Penning a Novel as a Novice in Isolation

As an African-American male who grew up in the 1980’s in the inner city of Cleveland, Ohio, I never imagined I’d one day be incarcerated for nearly two decades for committing the senseless crimes of feloniously assaulting and robbing people. Back then, when basketball and rap music were my primary interests, I imagined I would one day become either a professional basketball player or the second coming of LL Cool J. Unfortunately, as a fatherless adolescent who lacked self-discipline and craved to be loved by my cocaine-addicted mother, I never realized my youthful ambitions.

While I never imagined I would become a convicted felon serving hard time, I also never imagined I would one day write a book.

After having my physical freedom taken away in 1993, living in prison without any moral or financial support, I realized the only way I was going to find support was to manufacture my own. I didn’t have a clue until I found The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass, an autobiography of a man who had lived as a slave, and I decided to write my own story. In the fall of 1999, I started writing a couple of pages per day, and in a few months I managed to churn out a couple of hundred rough, raw pages that made me feel proud. My hard work seemed to be amounting to something, and I began to feel like a writer. Then, out of nowhere, I got into a physical confrontation with another prisoner, and I was put in the hole. Two weeks later, when I was released, I learned my property had been lost while I was in the hole. I’ve never seen the manuscript of my autobiography-in-progress again.

That loss knocked the wind out of my sails. In a different world I would have bounced back and begun rewriting my life story with strengthened resolve to complete it. But I was still getting my mind around my six-to-25 year sentence plus a nine-year sentence of “actual incarceration” for gun specification sentencing enhancements. The anger I felt about losing my property took over my mind, and I parted ways with my writing aspirations.

After the start of the new millennium, frustrated by the fact that I was still in dire straits without anybody in my corner, confined like a dog in a kennel, I started getting into fights with other prisoners on a regular basis. I watched many seasons go by from inside the drab, solitary confines of a cell in the hole. Instead of doing my time, I allowed time to start doing me, and in the spring of 2005 I was transferred to the super-maximum security housing unit at the Ohio State Penitentiary, charged with assaulting an officer while I was in leg irons with my hands cuffed behind my back.

Railroaded into Ohio’s “supermax,” I let 23-hour solitary confinement worsen my behavior. I hurled obscenities at officers and their superiors whenever they came near me, and I became a target for reprisals from the administration. Fortunately, during this time I met an older, charismatic political prisoner, Siddique Abdullah Hasan1, a seasoned writer and editor of an anti-death penalty newsletter. Hasan, was held three cells from me, and I introduced myself while he was exercising in the dayroom area in front of my cell. He took a liking to me and offered wisdom to me on a regular basis during our brief daily conversations. “You don’t have to meet every situation with aggression,” he advised me one day. “It’s like when a bug keeps flying in your face: you don’t have to kill it. All you have to do is just swat it away.” It took a while, but I began to heed Hasan’s words, and my behavior improved. Instead of arguing all day, I started reading, and after reading some of Hasan’s published essays, I felt my interest in writing come alive again. I decided to give it another try.

I decided to write a novel loosely based on my own experience growing up as a troubled youth who made big mistakes and found injustice in America’s criminal justice system. Fiction, I decided, would free me to paint a broader picture of what it’s like for hundreds of thousands of young Black males to grow up in America’s inner cities. In my novel, Brother of the Struggle, I try to offer the reader a glimpse into the struggles encountered by countless young Black males.

I started the first draft of Brother of the Struggle in the summer of 2005. At first I wrote one to three pages per day, usually late at night, when everyone was sleeping. It seemed impossible to write in the day because of the constant commotion in my cellblock. So I became a night owl and, as a result, a coffee drinker too. Slowly but surely the pages of my draft began adding up, and I estimated I would be able to complete the final version of my draft some time in 2006.

Less than two months after I started my second literary journey, an invitation of friendship came to me on a social networking website from a kind-hearted young woman, Nicia Aiyetoro. As fate would have it Nicia Aiyetoro was the author of two unpublished books, Children of the State and What the . . .! & ?: A Straight Up Guide to Life, Love and Money. Excited by the prospect of getting to know someone who shared my interest in writing, I wrote back and told her about my novel. She began helping me with my writing skills, and she typed up all the pages I had written in cursive.

With the help of a newfound friend in my corner and my daily writing regimen, I should have been able to coast to my projected completion in 2006. But isolation proved to be more difficult for me than I anticipated. Six months of doors slamming every fifteen minutes when officers did their security range checks began to unnerve me. My body would lock up in a rigid state of tension as though I were trying to do a million push-ups nonstop. It made me irritable and aggressive, and I wasted many hours and most of my energy arguing with people for days at a time.

