Parole boards – the stumbling block in the offender’s stride to freedom

“Let there be freedom! Parole now!” – Art: Arkee Chaney 

by DaQuincy L. Love

After thorough research, personal related experience and a heart that aches without ceasing, I’m writing this concerning an ongoing problem that has yet to be dealt with – a broken system that is constantly breaking all fellow human beings who are entrapped in the system. 

I’m writing this on behalf of all my Brothers and Sisters of the struggle – those who are just and unjust. 

I write on behalf of all of those whose freedom is being toyed with by our very own “brothers and sisters” who are placed in positions of authority in the name of “rehabilitation.”

I write on behalf of all the families who are still hurting but yet anticipating their loved one’s release. 

I write this on behalf of the incarcerated men and women in the great state of Texas.

One may ask, “What brings this matter about?” And the answer to that is years and years of patiently waiting to see parole, only to be denied for made up reasons by a “brother or sister” who sits high but looks down, puts on airs and states that the offender is not ready or is not rehabilitated for society. 

Before going too deep, this statement must be understood: “Whatever affects one directly affects all directly.” 

I don’t believe that it’s fully the offenders or the officers who place the stumbling block in the offender’s stride to freedom but the moderate – the moderate who is more devoted to judgment, order and power rather than rehabilitation. 

. . . judged without the opportunity to be understood. 

Those who sit on the Parole Board believing that they can set a timetable for another man’s freedom. Those who live by a man-made word that enables them to be in the position they are in, they constantly throw that meaningless word in the face of incarcerated men and women as if that’s the sole purpose of someone’s freedom.

A wise man once stated, “Shallow understanding from people of goodwill is way more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will.” 

I had to write after witnessing another Brother’s pain after being denied parole once again – this while enduring being cast out of society for whatever bad decision led to his incarceration, along with the many years of being disrespected, belittled, ordered around and institutionalized while waiting to be paroled – only to be denied because he does not meet the qualities set by the Parole Board. 

This is tantamount to being judged without the opportunity to be understood. 

This bitterness which sits within my heart is caused by the “brothers and sisters” who sit on parole boards who fail to understand the pain and heartache Brothers and Sisters in this place face daily. 

Now I, being the honest individual that I am, know that whatever bad decision made that lands men and women in a confined place is the payment of justice. I too am a sinner. With that being said, I have yet to find the perfect human in this day and age who understands that justice must be served.

Seeing my fellow Brothers and Sisters are incarcerated, would you not say that justice is being served? So what is the reason for setting a timetable on your fellow human being’s freedom? 

By timetable I mean: If the judge granted someone the possibility of parole at sentencing, why deny them parole once they’ve reached their projected parole date? Why toy with a person’s emotional state? 

Instead of calling us by our names, we are called “offenders” or “inmates,” no matter what age we are or how respectfully we behave. Once incarcerated, men are nothing more than “state property.”

By being institutionalized, one could be in an unstable and vulnerable state, only for you to toy with their hope.

Being incarcerated for six months or even longer past their parole eligibility date, one experiences further inhumane treatment by other humans who have been entrusted to protect, serve and monitor them. The experience is a form of modern-day slavery, if you ask me. 

First, they are captured, bound, encaged; then they are sent to foreign lands. Once there, their names are changed and then they are put to work without pay. 

Oftentimes, those in authority are blatantly disrespectful, verbally abusing Brothers and Sisters as if they are not equal to the humanity outside the fence.

Instead of calling us by our names, we are called “offenders” or “inmates,” no matter what age we are or how respectfully we behave. Once incarcerated, men are nothing more than “state property.” 

By the color of your clothing, you are categorized as “nothing” – and that’s the exact manner in which the authorities treat you.

Race plays another role: Being Black in a predominantly Hispanic officer environment, you can feel they care less for you, and this is also reflected when Hispanic inmates are housed on units where the officers are predominantly Black, such as Darrington Unit. 

Brothers and Sisters all over Texas, incarcerated, tolerate this form of behavior while at the same time always thinking about someday “making parole.” 

Being humiliated day in and day out, caged like animals, being punished for the actions of other men – all these things and so much more for the sake of praying and hoping to make parole – only to be denied.

Rehabilitation – the very word is used for humans to look down on other humans and keep them enslaved. The word itself is the very reason the Parole Board exists. 

It is just another big fancy word to describe a human who is not fit to live in society – whether anyone knows exactly what a person under that definition has endured or suffered in their life.

Until you have come to the realization that death has conquered your family while you battle with parole, just then you become aware of how it feels to be denied time and time again by your very own human peers.

It’s hard to explain to your children that you are not coming home as you thought you were. Time after time, set off after set off. 

Experiences such as seeing the gray on your father’s head get grayer or to wipe away the tear in your mother’s eye or see the anxiety in your children’s faces every time they have to leave you again are heartbreaking. Even worse is experiencing the death of loved ones as they float away like bubbles that pop after a short time.

Until you have come to the realization that death has conquered your family while you battle with parole, just then you become aware of how it feels to be denied time and time again by your very own human peers. 

These things are being stated to shed light on the real hidden agenda of the rehabilitation system and what it really is – and who it is that really has the last word.

With constant denial of parole, you help create two opposing forces within the confines of corrections: 

One being complacency – made up in part of incarcerated Brothers and Sisters who, as a result of long years of incarceration and oppression, are drained of how freedom feels and have become accustomed to imprisonment. There are the few who use the time to become new due to academics or economic security by learning how to profit within the prison system. The latter having become numb to the parole system and their denials.

The other force is bitterness and hatred for the system, which opens the door to violence. There is a culture of frustration among Brothers and Sisters who have followed the rules, tolerated the chaos and confusion, aches and pains, and unjust behavior of those in authority and have taken program after program in search of seeking to better the self or earning early release.

But the dreadful pain that provokes anger, carelessness and violence from being denied parole is a shame.

In all honesty, it appears that the very members of the Parole Board have yet to spend years inside a cell in order to realize the damage that is done. Until they do, it is impossible for them to know or understand our true desire for freedom. Perhaps I am being too forward with my concerns. 

But is it too much for me to ask that we be understood? As I sit in this very cell, doing my time as productively as possible, I cannot allow the tears of my Brothers and Sisters who are frustrated and helpless to continue without trying to at least break the silence. So, I made a conscious decision to put these thoughts on paper and I am willing to accept the consequences that come with it.

Whether good or bad, for the sake of my Brothers and Sisters, I am willing to speak on their behalf even if it makes me a sacrificial lamb – my aim is only to set them free mentally. 

If I have over-stepped the boundaries, please forgive me and help us to understand. And if I have offended anyone, again, forgive me. But just know that the title on my state issued ID states that I am indeed an “offender.”

Thank you,

Huey P. Newton II

Send our brother some love and light: DaQuincy L. Love, 1961679, Torres Unit, 125 Private Road 4303, Hondo, TX 78861.