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Missouri Prison Reform received the following message from a resident of a Missouri Prison.

My name is Ronald L Fox, I’ve been incarcerated since 1989, I came to prison when I was 21, I’m serving sentences that are considered “under the old law,” So I do not have 85% or any other structured designed statute that prevents me from obtaining parole, I have been seeing the board since 1997, The two most serious violations I’ve ever received is (1) rule 11, possession of marijuana ( a joint) 1997 I was not prosecuted, I did 9 months in the hole, (2) rule 12, Threat on staff, after further investigation the committee found that the threat was manufactured, (false), But it’s still part of my record, that happened in 2011, I did two weeks in the hole, other than those two violations everything on my record is considered petty violations. A serious violation is considered 1 through 10, after 10 everything is considered minors!… Now, I have been incarcerated for 34 years, I have seen the parole board seven times, I will be seeing the board again soon, I know going into this coming hearing that I only have a ten % chance of obtaining parole. So, One of the most annoying things about preparing for a parole hearing is the meeting I have with the institutional parole officer, I get a different (IPO) one every time I go see the board, The Institutional Parole Officer is someone who was a corrections officer, or like now my IPO was a case worker, corrections officer, grievance officer, So I dealt with this guy on every one of those levels, do you think he has any reserved judgements, of course he does. Any person with common sense would know this. But inmates are forced to except a biased Institutional Parole Officer, We can’t change or request someone different, I just have to except my fate in this persons hands, and these people can treat us like dogs, because they went through the departments training, If people in society only knew what these people are taught to believe about inmates. My 8th hearing already has bad written all over it the panel I will see most likely is asking there self this question? why did others not parole this guy? I will see one board member, one observer, and one physco analysis who gives there opinion to the ten member panel, who is the deciding body as to weather or not I receive parole, I have to receive 7 of 10 votes to receive a parole date. But allow me to explain what its like when I personally go before the parole board. I will sit in a room for three to five hours, I can have one person come and speak on my behalf, but that person will only be allowed to speak at the very end of the hearing, My family member is almost disregarded as if he or she is not even there, And the weird ironic part to having a friend or family member come to my hearing is the individuals on the panel will be more rude and disrespectful to me basically because I have a person involved in the hearing supporting my release. I’m never in the room more than ten minutes, I wait five hours in a room to see three people who only speak to me for ten minutes, And the craziest part to that entire ten minutes is the heartless questions that these people ask me, Questions like: Is your mother still alive? No she died last year, Is your father alive? No he died three years ago, What about your siblings are they all alive? all but one brother killed himself two years ago, But what is so stupid about all those past hearings was that those panel members were disappointed when I would tell them my family was alive and fine. The members ” Never ” ask me if I have a home plan?, or if I have suitable employment, crazy?….They never ask me if I know what I need to do too stay out of prison?, They never ask if I have a good support network? One of the weird questions I always get from the panel is ” What kind of health conditions do I have?” I always wondered what kind of impact that had on my hearings, Here is the dumb down effect, Staff who know me, Work with me, Come in contact with me throughout the week always say oh this is your time….. your do to be released, 34 years your surely getting an outdate, but 8 to 10 days after that hearing I will receive my denial, This is what I deal with on a routine basis, It works on my family, drains there energy, depresses me and them, strains there finances just to travel from Kansas to Missouri get a hotel, buy food, gas, and other needs, all just to have a ten minute hearing that they now feel is nothing but directed hate towards me and them at times, Its not fair by any means. So, when they say the board has unlimited power to do what ever they want to do with our lives, its for real!…. The staff and DOC dictate my life by holding the possibility of a parole date in my face constantly, They do not care if I ever get out, its a power play they hold over me, because they can…. The last parole hearing I had I was asked if I would take a certain mandated program? I said yes! Then I was denied parole because I have not done the program, But according to policy I can’t take the program until I receive a outdate. go figure? Now, Like I said in the beginning, I’m about to have my 8th hearing, I have not had a violation since 2011, I have had solid employment, I work as a lead person in a Missouri Vocational Enterprise Furniture Factory, I’m very devoted to my faith, My family supports me 100%, I can provide a home plan, as well as suitable employment, but, will it matter? I can hope.

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