Those days turned into weeks, and the weeks turned into years. I made myself believe I was working on the novel, but I was actually procrastinating. And I was frustrating my friend, my source of support, Nicia Aiyetoro, who said more than once that she was growing impatient with my slow writing progress. I should have taken heed, but I didn’t, and in 2008, after three years of patience, Nicia Aiyetoro abruptly ended our correspondence.

The sudden reality of being back on my own shook me to the core, and I couldn’t blame anyone but myself. Still, I felt anger toward the world and stopped caring about anything at all. I was miserable, and I hated waking up in the morning. For months I felt no motivation to write.

Languishing in my own misery for those long months, I began to think about how I could get my manuscript typed if I did get back to writing. Then I read an essay about torture and solitary confinement by a retired college professor, William Nichols, and decided to reach out to him and ask if he would help me get my manuscript typed. Professor Nichols must have been impressed with my determination because he volunteered to type everything I’d already written.

When I began corresponding with the professor, I figured my manuscript was three-fourths complete. Instead of completing it, and having him wait for me to finish, I hand-copied all my completed pages and mailed them to him chapter by chapter so he could begin typing. While copying, I made dozens of revisions to each chapter.

At the beginning of 2009, in the middle of serving a 36-month sentencing continuance I’d received from the Parole Board, everything was going smoothly with work on my manuscript. Once again, however, I ran into turbulence when I was moved into a cellblock made up mostly of White prisoners who were openly racist. Less than two hours after I moved into the new cellblock, one of the racists called me a nigger. What followed was a two-year war of words with a few stabbing attempts against me by three of the racists. They tried to get to me while I was showering in a locked shower cell out of view of the control post. They signaled the preoccupied control post officers that they were ready to shower while they were exercising in the dayroom area, hoping the officers would slip up and release the shower door while I was still in there, giving them a chance to stab me with a shank. Control post officers have been duped before by this strategy, but in my case fortunately they failed to take the bait.

Having already lost the support of one lifeline and then getting a second chance by the professor’s support, I feared the time I was wasting on warring with a bunch of wannabe White supremacists might lose me the backing of the professor, who was waiting for me to get the revised manuscript chapters in the mail to him. This time I vowed to rise above the anger and racial conflict. I vowed to complete the novel and get it in the mail, and in the first quarter of 2012, I did just that. Finally.

Download a PDF copy of Penning a Novel as a Novice in Isolation.

Do Black Lives Matter to Ohio’s Parole Board

I have been in prison since 1994. That year, shortly before I turned 19, I was convicted of armed robbery and felonious assault. At my third parole hearing seventeen years later, the Ohio Parole Board recommended my release, but the Board’s oversight committee (the Central Office Board Review – COBR) overruled the release recommendation and issued a continuance of 15 months.

Since then, I have called attention to an Ohio State Highway Patrol investigation that shows I was falsely accused by former Ohio State Penitentiary Warden Marc Houk of damaging a prison elevator that held his motorcycle. I pointed out that Houk served on a Parole Board that misrepresented the time I had served when they issued another continuance of my sentence. In addition, I began a lawsuit against several correction officers who physically assaulted me on April 12, 2013 and subsequently fabricated a series of false incident and conduct reports to cover up their illegal behavior. I made an audio recording showing officers lied under oath available to the public on my website (

As a direct result of my efforts to call attention to these injustices, the Ohio Parole Board in October 2014 issued a five-year continuance of my sentence.

I suggest one answer to the question I ask in my title can be determined by comparing the Ohio Parole Board’s handling of my situation with that of Roger Snodgrass, a white man. Then a member of the Aryan Brotherhood, Snodgrass was serving time for a 1987 aggravated robbery conviction and a 1994 involuntary manslaughter conviction for stabbing a man to death during the 1993 prison uprising at the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility. He provided testimony against five prisoners who were convicted of deadly participation in the eleven-day disturbance, and he was paroled in September 2006.

According to the September 4, 2006 Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Ohio Parole Board justified Snodgrass’s release by saying he had “served more than the minimum for killing inmate Earl Elder,” who suffered 163 stab wounds from a homemade ice pick, adding that Snodgrass had “compiled a good work history in prison.”

If I had been sentenced under the guidelines that went into effect July 1, 1996, I would already have served nearly three years over the maximum amount of time for my crimes. Instead, the Board has decided I must serve almost 26 years for robbery and felonious assault before they will even consider whether I can be released while they judged Snodgrass to be rehabilitated 13 years after killing a man. Is this equal justice under the law?

Download a PDF copy of Do Black Lives Matter to Ohio’s Parole Board.

Lights, Camera … and Freedom?

