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Chapter 1 – Inches

Inches. To finish my run all I needed to do was gain just a few inches.

Running track was my new sport. it was nice to be part of a team again, even if it was at the very small St. John’s Lutheran Church and School. I had just finished clearing my best height yet in high jump. Coach was impressed. I thought that was going to be it for the day, but Mom hadn’t arrived to pick me up yet, so I left the high jump in the gym and headed outside to run on the track. Mom on the other hand was apparently running late.

Hurdles require much more endurance compared to high jump. High Jump was one burst of running, a Jump, and a fun tumble onto the mat But hurdles require speed and jumping, over and over again, while maintaining that speed. While high jump was fun, hurdles was a rush. Although it didn’t come as natural as high jump, I found myself at the starting line of the hurdles run more often than not Plus, Coach told me we needed someone to fill that gap on the team. I was the only 8th grader who could get a decent time on the hurdles.

I had started at the school just months prior, but right away Coach had an eye for my athleticism. When Morn enrolled me Coach gave my thighs some creepy, hard squeezes, “Oooh, those are running legs. You play sports, son? Ever run track?” I hadn’t run track before. Football was my sport, but I wasn’t about to tell my new Coach/Principal/Pastor that St. Paul’s was a school so small one man could manage the athletics department, the entire administration, and saving the soul of every student.

It was a beautiful day outside. Really, it felt like summer was just around the corner, even though it wasn’t even June yet Early May in Michigan was a roll of the dice when it came to weather. Could be pissing rain, could be cold as shit, or it could be glorious. And that’s how I felt standing out there at the starting line. For the first time in around a year and a half, I actually felt good. I felt glorious.

Inches. My slim body was coated with a glistening sheen of sweat. The sun, slowly sinking in the sky, hit my red hair casting a slight tint of rose into my bright blue eyes. I studied the 100 meters ahead of me, the ten hurdles interspersed along the way. I had run it plenty of times, but I stared at it to get into the zone. Just the right amount of jump, lift, carry over, just the right amount of inches to clear each hurdle. Inches would make all the difference in my run.

I staggered my legs slightly, started my stop watch, and brought my hands down to the line, spread shoulder width apart. Alter checking their placement I cocked my head up, looking ahead once again. 100 meters.  10 hurdles. Inches. I checked my watch, waiting for it to hit the 30 second mark – the amount I’d deduct off my total. 27, 28, 29…

I burst forward from the line, feeling like a bullet out of a barrel I pumped my legs hard, my flat hands coming up in front of me with each stride. Within just a moment I was nearly at top speed, but here came the first hurdle. Jump, lift, carry over, inches… cleared! Speed. I continued pumping hard, my momentum hardly dropping off the jump. Acting on impulse, my body prepared for the next jump as it neared.

Jump, lift, carry over, inches… another one cleared! Sweat continued to permeate from my skin. The speed made the air feel like a breeze on my lace. My mind was … clear. There was something very Zen about being in the zone. My body and reflexes were in control, my mind would do best to just stay quiet and let the run unfold naturally. But alas, if enlightenment is supposed to fill the tempered mind of a Zen master, only distraction crept into the mind of a boy three weeks shy of his 15th birthday.

Jump, lift, carry over, inches … cleared! My mind drifted. Where was Mom? Hopefully she’d pull up and watch me clear the last hurdle and I could tell her how it was my best run and how awesome I did at high jump. She’d buy me new track shoes that would make all the other kids jealous and with my new shoes we’d win the state championship.

Jump, lift, carry over, inches… shit that was close. Nearly clipped that one. Ok, it was time to focus. Focus. Pump, drive, speed. My mind cleared again, and then drifted again. Why wasn’t my coach out here watching this run? Weill he was the Pastor too, who knows who’s soul needed tending to, needed comforting, needed to be brought back from the edge. We were Lutheran because Grandpa and Grandma were Lutheran. Because Grandma…

Jump, lift, carry over, inches… grazed it. I just grazed the hurdle. It didn’t affect my landing or my speed. I was good. I settled back into stride. Focus dammit! My mind cleared, but only for the briefest of moments. Where was Mom? Coming back to Mom in my melancholic state wasn’t easy, especially after the heartbreaking and cruel words that I said about…

