- 3/11/2019: Denison University
- 9/26-9/27/2018: 7th Annual Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival
My name is Jason Goudlock and I’m a 43-year-old Ohio prisoner who has been imprisoned since 1993, for committing several offenses of robbery and felonious assault. I’m writing this letter to you, however, in regards to my effort to prove my innocence in one of the robberies, which involved one of your Subway franchises in Cleveland, Ohio.
According to police records of Cleveland’s Fourth District Police Department, on March 9, 1993, a Subway eatery on Broadway Road was allegedly robbed by me (and a second suspect). The records also state that the Subway’s video surveillance system recorded footage of me robbing the sandwich shop. As I’ve mentioned above, however, I did not rob your establishment, and I am seeking to clear my name.
With this being said, in the interest of undoing an egregious case of injustice (Case No. CR299248, Cuyahoga County), I humbly ask that you, please, please assist me with obtaining the video surveillance tape of the 1993 Subway robbery. I have never seen the footage of the video, that is, because I was ineffectively represented by court appointed attorneys who manipulated me into forfeiting my right to go to trial. I know that the video, however, will exonerate me of any wrongdoing, that is, because I did not commit the robbery!
If you will help me to obtain the sought video, I simply ask that you make it available to the media and general public. The vindicating footage will speak for itself and will surely lead to me being freed from my nightmarish situation of injustice.
Although I did commit some of the robberies that I was convicted of committing in 1993, I shouldn’t have to have my entire life destroyed because of mistakes that I made as a juvenile, and because of a broken criminal justice system. With this being said, if you can find it in your heart to be an advocate of me being afforded the justice that I’ve been denied, I assure you that your gesture will exponentially benefit not just me, but it will, also, benefit countless of other at-risk young men and women. For, I intend to spend the rest of my life using my restored freedom towards preventing at-risk youth from traveling down the perilous road that I once traveled down.
In closing, I just want to say thank you for your time, and that I hope you will seriously consider helping me with proving my claim of innocence. At a time when the U.S. is greatly divided by various social inequalities and politics, I think that answering my plea to you for assistance would be a good opportunity to help move the country in a positive direction.
Postscript: How about a job if I’m released? I’d love to be an example of redemption as a Subway employee
 A feature length film documentary, Invisible Chess: The Jason Goudlock Story, was recently released about my overall situation of injustice as an over-incarcerated Ohio “Old-law” prisoner. In 2014, after my protestations about my situation of injustice were publicized by way of a lighthearted comment that I made about LeBron James, I was given an unjust 60-month sentence continuation.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WILLIAM NICHOLS, PRODUCER
Invisible Chess: The Jason Goudlock Story, a documentary by director Samuel Crow, will be premiering at the Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival on September 26th and 27th.
Invisible Chess, a feature-length documentary, tells how an unjust Ohio law shapes the lives of Jason Goudlock, 4,000 other “old-law” prisoners, and 45,000 “new-law” prisoners. The story begins with Goudlock’s disrupted life in Cleveland, which led him to prison at the age of eighteen. Taken under the wing of older death row convicts, Jason became an activist and writer. But the struggles of being an old-law con have led him to spend years in solitary confinement, often voluntarily. Current and former prisoners and officials help explore the ramifications of Goudlock’s story, which is punctuated by six of his raps, performed in the film.
The Greater Cleveland Urban Film Festival, which celebrates the African cultural diaspora, will be showing Invisible Chess at 8:20 p.m. on Wednesday, September 26th and at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, the 27th at the Shaker Square Cinema. Crow will be present at both screenings to answer questions, and interviews can be arranged by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
PDF for printing.
Imagine being taken to a prison infirmary under the pretense that you’re about to receive some type of medical care, only to be met and confronted by a small band of cowardly and hostile prison officers who have malice in their heart and intentions of causing bodily harm to you. Now, add to this situation the element of being defenseless due to being bound behind your back in handcuffs, and shackled in leg manacles. This scenario is a reality that occurs often for many of the prisoners where I’m incarcerated at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) in Lucasville, Ohio, and it’s widely known amongst the captives (prisoners) and captors (prison administration) of SOCF.