Sometimes when I look out my narrow cell window at the nearby Jeep auto plant as its workers load the vehicles onto a delivery train, I imagine myself in a movie scene as a stowaway hidden in the back of one of the Jeeps after having just covertly escaped from the custody of my captors.

I know my imagined scene probably sounds crazy to the politically correct segment of society who aren’t in my situation of adversity, but after being confined for over 22 years inside of a corrupt prison system, and being held hostage by a rogue parole board that refuses to release me from my outdated old-law prison sentence for aggravated robbery and felonious assault, my imagining of self-liberation isn’t insane at all.

To the Ohio Parole Board and the hierarchy of the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, I’m nothing but a “revenue-generating expendable inmate.” My existence outside of being a human commodity, means absolutely nothing to them. If it did, then surely they would have taken action to rectify the egregious acts of injustice that I’ve been subjected to over the course of my incarceration.

Instead of them taking action to rectify the acts of injustice, which include once being framed by the prison administration of a then-warden who subsequently participated in one of my parole hearings, and once being framed and beaten by a squad of correction officers, they chose to sweep the injustice under a rug, right along with their integrity and my human rights.

The blatant disregard for my human rights as a person in prison, however, is not an anomaly. Prisoners in Ohio’s prison system are treated unjustly on a consistent basis. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the media is reluctant to report on issues of injustice related to prisoners, as prisoners have become an ostracized and invisible class of people. While the general public, courtesy of smart phones and social media, is now becoming increasingly aware of the corrupt and racist practices of various police departments throughout the United States, the general public has yet to be fully enlightened as to the existence of the corrupt and racist practices that prisoners are being subjected to by prison officials, parole boards, and the like.

As a means of coping with situations of adversity during times that often seem hopeless, as prisoners, sometimes we have to uplift our morale any way we can, even if it’s by imagining oneself in a Harrison Ford-like scene from the movie The Fugitive, making a daring escape (Note: without harming a soul) to a place that we’re being unjustly kept from: freedom!

Download a PDF copy of Lights, Camera … and Freedom?.

Don’t Be Like Mike, Be Like Janelle Monae

“If you are a black celebrity or black athlete
who has been uninvolved in the Black Lives
Matter movement but know you should be,
reverse course.
Be like Janelle Monae, and make your presence felt.”

At a time when African Americans are being brutally beaten and killed throughout the United States by rogue police officers and being incarcerated at an alarmingly disproportionate rate compared with white Americans, most black celebrities have failed to speak out about this injustice. Instead of using their mighty voices to address the racist, cruel, and unjust treatment of African Americans, they remain silent to protect their business relations with white corporate supporters. A few celebrities and athletes, such as WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, actually support the Jim Crow-like practices of the U.S. criminal justice system (October 11, 2014).

African American singer Janelle Monae is not one of these people.

At the conclusion of a performance on NBC’s Today show in August of 2015, Monae made a brief, passionate speech about police brutality and racism. “God bless America,” she said to millions of viewers. “God bless all who’ve lost lives to police brutality. We want white America to know that we stand tall today. We want black America to know that we stand tall today. We will not be silenced.” Her words sent shock waves through the Today studio, and the producers cut the singer off in mid-speech with a commercial break.

As with other memorable public statements against the racist treatment of blacks in the United States–words spoken by the likes of boxing legend Muhmmad Ali during the Vietnam War and recording artist Kanye West after hurricane Katrina–Janelle Monae’s speech showed how powerful the words of a celebrity can be. In fact, the Today show’s decision to pull the plug on Monae shows that words spoken by celebrities pose a threat to the U.S. status quo. If black celebrities and black athletes never realize the power of their voices and remain silently complicit like retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan, who rakes in millions from the sale of his Air Jordan basketball shoes in the same black communities he ignores while pledging financial support to white NASCAR drivers flying the Confederate flag, then they will continue to be the elite million-dollar slaves of corporate America.

If you are a black celebrity or black athlete who has been uninvolved in the Black Lives Matter movement but know you should be, reverse course. Be like Janelle Monae, and make your presence felt.

Download a PDF copy of Don’t Be Like Mike, Be Like Janelle Monae.

In Search of Justice

Recently, I mailed a copy of my essay “Black Lives Matter: ODRC and Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine Swindle and Inmate” to newly appointed Ohio Parole Board member Shirley Smith, an African American former Ohio state senator. In light of the current nationwide discussion of the need for the United States to reform its fractured criminal justice system, which thrives on the arrests of poor people of color, I’ve now decided to share copies of my essay with powerful politicians and prominent media outlets (e.g., President Obama, presidential candidate Ohio Governor John Kasich, ABC’s The View, and The Washington Post) with the hope of lobbying someone who will address the injustice I describe in the essay. I was framed and assaulted by six white correction officers, and with vindicating evidence captured on an audio recording, I’ve proved they fabricated their accounts of why they used what they called “justifiable force” against me.

