WHAT DOES CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM LOOK LIKE?

by Lord Serious

On September 26, 2022 Senator Jennifer Boysko and Delegate Irene Shin paid a visit to a group of prisoners at Lawrenceville Correctional Center. After introducing myself and thanking the distinguished guest for visiting us at the prison, I asked them what were their visions for prison reform and criminal justice reform. They each spoke of their record and the various bills they have sponsored and fought to get passed. I’d like to thank Q. Patterson and Sistas In Prison Reform (S.I.P) for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the group who were chosen to attend this meeting. Below is a draft of some of the speaking points I wrote to prepare for the meeting:

First, we offenders request that you amend Code 15.2-1636.7 to prohibit the Compensation Board from continuing to use the formula suggested by Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys. This prosecutorial interest group has suggested a formula that incentives Commonwealths Attorneys offices to seek felony convictions for funding, and it deters prosecutors from using alternative methods to secure just and fair results.

This formula contributes to the mass incarceration of Black and Brown people. It encourages prosecutors to seek felony charges over misdemeanors, and it deters them from recommending diversion programs, even in cases where a misdemeanor or diversion program will result in a more just result without jeopardizing public safety. Furthermore, the formula fails to factor in the socioeconomic factors that also influence crime. All of this results in a biased criminal justice system that encourages its prosecutors to over charge and excessively sentence minorities so that their office will receive more funding.

Once this formula has been replaced with a method that will eradicate the bias and exploitative nature of the Criminal justice system. Many of your funding issues will be solved when it comes to the Department of Corrections, because prosecutors will be less inclined to charge every criminal defendant they possibly can with a felony and sentence them to prison. Those who can remain in the community without jeopardizing public safety will receive an adequate punishment without ever having to step foot in a prison, thus they will be less of a burden on the Virginia tax payer.

Next, we request that you amend Code 9.1-601 Citizen Review Panels. We ask that you expand their oversight abilities beyond the police department. We request that their oversight authority be amended to include the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Offices and the Probation and Parole Office.

It is our position that a lot of the socioeconomic bias that infects the criminal justice system goes beyond just police brutality. The entire system neither values nor does it respect the Black and Brown life, especially when they are from impoverished communities. Therefore, we ask that municipalities be given the authority to establish Community Review Panels that will maintain the checks and balances and make these two critical departments accountable to the communities they serve.

The Community Review Panel should be allowed to play a role in determining whether Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Offices are dealing too harshly with the citizens in their community. It’s easy for an office of predominantly White people to send young Black and Brown men to prison for multiple decades for their first felony offense. But the very communities that we’re committing our crimes in do not always agree that a lengthy prison sentence is an appropriate punishment, and the voice of the community should have some influence in these matters before trial. Community Review Panels should be granted the authority to recommend eligible cases for diversion programs when appropriate.

The Community Review Panel should also be granted authority to review the practices of the probation and parole offices for biases and abuses of power. Ex-offenders on probation and parole have no right to an attorney for a revocation hearing and neither can they appeal the decision if their parole has been revoked. This leaves ex-offenders at the mercy of the probation and parole office and they are powerless to prevent abuses of power. Therefore, Community Review Panels should also be granted oversight authority to protect returning citizens from bias probation or parole officers.

And lastly, we would like you to pass a law to make financial literacy a requirement for our rehabilitation. The Uniform Crime Report data shows that poverty is a major contributor to crime. In fact, that report list economic conditions and employment availability as the #3 influencer to crime in the Commonwealth, eclipsed only by population density and population stability which were #1 and #2 respectively.

Legislators in Virginia recognize that having access to more financial resources can help prevent recidivism. This is why the law was passed that now requires us to save $1,000 in our hold account. Obviously, legislators realized that Virginia offenders were not doing a good enough job with saving their money and many were being released with only the $25 they gave you for the bus ticket and the lack of financial stability is what was leading many to re-offend. Unfortunately, with inflation steadily increasing that $1,000 will have less impact by the time many of us are released.

