Blog and Poetry

No Authority

Over the last few months, I and others who hold down jobs and follow the rules and policies set by the Department of Corrections are fed up that corrective action isn’t used on those offenders who break the rules.  As a taxpayer and law-abiding citizen, you should be outraged that the prison system, at least at F.C.C.W., doesn’t possess the authority to enforce and carry out corrective punishment on offenders who disrupt the daily operation of the institution.

Two days ago assistant warden Paul Rice locked up in segregation an offender who was walking slow to chow waiting for her girlfriend, which happens to live in my wing.  Yesterday the girlfriend refused to go in her cell at count time so she could be locked up in segregation where the first girl was locked up.  She was locked up within an hour a replacement for these girls’ bed walked in the wing. (Typically segregation stays full due to limited numbers of bed spaces.)  So when the replacement walks in the entire wing explodes.   It’s the first girl that Mr. Rice locked up.  Now, this girl is livid when she finds out she just took the bed of her girlfriend.  She waits until the next shift of staff to come on duty and refuses to go in her cell for the count.  When staff comes in to count she’s out of her cell following behind staff as they move room to room counting offenders locked in their cells.  When count clears she is called out, spoken to, and returned to the wing with no punishment.  (Offenders locked in their cell who do not stand to receive a charge and a punishment, i.e., a loss of phone, commissary, recreation, visit, or must pay a fine up to $12.  The actions of this offender warranted her being locked up and charged with “interfering with count” or “disrupting the operation of the prison” yet she received no repercussions for her actions.  (My observation of her actions and my experience of being an offender advisor where I have dealt with problem offenders over the last 5 years is how I’m able to say with certainty what should have taken place.)

This incident is only one of many that occur daily.  We, the offenders who go to the correction officers with our concerns are told, “We can’t do anything because our supervisors prevent us from enforcing the rules.”  (The officers are the first in our chain of command, and then ranking is as follows: Sgt., Lt., Capt. Unit Manager, Major, Assistant Warden, and the Warden)

When we as offenders take our concerns up the chain of command, they all pass it back down to the building supervisors.  (How does it make you feel knowing your tax dollars pay the salaries of those who are employed to “correct” the inside of prison but don’t?  Why should offenders tell staff how to do their job or ask for a structured, safe, and secure environment?  As offenders our only responsibility is to follow the rules and be held accountable for our actions.


What is a Mother?

A mother will always be by your side, when you have had enough and want to cry.

A mother will always want you to be at your best, no matter how many no’s you hear. She will always say yes.

A mother will always pick you up when you’re feeling down, be on your mind to do the right thing when she is not around.

A mother will always want you to be at your best, no matter how many no’s you hear. She will always say yes.

A mother will always pick you up when you’re feeling down, be on your mind to do the right thing when she is not around.

A mother will always listen to your dreams and fears, take care of you when you are sick and wipe away your tears.

A mother will always be a phone call away, when you’re having a great or even a bad day.

A mother will always be the one you can trust, keeping all of your secrets and embarrassing moments a must.

A mother will always want you to be a part of her life, through good times, bad times and moments of strife.


A Cry for Help

Innocent till proven guilty

So not true, really

Convicted, murder in the first degree

The verdict brought me to my knees

 

Twelve strangers decided my fate,

Courtesy of lies provided by the state

A week-long trial can’t believe how it came about

I was in shock and denial with no way out

 

I testified for hours

How we met, the abuse, and how it all went sour

I found papers stating he was an informant for the FBI

I confronted him, he denied it but I knew it was a lie

 

At this point, our relationship changed

Stalking, threats, and beatings, he was deranged

He was so afraid I would tell his friends and family and blow his cover

I told him repeatedly, I’m done! You and I are over

 

Many times I came home during the day and night

Hiding, waiting in the shadows with his knife

Pulling me by my hair and legs

Taunting me, “You will only leave me in a body bag”

 

My dog Midnite watched as he invaded my space

She jumped the gate and bit his face

I reached out to the local police

Black-eyed, bruised, and bloody, didn’t phase them in the least

 

He was not arrested after he assaulted me on June 21st

Four weeks before the shooting occurred

Before leaving he laughed and said, “I told you I’m one of them” (pointing to the cop)

Even after I filed a trespass notice his violence and stalking didn’t stop

 

Tired of living in fear and quickly going downhill

I was losing myself, my mind, and my will

So many times I wanted to die

Telling God, “I’m a good person, but here I am, why?”

 

His words always running through my mind

“I’ll gut your dogs like deer, I’m going to kill you and the time is near”

The last call answered, “I’ll take it from your beautiful, daughter. How would you like that shit?”

I hung up enraged, cell phone off, and screamed, “I’ve had it, that’s it!”

 

July 24th arrived and when I turned my phone back on, the threats did too

Going out of my mind, police won’t help, what’s a mother to do?

July 25th I should have known he wasn’t done with me yet,

When he said, “Baby I’m going to change, go back to when we first met.”

 

His eyes black and hollow “I’m going to kill your fucking son and then I’m going to kill you”

I panicked, feared the worst, I didn’t know what to do

I blacked out before I fired the gun

Moments before going through my mind he’s going to kill my son

 

Each day I wake knowing I saved my son’s life

And I know what I did was within my constitutional right

My loved ones struggle to make sense of it all

Our state ignored the truth and circumvented the law

 

Slow death in a 10×6 cell

Nothing compares to this living hell

I’ll keep on fighting for the truth to set me free

Nothing but facts for all to see


Dear Marsha Garst

Dear Marsha, 

In 2011 you successfully had me removed from the honor wing where I lived and taken out of the dog program that I loved.  Both of these I earned with good behavior. 