I was framed and assaulted by six white correction officers, and with vindicating evidence captured on an audio recording, I’ve proved they fabricated their accounts of why they used what they called “justifiable force” against me.”

Because I was able to incorporate the vindicating audio recording into my essay as an exhibit, which can be witnessed at the website, my experience of injustice is a good test case for the nation’s well-publicized effort to eradicate law enforcement’s use of excessive force against African Americans. Although I cannot offer the public a Rodney King-like video of the correction officers beating me, I can present the next best thing: an audio recording of a hearing in which the official in charge said I did not do what the correction officers testified under oath had caused them to beat me. Like the former University of Cincinnati police officer charged with murdering unarmed African American motorist Samuel DuBose, the correction officers lied. But numerous elected officials on Ohio’s legislative Correctional Institution Inspector Committee, as well as numerous administrative figures within the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and on the Ohio Parole Board, have turned deaf ears to the vindicating evidence on the audio recording.

Immediately after the release of the infamous photographs of United States soldiers torturing accused enemy combatants detained in Abu Ghraib prison, elected officials condemned the inhumane acts committed by the soldiers. Why is the same moral revulsion nowhere to be found in response to clear evidence that six White correction officers framed and assaulted me, an African-American prisoner? The obvious answer is that neither my life nor upholding justice means anything to the officials who have heard the evidence. Hopefully it will mean something to someone reading my account of this injustice.


Download a PDF copy of In Search of Justice.

Download the Audio Exhibit of the Rules Infraction Board Hearing in mp3 or ogg format.

Five Things I’d Like to Witness Besides LeBron’s Title Chase

In 2014 I made international headlines with a letter to the Ohio Parole Board. It was a light-hearted comment near the end that got the attention. I said I wanted to “witness in person LeBron James’ pursuit of an NBA championship for my beloved hometown team,” the Cleveland Cavaliers. When the Parole Board responded with a controversial 60-month sentence continuation—five years—I began to think of other things I’d like to witness:

1. I want to see the United States stop vilifying professional athletes such as Adrian Peterson, Tiger Woods, Ray Rice, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Michael Vick, and Tom Brady and start paying attention to the hundreds of elected representatives throughout the U.S. who ignore the epidemic of mass incarceration, which thrives on the unjust imprisonment of poor people of color.

2. I’d like to witness all juvenile offenders who have served 20 years released from prison. The dark reality of being imprisoned as a juvenile is powerfully revealed in 15 to Life: Kenneth’s Story, a critically acclaimed documentary. Twenty years is more than enough punishment for someone who committed a crime as an irrational juvenile, and any criminal justice reform built on this truth should be widely accepted.

3. I’d like to see influential, wealthy African-American rappers and athletes use their money and their voices to make better the lives of their impoverished African, Haitian, Asian, and Hispanic fellow human beings. Wyclef Jean and Dekimbe Mutombo are doing already what I long to witness more often.

4. I want to see people of faith stop using their religious beliefs as an excuse to hate others whose beliefs differ from theirs. A difference of belief is no reason to hate people, let alone to kill or harm them.

5. I’d like to witness all of the people who made fun of my LeBron James comment, including CBS Radio’s Jim Rome and WNBA superstar Brittney Griner, read these essays (1, 2, 3) and then decide whether my experience of injustice is actually humorous.

Download a PDF copy of Five Things I’d Like to Witness Besides LeBron’s Title Chase.

Black Lives Matter: ODRC and Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine Swindle An Inmate

“If the Attorney General, as well as the ODRC,
upheld justice after learning I was assaulted,
I would probably be a free man today.”

In 1994, when I was eighteen, a first-time offender, I was convicted of armed robbery and felonious assault and given a six to 25 year indefinite sentence along with a nine-year sentencing enhancement for using a firearm. After serving nearly 21 years of the indefinite sentence, a kind no longer issued after 1996, I wrote a letter to the Ohio Parole Board before my fifth release hearing in September of 2014, making a case for why I deserve to be paroled. My letter cited incidents of injustice I’ve experienced as a prisoner, and it concluded with the light-hearted comment that I wanted to be paroled so I “could witness in person LeBron James’ pursuit of an NBA championship for my beloved hometown,” Cleveland (see media coverage). Shortly afterwards, local and national media, ranging from the Akron Beacon Journal and TMZ to The Washington Post, publicized my mention of LeBron James in my letter. Unfortunately, there was little attention paid to the incidents of injustice cited in my letter.

