On Wednesday, May 19, Joshua J. appeared before the Superior Court before Judge Patrick Haggard, handcuffed and chained, and dressed in a bright orange prison suit. He had been locked up for a month, after being arrested and imprisoned for allegedly violating the terms of his felony probation. He pleaded guilty to robbery with intimidation and was sentenced to two years in prison, followed by eight years of probation.
He was also ordered to pay compensation to the victim of his criminal offence. Since he had an outstanding parole order, the officers who charged Mr. with the misdemeanor of “not having a license,” the person arrested and took her to the Clarke County Jail. And there he sat for a month. As we usually do, John Cole Vodicka and I were watching in Judge Haggard's courtroom of the Superior Court on Wednesday morning.
Sitting on the opposite side of the gallery were a dozen prisoners in chains. Judge Haggard asked how much longer, Joshua J. he was subject to his probation sentence and was informed that the defendant had one year, two months and 12 days left to serve. Judge Haggard determined that the admission had been “conscious and voluntary,” and accepted the terms of the agreement. He stood up, his lawyer patted him on the back, and limped back to the seat that had been assigned to him in the gallery.
Fortunately, Joshua J. Hunter and defense attorney Clark at the end of the court process that morning. I let them both know that the Oconee Street United Methodist Church had established a community bail initiative and, in partnership with the Athens Anti-Discrimination Movement, had been able to provide monetary resources to indigent defendants who could not “pay their bail” to get out of jail or, as in the case of Joshua J. What happened in Joshua J.'s case was exceptional; however, none of us should be truly “satisfied” when someone has been forced to navigate the country of parole — living with the threat of jail over their head — for eight or nine years. And there can be nothing satisfying when someone spends a month or more in jail for what were administrative actions, not criminal ones. Unfortunately, there is nothing unusual about such long trial sentences.
For many here in Athens-Clarke County, lengthy parole sentences become a revolving door, as they carry the person on parole back and forth between jail, prison, court hearings, and probation. The fact that he somehow walked out the revolving door made his case exceptional in Judge Haggard's mind. Deborah Gonzalez, our prosecutor for the Western Judicial District, is also determined to examine and offer alternatives to what has been the common practice of sentencing defendants to long-term parole, particularly since it has generally targeted the African-American community. We must support any and all efforts being made to reduce the use of prolonged and “revolving door” parole in our community. However, first Garcia has to leave the Clark County Detention Center, where he is serving a 90-day sentence for entering without authorization after being arrested on a court order. About 28 percent of the inmate population in the Clark County jail attend Sunday worship services on average, about 10 percent attend weekly Bible study, and about 8 percent attend tutoring provided by Christian Formation Ministries. Prison administrators travel by elevator with audio equipment and a lectern that is used for religious services in prison.
He was arrested for selling cocaine in 1990 and spent two years as an inmate at the Clark County Jail. The other prisoners and six men from the Church of the Gospel of Christ in Jeffersonville arrive together to mark the start of the service; the difference is that the inmates wear overalls and the pastors wear two-piece suits. Calvin Thompson, a member of the prison ministry of Christ Gospel International, leads the singing of a hymn during the church service at the Michael L.Friday's forecast points to moderate ozone levels with good quality air for particulate matter, according to Clark County Air Quality Division. An innovative Clark County Detention Center program is providing resources to short-stay inmates to help them recover and remain out of custody.
Providers who engage with inmates include Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Clark County Department of Family Services (DFS), Southern Nevada Health District (SNHD), among others. The Methodist Church offers special services for those who are incarcerated or recently released from prison in Clark County. These services include providing monetary resources for those who cannot pay their bail; providing religious services such as Sunday worship services; Bible study; tutoring; hymn singing; access to resources such as DMV; DFS; SNHD; among others.