Prisoners in SOCF are escorted to the infirmary, taken into an examination room — where there’s no surveillance — and all medical staff are ordered out. The prisoner is then struck about the head, face, and torso by fists, knees, and feet from every direction, until he’s on the floor not moving and/or rendered unconscious. After the beating, the prisoner is then threatened with more bodily harm to occur in the future, for reasons such as filing grievances about being assaulted by prison officers, complaining about inhumane living conditions, et cetera.
I personally know of incidents of violence that have been committed against prisoners in SOCF’s infirmary by officers. One particular incident transpired as follows:
On May 10, 2017, early afternoon, Brother Al “Beno” George (#594-113) was being escorted to Unit D-1 (the upper infirmary) because he’d missed more than nine (9) meals, which automatically and officially designated George as being on a “hunger strike,” which he saw as a means to peacefully protest against being harassed and assaulted by prison officials, and being unjustly placed in excessive isolation.
Once George entered the elevator to ascend to the medical unit (D-1) where “hunger-strikers” are to be monitored, he was attacked by Sgt. Tacket, Stg. Dillow, C.O. Lewis, and two other unidentified officers.
Brother George suffered injuries on the left side of his neck and shoulder, his back, and right knee. These injuries were documented by medical staff, and the Ohio State Highway Patrol (i.e. Trooper Lewis Fielding), who, by chance, happened to be in the vicinity where injured prisoner George was being housed shortly after the incident took place, which, ultimately, afforded George an opportunity to report the assault. In turn, the state highway patrolman documented and photographed George’s injuries.
The prison officers that assaulted Brother George didn’t even bother to document any type of “use of force” report about the incident, or even attempt to cover up the incident. This bold and brazen behavior is consistent with the corruption of SOCF! They are so “relaxed and comfortable” with violations of administrative regulations, policies, and procedures, and breaking the law in accordance with the Ohio Revised Code, because they are NEVER HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR ANY OF THEIR INAPPROPRIATE AND UNLAWFUL BEHAVIOR TOWARD PRISONERS!
The assailants who assaulted Brother George, unfortunately, succeeded in intimidating him to abandon his hunger strike. Despite the knowledge that the Ohio State Highway Patrol has documented about George’s assault, George was placed in a cellblock housing area that’s under the direct supervision of two of the assailants that assaulted Brother George, that is, Sgt. Tacket and Sgt. Dillow!
Until then, a trip to the SOCF prison infirmary — a location that isn’t adequately equipped with security cameras — will remain potentially, extremely HAZARDOUS!
From inside HELL-HOLE, a true brother against oppression, and your comrade in the STRUGGLE,
Brother Mark Hinkston
Mark Hinkston #707-808
P.O. Box 45699
Lucasville, Ohio 45699-0001
You can view a TV interview of Mark Hinkston (that was featured on the acclaimed TV show series “Lock-Up”) on MSNBC.
View the MSNBC LockUp Facebook post from 2015.
You may have seen this warning sign: “Retired Person on Premises. Knows Everything and Has Plenty of Time to Tell It.” Well, it could have been posted on my door. Although I don’t remember many names, I know the answers to most of Life’s Larger Questions and am more than willing to share them. This affliction doesn’t foster lively communication with my wife, daughters, grandchildren, friends, or neighbors so I set out to fix it by undertaking a major task for which I was totally unprepared: producing a documentary
In this quest for aged humility I began working within areas of well-established incompetence. Despite recent improvements in user-friendly cameras, I take terrible still photos and have never even attempted to film anything in motion. My efforts to record interviews turn out so badly I prefer to take notes. The subject I’ve chosen is a single prison injustice, and though I’ve visited a few prisons and corresponded with inmates, my contributions to “Invisible Chess Match: The Jason Goudlock Story,” our working title, have not, so far, provided many flashes of insight regarding the failures of mass incarceration in the United States.
But the fact that it’s our working title explains why my pursuit of humility is unlikely to lead to humiliation. The film’s director, Sam Crow, won prizes with his most recent documentary, “The Twelve-Foot Tall Rabbits of Rokeby Farm” (see twelvefootrabbits.com). He is a skillful director who lives in New York City and has filmed before in prisons. I can’t explain why Sam agreed to work with me. He earlier volunteered to play bass and harmonica in a band put together by my grandson and then consented to record grandson Nate and me playing and singing folk and country songs we’d been practicing for years. My hesitant performance may well have inspired deep sympathy.