Jump, lift, carry over, inches… shit, more inches… clipped, but not down! The hurdle tilted back when my foot caught it, but my shoe let go of it just in time to keep my landing relatively clean. Focus. I worked my legs feverishly to get back in stride. I could salvage this run yet. The grip on my shoes was pretty good, but if I had a new set of track shoes I’d be better. Dad would have bought me new shoes…

Jump, lift, carry, inches… tuck! The hurdle came down as my back leg hit it. I stumbled, heading straight for the ground. The pain in my leg was secondary to my concern of breaking my face on the track. My hand shot out and saved me. I got a leg underneath me and kept myself from falling. My limbs flailed as I tried to regain my composure, my stride. Where the fuck was Mom? I looked away from the track. My mind had drifted far from the track, and now my body was as well. Looking toward the parking lot, I hoped to see the minivan parked waiting for me. Was that Grandpa behind the wheel of his white Lincoln?

Shit! Jump, lift, inches! My front leg’s knee connected with the hurdle. I was falling. I went sprawling down onto the track with the hurdle. I tried to save myself again, but this time I landed heavy on my palm and forearm. Thankfully i was covered in enough sweat my skin was saved from tearing, instead I just slid. That didn’t save me from the pain of my knees connecting hard with the track. I couldn’t get my other arm out fast enough and I shut my eyes as the side of my head bounced off the track. Rolling to my side, one hand grabbed at the pain in my knee, the other attended to my head. I rocked in place, hurt all over. My body instantly throbbed with pain and my mind filled with rage.

I looked towards the parking lot again. Grandpa got out of his car and moved brusquely into the school. Why was Grandpa…? Picking myself up, t limped slowly towards the back doors of the school. I turned in place and started walking in the other direction in an attempt to walk away from the pain. I looked up to the sky, eyes wide open, lengthening my body as best I could. The pain was not diminishing. Turning again, I started for the doors ail over again, head down, eyes squinting from the pain. My walking stride marginally improved. The sharp pain started to subside as blood traveled around my body, bruises starting to form. The dull pain was setting in.

By the time I reached the main hallway of the school I was moving better, still slow, but better. Coach came out of his office, a grave look of concern written all over his face. “Joshua!” He was dressed as Coach–running shoes, socks hiked up to his knees, short orange shorts, an undersized white polo shirt displaying his girth tucked tightly into his shorts, a whistle hanging from his wide neck below his round face–but this was the voice of Pastor Baldwin. When he was in Coach mode he’d either cali me “Josh” or “Red,” something a lot of my coaches called me over the years. “Oh Joshua, there you are. Urn, please come in the office. Come with me son.”

I did my best to pick up my speed, but I winced as I walked. “What’s going on? Why is my Grandpa-” I tried to ask. “Come on, we’ll explain everything in a moment here. Just, urn, just come in the office son:· Clearly he wasn’t concerned with my funky walk, or the marks on my knees, or the mark I was sure was on my forehead. He held the door open to his office. He would often say, “My door is always open to the needs of the students, to the needs of the community.” I just wished he could keep an open mind. Then there wouldn’t have to be all this lying and sneaking around. That must be it. The school must’ve found out somehow.

Grandpa was pacing back and forth in the office when I entered. “Joshua!” He embraced me fiercely, exhaling a large sigh that seemed to give him no relief at ail. His hug was so tight my banged up body hurt from the pressure. Grandpa always hugged me hello and goodbye–it was part of his warm loving nature– but it was usually a soft, pleasant hug.

This… this was different. Something was wrong. “Grandpa, what’s going on?” I was certain he was going to tell me I had to switch schools and that Mom wasn’t even allowed to pick me up. I looked at Grandpa closely. His wrinkles seemed deeper than I’d ever noticed, and his eyes puffier than I’d ever seen. He was a tall man, standing just over 6 feet, but today his body was seemingly compressed on itself, making him seem shorter, smaller, diminished. Grandpa always took pride in his appearance, but he looked disheveled standing in front of me, his white t-shirt hanging untucked underneath a sweater I’d only ever seen him wear at home.

“Here.” Grandpa extended a shaky arm and put a pill in my hand and picked up a glass of water already sitting at the edge of the Pastor’s desk. “And here’s some water. Go ahead, Joshua.” He put the glass in my hand and started lifting my hand with the pill on it towards my face. I jerked back slightly and pulled both hands away slightly.