One of the most important examples of injustice overshadowed by my LeBron James comment is an incident on April 12, 2013, that took place at the Mansfield Correctional Institution and led to a lawsuit. Six correction officers assaulted me during an investigation into the theft of my cellmate’s television set when I refused to provide testimony.

According to the April 12, 2013 Conduct Report, written by Dana Blankenship, one of the officers conducting the investigation, she was unlocking my cell door when I allegedly “kicked my cell door open” and charged towards Officer Blankenship and a group of other correction officers, causing them to use “justifiable force” against me by spraying me with pepper spray and physically restraining me. But I have been able to show that Officer Blankenship’s account of the “use of force” incident, as well as the accounts submitted by Officers Matthew Neubacher, Justin Henry, Ronald Lodwick, Kierra Belcher, and Jamihia Young, were fabricated to conceal the fact that they assaulted me.

Five of the six accounts given by the correction officers in their Incident Reports and testimony to the prison’s Use of Force Committee claimed that what triggered their use of force was my “kicking the cell door open.” But as I will show, I have been able to prove I did not kick the cell door open. Instead, I followed a direct order from Officer Matthew Neubacher when Officer Blankenship unlocked my cell door. Officer Neubacher ordered me to go to the back of my cell, and when I turned my back to comply, Officer Neubacher came up and sprayed me in the face with pepper spray and began punching me. Other officers joined in the assault seconds later.

The Truth That Should Have Set Me Free

On May 6, 2013, several weeks after the officers assaulted me, I attended a Rules Infraction Board disciplinary hearing. I was accused of committing two infractions: “disobedience of a direct order” (Rule 21) and “physical resistance to a direct order” (Rule 20). Officer Dana Blankenship appeared telephonically as the charging official. The Rules Infraction Board included Lt. Chris Lynch and Lt. Kurt Dahlby as chairman.

After the audio-recorded disciplinary hearing began, I pled not guilty to the rule infractions, and Officer Blankenship testified in support of her earlier account. When it was time for my requested witness to appear–that is, my cellmate, whose television set was stolen—Lt. Dahlby of the Rules Infraction Board stated on the record that my witness wouldn’t be needed because the chairman had viewed the surveillance video of the incident, and the video clearly showed that I did not kick the cell door open. Despite this evidence that Officer Blankenship and others had falsified the Conduct Report, the Rules Infraction Board found me guilty of all charges.

Because my Eighth Amendment protection from cruel and unusual punishment had been infringed upon by the officers’ physical assault, I filed a federal civil lawsuit on May 31, 2013, in the United States District Court of Ohio as a novice pro se litigant. Initially, I filed the lawsuit against Officer Blankenship, later amending it to include Officers Neubacher, Henry, Lodwick, and Belcher (GOUDLOCK v. BLANKENSHIP, et al; Case No. 1:13cv1215).

In developing the discovery phase of my lawsuit against the officers, I prepared questions for the Defendants, which they answered under oath through their co-counsel attorney, Ohio Assistant Attorney General Thomas N. Anger. Because all of the Defendants but one had stated in their prison Incident Reports and in their Use of Force Committee testimony that my “kicking the cell door open” had triggered their use of force, I shaped most of my questions around the matter of the cell door allegedly being kicked open. Following are some of my questions and the officers’ answers, all made under oath:

Defendant Blankenship

1. Plaintiff Goudlock: From what you alleged to have witnessed in regards to the April 12, 2013, incident, what was the reason why Officer Matthew Neubacher entered into my cell?

Defendant Blankenship’s answer: While I cannot opine on the reasons other officers take certain action, my understanding is that officer Neubacher entered your cell because you kicked the door open. (1)

2. Plaintiff Goudlock: Were you ever interviewed by the Use of Force Committee in regards to the April 12, 2013 incident? If so, state in detail what you told them.

Defendant Blankenship’s answer: Yes, I was. See Use of Force Report. According to the report I told the committee the following: . . . Inmate Collins asked me if he could talk to Goudlock to calm him down. I opened the door, then Goudlock kicked the door, we all reacted, Officer Neubacher sprayed him and we all went in eventually cuffing him. . . . (2)

Defendant Henry

1. Plaintiff Goudlock: Why did you enter my cell?

Defendant Henry’s answer: You refused multiple direct orders and you kicked your door open. (3)

2. Plaintiff Goudlock: Why did Defendant Neubacher enter my cell?

Defendant Henry’s answer: You refused multiple direct orders and you kicked open your door. (4)

Defendant Neubacher

1. Plaintiff Goudlock: When I allegedly kicked my cell door open, what did it impact?

Defendant Neubacher’s answer: I had my hand on the door handle when you kicked it open. (5)

As demonstrated by the Defendants’ interrogatory responses above, my alleged act of kicking my cell door open was a crucial element in triggering their use of force against me. They needed to stand by their allegation in order to justify their use of force and then to insist they were truthful when they testified under oath. But after the Defendants’ attorneys, Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine and Ohio Assistant Attorney General Thomas N. Anger, learned I was in possession of a copy of the vindicating audio recording of the May 6, 2013 Rules Infraction Board hearing, they filed on December 1, 2014, a Motion For Summary Judgment claiming the Defendants were no longer claiming I had kicked my cell door open.