So that $1,000 is not enough. If you distinguished guest are serious about prison reform and preventing recidivism then the nature of the Department of Corrections will have to change course, it must turn away from it’s past when it was a system that used mass incarceration as a profitable economic model. This economic model has failed and your budget issues and the statistics all show that mass incarceration is an unnecessary burden on the tax payer and it has never increased public safety.

-Lord Serious, September 2022

A Message From Keen Mountain

Peace and chaos and confusion universe, and salute to Q always.

This is off-topic but I would like to share a jewel with you. Today is the funeral of a nurse at Keen Mountain who was murdered by her baby’s father who was a correctional officer here…

Now, this is a sad moment because she treated me as a human, one of the very few that do in the system. Thou I’m weird to almost everyone I meet, due to me claiming to be God and also short, legally blind, and walk with a limp lol. But ask anyone who knows me, I stand on all infinite because I don’t go through life looking at it as if its dangerous. I go through life as I know I control it, and life don’t control me because me and life is bond meaning together…. understand. Everything is attracted to everything when U understand you. Thus, my name is Allure meaning attraction. -smiles-. This is what im predicting (The Seer, which is the follow up of my name Allure, which means prophet) -another smile-. This was a sacrifice so the Universe can now show U that don’t have a development of realization that the material world power is unstable in the mind…the devil. And they look at us (inmates) as if we are nothing but hire deadly inmates!?

All these years the government – and when I mean government, I’m including prison guards along with police cause they all are one. Murdering us. Committing crimes while working as a crime fighter. Then they say correctional center, ha ha, yea to correct you not to know self. Look, I’m Allure The Seer Of Truth GOD! And iuno what the rest of y’all will do but peaceful talks only work with a peaceful person. The government is not peaceful. Extremely tired of talking fareal to all who just hear, rather than listen and application. Last chance, know yaself.

-Allure The Seer Of Truth God

Share this with the world:
“Change comes from knowing we are all the same.”

TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING! by Jerry James

TALKING LOUD, but SAYING NOTHING!
TALKING LOUD, but SAYING NOTHING!
TALKING LOUD, but SAYING NOTHING!
TALKING LOUD, but SAYING NOTHING!

Every 2 years state Delegates run for election. They promise tax paying citizens they will do this and do that– TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING!

Some of them even tell you they believe in second chances any prison reform. TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING!

They get in front of cameras taking photos, talking to crowds, shaking hands. TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING!

Then they go behind closed doors having meeting after meeting not taking into consideration the outcome of their decisions, they make on people lives. TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING!

We say Black Lives Matter. We say White Lives Matter. We say Latino Lives Matter. We say ALL Lives Matter. But here we are 53 days and counting with the budget amendment to the enhanced sentence credit bill that affected a little over 8,000 inmates behind the prison walls. There are about 53% of Black men behind bars in VADOC. There are 38% White men behind bars in VADOC. There are about 2% Latino men behind bars in VADOC—and less than 1% of other nationalities behind bars in VADOC. TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING!

July 24th there was a rally for what happened to the ESC for our loved ones to show up to have their voices heard. Sad to say only about 60 people showed up. TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING!

Families are we going to stop TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING and rally together to fix the injustice that was done to all of us! So that your loved ones can get the chance they have rightfully EARNED! 

If you really care, you will get on board with prison reform advocates at the next rally coming up.  STOP TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING!

To the national groups like NAACP, we need your support too because you say you stand for Black Lives Matter. You say you stand for injustice to our people! STOP TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING!

There are many behind bars for some 15+ years that’s spent time rehabilitating ourselves, taking programs, remaining infraction free and maintaining employment. We are not the men/women we use to be–at least some of us are not. Why penalize us for the violent crime that is still happening in VA today. We want to help make a difference and join forces with the community, advocate groups and law enforcement to make change happen.