“What is this? I’m not sick. Grandpa… ”

“Just- Joshua, please take this, it’ll make you feel better,” Grandpa said in his most sincere and concerned voice. He again tried to move my hand gently toward my face. I pulled away and put the glass back down on the table.

“I just fell. I’ll be fine.” I started to get anxious. This wasn’t like Grandpa at all. I hadn’t seen him act this way since…

“Now, Joshua,” Pastor Baldwin said, picking up the glass of water from the table trying to hand it back to me, “do as your grandfather asks and swallow the pill and drink this water. We know best.” Even when Pastor Baldwin was at his nicest, he never spoke this softly. Something very weird was going on, and there was no way I was taking some random pill even if Grandpa was trying to give it to me.

“No! What’s going on? Grandpa, you’re- where’s Mom?” I asked him, putting a hand up to refuse the glass of water and putting the pill down on the table. I backed away from the desk and from the both of them, a look of concern on Grandpa’s face. No, that wasn’t concern, that look was… was something else. It was concern, and horror, and tear, and frustration, and pain, all wrapped up in one. Something was terribly, horribly wrong.

Pastor Baldwin picked up the pill while still holding the glass of water in the other hand. “Um, Mr. Puckett, a word if you would. ~ Grandpa broke his gaze with me and went into the corner of the room with the Pastor. Their backs were to me as they spoke some hushed words to each other. “We’ll just… and there… he won’t… ” I couldn’t make out much.

They turned back to me, the glass of water in Grandpa’s hand now. He extended it to me. While I could physically refuse Pastor Baldwin’s attempt to pass me the glass, I couldn’t refuse Grandpa. “Just drink this, don’t worry about anything else, just drink,”Grandpa encouraged. I took the glass in my hand and looked at Paster Baldwin who wasn’t holding the pill anymore. It was obvious they had crushed it and put it in the water when their backs were to me. I once again put the glass of water down on the table.

“No, Grandpa. I want to know what’s going on. Tell me where Mom is.” Grandpa knew me well enough to know once I set my mind in a certain direction it was hard to persuade me to deviate from that path.

Grandpa sighed again, and once again it seemed to provide him little relief if at all. He hung his head, downcast and defeated. “Sit down son,” he said without looking up at me. I sat. “Something’s happened,” his voice wavered, “something- it’s your mom, she-” He couldn’t go on, his voice broke up.

“Your mother is with God now son,” Pastor Baldwin said, putting a hand on my shoulder. “She’s in heaven with God now, and you’ll be in heaven with her one day, in heaven.” “What? 1- I don’t understand, in heaven?” I muttered, truly not understanding what he was saying. Grandpa’s head raised up and he looked at me with the worst expression I’d ever seen on his face. The look of pure misery. ”Your mother, she was shot–she’s dead.”

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Survive & Thrive

Being new to the corrections system, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I was certainly concerned with my safety in this harrowing environment, and decided on a twofold approach: first, survive, by any and all means necessary; second, to endeavor to thrive in this confined space. These two tasks were easier said than done. Little did I know I would be able to do both by making the right intellectual connection.

My first week here saw me sitting down with pen and paper, writing daily at every chance I could get. Being a screenwriter in the regular world, I thought the best way to thrive was to write, to do something I would do if I was a free man, to do the thing I’ll do when I’m released from here, whether by a successful appeal, early parole, or at the end of my sentence, which ever comes first.

Josh quickly noticed me writing daily and made me approach. He didn’t introduce himself, rather he just quickly started asking questions about my work. He was very cordial and equally curious. Caution, being the key to safety and survival, made me reveal as little as possible until I could find out more about my inquisitor. “Just writing an outline for a screenplay and doing some other creative writing,” I told him casually. His eye brows raised and a graceful smile crossed his face. “Oh really? Is that something you just started doing, or…?” he asked, continuing his gentle inquisition. “No, no. I have a history with it. I used to write on the outsie.”

This was not the first time someone had asked me about my constant writing, so I gave him my canned responses. However, he didn’t stop there, where most of the other inmates did. “What’s it about, your screenplay?” “This one is about a couple brothers who ride motorcycles and some of their adventures. I thought it would just be a film, but it’s turning into a series at this point,” I revealed, Josh’s smile and genuine interest made me comfortable to go on. “But this isn’t the only thing I’m working on. I’m working on a coming of age story as well.”

