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Saturday, May 24, 2014

An Appeal To Members Of Virginia's New Parole Board


Virginia Parole Board
6900 Atmore Drive
Richmond, VA 23225
(804) 674-3081 

Current members:
- Ms. Karen Brown, chair
- Mr. Algie T. Howell, Jr., vice-chair
- The Reverend Doctor A. Lincoln James (pastor of Trinity Church in Richmond)
- Mr. Sherman R. Lea (Roanoke City Council member, former VDOC head, Western District)
- Mr. Minor F. Stone (25 years in law enforcement)

Dear Parole Board member:

Congratulations on your recent appointment to the current Parole Board.

According to the Parole Board website,  "The Virginia Parole Board... continues to be empowered by Virginia Code Section 53.1-136 to make the following decisions:
  • to conditionally release inmates who are parole eligible,
  • to revoke parole and post release supervision of those under supervision found to be in violation of the terms of their release, and
  • to investigate, prepare reports and advise the Governor, when requested, on Executive Clemencies.
The Board has the legal responsibility to act on geriatric requests for conditional release under Virginia Code Section 53.1 - 40.01."

I hope you will increase the numbers of prisoners who have been behind bars for many years and who could be safely released to their families and communities. A number of men with whom I have been in correspondence were incarcerated on the basis of plea agreements in which they were told that if they served some of their time and exhibited good behavior they would be eligible for parole in a reasonably short time.

Such promises were never kept for countless numbers of persons who, in spite of their best efforts, have been refused parole year after year because of "the severity of their crimes", something they are of course powerless to change. Many of these parole eligible inmates are over fifty, having passed the age where their being at risk for re-offending is dramatically reduced. Many of them would in fact qualify for geriatric release.

I offer the following names only as examples of good people I believe deserve to be given their second chance. As a taxpaying citizen, I fail to see the merits of detaining persons long after they have demonstrated that they have learned their lesson and are ready to become contributing members of society:

Mr. James E. Bender #1010837 (excellent prison record, seeks parole after spending years in prison under old law)
Greensville Correctional Center
901 Corrections Way
Jarratt, VA 23870-6914

Mr. Stephano Colosi #1037581 (excellent prison record, is an active advocate for geriatric release for aging prisoners)
Buckingham Correctional Center
P. O. Box 430
Dillwyn, VA 23936-0430

M. Steven W. Goodman #1028377 (excellent prison record, active in doing legal research on restoration of parole)
Buckingham Correctional Center
P. O. Box 430
Dillwyn, VA 23936-0430

Mr. Danny Haskin 1005852 (excellent prison record and has taken every educational opportunity available to him)
Greensville Correctional Center
901 Corrections Way
Jarratt, VA 23870

Mr. A. Jefferson Grissette #1143033 (wrongfully sentenced based on plea bargain and photo line-up, excellent prison record)
St. Brides Correctional Facility
P.O. Box 16482
Chesapeake, VA 23328

Mr. Nat Painter 1009725 (age 72, incarcerated 19 years, denied parole in spite of excellent prison record)
Coffeewood Correctional Center
12352 Coffeewood Drive
Mitchells, VA 22792

Mr. Jens Soering #1161655 (47-year-old who seeks return to his native Germany, has authored six books on prison life and prison reform since 1986, when he was incarcerated for a wrongful confession)
Buckingham Correctional Center
P.O. Box 430
Dillwyn, VA 23936-0430

Mr. Jonathan D. White #1161021 (has exceptional prison and education record and has worked hard to earn parole)
Powhatan Correctional Center
3600 Woods Way
State Farm, VA 23160

Mr. Charles E. Zellers, Sr. #1036758 (excellent prison record, active in prison reform efforts)
Buckingham Correctional Center Bl-113-B
P.O. Box 430
Dillwyn, VA 23936

Sincerely,

Harvey Yoder, LPC
11345 Hamlet Drive
Harrisonburg, VA 22802
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