Goudlock's War - by Sean Swain
Jason Goudlock got tricked.
He was Black, 18, and in legal trouble. So, he did what most criminal defendants do, he took a deal. The court sentenced him to six-to-twenty-five years plus nine years for gun specifications.
He's still locked up after twenty years and there's no end in sight.
See, what Jason Goudlock could not have known in 1993 is that the State of Ohio would introduce a new sentencing scheme in 1996. Instead of the indefinite something-to-something-more sentences that made every offender face the parole board, offenders under the new sentencing would get definite "flat time" sentences. As a consequence, the vast majority of offenders sentenced in 1996 and beyond do not see the parole board. They do their time, whatever it is, and they get out.
That's terrible news for Jason Goudlock and everyone sentenced before the new law. It's terrible because there exists a powerful bureaucracy called the Ohio Adult Parole Authority, and once all the Jason Goudlocks filter out of the system, they have no valid reason to exist.
Jason Goudlock is job security for powerful pencil-pushers who earn six figures a year, pencil-pushers who now have every incentive and vested self-interest in making every "old law" prisoner left in the system, stay in the system until the parole board members collect their 401Ks.
As a consequence, roughly 5,000 prisoners like Jason Goudlock remain in the clutches of the State's machinery--a burden on the taxpayer who must pay for their food, clothing, and housing year after year--completely unrelated to those prisoners' fitness to regain freedom. It's a scenario where States employees are rewarded for continuing injustice.
The Governor and the ODRC's director are afraid to take on the parole board, to place them under a set of definite guidelines or to get rid of them completely. Governor Kasich and Director Mohr would ratheer betray the people of Ohio and maintain a cash-cow bureaucracy that benefits a privileged few.
Does that really surprise anybody?
Didn't think so.
So, in the absence of anyone in public office demonstrating any courage, character, or integrity, it fell to Jason Goudlock. He's now waging his own war against this sprawling, powerful monster called the Ohio Adult Parole Authority. He seeks assistance from journalism students to help get his novel published and bring attention to the injustice of Ohio's archaic system, and he's looking for help in launching a campaign against this corrupt institution.
To learn more, go to freejasongoudlock.org
Sean Swain is a prisoner in the Ohio State Penitentiary at Youngstown and a regular contributor to Fubar. He does not have computer access and cannot receive email. Sean's website http://seanswain.org is maintained by his supporters.
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