Letters to the Youth who just got sentenced 4/11/14

From a prisoner to our readers, especially ex-offenders 12/2012
April 27, 2016
There may soon be a bail fund
April 27, 2016
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Letters to the Youth who just got sentenced 4/11/14



From Tim:

  1. It’s bad now but if you mess up it will get worse, example box, loss of good time, new charges
  2. Be very careful of your friends. Their problems become yours.
  3. Always remember that your BEST thinking got you in prison.
  4. Make the most of your time: Education, trade programs any and all positive things you can do.
  5. The people who stay by your side during this hard time are your ONLY friends.


From Brett:

There are multiple things you may or may not experience during your incarceration with the N.Y.S.D.O.C.S.S. One thing you will experience and I feel is very important for you to be prepared for is Elmira. This place you will eventually live in for a few weeks after you leave County Jail. When you approach this facility the wonder of what is inside will automatically hit you. When you walk in, you have to throw all your clothes away, shower, and then get your head shaved in no particular order. After, you will be moved to B-block. Here is the tough part. You will walk outside and into another building. You have to walk through A-block first. It’s a 100 foot ceiling room with 4 sets of cells on top of each other on each side of you with 43 cells side by side. As you all walk down that long, long walk you will be screamed at by everyone, called rapos, new jacks, fresh fish, and numerous things. Be prepared for that walk, ‘cause for me it was a shock not knowing it was coming. Then in a week they will move you from B-block to A-block and you will be doing the same thing. Good luck. P.S. If you like how your body looks and feels don’t talk back to the C.O.’s. I mean that.


From D.T.:

“ECHOES of a Distant Voice”

Life, as in games and sports, has rules. Rules are made to be followed; when the rules aren’t followed, penalties are enforced…

I am currently 43 years of age. I have been in jail now for the past 25 years, 3 ½ months. I was charged, convicted and sentenced (to a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life) in prison. And just so the readers will understand the seriousness of this sentence, I will go into brief details.

Basically, my “25 to Life” is considered a death certificate/sentence. Thus far I have served my 25 year minimum. I went to my first Parole Board appearance September 2013; parole was denied and I was given a 24 month hold. I will again be eligible for release on Parole Supervision September 2015. However, it is up to the Parole Commissioners discretion as to release or deny. History has shown it is normal practice to deny prisoners release on parole. So I can be given a 2 year hold until my lights are out… (DIE IN JAIL)

In sharing this information with the readers of what to expect when doing a State Bid, I pray that you will all be optimistic and apply it to your daily activities. Because it will help you to survive in prison…


If you are affiliated with gangs, you will be targeted. Do your best towards getting out of gangs. There are lots of inmates that are in gangs who are not going home on their early release/ C.R. date. They will max uot on their sentences and/or receive new sentences for violent acts.



There is plenty of illegal drugs behind these prison walls/fences. DO NOT sell or use them, for drugs only alter your mindset, and thus weaken you. If you use drugs, you will be caught. The State has urinalysis machines for testing inmates to determine what drug is being used. If caught selling drugs, you can receive a misbehavior report and be placed in the Box, also known as solitary confinement or S.H.U. (Special Housing Unit).



Unlike the Free World, jail/prison has its own unique set of rules. Rules that we inmates not like, or may disagree with. But rules that are heavily enforced by Corrections Officers and Staff alike. You can make things easy, by abiding by the rules, or you can make things difficult by disregarding those rules. The CHOICE is yours… Due to experience, I would encourage anyone to keep things light and easy.



Prison time can be done two ways

The easy way

The hard way    The State has a variety of educational/vocational programs. Education is information, information is knowledge, and knowledge is power. Work on yourself while in prison. You have plenty of time to do so.

EDUCATION                It strictly depends on the individual. If you carry yourself with respect and good faith and dignity, that same respect will be extended back. However, if one acts childish, acts like an asshole or tough guy, that person will be challenged daily and treated as such

  1. Get enrolled in G.E.D. classes if you don’t have a diploma
  2. Get enrolled in college course
  3. Earn a vocational trade certificate
  4. Visit the general Library regularly to read and take out books. Not fiction only.
  5. Attend Cephas meetings regularly (If you are not in Western NY, find some self-awareness group)
  6. Participate in Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops
  7. Attend worship services
  8. All-in-All (keep yourself busy)


Pick your friends; don’t allow them to pick you. Friends are those that encourage you to do positive things, those who share the same or similar interests; those who hold your best interests at heart. Always avoid “toxic” people. If you are “killing time” with them, you are killing your future. Do not “hang out.”