When the Defendants admitted I did not kick my cell door open, the Attorney General should have exercised his authority as Ohio’s top law enforcement official and sought to rectify the injustice. Instead, he claimed the question of whether I kicked open my cell door was not material. But whether or not the Defendants were lying about their assault on me should be of deep concern to the Attorney General when the national spotlight is on Ohio due to repeated and excessive use of deadly force against non-threatening citizens. The Attorney General has recently issued assurances that unlawful and abusive policing of Ohio citizens will not be tolerated. Following highly publicized police killings in Ferguson and Cleveland, the Attorney General responded to a report from his Advisory Group on Police Training in April of 2015 by saying additional training in proper use of force would not be cheap but must be done. “It is possible today for a police officer to be on a force 20, 30 years and not have very much in refresher course in regard to life and death scenarios. . . We have to end that.”

By listening to the aforementioned audio recording of the May 6, 2013, prison Rules Infraction Board hearing, which the Attorney General and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections have copies of, anyone can see the unlawful and abusive treatment of imprisoned citizens is being tolerated in Ohio. If the Attorney General, as well as the ODRC, upheld justice after learning I was assaulted, I would probably be a free man today. Why was I given, instead, a draconian and controversial 60-month sentence continuation at my last Ohio Parole Board hearing in October of 2014?

Billionaire industrialist Charles Koch, through his “freedom framework,” has called for a complete overhaul of the criminal justice system in the United States, which issues disproportionate punishment to poor people of color. I can only hope some good people within Ohio’s criminal justice system will heed Mr. Koch’s call for reform and justify the trust they have been given. Maybe then I will be given the freedom I deserve after spending almost 22 consecutive years inside a cell.

(1) See GOUDLOCK v. BLANKENSHIP, et al., Case No. 1:13cv1215, Docket No. 87-3, Page ID No. 466, Answers to Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories, Question No. 3.

(2) See GOUDLOCK v. BLANKENSHIP, et al., Case No. 1:13cv1215, Docket No. 87-4, Page ID No. 473, Supplemental Answers to Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories to Defendant, Question N. 15.

(3) See GOUDLOCK v. BLANKENSHIP, et al., Case No. 1:13cv1215, Docket No. 87-5, Page ID No. 479. Answers to Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories to Defendant Henry, Question No. 7.

(4) See GOUDLOCK v. BLANKENSHIP, et al., Case No. 1:13cv1215, Docket No. 87-5, Page ID No. 479. Answers to Plaintiff’s First Set of Interrogatories to Defendant Henry, Question No. 6.

(5) See GOUDLOCK v. BLANKENSHIP, et al., Case No. 1:13cv1215, Plaintiff’s Memorandum In Opposition of Defendants’ Motion for Summary Judgment, Exhibit F Defendant Neubacher Interrogatory Answers, Question No. 10.

Download a PDF copy of Black Lives Matter: ODRC and Ohio Attorney General Michael DeWine Swindle An Inmate.

Download the Audio Exhibit of the Rules Infraction Board Hearing in mp3 or ogg format.

Letter to Brittney Griner

Dear Ms. Griner,

My name is Jason Goudlock, and I’m the prisoner who recently told the Ohio Parole Board I wanted to be released from my indefinite sentence of six to 25 years partly so I could witness LeBron James’ pursuit of an NBA title with the Cavs.

I’m writing in response to comments you made to TMZ, saying I should be denied parole. Subsequently, I was actually denied parole and received a controversial and unjust sentence continuation of 60 months. That you feel I shouldn’t have been released at my most recent Parole Board hearing is an opinion you are most certainly entitled to hold. I believe, however, you might be unaware of the existence of the egregious “old-law” sentencing disparity in Ohio’s criminal justice system. This disparity adversely affects a small minority class of Ohio prisoners, including me. Hoping to change your opinion about whether I should have been denied parole, I will explain: On July 1,1996, Ohio stopped sentencing offenders to indeterminate sentences (e.g., five to 25 years or six to 25 years) for crimes like mine. (I was convicted of aggravated robbery and felonious assault.) The state implemented a modernized and less punitive set of guidelines, commonly known as “flat-time” sentences (e.g., three year, four years, five years, up to ten years) that exempt offenders convicted of crimes like mine from having to go before a decision-making parole board to be considered for release. This means that under my pre-July 1, 1996, old-law sentence, I could be made to serve up to 25 years for a crime I would be made to serve only up to10 years for if I were sentenced under the post-June 30, 1996, sentencing guidelines. (My 25-year indeterminate sentence is consecutive with my nine-year sentence, which I received as a firearm sentencing enhancement.)

