Jeff received a ticket for a dirty urine a few weeks ago. This is the second one he has received since he has been in this prison. The first time he lost his visits for a year and all of his privileges, phone included for nine months. They kept him on Keeplock status in prison. This means he was confined to his cell for 9 months. While on keeplock status you’re unable to order commissary and he was unable to order any of his art supplies to paint. His time ended a few weeks before I first made contact with him again.
He has been doing so well the past two years. Due to this ticket, he was unable to put in a transfer request. He had to wait 9 months for his classification to drop and then he would be able to see if he would be able to get back to Eastern Correctional Facility. In Eastern, he was enrolled in the Bard Prison College Program. Hundreds of men apply yearly, but only 15 make it. Jeff was one of the 15 who made it. We were also supposed to get married this March, but he received another “dirty urine”. This would be understandable if his urine was dirty, but it wasn’t. This is the same guard again, who just doesn’t like him. He went for his hearing and was served another year loss of visits and 9 months keeeplock. He fought his case during his hearing with all of his evidence, but ironically, the hearing officer is the guards wife and he lost. He has appealed and a service called PLS (Prison Legal Services) a pro-bono firm picked up his case. This doesn’t happen often and in order to pick up a case, they have to believe there is wrong doing. Obviously, they see this and they have signed on to assist him in fighting this ticket. Due to this ticket we are now unable to get married and he is not able to speak to me daily. This is causing him to go crazy in his cell and his mind is all over the place.
Two of Jeff’s Paintings
After he received the ticket I contacted Albany and informed them of the situation. I was irate on the phone and spoke to the IG department. They had initially investigated an incident that occurred with him when he arrived at this prison. Jeff had nothing to do with this incident. This is an excerpt detailing the incident from Jeff’s book:
“Auburn is the second oldest prison in the United States and it is the oldest prison that still houses inmates. Auburn is also the most violent prison in New York State. The presence of death can be felt as soon as you enter the prison. I had gone from the least violent place to the most and it was time to readjust. I am a survivor and I do what I have to do. I was trying to change for the better, yet I was caught between the old me, Dutch the Gangster and the man I wanted to be, Dutch the artist. I was conflicted because I was questioning if I could be more than a Gangster. After all, the woman who was supposed to love me since she was 14 years old, didn’t believe in me. People loved my paintings but I couldn’t sell my work due to being in prison. When I tried to do right, no one helped me, but if I was scheming on illegal money, people believed in my plans and helped. This fact made me question if I was just meant to be nothing more than I was. It’s hard to believe in yourself when no one else does, but at this time I was so passionate about art, I had to work. Art allowed me to have a voice through my visual images. Continue reading “I Fear They’re Going To Kill Him. . . Update On Jeff. . .”