You called Warden Hobbs after you found out that my family posted the letter I wrote you and some proof showing you obtained my conviction by nefarious means on the Commonwealth Coverup website. 

Commonwealth Coverup is back and you can’t stop the public, those who voted you in office from knowing the truth about how you used altered, never tested, destroyed, and fabricated evidence along with coerced and perjured testimony to win high profile convictions. 

After my removal from the honor wing and dog program, you told the media to write about how convicted murders shouldn’t be allowed to be around dogs and have privileges such as living in an honor wing afforded to them.  You told the media I was removed because I lied about being a dog handler.  For those who believe what is published with no facts to prove otherwise you gain a loyal follower.  It’s now my time to set the record straight!  A copy of the dog agreement proving I was a part of the dog program is right here.  The fact that you can abuse your power to contact the warden of this prison and dictate what program I can be a part of, or where I can live is beyond comprehension and above your pay grade.  It shows the lengths you’re willing to go preventing me from exposing the corrupt prosecutor that you are.  You did these things to send a clear message that you can make a life for me in prison more unbearable than it already is. 

Since 2011 I contemplated giving up on the idea that the truth would ever be told.  Over the years I have read all about the cases you have won plastered all over the front page of the local newspaper and I recall feeling sick to my stomach as I read about the repeat offenders who lined up to testify for you and the statements made by those convicted whose words sounded eerily familiar to mine.  The more I thought about moving forward I realized this isn’t just about my case anymore.  It’s all about all those people convicted before and after me who also didn’t receive a fair trial.  You sentenced some to death, a few still waiting to be executed, and others like me waiting to die for offenses that by law were excusable, justified, or never committed.  You refuse to lose to the truth.  You label those you convict as “cold-blooded murderers” who don’t deserve a second chance to walk among society.  How do you sleep at night or look in the mirror knowing people have been executed or are on death row or waiting to die because you can’t accept defeat? 

I refuse to allow you to silence the truth any longer.  The public has a right to know the indisputable facts.  As a prosecutor, you get to tell your version of a story to the media and a jury.  You slander the character of those you seek a conviction for, not letting the public make their own assessment.  No more!  I will be the voice and stand up for all of us, starting with my story, my truth in hopes of stopping you from destroying more lives and those who love us. 

At the close of trial before the jury deliberated you stated to them “you must make a finding on facts, not emotion” yet you withheld the facts needed for them to make a true verdict.  You had no right to deceive them and I can only hope they view this website and reach out to the powers above you and express themselves.   We will both meet our maker one day.  I have confessed my sins and asked for forgiveness.  Have you? 


Life in Prison 

Prison is a huge profit center, but who actually reaps those profits remains a mystery to me.  Taxpayers foot most of the bill which pays to house offenders, feeds us, clothes us, and covers material costs associated with medication and treatments.   On average it costs $30,000 per year to house a health offender.  In Virginia, there are roughly 30,000 to 40,000 men and women behind prison walls, with about 15,000 being women.  Most people say offenders have it made in prison, as the saying goes “3 hots and a cot”.  This statement couldn’t be farther from the truth!  For facts about Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women click here. 

I get asked a lot about my life in prison.  Mostly about what goes on in here that people on the outside wouldn’t know.  I also get asked about my release date.  I wanted to use this website not to just talk about my conviction, but also as a platform to tell what really goes on behind the walls of a Virginia women’s state prison.  Most people associate prison life with “Orange Is the New Black”.  “Orange Is the New Black” portrays glamour and freedom that’s not a true reflection of what goes on in prison.  Federal prisons referred to as “club feds” are known for housing white-collar criminals like high-ranking officials.  They receive better medical care, food, more freedom, and less time than state prisoners.  Had most of the state offender’s charges been elevated to federal charges, most would have already been released.  The U.S. houses more offenders than any other country.  When you’re convicted and sentenced in other countries, those prisons help offenders learn the skills they need to survive once they’re released.  The sentences received by offenders in other countries are far less than those handed down in the U.S.  Second chances are afforded to almost everyone, even those convicted of murder.  This is not the case in the U.S., especially when it comes to a Commonwealth state, like Virginia. 

For instance, I was sentenced to life without parole, yet many people ask me, “When is your release date?” 

The easiest way to explain the sentence I received is to compare it to the death penalty.  The difference between the death penalty and life without parole is, the death penalty provides your date and time of death and a sentence of life you wait to die. 

So many agree that giving life to a person who acted in self-defense of my son is excessive when compared to those who commit acts of violence in cold blood and receive less time. 

I’m appalled that the State of Virginia holds less regard for children who are beaten, poisoned, and murdered than the abusive men who beat children and women, where the woman acts in self-defense of herself and her children. 

Wouldn’t you rather live next door to a woman who took a life of an abusive man over a woman who murdered her own children or someone else’s? 

Living in prison is a struggle each day. 

I have had the same job for the last 5 years and receive about $48 per month.  I am responsible for paying for my medication, doctor, dental and eye visits, personal hygiene, stamps, paper, pens, clothing, phone calls, and email to stay in touch with loved ones, and food outside the 3 meals provided.  As you can imagine I never have enough to cover what I need. 

Could you live on $48 a month? 

-God Bless 

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