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Day 507

Friday, April 24, 2020 -

In response to the email I sent yesterday to Warden Beard, I received the following response shortly after I sent my email, which can be found in yesterday’s journal entry.

“According to Program Statement 5162.05, Categorization of Offenses, Page 2,

“3. Offenses categorized as crimes of violence.

“a. Criminal offenses that are crimes of violence in all cases. Some Bureau policies or programs require a determination that an inmate committed a crime of violence, for example, the program statement on programs such as early release pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 3521(e), indicates that an inmate could be denied the benefits of such programs if he or she was convicted of an offense listed in either Section 3 or 4 Any conviction listed below is categorized as a crime of violence.

“You were sentenced to 18:1204 International Parental Kidnapping, which is specifically listed as a crime of violence in the program statement.

“You are denied Home Confinement based on your crime of violence, which specifically listed in P55162.05, Categorization of Offenses.”

This is the first time I have been told that I was convicted of a “violent crime,” as absurd as that is. Yet, the word “could” the warden quotes above indicates it is entirely up to him whether or not I am extended home confinement, which he has chosen to deny me. I suspected this would be the case, as there has been nobody from this prison or at least this unit that I knew of who has been released due to the COVID-19 virus.

It all comes down to money, I believe. Justice is set aside in exchange for the almighty dollars, as your tax dollars pump $50,000 to $75,000 (I have heard varying estimates) to reimburse this prison for each inmate they house, helping to fund the well-paid staff and prison guards and build up the local economy.

I was hoping and praying this warden to be different but am being proven wrong.

And so, instead of justice, he finds obscure reasons to hang on to every inmate as long as possible, regardless of what is right and wrong. To keep me here, he has determined to label me as a violent offender.

Yet, Jesus told us to expect that. As a result, when this happens, He says we are blessed. This is my comfort and assurance, “Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of Me. Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in Heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” (Matthew 5:11-12)

I know God has His purposes in keeping me here, as hard as it is to be apart from Kathie who I haven’t seen for nearly seven weeks. Psalm 119:49-50 tells us to remember the Lord’s word to us that have given us hope, “This is my comfort in my affliction, that Thy Word has revived me.” Indeed, “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I may learn Thy statutes.” (Psalm 119:71) Oh, Lord!

I wrote the above this morning. At noon I read some amazingly encouraging emails from Kathie. And then, about 3:00, I received a letter from a horse and buggy Mennonite couple from Pennsylvania I hadn’t met. They said, “We heard the story of why/how you are in prison, but it’s been so long I can’t remember the details anymore. But how encouraging it is to me that there are men like you who take steps to protect women and children, no matter the cost! May the Lord richly reward you for this! It seems to me having the confidence that you did the right thing should make your days a bit brighter. There is no other ‘high’ quite like successfully fighting against evil!”

I thank God for this couple who listened to God’s leading and wrote me just when He directed so that I would receive this letter at just the right time! I praise God that He sends encouragement at just the most opportune time to encourage me when I needed it most!

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