“That’s awesome. I’m actually trying to write something myself.” “Yea eh, what about?” Now it’s my turn to dig a little. “A book. About me. About my life and how I got here,” Josh shared. He paused, intuiting my next question. “How long have been in?” I ask cautiously. Inquiring into someone’s crimes or history is something that has to be approached with some delicacy, and typically, some familiarity. Until you get to know someone you usually don’t ask questions like that, and with some people you just never do. Sometimes you just wait until the information is volunteered.

“Since I was 18,” he responded without hesitation. My eyebrows raised a touch as my jaw dropped slightly. At this point, and even now, it’s hard for me to fathom a life in prison, given that I have had the opportunity to live such a full life before arriving here. It almost makes me feel guilty. “But it’s not a crime story, it’s about some dumb gang-banging shit, well, at least not entirely. It’s more about my life with family and my moms.” He pauses once again, this time to gauge my reaction to “moms.”

“Really? Then you might like the other screenplay I’m working on.” I looked at him for another moment, deciding whether I should reveal this new relevant detail. His look was still welcoming, still engaged. “One of the main characters in my other script is a lesbian.” He’s the only inmate I had shared that with. Revealing any support or sympathy for the LGBT community while in prison could have detrimental effects on my safety, or so I believed at the time.

Ever since I was young I was always against bigotry and hatred, regardless of who it was towards; a result of being tormented for having brown skin in a predominantly white school system. I’ve been a long time supporter of the LGBT community, and Josh quickly recognized that. “Yea, my moms were both shot dead because they were lesbians.” The smile had left his face, yet his eyes remained gentle and genuine. My eyes on the other hand had popped wide open, eyebrows raised as high as they could go, my chin having dropped a few inches leaving my mouth agape. Josh goes on to tell me some more details of his life and the life of his mother.

After some conversation he asked me if I’d be interested in ghostwriting the book with him, as he needs some help with it. I’m not quite ready to commit to anything, so I asked him more details about the project – about his life. By the end of his cursory overview of the events of his life he inquires again if it would be something I’d ghostwrite for him. “No, I don’t think I could ghostwrite that. But how do you feel about having a co-author?” I asked.

Josh’s smile returns and his eyes light up. He suggests we review all his material and then I should decide if it’s something I’d truly like to invest my time and skill on. I reviewed a few folders of information, and after reading many of the details of this tremendous, shocking, and societally revealing life story, I was ready to commit. It is now four weeks later and we have dedicated substantial time and energy into the project. We are now deep into the unique details of Josh’s life. As we move through the years of his life we are learning more and more as once hidden memories resurface and incredible correlations are discovered.

It is our earnest hope and belief that the project will be complete in the coming months. I hope to bring a clear voice, clear understanding, and clear message to the project. A message of hope and despair, love and loss, tragedy and triumph. As for me, I’ve managed to thrive with this project. And since it’s now widely known around here that I’m working with Josh on this project, his years of earning the respect of others in this environment has helped me evade running into any real issues with anyone, and I’m thankfully surviving. Stay tuned for more updates on the progress of this incredible endeavor. -Saj Qureshi

Josh Answers Questions for an Online Radio Show

Is Substance Abuse the Core Issue with Regard to My Circumstance?

I’d say No, & Yes. For me substance abuse was a social vice used to help me feel I fit in, and also a bit of escapism to run from the pain of loosing both my parents. I never used alone, nor did my days revolve around the pursuit of substances to use. Yet, yes, because my mother had drinking issues, she was violent on a regular basis without the drinking. When she drank she was fun, nice, relaxed, and paid attention to me. Thus, this shaped my views on drinking. It made me see substances as less dangerous, thus it was later easier to fall into binge drinking and other recreational use. I was lucky that my using never crossed the line to “hardcore” drug abuse, on the road I was on it may have if my life was not cut short by a Life sentence at age 18.