I say to you today, “You without sin cast the first stone!”  Let’s put an end to TALKING LOUD but SAYING NOTHING and start TALKING LOUD and DOING SOMETHING! 

Written by Jerry L. James, #1157844
Brilliance Coordinator @ Deerfield Correctional Center

Sharing the Case of George M. Lynch Jr.

“I was arrested in 1991 for multiple armed robberies and malicious wounding. I had charges in Maryland, Washington D.C., and Virginia. I was convicted in Maryland for robbery, use of a firearm, and shooting in an occupied dwelling. The charges were dropped in D.C. I was extradited to VA to face criminal charges in 1992, while serving a 5 year sentence in MD. After finishing going to court and receiving my time in VA, I was extradited back to MD to finish my sentence in 1994. I made parole in MD and was extradited back to VA penitentiary in 94. I never was released in between my extradition. That was my first offense. I was sentenced to serve a total of 58 years with parole.

In 1995, I received a letter from court and legal telling me that due to the change of the law, I would not be eligible for parole. Court and legal placed me under the “three strike” rule (53.1-151(B1)). They unlawfully took my parole. In 2018, I received a letter saying I might have been placed under the wrong law. I explained to them my situation and they reinstated my parole. I was suppose to be eligible for parole in 2003. I missed 15 years of seeing the parole board. Now that I’m going up, they keep turning me down due to nature of crime and haven’t served enough time. I’ve been incarcerated for 30 years and 8 months. I was 18 years old when I got arrested.”

George M. Lynch
#1181371

Speech by Q at the Rally Against Earned Sentence Credit Revocation

Listen as Q speaks at the rally about what it’s like to be incarcerated right now, and what it’s like to do too much time. He also addresses all of us out here and reminds us how much WE can take action and show up as families of the incarcerated. Thank you to Voice for the Voiceless, Humanization Project, Delegate Don Scott and others who were able to show support today. The work isn’t done!

Our editor, Santia, holds an iPhone to the microphone for the public to hear.

THE MILLENNIAL’S UNVACCINATED BLUES (A Poem by Lord Serious)

When it comes to aborting babies,
or should a man become lady,
The progressive opinion voiced
is personal choice.

But when Kaepernick took a knee,
because Eric Garner couldn’t breathe,
The mainstream retort
was ‘athletes should stick to sports.’

The pandemic brought the economy to a stop
and finally,
Kyrie Irving refused to take a shot
But the Sambos who tap dance,
all for corporate greed,
now encourage the White man
to kick him out the league.

Today, we agree with the words of Ali,
fighting in Vietnam went against his beliefs
We condemn the decision
and the way it was dealt,
How dare they threaten him with prison
and then take his belt?

But you hypocrite, you snake,
you’re two faced and fake.
You prisoner of the moment,
you see injustice and condone it.

The media is silent when it comes to the NHL,
are there unvaccinated hockey players –
they will never tell.
How many were unvaccinated at NASCAR’s sprint cup?
These are topics they never take up.

Whether I do or don’t take the vaccine,
why do you complain?
What right have you to discriminate against me,
or subject me to public shame?
Why do you terminate my employment
and keep me out of school?
Or bar me from entering the store
when I need to purchase food.

In the Book of Revelations,
a personal decision would be made,
And those who refused the mark
could not buy, sell, or trade.

Social pressure to take the shot
is being applied through the news.
If you chose to stay unvaccinated,
you violate the rules.
The stakes have never been higher
a career, scholarship, quality of life,
social status, our soul
are just some
of what we stand to lose.

It’s becoming difficult to choose
My anxiety is through the roof
These are the millennial’s
unvaccinated blues…

Lord Serious is a blogger, a podcaster, and the author of two books “Apotheosis Lord Serious Hakim Allah’s Habeas Corpus Appeal” and “The Powerless Pinky”. You can learn more about Lord Serious by visiting his website www.LordSeriousSpeaks.com.