Like the racist sentencing disparity for crack-cocaine and powder cocaine offenders, the old-law/new-law disparity in Ohio is inhumane and goes against fundamental ideals of justice said to be part of America’s national identity. Imagine playing in the WNBA finals with referees who arbitrarily eject you after you commit two fouls while other players can commit twenty! You’d be justifiably outraged. As a first-time offender sentenced under the discontinued old-law guidelines, I’ve served nearly 21 years for crimes Ohio’s new-law offenders would get just three to 10 years for. In addition, new-law prisoners can pick fights with old-law prisoners without affecting their release date, but if we fight back, our parole dates are extended. I’m outraged. I’ve served my time, and so have hundreds of other old-law prisoners.

By denying to release me at my recent parole hearing, Ohio’s unjust Parole Board (see “Unveiling the Shadowy Past of Ohio Parole Board Member Marc Houk:A Story of Injustice” at is preventing a rehabilitated person from helping at-risk youth. Having grown up as an at-risk youth myself, my story is a convincing warning to share with youth of today. Although I’m now in prison for robbing people, as a youth I had no aspirations to become an armed robber. Instead, I grew up loving the same game that has been so important to you. I wanted to play basketball in college and, if possible, in the NBA. If you ever run into ESPN analyst Chris Broussard, you could ask him about me.

After receiving a controversial 60-month sentence continuation at my recent parole hearing, I released my novel, Brother of the Struggle. This account of a young African-American’s “efforts to break the chain-like bonds of mass incarceration” is based in part on my years as a prisoner. If you read the copy I am sending you under separate cover, I think you’ll find evidence of my rehabilitation, and you might change your mind about wanting me to spend any more time in this barbaric criminal justice system. Whether Brother of the Struggle accomplishes that or not, I hope it leads you in some kind of way to become an instrument of change. I hope you can make a difference in the lives of at-risk youth so they can avoid becoming the incarcerated of tomorrow.

Thank you for taking the time to read this letter.


Jason Goudlock

P.S. Harvey Levin is a lawyer and host of the People’s Court. The next time he interviews you on TMZ, how about asking him his opinion of the state of Ohio’s trying to “Mandelatize” me (as in serving close to the 27 years Nelson Mandela served), by making me serve an outdated, indeterminate sentence the state no longer uses (i.e., six to 25 years)? I think he should provide the audience with real legal insight and then conduct an online TMZ poll under the banner “Parole or Mandelatize the LeBron Fan.” Whenever I get out, for charitable purposes, I would love to challenge you to a dunk contest. I’m 39, but I can still throw ’em down like Steve Francis/Baron Davis used to do.

Download a PDF copy of Letter to Brittney Griner.

Letter to LeBron James

Dear Mr. James,

My name is Jason Goudlock. I’m a 39-year-old African-American prisoner who recently made international headlines when I mentioned in a letter to the Ohio Parole Board that I hoped to be released in time to witness in person your pursuit of an NBA title for my hometown team. I write today to say I’m sending you a copy of my just-published novel, Brother of the Struggle, which has been called “a powerful story of improbable hope being born in prison.”

The letter in which I made a light-hearted comment about wanting to see you lead the Cavs to a title also told how I was sentenced in 1994 to six to 25 years as a first offender for armed robbery and felonious assault. This kind of unjust sentence, which has kept me in prison for more than twenty years while convicted killers have been freed after serving less time, is no longer used in Ohio.

It was my intention, if granted a parole, to promote Brother of the Struggle, by embarking on a speaking tour at group homes and juvenile centers throughout the greater Cleveland area. Having been placed in various group homes while growing up in Cleveland, I wanted to use the promotion of my book to share my cautionary story with at-risk youth as a way of trying to prevent them from becoming the next occupants of a prison cell or, worse, a graveyard.

My September letter to the Ohio Parole Board also called attention to injustices in Ohio’s criminal justice system, and I was issued an unbelievable sentence continuance of 60 months, thus derailing my post-release plan to speak to at-risk youth. So I send you a copy of Brother of the Struggle, based partly on my decades as a prisoner, in the hope that you can somehow use this “powerful, intimate account of one young man’s efforts to break the chain-like bonds of mass incarceration” as an instrument to save at-risk youth.

