Unfortunately, for the time being, WNBA superstar Brittney Griner’s wish for me to be kept in prison has come true. On October 28, 2014, I received my Ohio Parole Board Decision Sheet, which stated that the Parole Board had given me a sentence continuation of 60 MONTHS! Sixty…months. Five years.
The Parole Board’s rationale for why they issued this sentence continuation states:
“Inmate’s institutional conduct has been problematic since his last hearing, resulting in numerous infractions and outbursts against staff. Inmate’s conduct is not conducive to amenable or successful supervision. Inmate has not completed any additional risk relevant programming since his last hearing in 2009. . . .”
Well, before I address the Parole Board’s artificially contrived rationale for why they continued my incarceration, I want to say, first, that the Parole Board’s explanation for giving me a ridiculously long 60-month sentence continuation is a bunch of BS. The Parole Board gave me the continuation because I dared to stand up for myself and other Ohio old-law prisoners. I spoke out against their unjust, self-serving decision-making practices. The Ohio Parole Board wants me to be silent while they’re conducting my parole hearings based on erroneous records of the amount of time I’ve served. At my most recent hearing they once again claimed incorrect Jail Time Credit for me. In addition, they repeatedly make up rationales for why they are giving me sentence continuations. If the Parole Board wants me to be silent, then they’re going to have to stop conducting unconstitutional, arbitrary parole hearings. If they refuse to do this, then they might as well, today, just continue my old-law sentence to its expiration date in 2028. At least then the rest of the world will be able to see the full magnitude of the inhumane punishment the state of Ohio is willing to impose on its citizens.
The first part of the Parole Board’s rationale for my continued sentence names my poor disciplinary record and outbursts against staff. During my previous sentence continuation of 24 months, I did, in fact, accumulate a number of Conduct Reports alleging that I disrespected various prison staff. What the Parole Board refuses to take into account, however, as I stated in the September 26, 2014, publicized letter I mailed to them, is that my behavior regression stemmed from an incident in which I was physically assaulted on April 12, 2013, by a squad of correction officers, who then fabricated a series of false Incident and Conduct Reports to cover up their illegal behavior. I pointed out to the Parole Board that if they wanted to further justice, they needed only to listen to the vindicating audio recording of the Rules Infraction Board hearing (Case No. ManCI-13-002373), in which the Chair of the Rules Infraction Board emphatically states that the pod-surveillance video of the incident clearly showed “I did not kick my cell door open,” which contradicts the claims made by the correction officers involved in the incident. They all stated that the reason they had to use physical force against me was because I kicked my cell door open and charged at the officers. Instead of viewing my behavior regression as normal for someone who has just had their hopes crushed by a bunch of corrupt officers, the Parole Board chose instead to look the other way, which I suspect is due to their reluctance to undermine the stories of the correction officers who were involved, all of whom are currently named defendants in a federal civil lawsuit I’ve filed against them (Case No.1:13cv1215 Goudlock v. Blankenship, et al.).
While it is a given that an inmate’s behavior plays a critical role in the decision-making process at an inmate’s parole hearing, there is no way the Parole Board can expect the public to believe that verbal rants justify their decision to give me a 60-month continuance. This is the same Parole Board that justified its decision to parole Lucasville riot killer Roger Snodgrass, for having “served more than the minimum [amount of time] for killing inmate Earl Elder,” and having, “compiled a good work history in prison.” ( See The Plain Dealer (September 4, 2006; “Lucasville Killer Testified On Riot; Now He Walks” by John Caniglia.)
The second part of the Parole Board’s rationale for giving me a continuance is that I haven’t taken any risk relevant programs since 2009. Not a single person on the Parole Board has ever instructed me to take any specific program. In fact, in 2011, at my third hearing, when I was on the more restrictive Security Level 4A, the Parole Board recommended that I be released! However, 90 days later the Parole Board’s oversight committee, the Central Office Board Review (COBR), overruled the release recommendation and issued a continuance of 15 months. So, if my programming wasn’t an issue in 2011, how can this now, all of a sudden, be an issue that warrants my being given a continuance of 60 months?
The Parole Board is simply doctoring their records, at the expense of my life and liberty, so they can maintain their job security. The facts are on my side. My essay “Unveiling the Shadowy Past of Ohio Parole Board Member Mark Houk: A Story of Injustice,” is a Watergate-like investigation of my sham fourth Parole Board hearing. One more thing to factor into the equation is the fact that one of the two Parole Board officials who participated in my fourth parole hearing, also participated in my most recent hearing.
The Ohio Parole Board is out of control. Their abuse of power has gone on for far too long, and it’s time for it to come to an end. If you agree with me, I urge you to join my effort to raise the public’s awareness of the unjust practices of the Parole Board by supporting my initiative, through the website https://www.youcaring.com/SupportTheOld-LawBillboard. I propose to lease a billboard in a prime location in Ohio’s capital city of Columbus, which would display a short statement demanding that Ohio old-law prisoners be treated equally to new-law prisoners along with a demand that the Parole Board be reformed. And while the leasing of one billboard will surely contribute to raising the public’s awareness, we don’t have to be content with just one. We can, if needed, put up billboards all over the state of Ohio, the country, and even the world!
To do any of this you must become active and contribute to this initiative. You can do this by helping to fund the Support The Old-Law Billboard campaign, or by using your social media platform to increase the public’s awareness. You can organize telephone drives to the media, asking them to report the unjust practices of the Ohio Parole Board. With the public knowing so little about the secretive practices of parole boards in general, I firmly believe that if one of the major networks were to air an in-depth story about parole boards, their ratings might soar. With all of this being said, though, I ask that you, please, intensify your support so that, together, we can put a stop to the Parole Board’s unconstitutional practice of functioning as a de facto prosecutor, jury, and judge. If Adolf Hitler could be stopped, then surely Ohio’s corrupt Parole Board can be stopped, too. And it will! Until then, I want to thank you for your support, and say I remain. . .
In the struggle,
P.S. I received an email from my brother saying he is going to file a request, on my behalf, for a presidential pardon. While he and I know this is a long shot, his request to the President of the United States, nevertheless, should contribute to raising the public’s awareness of the Ohio Parole Board’s injustice.
Download a PDF copy of Ohio Parole Board Tyranny Continues.