What I can say to our young people is that I may not have been some junkie, but by using substances to run away from the problems I didn’t want to deal with in the long run did a massive amount of damage to myself, my family, and led to me lashing out in reckless ways once those emotions could no longer be bottled up, avoided or “used away.” You must face your problems head on, they will never go away until you deal with them. You must take responsibility for your actions, face the harsh reality of who & what you are. Then do the hard work to repair the damage inside you, then the damage you’ve done to others, and your community. You will find that there are no shortcuts to recovery. No easy way not to face your fears or heal your emotional wounds. God, is not going to fix it. Your parents can’t always rescue you. Your friends will not always be there. You have yourself, and it is your own personal responsibility to mold yourself into the person you want to be. You will fall, but we each possess the strength to carry our own burdens no matter how heavy. Yet, moments will feel like you can’t go on, but I assure you, you can conquer anything in your path.

Being in prison, sentenced to die, has shown me the depth of human strength, and if I can struggle and fight not to loose my humanity in a place like this, you can find the strength to make positive choices and become the person you envision yourself to be. There is no perfect road, or master plan, just dedication, determination, and discipline. Those are the keys to the future you dream of.

that’s the best and realest advice I can give to any young person coping with substance abuse, peer pressure, and the trials of adolescence. Be brave, make the hard choices and hold onto the vision of the person you want to be.

When you look at the intersection of the popular media and the prison system today, you would think that no inmate in our prisons should ever be released. In shows like MSNBC’s “Lock up” or NATGEO’s “Lockdown” and many other clones, these programs showcase nothing but build, tattooed, violent inmates. They highlight violent incidents from only the most violent prison systems, in states like Texas, California, and other states with over crowded penal systems.

This is done to sensationalize the prisoner and doing time. The true fact is most days are uneventful and boring. Yet, that TRUE depiction would not push the ratings up, nor entertain viewers. So, these shows find ways to reinforce negative stereo-types, and put the focus on the minority of inmates, the ones in high security levels, at institutions with reputations for violence and insurrection. They are profiting from putting prisons worst on television during their worst moments. This destroys the public’s ability to perceive the truth, that men only act like animals if you treat them like an animal. These shows only dehumanize prisoners to the public. This fosters fear in John Q public. After viewing one of these programs you can only be left with the “tough on crime” mind-set. When what we really need the public to push is a “Firm on rehabilitation” stance to its state’s House and Senate. Without that mind set, prisoners will keep coming back, and will gradually turn into that small percentage you see on “Lock up” and those other shows.

Even in prison these shows do damage to the inmate population, as the new and/or more docile prisoners see these shows believing this is what prison is about. Some inmates even try to emulate what they see on those shows. Lamenting how “soft the system is” thinking things need to be more like on T.V. What they don’t understand is that what is depicted is not what prison is supposed to be, or how the average inmate acts, so it paints a false standard that the new inmate thinks he has to live up to.

The truth is for most inmates prison is a time of reflection and rebuilding. A lonely, boring time, some use it to grow and others just get by as best they can. The most important thing is finding ways to make the days go by faster, this is not accomplished by violence, lock downs, and insurrections. Truly only a small portion of the population are gang members, and many of those members do their best to keep the peace, maintain order, and keep things calm because chaos is not conducive to the illegal activities they participate in. The best way to describe doing time is, that it’s like the movie Groundhog’s Day, the same day replayed over and over again. Sprinkle in a few good days, and a few chaotic days. The inmate population does have its monsters and they are bad. Yet, there are just as many extraordinary men as well, who strive every day to grow. They accomplish incredible things from inside a prison cell, but you’ll never hear any of those stories because it doesn’t fit the stereotype. I am one of those stories and there are many more like me.

20 Years by Josh Puckett

20 years ago on May 5th a boy came home to chalk outlines on the driveway, concrete stained red/brown with the blood of his mothers, and News cameras in his on once peaceful front yard.

Murder Site Chalk Outline

Murder Site Chalk Outline

20 years ago 2 women who were business parters, parenting partners, life partners, and married partners; were taken away from this Earth because of how they loved.

Christine & Sue

Christine & Sue

20 years ago a lonely old conservative man lived next door to small business owners. He lived next door to community leaders. He lived next door to a loving couple, but all his hate filled heart chose to see were 2 faggots.