In conclusion, I want to thank you for your time and for returning to the Cavs!


Jason Goudlock

p.s. If you ever want to read an excellent book about terrible Ohio injustice, I recommend Lucasville: The Untold Story of a Prison Uprising, by Staughton Lynd, who used to teach Alice Walker’s The Color Purple at Temple University. Keith Lamar’s Condemned: The Whole Story is another excellent book about Ohio injustice.

Download a PDF copy of Letter to LeBron James.

Parole-Seeking LeBron Fan Releases Book

brotherofthestruggle*** For Immediate Release ***

November 14, 2014

Ohio inmate Jason Goudlock, a 39-year-old native of Cleveland, who has served nearly 21 years as a first time offender for aggravated assault and armed robbery, has published Brother of the Struggle, a novel that captures the human cost of mass incarceration. Goudlock recently made national headlines after asking in a September letter to the Ohio Parole Board that he be released from his indefinite sentence of six to 25 years so he could “witness in person LeBron James’ pursuit of an NBA championship for [his] beloved hometown team,” the Cleveland Cavaliers. Goudlock became a published author on November 11, 2014, when Brother of the Struggle was made available to the public as an Amazon Kindle book.

Goudlock’s novel is described on Amazon Kindle as an intimate, powerful story of one young African-American male’s “effort to break the chain-like bonds of mass incarceration.” Ironically, Brother of the Struggle arrives on the heels of the Ohio Parole Board’s controversial decision to issue Goudlock a draconian sentence continuation of 60 months, which critics of Ohio’s Parole Board claim was unjust and unwarranted.

Dr. William Nichols, who earlier this year, published an article about Goudlock in the Huffington Post, said, “The Parole Board made this judgment in the face of evidence that Goudlock has been rehabilitated.”

Given the very low recidivism rates for ex-convicts who are published authors, it is likely Jason Goudlock has indeed been rehabilitated. He has announced his intention to offer copies of Brother of the Struggle to LeBron James and Brittney Griner.

You can order your copy of Brother of the Struggle for Amazon Kindle here:

Download a PDF copy of Parole-Seeking LeBron Fan Releases Book.





オハイオ州受刑者ジェイソンGoudlock、加重暴行と武装強盗のための最初の時間犯罪者とほぼ21年間務めているクリーブランドの39歳のネイティブは、闘争のブラザー、質量投獄の人的コストをキャプチャ小説を公開しています。 Goudlockは最近、彼は6年から25年の彼の無期限の文から解放されることをオハイオ州更生保護委員会に9月の手紙で尋ねた後、国家の見出しを作ったので、彼でした」[彼]最愛の故郷のためのNBAチャンピオンシップの人物レブロンジェームズ」を追求した証人チーム、「クリーブランド·キャバリアーズ。 Goudlockは闘争のブラザーは、AmazonのKindle帳として公衆に利用できるようになりました2014年11月11日、上に公開著者となった。

Goudlockの小説は、一人の若いアフリカ系アメリカ人の男性のの親密な、強力な物語としてAmazonのKindleに記述されている「大量監禁の鎖状結合を破壊するための努力。 “皮肉なことに、闘争のブラザーはオハイオ州更生保護委員会の物議のかかとに到着オハイオ州の更生保護委員会の主張の批評家が不当かつ不当であった、60ヶ月の厳格な文の継続をGoudlock発行することを決定。

Huffington PostのにGoudlockについての記事を発表し、今年初め、博士ウィリアム·ニコルズは、「更生保護委員会がGoudlockが修復されたことの証拠に直面して、この判断をした。」と言った







俄亥俄州犯人杰森Goudlock,一个39岁的本土克利夫兰,谁曾担任近21年的第一次犯罪的严重袭击及武装抢劫,已出版的斗争中,一个新的捕获量监禁的人力成本的兄弟。 Goudlock最近要求在9月写信给俄亥俄州的假释委员会,他从他的无限期六至25年刑期释放后,取得了国家的头条新闻,所以他可以“证人亲自勒布朗 – 詹姆斯的追求NBA总冠军的[他]美丽的家乡队,“克里夫兰骑士队。 Goudlock成为一个发表作品的作家11月11日2014年,当斗争的弟弟被提供给公众的亚马逊Kindle书。



鉴于非常低的再犯率谁是作者出版的前科,很可能贾森Goudlock确实已经恢复。他宣布,他打算提供兄弟副本的斗争勒布朗 – 詹姆斯和布兰妮Griner的。


下载 PDF副本 中的假释,寻找勒布朗范发布图书