When I mentioned the film idea to Sam, he explained how a producer on this project would need to coordinate financing arrangements and script writing. Sam’s tasks include filming and editing interviews in Ohio with a judge, the Ohio Public Defender, ex-convicts, and inmates, including Jason Goudlock, a man of 42 who entered prison in 1993 as a teenager on a first conviction with a six-to-25 year sentence for assault and robbery with a firearm.
Goudlock has spent many of his 24 years in solitary confinement, a part of the story that turns out to be more important than we expected. When he first contacted me in 2008, Goudlock was isolated in Ohio’s “supermax,” the Ohio State Penitentiary. He had read an essay of mine about how extended isolation is a form of torture, but he wrote to seek help in making a documentary about the challenges he expected to face when he was paroled—soon, he thought. I was no help with his filmmaking plans back in the days before I became an inexperienced retiree producer, but when I discovered he was trying to write a novel, I volunteered to assist. By 2012 he had finished and published Brother of the Struggle.
Halfway through the production of “Old-Law Con,” Sam Crow has filmed and edited several powerful interviews, weaving them into revealing conversations. Just two or three interviews remain to be done, one of them a follow-up with Jason Goudlock, who is unavailable once more in isolation.
Sam and I have come to understand why Goudlock seeks solitary confinement, as dangerous as he knows it to be psychologically. His reason has everything to do with the injustice we seek to expose. In 1996 the Ohio legislature passed a “truth in sentencing” law that gives most inmates convicted since 1996 fixed sentences. They don’t need to go before the Parole Board. But the law doesn’t apply to people sentenced before 1996, and the result is that if a young inmate picks a fight with an “old-law” prisoner, he is unlikely to have his sentence extended while the “old-law con” probably will. Jason Goudlock has been denied parole four times. Inmates in his predicament keep the Parole Board in business.
Because our nation’s new Attorney General has set out to ramp up the “war on drugs” and to make room for more mass incarceration by encouraging expansion of the private prison industry, one state’s “old-law” problem might seem insignificant. But while the Trump administration seeks to strengthen the “prison-industrial complex,” reacting perhaps to the growth of bi-partisan concern about mass incarceration in the Obama years, it is important to work for prison reforms at the state and local level, where most of our incarcerated people are held.
We have our challenges in the Upper Valley as well. Vermont, officially committed to the commendable ideals of restorative justice, has nevertheless been sending many of it inmates to a private prison in Michigan. New Hampshire, which has so far resisted the corporate call for private prisons, recently elected a governor who has accepted campaign donations from two private prison companies. It may soon be time for this more experienced retiree to produce a second prison film.
The following is the Ohio Parole Board’s response to my 2016 Open Letter to them, in which I requested that they rescind their 2014 rendered decision to issue me an unwarranted 60-month sentence continuance at my fifth and most recent release consideration hearing.
The Parole Board’s September 1, 2016 response was issued the same day that Universal Support Network activist and founder Norman V. Whiteside was released from prison.
Talk about bitter-sweet. But, at least Norm is finally free to keep up the fight for true justice, and to make that beautiful, beautiful music that people rave about.
April 30, 2016
RESILIENT IMPRISONED LEBRON FAN CALLS ON KANYE
Ohio prisoner Jason Goudlock, 41, known as The LeBron Fan, is at it again.
After making international headlines in 2014 for his lighthearted comment requesting that the Ohio Parole Board release him,in part, so that he could witness in person NBA superstar LeBron James win a title for Goudlock’s hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the imprisoned author recently reached out to platinum-recording artist Kanye West, by way of a video posted on FreeJasonGoudlock.org, and asked the polorizing-hit-maker to assist him with his pursuit of justice.
After being in prison for nearly 23 years for robbery and assault,Goudlock, who in 2014, was given a controversial five-year sentence continuation at his fifth parole board hearing, stated to West, “Since I can’t call on Malcolm [x] or Martin [Luther King], I would like to humbly ask you to lend your mighty voice to amplify my demand for justice.”