20 years ago our society was so filled with intolerance & hate that this old man felt that he “had to” gun down 2 women, who decided not to hide their love & marriage to each other.

http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=VxtQAAAAIBAJ&sjid=2FUDAAAAIBAJ&dq=james%20brooks%20killed%20christine%20puckett&pg=4084%2C5114267

20 years later is our society any better? Have we learned how not to spread hate? How to teach inclusion, acceptance, and mutual respect for each other as human beings? Have we learned from the mistakes of our past? Grown from the sacrifice 2 women made to be openly married.
Wedding Reception

Wedding Reception

20 years later, Michigan’s republican Legislator attempted pulling the teeth out of an antibullying bill, so it wouldn’t include coverage for the LGBT community. Our Republican Legislators in D.C. are attempting to push the “Defense of Marriage Act” to pass, so that 2 humans that don’t love like “they” do can be treated without equality.

Defense of Marriage Act Bill

Defense of Marriage Act Bill Page 2

Defense of Marriage Act Bill Page 2

20 years later when I turn on the T.V., the stories are about a lesbian Boy Scout leader who has been expelled from the Boy Scouts of America because shes gay. FOX News showcases a debate criticizing their Republican presidential candidate for apointing a gay man to his staff.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/05/01/romney-national-security-spokesman-resigns/

20 years later, similar lonely old conservative men have taken over Michigan’s government and are proud to showcase their lack of compassion, reason, and humanity. men that if they were in power 100 years ago would be proudly passing Jim Crow laws, & separatist legislation. Legislating “their” morality not fiscal responsibility or positive change.

http://senate.michigan.gov

20 years have passed and I’m very disappointed that our society in Michigan hasn’t grown past caring about how 2 human beings love each other. That we can’t choose acceptance, love, and compassion for other human beings regardless of race, gender, and sexual orientation.

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Prisoners-Advocating-for-Gay-Lesbian-Equality/194880103875443

PAGLE

Prisoners Advocating for Gay Lesbian Equality

20 years have passed and the leaders of this state should be ashamed of themselves. In time of economic recession, record unemployment, and foreign wars, we should be clinging to our humanity. Doing our best to build bridges, and spread good will amongst one another. Not focusing on social divides, & creating descension among our people, based on race, gender, and sexual orientation.

20 years have passed since the day that a lonely old conservative man took my parents from me because of how they loved, and lived their lives.

Josh and Mommy

Josh and Mommy

20 years have passed and this year I wll celebrate the lives of 2 women, community leaders, and mothers. This year I will mourn for Michigan, and pray for its leaders to choose a righteous path to recovery, healing, and equal rights for all Michiganders.

Visit With Cindy Perry & Brian Alexander

Visit With Cindy Perry & Brian Alexander

Learn more about Michigan’s history, and about what group is on the front line for equality in our state.

http://pittmannpuckett.com

www.goaffirmations.org

Law Suit Against the MDOC for Unethical Phone Rate Charges

Check out the lawsuit that I, Josh Puckett, along with Carl Ashley, and John English, have worked on for the last 6 months. We are hoping this will rectify the injustice perpetrated on the friends and families of Michigan prisoners.

Law Suit Re MDOC Phone Contract 4-18-12

The suit will return approximately 12 million dollars of unlawfully acquired funds to men and women who have paid the exorbitant prices for calls from their incarcerated loved ones.

Last year the MDOC elected to set up a Special Equipment Fund (SEF) to purchase “military grade cell phone detection    equipment” despite the fact that only 6 cell-phones were confiscated in Michigan prisons over the last 3 years.

To facilitate this they added 14-20 cents per minute to the base rate of 4 cents per minute to be collected and deposited by the phone company (PCS) into the fund. In return for holding and hiding the money PCS received 30%. The problem is all funding, or programs to fund budget’s must come through the legislature. Who the MDOC knew would never approve, in affect, double taxing the friends and families of inmates.

See, you, the tax payers have already paid to fund corrections in your state taxes and inmates on average only make $18 dollars per month if they have a job, so its the family and friends of inmates who are paying into this SEF for the most part. Your Senate and House members didn’t vote for this program and it was not in the budget either. That is why its necessary for the MDOC to pay 30% (more than most wall street fund managers make by the way) of the profits to PCS for them to “manage” the money. Basically to keep it off the books.

Let me put this in perspective at the lowest listed amount of minutes a month at the current mark up of 15 cents, on the average average per minute the payout scale on the PCS contract they will pay onto the SEF $787.000 per month. This is after taking out their 30%. This scheme makes over a million dollars a month. This money is not going towards saving officers jobs, or paying down our state debt. Nope, they’ve bought some tazers, pepper spray, and who knows were the rest went, because they never listed what they needed.

