Invisible Chess World Premier – Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
WILLIAM NICHOLS, PRODUCER
INFO@INVISIBLECHESS.COM

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 info@invisiblechess.com.

PDF for printing.

Hazardous Infirmary

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.

How I Became a Prison Film Producer in Retirement

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.

Ohio Parole Board Response To My 2016 Open Letter

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.


2016-parole-board-request-for-reconsideration-letter

Jason Goudlock To Kanye West (Video)

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.

An Open Letter to The Families of Samuel DuBose and Tamir Rice

To the loving families of Samuel DuBose and Tamir Rice,

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,

Sincerely,

Jason Goudlock


Downloads:
Download a PDF copy of An Open Letter to The Families of Samuel DuBose and Tamir Rice.

An Example of Ohio’s Old-Law Sentencing Inequality

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!

Example Sentencing Disparity Jermaine Smith

URL: Toledo Blade


Downloads:

Download a PDF copy of An Example of Ohio’s Old-Law Sentencing Inequality.

Juvenile Offender Percy Jones Considers the Ohio’s Criminal Justice System’s Failure to Give Second Chances to Juvenile Offenders

Ohio inmate Percy Jones wrote the following open letter. Percy comments on Ohio’s practice of sentencing children to life terms of incarceration. A life sentence is not as severe as a sentence of life without parole, which the United States Supreme Court recently declared unconstitutional for juvenile offenders who committed a non-murder criminal offense. But a sentence of life for a juvenile offender is still a draconian punishment for a child offender, a reality powerfully revealed in the critically acclaimed documentary 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story. The injustice is even greater when the offender’s freedom is left to the arbitrary decision-making of a biased parole board such as Ohio’s. With the recent announcement of the formation of the Coalition for Public Safety, a coalition consisting of liberal and conservative organizations whose aim, as reported by the New York Times, is to “reduce prison populations, overhaul sentencing, reduce recidivism and take on similar initiatives,” the time is right for concerned citizens to press their representatives to reform Ohio sentencing laws that punish juvenile offenders unjustly.

In His Own Words:

Juvenile Offender Percy Jones Considers the Ohio’s Criminal Justice System’s Failure to Give Second Chances to Juvenile Offenders

My name is Percy Jones, and I’m 38-years-old. Currently I’m in prison, where I’ve been since I was 17 years old, due to a terrible mistake I made back then. I’m writing this open letter to bring attention to the unfair treatment of Ohio juvenile offenders who, like me, were placed in the Ohio prison system prior to the enactment of the state’s truth-in-sentencing Senate Bill 2 laws, which went into effect July 1,1996. Hundreds of Ohio juvenile offenders who were sentenced under the state’s pre-July 1,1996, sentencing laws are still in prison for crimes they committed when they were children.

Locking up juvenile offenders for decades at a time is just one sign that Ohio’s criminal justice system is broken. Many juvenile offenders I’ve met understand as well as I that the crimes we committed were wrong and harmful to many people. We’ve taken responsibility for our crimes, and taken steps to rehabilitate ourselves by participating in rehabilitative and educational programs. The Ohio Parole Board, however, ignores our positive strides and continues to punish us as if we’re career criminals who’ve been in and out of prison all of our lives. Unlike states such as Michigan, California, and Florida that have reformed their laws for punishing juvenile offenders, Ohio’s criminal justice system has not reformed the state’s laws governing juvenile offenders.

My objective now is to generate overdue public attention to the unmerciful and harsh treatment of Ohio’s juvenile offenders who have been in prison for decades. My hope is that citizens will press for reforming Ohio’s laws regarding the punishment of juvenile offenders.

In closing, I want to ask humbly for all concerned citizens who read this to work for these reforms and give us the freedom to live in society as adults with a fresh start at life.

Editor’s note: Percy Jones is seeking to network with any individuals, attorneys, or organizations interested in undoing the inhumane practice of incarcerating child offenders for the duration of their lives. You can contact Percy at the following address:

Percy Jones, #293-821
Toledo Correctional Institution
P.O. Box 80033
Toledo, Ohio 43608

You can also contact Percy by way of email through Jpay.com.


Downloads:

Download a PDF Copy of the Juvenile Offender Percy Jones Considers the Ohio’s Criminal Justice System’s Failure to Give Second Chances to Juvenile Offenders.

Hoop Stars LeBron James And Brittney Griner Receive Gifts From Imprisoned Ohio Writer

**** FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE ***

Ohio prisoner Jason Goudlock, 39, who recently made international headlines as a result of a comment he made in his September letter to the Ohio Parole Board about Cleveland Cavalier NBA superstar LeBron James, has sent copies of his newly released novel, Brother of the Struggle, to LeBron James and to WNBA superstar Brittney Griner of the Phoenix Mercury.

In his letter to the Ohio Parole Board, Goudlock, a native of Cleveland, Ohio, asked the board to release him so he could, as reported by Cleveland’s FOX 8 News, “witness in person LeBron James’ pursuit of an NBA championship.” Imprisoned since 1994, Goudlock is serving an indeterminate sentence no longer used in Ohio–six to 25 years served consecutively with a nine-year firearm-sentencing enhancement.

WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, an outspoken dunking sensation, who made international headlines of her own when she announced she was gay, publicly opposed Goudlock’s release request to watch James in person. “Put a TV in his cell,” she told TMZ.

Goudlock subsequently was denied parole for a fifth time at his release hearing and given a surprising 60-month sentence continuation, which critics of Ohio’s parole board say was unjust. He has since written to James and Griner (1) to let them know he has sent them copies of Brother of the Struggle. Goudlock, who aspires to work with at-risk youth, asks the two basketball champions to use his book as an “instrument of change” in the lives of youths who risk being swallowed in mass incarceration. Concluding his letter, Goudlock, a promising high school basketball player before he went to prison, challenges Griner to a charity slam-dunk contest when he is released.

Goudlock’s Brother of the Struggle, described as “a powerful story of improbable hope being born in prison,” is available on Amazon.


Endnotes:

  1. Letter to Lebron James: https://freejasongoudlock.org/letter-to-lebron-james/ – Letter to Brittney Griner: https://freejasongoudlock.org/letter-to-brittney-griner/

Downloads:

Download a PDF copy of Hoop Stars LeBron James And Brittney Griner Receive Gifts From Imprisoned Ohio Writer.