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Old 06-27-2017, 01:07 PM
LordNick343 LordNick343 is offline
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Default 3 1/2 years from arrest, to discharge from parole: Tale of luck and freedom

WARNING: This story of my experiences is going to be VERY LONG. Reader Beware!

------------

Now that It's been a month after I discharged from parole, I decided to sit down and tell my entire story in as long/necessary as I feel like, to get this past finally off my chest. OK here goes:

Once upon a time, in very early 2014, I was arrested at the age of 15 in Northern New York state for what would be an adult criminal court charge of Attempted Murder, 2nd degree.

The details of everything that happened are still blurry in my mind, especially about the day the incident happened, but all I was thinking at the time was that my life was over. Heck, with the extremely little knowledge I had about the criminal system, I was thinking that I would get the death penalty for all anyone knew.

Since I was 15, I was first involuntarily admitted to a state psychiatric center for children, since I was too young (younger than 16) to be initially booked in an adult county jail, and the part of new york state where I lived had no juvenile detention center within an hour radius. So, to the state hospital I went.

Nobody there ("mental health aides", counselors, doctors) knew anything about what would happen to me, until about halfway through my 8 month stay there, when I would be officially arraigned in adult criminal court for that charge I had mentioned earlier.

Months after I had turned 16, and about 8 months into my psych ward stay, I was transferred to the nearest county jail to where I used to live.

The adult county jail was the worst part of these 3 and a half years. I was there for a year and two weeks. Every day, there was fighting, corruption and control by the correctional officers, and complete disregard to my medical conditions and, seemingly, humane condtions for every inmate as a whole (Example: They would often "run out" of medication that I was taking, simply because it was "too expensive for the county and insurance to cover", up until my mother threatened to report the sheriff's office to the state commission of corrections AND the closest new york state senator. Only after that did the problems with medical attention go away). A lot of other stuff would happen too, and I was one of those people who saw everything that happened.

A month into that year of county jail, my first plea offer was given to my lawyers (that my grandparents paid for): Risk trial, or cop out to 3 and a third to 10 years in state prison for only one charge of Attempted Murder.

At the time, that seemed like the end of it: Suicide, for days that followed, was one of the only things on my mind.

Then, the following court sessions started to get better. The first plea was rejected by me and the lawyers, and soon the possible sentences started to look better. Second official offer was a flat sentence of 4 years, served in juvenile state facilities (since they could keep cases like mine until either A: I reach the end of my sentence, or B: I turn 21), with the possibility of a "youthful offender" sealed record deal.

About this time, however, did the county jail experience get to a rock bottom horrible: I was snitched on for "cheeking medication", which someone else actually did but I couldn't say or else I would be labeled as a snitch, and I was almost stripped of necessary medical/mental health medication, and put in the SHU (Special Housing Unit, the county equivalent of the hole) for 6 weeks straight.

The cells were dirty, dim-lighted, and stripped of everything but my sheets, pillow, and bible, and I could only leave it for 1 hour a day for recreation in the yard. Inside the cell, mass pacing and internal insanity ensued. The unit was mostly admin segregated, PC, or disciplined inmates, or those with charges similar or worse than mine.

When I returned to GP after six weeks, there was a tingle of a feeling that would grow stronger as the days went by: I couldn't tell whether it was determination, or simply a fresh breath of FREEDOM. Even though I was still in that dirty county jail, I got my personal books back, and mail that had built up from family over that six weeks. Of course, they had been visiting me when they could in the visit booths while I was in the SHU. Otherwise, with no mail and no phone and possibly no visits, I would have gone into complete mania, I felt like.

A few months pass, people come and go. Then, in the summer of 2015, I got what I was looking for, the final plea offer from the court: A sentence of 1 to 3 years, serve up until the CR (Conditional release) date of 2 years in juvenile, as promised by lawyers ,and then 1 year of parole. Oh, and a chance of the judge granting that sealed record status.

Without hesitation, and knowing that losing a 50/50 trial in my case would mean instant minimum of 10 years, I took that 1 to 3.

10 weeks later, I appeared before my sentencing and gave my little speech. However, the judge, having some agenda against me, as seen by the lawyers and my parents, granted me the juvenile status, but refused to give me the youthful status that would seal my record.

As I was preparing to walk out of the courtroom, the lawyer whispered to me, "Sorry, bud."

Within two weeks, I was going to get transferred to the place my parents had talked about with the lawyers, a juvenile rehabilitation place run by the state.

Only that didn't happen at first.

In September of 2015, my 17-year-old self was mistakenly put through most of the reception process of Auburn Correctional Facility, one of the state's worst and largest state prisons for men. It took four hours for the high ranks and Lieutenants of Auburn to realize that I didn't belong there, for I had been arrested at the age of 15 as a juvenile.

I was sent back to county, where the Sergeants there awaited to humiliate me further, for they felt like I deserved to go to adult state prison for what I had done.

A Friday later, the judge in the courtroom admitted there was a "discrepancy" in the records and reluctantly ordered that my sentenced would go through the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. (OCFS)

That same day, an intake specialist from OCFS did a questionnaire and intake assessment to see what placement I would go to.

A week after that, I was transferred from that county jail to MacCormick Secure Center, a "maximum secure-level rehabilitation facility" for teenagers who had been tried/convicted in criminal court for violent felonies.

