|To the editor:
I think the people of Missouri should be made aware of the injustice and waste being imposed upon not just the voting class citizen, but upon those who have been or are incarcerated by others in position to abuse the authority they have.
Many months ago I began corresponding with an inmate at the Chillicothe Women's Correctional Center. We shared letters, phone calls and visits as often as possible, leading to our relationship becoming romantic. We have considered a future together after she is paroled, which will be November 9, 2010.
My friend was told by the parole officer (IPO) she reports to at Chillicothe that she did not qualify for a transfer to where I reside in Iowa and wouldn't tell her much more except that she couldn't. Not taking no for an answer, she came up with reasons for the transfer and sent them off to the Interstate Compact section of the Missouri Parole. She was told she had a good plan, one that showed "willingness, ability and support," yet she didn't qualify for a mandatory transfer unless we chose to get married. When asked about other options the Interstate Office said we could apply for a discretionary transfer, an option never explained or divulged by the IPO until asked; the IPO responded that she needed a job in my area, that I could write a letter of employment that she could be my housekeeper and it would suffice.
Instead, I took resumes and letters of qualifications around my town and did "proxy" interviews and and was able to obtain a legitimate job for my friend rather than what had been suggested by the IPO which in my view showed deception and manipulation. Then in accordance with the directives and rules of both the Missouri Department of Parole and the Interstate Compact that we found on the Internet we put together and submitted an outline showing this employment; what would be a safe, secure and stable home environment; and educational opportunities or rehabilitation services.
The plan was immediately rejected based on a "personal feeling" by the IPO that our relationship hadn't been long enough and claims we relied on outdated rules and regulations that had been changed but never published. I was told to contact the Chillicothe IPO supervisor who suggested the option of sending my friend to stay with family, parents, in St. Louis. The problem is that her parents are deceased and she has no other family in the Missouri area that is in position to assist or provide anything for her. The IPO kept insisting any plan they had was better than the plan we had even though our plan was very thorough and provided all that was needed and more; it just wasn't THEIR plan.
Then I was quizzed and several hints were made that I was a "victim" of a "deceptive inmate" trying to just get money from me, attempts to get me to question my relationship with the inmate by claiming she may be lying or some other act that failed when I proved to the PO supervisor that no such a thing was happening and that our relationship was strong.
Then the excuse changed to they were looking after what was best for her and suggested that I may be a "serial killer" preying upon this woman even though I had provided all the parole personnel with my personal information in order to run a thorough background check! After the absurd logic, irrationality of that idea and the insult to me became evident, the new issue THEN became they were now concerned about MY welfare based upon the nature of the crimes she committed. So, my question to them was if ANYONE'S welfare is in jeopardy why was parole granted? To this I was told I was "twisting and spinning" their answers to match my own interpretations. Yet the question seems very logical to me but goes unanswered.
They believe the BEST opportunity for my friend is to send her to an honor center where total strangers in a city where she has never been would help her find a job, try to find
her a residence and provide what support they could while also doing these same tasks with all the others they are assigned. Basically they want to place her in a possibly overwhelming situation with total strangers in a strange location to reinvent the wheel we have already created just because it is what they want and for no other legitimate reason. They should know that SHOULD there be issues that arose after the transfer that she faced returning to Missouri and completing her sentence. Am I the only one reading the rules, laws and regulations?
Basically the people of Missouri have been told by Governor Nixon (Executive Order 09-16 aka: the Missouri Reentry Process) that when inmates are released he wants them to be in positions where they have the best chance of success and less chance of recidivism, yet when a plan for this very thing is presented to the Probation and Parole Division, it is rejected unless it is what they would do.
I am now planning to escort this woman from Chillicothe Correctional Center to the Livingston County Courthouse where I will marry her as per the suggestion of the Interstate Compact Executive Director, as she says this is the only way to get the transfer; yet the Chillicothe PO supervisor claims that even this action will not assure she is allowed to accompany me to where I reside in Iowa while the IPO considers legal action.
So now will the state wish to keep me from the woman who will then be my wife? What kind of support is THAT showing her and who is "twisting and spinning" things now when we meet the ultimate requirement we have been told would get us the transfer? I just hope that wherever I am forced by these people to take my wife that the people of Missouri understand it is not of our choice that you have to continue to provide for her. We apologize for it and can only hope that you won't have to provide for her very long, yet that is to be determined obviously by even yet another party, according to the State Parole Department. A new approving authority takes over after she is released, which could just extend the bureaucracy and chaos that God only understands.
I do know that in my 54 years of life experience which includes 20 years of military service (I'm retired) and 16 years as a current law enforcement officer (yes, I am a cop which is why the "serial killer" remark wasn't well received), I have never been made to jump through so many hoops, sent on so many wild goose chases, completed so many fool's errands and after completing all the tasks required, told it was all for naught.