A response to Charles Jordan aka Ansar, The Helper, on Page 3 of the November 2021 Bay View
by Julius Kimya Humphrey Sr.
After reading the article by Charles Jordan, Bro. Ansar, I was compelled to respond because what continues to happen to him by the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH) has become a form of slow death by perpetual incarceration, which highlights what many describe as racial distortions practiced by the Board and the criminal justice system.
Forty-eight years of enslavement on a seven-to-life sentence is constitutionally excessive punishment according to both state and federal constitutions and recently decided by the Supreme Court of California in In re William M. Palmer II (Jan. 28, 2021).
Determined by America’s own statistics, Blacks are convicted and serve more time in prison than Whites who commit the same crimes. So, we know disproportionate sentencing does exist.
I’m surrounded by Black men here at CSP-Solano who have been living in concrete cages for 30, 40 and 45 plus years while the Board continues to use any rule violation as reason to find them an unreasonable risk of danger to society – justifying repeated denials for parole.
Bro. Ansar has experienced what the court described as “a period grossly disproportionate to his or her individual culpability” beginning decades ago by the Adult Authority, then the Board of Prison Terms and now the Board of Parole Hearings.
There has to be a point in time when, according to the crime and sentence, the minimum eligible parole date which is set by the Board is honored and those like Bro. Ansar who have accomplished the required steps of rehabilitation be granted their freedom.
sentenced to a total of 30 years to life for what by law is a non-violent crime
The Board’s repeated denials of parole for Bro. Ansar is an insult to racial justice, period, and should not be allowed to continue. It’s even practiced on life prisoners sentenced under the California three-strikes law.
Using myself as example, I was charged in 2015 and later convicted on a §422 p.c., Criminal Threat – as my primary offense – and sentenced to a total of 30 years to life for what by law is a non-violent crime. The Habeas Corpus I filed quoting In re Vicenson D. Edwards, B288086 (Sept. 7, 2018) was granted, and on Dec. 5, 2019, I appeared in front of the Board for consideration for early parole release.
After being commended for not receiving any disciplinary write-ups, being a programmer and receiving chronos for completing self-help rehabilitation groups, I was promptly denied three years as unsuitable for parole.
Since the granting of In re Palmer, my own sentence is now constitutionally excessive because the indeterminate portion of the 30 years to life sentence was set aside and replaced by the determinate sentence of three years prescribed by law for Criminal Threat – a sentence that can only be doubled to a maximum of six years.
It is blatantly clear that Bro. Ansar’s Black skin as well as my own, along with Bro. Ruchell Magee, who has now been behind bars for over 50 years, plays a huge role as to why we remain in these cages – because as Blacks in America, our experiences and adversity suffered as youth from designed conditions in our communities are not considered as a causation that led to committing crime(s).
Instead, they are used by the Board to further criminalize us as unworthy for parole. We are held to a different standard of judgment when the decision for freedom is being made.
. . . denied five times by the Board of Parole Hearings with 30 years behind these walls on a 20-to-life sentence.
The U.S. Constitution, as stated in the 13th Amendment, abolished slavery in 1865 – except as punishment for a crime. The exception is exactly what the Board of Parole Hearings relies on today to conceal its frivolous parole denials as non-biased or racial.
Bro. Ansar made mention of In re Palmer in his article, and if not already, I encourage him to file a writ of habeas corpus quoting the Supreme Court’s decision on excessive punishment in the Palmer case.
The court stated: “An inmate sentenced to an indeterminate term [can] not be held for a period grossly disproportionate to his or her individual culpability.” It’s clear the court is aware that along with the Board’s concern for public safety, any rule violation can be used to find a life prisoner unsuitable for parole because excessive punishment is not an issue relevant to its decision making.
Recently, a Muslim brother here at Solano was freed after filing a habeas corpus quoting In re Palmer on excessive punishment, and I have just completed a habeas corpus for another brother who was denied five times by the Board of Parole Hearings with 30 years behind these walls on a 20-to-life sentence.
The Board is well aware that this particular Black man, Mr. Donnie Ray Young, who at 69-years of age now suffers from chronic kidney disease and stage-4 pancreatic cancer while being far beyond the age that qualifies him for early release, yet parole has still been denied.
The court’s recognition of excessive punishment caused by the Adult Authority, Board of Prison Terms and currently the Board of Parole Hearings is pivotal for the freedom of men like Bro. Ansar.
However, Black people in America must understand, especially those locked behind bars, the stigma of slavery we feel from the authority that governs our lives in society or enslaved will continue until the exception clause which allows forced servitude as punishment for a crime is written out of the 13th Amendment.
Until that change is made, our freedom will continue to be denied.
Send our brother some love and light: Julius Kimya Humphrey, Sr., AZ1582, Solano A5-109L, P.O. Box 4000, Vacaville, CA 95696.