When I was driven by correctional officers from the county jail into the razor-wire gates of MacCormick, the outside look of the place intimidated me. However, once I got inside, and after I was taken out of handcuffs and shackles and placed in an initial infirmary cell, the place had less the look of a concentration camp, and more the look of a very, very secure, so to speak, boarding school.

My first 24 hours, I spent in the infirmary per facility policy. After that, I was placed for the first month on Delta Unit, (The units were named Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, Delta) which seemed to be a relaxed unit at first. However, after a few days, hell broke loose through the form of most of the unit ganging up on and physically beating down the biggest guy on the unit, one of the other "residents", and all the units were mixed in order to stop other units from trying to follow Delta's lead and possibly riot.

Turns out, Delta unit soon became the unit "controlled" by "gangster" teenagers from NYC boroughs such as Harlem and the Bronx. And here I was, the only white person on the unit, coming from small town America.

Within a month, after getting in a fight or two, I was moved to Bravo Unit, which turned out to be a lot more relaxed than all the others, in no small part to the few amount of people on the unit (3 or 4) compared to the other units (one of them having, at one point, 12 people in a small cramped living area as the central place of the unit).

Unlike county, which was ruled by the militaristic police, the law of the juvenile jungle made MacCormick's negative aspects go around. Sure, the place was a LOT more relaxed than county jail, and yes, we even had a unit Xbox that was available after programs during the day. However, it was jail nonetheless, and violence could be suppressed for all it wants before it broke out in unexpected places.

Skip ahead a month to my first and only early parole board to see if I could get out on parole before my 2-year-mark, where in that case I would get out later rather than sooner. The unit counselor on Delta had helped me make a packet and letters for the parole board meeting. The day came, I was nervous, but still felt as though I tried my best. Days later, the parole came back with denied early release, stating that their recommendation was "HOLD TO CONDITIONAL RELEASE", which was 6 months away from that day.

Months passed. I involved myself less and less with the politics of the inside world, and started wondering, with all my experiences, if the outside world would ever feel the same as it did before my arrest. I came to the conclusion that it would hopefully knock some sense into me about being grateful for the stuff that I would receive upon being released, and in more ways than one. FREEDOM was a valuable thing to me at the moment, and continued to be so even to today.

May of 2016. Less than a month away. My parents had to move to Texas, since my stepfather was in the army, so my parole would end up being in New York until the Interstate Compact office eventually accepted it to Texas.(although I didn't know if it would at that time). My mother came up a week before my release to parole, so that she could visit me. I eagerly awaited the visit.

2 days before release, I get the full 3-hour long visit with me, my mom, and, in a surprise the facility and my mom had gotten together without me knowing, my oldest cousin. The visit lasted until right before the staff would remind me that it was time to go, and my mom hugged me and told me that she would see me again as a free man.

When I got back from the visit, I was put in "pre-release mode". That is, being segregated from the unit in order to "prepare for release to the community". In all reality, it was because the unit residents were planning on jumping me and beating me down physically the day before they knew I would go home.

June 1st. The final day in. That night, for the first time that I allowed myself to in a while, I broke into tears in that same infirmary cell that I had entered in. It was as if I barely knew of the reality that was the outside world anymore. I thought for a while before then that it was fake, and that it was as if the universe had been created with me eternally in this incarcerated slumber.

June 2nd. 9 AM. I walk out, with my mom and grandma, in my own clothes. The pathways between the administration offices and the final outdoor gate seemed long, but I will never forget the moment when the last outer electric-razor-wire gate closed behind me.

I knew that for the next year, I would be on a simple level of supervision that still got in the way of things. I knew that the next week, I would see the actual parole office that I would report to for as long as I was in New York before transferring to Texas. I even knew that the very next day, I would have to report to the state office building and acknowledge my release and new supervision right then and there with the Department of Corrections parole officer.

But until then, for that whole 24 hours, it was the start of a whole new life.
I shed what seemed like simple tears of joy and happiness all the way home to my grandparents house. I had enough happiness and family moments to more than cover the 3 birthdays, 2 Christmas's, and so many other holidays I missed on the inside.

FREEDOM. It was what I wanted for over 2 years in a row, which was a lot for someone who was initially 15. The taste is indescribable for me.

It is now one year since I have tasted the best Freedom I would in a lifetime, and now almost a month since I have been discharged from Texas state parole, and hopefully any similar chain forever.

I shared this story so I could not just vent my frustrations of the bad parts of my past, but to hopefully make myself better appreciate what this journey, and what was in the beginning my wrong-doing, has done to make me who I am today.

Whether or not I will breath the same air of freedom for the longest time, only time will tell.
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  #2  
Old 06-27-2017, 01:59 PM
onedayatatime13 onedayatatime13 is offline
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God bless you on your journey and the rest of your life.
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Old 06-27-2017, 03:07 PM
fbopnomore fbopnomore is offline
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Thank you for sharing your story, and I'm glad things are going so well for you. The most important thing is that it will be the only prison you ever experience.
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Old 06-05-2019, 08:28 PM
Mrs.JBS97 Mrs.JBS97 is offline
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Thank you for sharing your story. I do hope you were able to put it all behind you. You have your whole life ahead of you for a bright a d successful future.
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