One of the few things that is PROVEN to help inmates successfully re-enter society, and lower recidivism is a strong support system of family and friends. This illegal fund, is a direct attack on an inmates chances of success by literally reducing his/her ability to call by 50% (calls went from $1.50 under the old contract to $3.20 for a 15 minute call now)

Many prisons are far from urban areas, where a majority of the MDOC inmates hail from so visits are unlikely. For many at facilities in the U.P. (6 hours from the Detroit area) the phone is the only way to stay in contact with their family, their children, wives, and support networks.

The senate then passed a bill aimed at stopping the SEF, but legal pros in the MDOC astutely pointed out that this bill had NO TEETH and was “unenforceable” because of a 1960’s Title Object Clause.

That is why this suit is necessary. Please read it, support it, and inform the Corrections Committees, in the House and Senate of your support for it. We need positive coverage of this so tell your local media outlets to check out the suit and EXPOSE the corruption.

For the entire MDOC please click on the link below:

MDOC Phone Contract With PCS

HOUSE REPRESENTATIVES:

*Joe Haveman (R) 517-373-7606

josephhaveman@house.mi.gov

*Fred Durhal (D) 517-373-5711

freddurhal@house.mi.gov

SENATE MEMBERS:

*John Proos (R) 269-429-0539

johnproos@senate.michigan.gov

*Glenn Anderson (D) 734-458-1991

senganderson@senate.michigan.gov

 

 

 

 

Josh Puckett

 

 

 

 

Carl Ashley

 

 

 

 

John English

WHO IS JOSH PUCKETT?

BY: J. ANTHONY CINTRON JR.

In life there are two kinds of people. Those who are meant to remain in our lives, and those who are only meant to pass through our lives. When I met Josh Puckett for the first time in the winter of 2011, I knew that this man was meant to remain a part of my life.

We met through a mutual friend, a man named Brian (Caesar) Harr. Upon being introduced to Josh, Brian said, “Cintron this Josh Puckett, he’s a good solid honkey. He’s family, he’s my brother.” Anyone who knows Brian, knows that he is a harsh judge of character, but honest; and that only the most respectable of individuals will ever gain his confidence and begrudging respect. Baring that remark in mind, allow me to tell you who is Josh Puckett.

Josh is a very intelligent man who is very easy to get along with. He is always respectful towards persons from all walks of life and gives selflessly to others in need. He has an endearing kind and loving soul, and gives a hundred percent of himself to whomever or whatever he chooses to. He is fiercely loyal to his family, friends and loved ones. A quality that I admire, since I believe when he gets out he will make a wonderful, passionate, loving husband to some lucky lady; and a positive, influential father figure to his own children.

Josh is a protector, a moral man, he bases all of his actions in his life off of some personal ethical code that i believe he developed out of a want to recapture his humanity that the Justice System would have robbed him of. (I know he did not commit the crime that he was put in prison for, having lived among evil men for almost a decade, and constantly being exposed to them for longer than that you learn to tell the good apples from the bad ones). But that chilling fact does not shelter him from having to shoulder the burden, lessen his remorse for what was done, or his resolve to make himself the kind of person who dares to make the world a better place, and be that man he and others can be proud of.

Finally, who is Josh Puckett? Josh is napalm, an incendiary mixture of polystyrene, benzene, and gasoline. (according to the American Heritage Dictionary 4th Ed.) An ever burning firebrand that will not allow himself to be extinguished. It is this spirit, its fierce fire that burns within Josh that has made him into the man that he is today. To some people they see his passion as anger. Very well, if they see anger, I would say that they are witnessing one of his greatest strengths. I was raised to bury my emotions and anger, and always portray a calm demeanor. But I ask you, if a star, beautiful to gaze upon from a distance is still burning billions of miles away. Does this make its fires burn any less hotter? Josh’s rawness is honesty that we should be grateful for in a world riddled with deceptive intelligence. And if his anger can be harnessed to achieve productive tasks and channel new lines of positive thinking for the youth of today and tomorrow, then I say everybody should be as lucky to say they have a firebrand like Josh Puckett as their friend.

If my words have moved or resonated within you, please, I compel you to check out this man’s life story, and his ‘Road to Redemption” by clicking on www.freejoshpuckett.com.

 

 

 

 

 

J. Anthony Cintron Jr.