Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Update & New Story

Next month will mark TWO YEARS that we have all been sitting here waiting for a decision in Nathan's case from his hearing in February of 2009 as to whether he will get a new trial or not. Nathan is doing extremely well and keeping quite busy. He has a 4.0 GPA in his college classes he is taking while incarcerated, which are all business and law related. He is also working as a paraprofessional in the music room at the prison, as well as studying various religions. He continues to amaze me with his perseverance, fortitude, and positive attitude.

But as I sit here shaking my head over the unbelievable fact that it's been two more years in prison for Nathan without a decision, another story has come across my desk that I must share with you all. I implore you to get involved and I will keep you updated here as to what we all can do to keep this from happening.

We are asking that you please familiarize yourself with the case of 12-year-old Paul Henry Gingerich, of Cromwell IN, who was tried and sentenced as an adult to 25 years in adult prison for conspiracy to commit murder in connection with the April 20, 2010 shooting death of Phillip Danner, the stepfather of a 15-year-old friend, Colt Lundy. Impressionable Paul Henry was bullied and manipulated by the older Lundy into participating in the incident, and on January 5 was given an identical sentence to that of the older friend who had hatched the plan and fired the fatal shots.

The Indiana Department of Corrections has determined that, because of Paul Henry’s youth and small size, the judge’s intention that this child serve his sentence in an adult prison would result in an unacceptable level of endangerment for the child. Instead, IDOC determined that Paul Henry should begin serving his sentence in the state’s youth prison system.

Unfortunately, instead of assigning Paul Henry to the most appropriate youth facility (which is located in South Bend), IDOC has determined that the boy will be assigned to the notorious Pendleton Juvenile Corrections Facility near Indianapolis.

Pendleton is the facility which made headlines a year ago when the US Department of Justice issued a report citing it as the second-worst institution among 195 youth prisons studied regarding instances of sexual abuse and sexual violence. The federal report disclosed that 36.2% of inmates report having been sexually abused by staff members and other inmates.

The population at Pendleton has fewer than five inmates as young as Paul Henry. Most of the prison’s 300 inmates are much older—up to age 22—they are repeat offenders and, most troubling, violent gang members and sex offenders. As is true with most other prisons in the US, approximately 75% have serious mental health conditions.

This child, because of his small size, personality, and physical attractiveness will be at grave risk in Pendleton’s predatory culture, and we are asking you to please use your contacts and influence to encourage IDOC to reconsider its decision and reassign Paul Henry Gingerich to the youth corrections facility in South Bend.

It appears IDOC made its decision to send Paul Henry to Pendleton not on the basis of what is best for the child’s rehabilitation, but to placate the judge and prosecutors who wanted this boy to be punished in an adult facility.

For more in-depth information about Paul Henry’s case, please visit the personal blogsite of Dan Dailey, a Texas-based youth justice advocate who is working with Paul Henry’s parents to organize a legal appeal and a humane resolution of this disturbing perversion of justice.

Expanded story: http://wandervogeldiary.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/good-news-bad-news/

2 comments:

  1. thank you for the update on nathan! much appreciated. and i'll be following paul's story as well.

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  2. Hi Eli,

    Thanks for the update on Nate. I am a 28 yr old college student and ex-con who did almost 3 yrs in a maximum security women's prison in VA for an accidental killing stemming from excessive speed and an auto accident. I am very familiar with the politics and injustices of the justice system.

    I was released 2/1/2010. I am currently taking classes to pursue my law degree and learned about Nate and Erik Jenson from the PBS special that was aired years ago. The PBS special said that Nate has appealed and I did a google search to find some recent status of his appeal.

    It disgusts me and everyone I have talked to about this case. I would like to support Nate and his appeal in anyway that I can. As an excon myself and knowing the joy stemming from hearing your name at mail call I wanted to send a card or letter or something to Nate and Erik to make them smile and keep going. I know that after a certain time, the incoming mail sometimes dies up or at least the flow slows down. I also know the joy that a simple piece of mail from the outside can give you. Do you know how I can find out where to mail something to and the rules of the particular institution for incoming mail?

    VA DOC has an inmate locater if you know the last name of the offender. I assume CO does also, but haven't had a chance to look into it.

    Any info. or update you have on Nate and Erik, any ideas how I can help get them released (I have constituent relatives living in Denver), and any info. about their mailing info. and rules would be greatly appreciated. You can correspond with me directly at skauffman5001@email.vccs.edu - I tied to email you via the icon, but the security image didn't download and I couldn't.

    I am off to write a paper due on Monday linking Chapter 5 of my Criminology text to the stories in the PBS special. Please let Nate and Erik know that I will be supporting them in my paper. What happened to them is an injustice and abuse of the criminal justice system. The prosecutor who made a deal with Brett to go after Erik should be charged. Deals like that should be criminalized in my book - Brett would have said Barak Obama hit Nate's mom to have all charges dropped when facing a 3rd felony. The prosecution's record looks better for a conviction of 1st degree than any lesser charges. Erik is a victim of abuses by those of power in the system. Nate is a victim also. He was betrayed by the very systems that were supposed to protect him. He deserves an apology from society as a whole. In other words, I view them as the victims, not the offenders. Which is likely to go over well with my professor - a former police officer and corrections officer. We don't always see eye to eye which leads to an interesting class...

    Any info. or update you have on Nate and Erik, any ideas how I can help get them released (I have constituent relatives living in Denver), and any info. about their mailing info. and rules would be greatly appreciated. You can correspond with me directly at skauffman5001@email.vccs.edu - I tied to email you via the icon, but the security image didn't download and I couldn't. I hope to hear from you soon.

    All the best,
    Stacy

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