What Happened To Common Sense?
My anger and disappointment at our criminal justice system, and Department of Corrections continues to rise. During my visits with Drew a number of Corrections Officers have told me what a fine young man Drew is. This felt promising. What is becoming apparent to us is that policy and procedure have trumped common sense. Common sense is siting somewhere in the lost and found department buried under a pile of dusty, outdated policy and procedural instruction booklets.
Last week Drew had his one year review. During the review it is possible for an inmate to have time taken off their active sentence for good behavior. I’ll cut right to it. Instead of removing any time from Drew’s sentence, they added time. Yep, his release date from prison went from July 2019 to September 2019. Why?
Drew’s paperwork shows that he has been in compliance and charge free (this means good behavior). So what’s the problem? He didn’t apply for a prison job! He told them during the review that he wasn’t told that working was a requirement. And, he shared with them that many of the inmates rely upon the little bit of money they earn to buy commissary. He told them he didn’t want to take a job that someone else truly needs.
It gets worse. Despite their paperwork stating that Drew is a low risk to offend he was rated as a10 out of 10 for Criminal Thinking Observation. Now, the word observation would lead one to believe that someone observed Drew and determined based upon that observation that he has a 10 out of 10 criminal mind. When I think of a 10/10, people like Ted Bundy and Charles Manson come to mind, not my Mario and Luigi loving, autistic son whose primary thinking is to come home to his dog and his family. So, how did they arrive at this number? I asked that question and here is the answer I received. This number is determined by a mathematical equation: Drew is white, male, young (31) and has been convicted of a crime. So, the ‘observation’ is actually a mathematical equation; none of which Drew has any control over. He can’t help it that he was born white, male, in 1986! And, if you’ve read my blog you’ve likely concluded that he should have never been convicted of this crime in the first place.
I am livid. We are in the process of asking the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam to please send Drew home, and relieve him from the overwhelm he endures in prison. I have concerns that this review, if not properly explained could negatively affect the pardon.
For a year Drew has counted the days until he can come home. That count just got longer.