only be for non-violent, medium, minimum inmates not convicted of certain crimes? They will really need to hammer and smooth this out to prevent some inmates that should qualify falling through the cracks and not getting released which will cause unrest with inmates and family members angry that one inmate gets this program while another with the same crime does not especially based on the fact that the only difference is they are house in a closed custody yard or level 5 yard. I guess this would have to be an internal DOC policy based on internal scoring and behavior....

Some other things to consider I heard, I haven't verified this yet, but DOC was only asked to reduce their current budget of 1 billion 8.5% so in other words $85 million dollars. If DOC reduces the budget by each priority in order, then they would reach that reduction prior to priority number 10C the modification in truth-in-sentencing.

Just some food for thought so that we can look at this in a realistic approach.