Working out builds your self confidence/ self esteem. Working out also preserves your overall health, and keeps you strong.And last but not least

REPUTATIONS:  A wise man/elder spoke with me many years ago and gave me a jewel to treasure. He said, “Be more concerned with your character than your reputation. Because your reputation is just an “assessment” of what others THINK of you, while your character is what you really are. If you are a person who is concerned with your reputation, guard your actions.”

“Scars on the soul, is why we wear bandages with no visible sores.”

Growing up as a teenager, I was big on reputations. I always tried living up to my street name. This abnormal behavior has always kept me in trouble (solitary confinement)

In closing this letter, I pray that you take this info and apply it. Do your time peacefully and return back home to your family and friends. 



From James:

“Chains and Shackles”

I was raised in Amityville, New York, out on Long Island, in a single parent household with my mom, three brothers and a sister.

My dad abandoned my family and when I was only knee-high. He met and married another woman, settled down and had two daughters by this woman. As a result of the dislikes our mothers had for one another, we (the kids) weren’t given the opportunity as kids to grow up and blossom together as kids should. And even now after being in jail now for the past 25 years, my sisters on my father’s side all are complete strangers.

When I reflect back to my school years, I remember going to school and getting good grades. I had big dreams of playing football in the N.F.L. So I was enrolled in afterschool football activities. As a young adult/teenager there came a point in my life that I began to “rebel” and wouldn’t listen to the people who cared for me the most and had my best interest at heart. Those people were my mom and teachers. So, I began hanging out with “toxic people.” These people that I was hanging out with were “troubled neighborhood kids” that my mom warned me about, never once taking her warm, loving and motherly advice into consideration. These troubled neighborhood kids eventually introduced me to the FAST-STREET-LIFE, where I found myself in the presence of gunslingers, drug dealers admitting their illegal lifestyles: flashy cars, jewelry, clothing and beautiful women. I fell right in and began selling a substance known as CRACK-COCAINE, destroying the well knit bonds of family friends and lovers.

Living the fast street life became a devastating blow to me. I saw some brutal things living that life that I wish that I had never witnessed with these eyes. I began cutting school and lying to my mom about my whereabouts… all clear signs of rebelling. I would eventually drop out of school completely to sell drugs. Once I got too far/deep into the game, I purchased an illegal handgun for my protection. I never once thought of killing anyone! But let me give you something to think about.

On February 6th 1987, while I was 16 years old, I was hanging out with friends at a house party; people were drinking beer, smoking weed and popping tablets of mescaline. We were out having FUN dancing and being social, until a fight broke out and crowds of people arrived. Although my friends and I should have immediately left the scene, we stood around watching the drama unfold. As the fighting and violence began to spread, a young man approached me in an aggressive/violent manner. I pulled out the illegal handgun I was carrying and shot.

The moral of this story is that I “I TOOK SOMETHING.” I took a life that didn’t belong to me, something that is valuable and precious to others, because of my poor decision making. It is his family that will never be what they once were, and although I am remorseful and my heart goes out to his family sincerely, in my heart, I do not feel as if that is enough. As a result of this crime that I have committed, I was sentenced to a minimum sentence of 25 years, and a maximum of life, which ultimately means that I can grow old and die in prison. If the Parole Board Commissioners don’t feel that I am ready to be released on supervision of parole. I have given up on the biggest treasure that I have ever owned: MY FREEDOM. I have been in jail now since the age of 18. I am now going on 44 years old, in the month of August. I have been suffering in jail now for the past 25 years. I have a 27 year old son and two grandkids that I don’t know. Being told when I can eat, sleep and shit, not having the freedom to do as I please, only being able to see my family once/twice a year due to distances and expenses that is required to plan for a visit, wearing the same state-issued clothing for the past 25 years and being subject to eating this horrible state food, that our dogs wouldn’t eat.

My reason for writing this short bio is to share my experiences with you all… in hope of you all re-organizing your thoughts.

The difference between you and I is that I have already made my mistakes in life; I can’t change that. You teenagers/youth/young adults out there have a great deal of potential. My wish for you all is that you listen to your parents, teachers and guardians a little more, so that will aid you with re-organizing your thoughts as well as your lives.


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