Support The Redemptive Life Foundation in obtaining Jason Ortega's freedom
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Jason Ortega is a 43-year old Puerto Rican male originally from Miami Beach, Florida. He is currently in prison for his role in a drug conspiracy that he entered into at age 15 while living in Norfolk, Virginia. He was eventually convicted at age 23 for his role in conspiring to distribute crack cocaine, and taking part in a murder during a continual criminal enterprise. He was sentenced to life in federal prison for his role that spanned a thirty-one month period, excluding time previously spent incarcerated. In addition, he was convicted in the Circuit Court of Virginia Beach for an overt act of his federal drug conspiracy in which he collected upon a drug debt with force, and took more than was owed. He was sentenced to 39 years for that offense.
Now two decades later, Jason is candidly sharing how at age 15 when faced with family problems requiring adult decisions, he made some not-so-smart decisions out of fear and an undeveloped mind. He joined a drug conspiracy to protect his family from drug dealers his father owed money to, that not only took advantage and manipulated Jason, but sought to kill him when he learned too much and became a liability to them.
Jason was a victim of his own environment and father's drug addiction ---- an environment and father's drug addiction that as a 15-year old teen, he had little ability to control. Our society is suppose to have certain mechanisms in place to assist when things go awry. In Jason's situation, the mechanisms never kicked into gear as the Commonwealth of Virginia's Juvenile Justice System and Department of Youth & Family Services (D.Y.F.S.) dropped the ball on three different occasions, letting him fall through the cracks.
Jason was diagnosed by three separate state psychologists, on three seperate commitments to the D.Y.F.S. as having a number of mental and emotional health issues: (ADHD) Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, impulsive, disregard for social norms, rarely considered the consequences of his actions, unmet dependancy needs, underlying feeling of insecurity and inadequacy, and easily led by others with an undeveloped mind, which predicted his future response to the circumstances he was faced with at his most critical juncture. The psychologists all recommended he receive treatment prior to his release from the custody of D.Y.F.S., yet he never received any. So it's no surprise that he was incapable of appreciating that his actions would lead him to prison with a life sentence. He was a mixed-up teenager with mental and emotional health issues, no real guidance, assistance, or concept of what real life was about.
During the twenty-one years he's been incarcerated, Jason has made a total amendment of life. He gave his life to Jesus Christ shortly after his incarceration, participated in numerous treatment programs, received a certification in computer systems technology, obtained a degree in Christian Theology, became a licensed minister involved in ministering God's love and word to the men he's incarcerated with, and serves as a ministry leader and bible study teacher. He's even strived to make a difference in the lives of others by participating in our study and candidly revealing his whole thought process at the most critical juncture of his juvenile life.
Jason understood that many adult offenders like himself began their criminal behavior when they were just juveniles, and that we were seeking to learn what preventive measures we could implement to keep other juveniles from following in his footsteps and making unwise decisions. So his insights into the flaws of the juvenile justice system and how he was directly impacted by it from age 10 to 18, as well as identifying the struggles and barriers he faced in transitioning to adulthood, and the holistic solutions he offered up, are significant due to his perspective.
In asking you to support his petition, we ask: Is two decades enough time spent in prison for his crimes, especially when he was as much a victim under the circumstances that led to his imprisonment? And is his total amendment of life twenty years later worth anything? Do we keep Jason warehoused in prison although he is no longer a threat to society, has already served twenty-one years in prison, and with each passing year he gets older he becomes more expensive to house, and the rate of recidivism diminishes? Do we really believe in second chances? If not Jason, then who?
There's no doubt that Jason would be a value to any community he would be released to as a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and mentor to at-risk kids. In addition, he'd contribute as an advocate for justice reform with the knowledge and experience he holds of the flaws in the system. Lastly, he'd serve as a motivational speaker and example of someone who's made a total amendment of life, and what it takes to arrive there.
To contact Jason directly, write to: Jason Ortega, #1060893; LVCC (63-201); 1607 Planter's Road; Lawrenceville, Virginia 23868
To contact or learn more about The Redemptive Life Foundation, visit: Facebook@RedemptiveLifeFdn
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