Goudlock, whose story of injustice was featured in 2014 on the Huffington Post alongside of a story about West’s celebrity wife, Kim Kardashian West, is the subject of a yet-to-be-titled documentary that’s being made about Ohio’s discriminatory dual-law sentencing guidelines.
Kanye West recently released his critically acclaimed album, The Life Of Pablo, through the revolutionary Jay Z-owned music streaming service Tidal.
Before I introduce myself, I would like to begin by first and foremost offering my sincerest belated condolences to you in the wake of the tragic loss of your late beloved relative, Samuel and young Tamir.
My name is Jason Goudlock, and I’m a 40-year-old African American who has been confined in the state of Ohio for 22 consecutive years, as a first-time offender, for aggravated robbery and felonious assault. I’m writing this open letter to you in the interest of seeking your support to assist me with addressing a common and ongoing injustice that has affected both of us: that is, the giving of false statements by Ohio officers involved in use of force incidents, along with covering up of these unjust incidents by supervising Law enforcement authorities.
On August 12, 2013, while being housed at the Mansfield Correctional Institution, I was physically attacked, without provocation, by at least five white correction officers who repeatedly punched and kicked me inside of my cell before and after they handcuffed me. Afterwards, the correction officers all provided multiple accounts of what they claimed triggered them into using so-called justifiable force against me, which were accounts that were subsequently contradicted by an audio recording from my May 2013 disciplinary hearing. The surveillance video, however, was subsequently and mysteriously lost.
According to the accounts given by the correction officers, they initiated force against me out of reaction from me allegedly violently kicking my unlocked cell door open, and then charging towards the officers. However, I never kicked my cell door open, which logically means that the officers couldn’t have reacted to that.
The audio recorded comment made by superior officer Lieutenant Dahlby supports my claim of being framed and assaulted by the officers, in which the lieutenant stated on the audio recording that the surveillance video clearly shows that I didn’t kick my cell door open. Yet and still, in spite of the lieutenant acknowledging that the officers had all provided false accounts of the April 12, 2013 incident, the lieutenant who was the chairman of the disciplinary hearing, still found me guilty of committing the rule infractions that they accused me of: “disobeying a direct order” and “physical resistance of a direct order.”
After being railroaded at my disciplinary hearing, I managed to secure a copy of the audio recording of the hearing and later made it available to the public in 2015 on freejasongoudlock.org as an exhibit to an essay that I wrote titled Black Lives Matter: ODRC and Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine Swindle and Inmate.
The essay, which details the cover-up of the use-of-force incident by the Mansfield officers and the Ohio Attorney General’s office, was widely circulated amongst Ohio elected officials during a time when they and other state leaders were publicly condemning the actions of rogue police officers. Instead of Ohio’s elected officials publicly speaking out against the obvious cover-up in my situation, they ignored the injustice and swept it under the rug, right along with their integrity.
Sadly, as you and I know, the covering-up of horrific acts of injustice is not anything unusual in Ohio. The only way that Ohio’s ever going to be free of this corruption and racism rampant in its criminal justice system is for the public to hold Ohio’s leaders accountable for their hollow leadership and complicity in covering-up acts of injustice.
When public leaders, such as Ohio’s Attorney General, are willing to blatantly ignore egregious acts of officer corruption and brutality committed against the public, whom they were elected to serve, then these leaders must be held accountable and must be removed from office.
With this said, I conclude this letter and would like to humbly ask for your support towards my initiative to attain the justice that I’ve been denied in this State of Ohio that has greatly failed me and you. Your solidarity would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
Download a PDF copy of An Open Letter to The Families of Samuel DuBose and Tamir Rice.
New-law prisoner Jermaine Smith, below, recently received 13 years for robbing a man and then killing him by shooting him twice in the face. I killed nobody and never attempted to kill anyone. So, after I have served nearly 22 years in prison, why is Governor Kasich allowing the Ohio Parole Board and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections to torture me for at least 5 more years? . . . Enough is enough!
URL: Toledo Blade
Download a PDF copy of An Example of Ohio’s Old-Law Sentencing Inequality.