Freedom for Nathan Jordan's Unjust 120 year sentence

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My brother was unjustly sentenced to 120 years in prison under the three strikes law in 1999 as a 19 year old adolescent for crimes where no one was hurt.          

In 2013 the three strikes law was abolished due to it being inhumane but it is not retroactive.  Where does that leave my brother and the many other people incarcerated under this law?

This year they have reintroduced the Incarceration Ammendment Reduction Act which would allow people just like my brother a second chance at freedom, life, love, family and the ability to help intercept others before they end up in our horrible excuse for a Corrections Institution. America's prison system has become just another industry to make money off of human lives. It Is not a place for rehabilitation and it's creating more criminals Then reshaping behavior.  Help me and the many others fighting for this change by signing this petition and be apart of a new era of real change!  Thank you!

Here is the background on my brothers story, it is long but it is also important to read and understand this part.  Stories like these are the reason the Incarceration Amendment Reduction Act had been brought back into three light of the public! Stay informed!

Signing this petition is important because the three strike law was misused and over enforced. In the case of my brother, he is serving a 120 year sentence for property crime where no one was hurt. Arrested when he was 19, he has already served 20 years of his sentence. He was a confused and angry boy who's mom had just died, not a career criminal. He knows what he did was wrong and wants a second chance to prove that not all convicted under the three strike law deserve life in prison. On November 2nd 2010 I saw my older brother Nathan for the first time in over ten years. We were separated in 1994 after a childhood of being volleyed back and forth between foster homes and our mother’s custody. Nathan and I have the same mother but different fathers. Our mother was battling spinal meningitis with an addiction to alcohol. Nathan and I were placed in foster homes every time our mother was placed in a rehabilitation program. Nathan’s Father left the picture when he found out our mother was pregnant; my father divorced our mom when I was two and she took Nathan and me and disappeared. From the age of two to seven, my life consisted of my brother and I going back and forth from foster care to our mothers care. My father came back into the picture while Nathan and I were in our last foster home, and took both my brother and I into his custody to live with he and his girlfriend. As soon as Nathan found out where our mother was, he ran away to be with her. That was to be one of the last times my brother and I would see each other over the next fifteen years.

For the next two years, Nathan lived with our mother and her addiction to alcohol. The first thing he ever stole was a bottle of booze closest to the front of the liquor store door. Over the next two years Nathan would continue to steal alcohol for our mother to stop the shakes from her withdrawals, and whatever else he had to steal to survive. In 1996 at the age of forty four, our mother Joan Teresa Jordan lost the battle to her alcoholism.

This is a story that has no ending because the good part is just beginning. A story of pain and loss, survival and strength; hope love and patience. My name is Allysa Faith Jordan, and all I have ever wanted is to be reunited with my brother Nathan. As children, all the fundamentals and values that make us who we are were stripped from us at a very early age. The difference between Nathan and I is that my dad came back when I was seven; I was given the chance at a fresh start to a new life worth living. All Nathan knew and wanted was our mother and with her death, he was left with an enormous void that left him broken bitter and reckless.

The story I am about to share with you has been a journey of struggle, and all I want is for that struggle to end. As other children grow up with their brothers and sisters, I grew up with a brother behind bars. Over the past twenty years, the relationship between my brother and I has only gotten stronger. Through writing and phone calls, we have been able to stay close and give each other strength. On November 2nd 2010 I saw my brother Nathan for the first time in over ten years. Since seeing him I have decided to do whatever it takes to get him out of jail. What follows is Nathan’s story of what happened to him and how he was over sentenced to 120 years in prison at the young age of nineteen.

My goal is to get my brother out of prison. I understand that I have set my goals very high, but I have come so far in my life and stayed so strong for one person, that I believe that this outcome is possible. I am of the notion, that the reality of life is a manifestation of what you think and speak of. If you focus all of your energy on the positive, you are only opening the door to more positive outcomes, and vise versa. I understand that we are all busy people with our own lives and struggles, but all I am asking is for 20 minutes of your time to read this letter.  Thank you for your time and blessings for you and your family. Happy New Year

To whom it may concern,

Hello there reader, my name is Nathan C. Jordan, a 38 year old man who has been in the custody of the Department of Corrections these past twenty years. What follows is an account of my life and how I was sentenced to 120 years in prison at the age of nineteen without having ever killed anyone or much less hurt anyone. Now that should not suggest that I lived my young life as a boy scout, as you’ll read, I believed I did deserve some time in prison, but the rest of my life? That punishment outweighs the crime by so much that it is akin to using a nuclear weapon to get rid of an ant hill. Before this happened to me I naively thought that sentences like mine were reserved for serial killers or terrorists, but that’s not the case. I received the severest of penalties as if I were such a monster.

To begin, I would like to give you a little background information of my years growing up and how I developed a pattern of “running away.” Before the age of eleven or twelve, my family consisted of my mother my younger sister Allysa my younger brother Josiah and myself. You will never hear me say anything negative about my mother, but social services got involved in our lives early and separated my siblings and I from our mother as she struggled with an addiction to alcohol. In the beginning of these troubles, we would be placed in a foster home or group home until our mother completed some type of rehabilitation program, or other, to win us back. She would be stable for awhile, and then we would be uprooted again and the pattern would continue, being taken away and then returned.

The difference between my brother, sister and myself, was that they knew their fathers and that their fathers were still in the picture. I never met mine. So when we were removed yet again from our mothers’ home, their fathers stepped in to take custody of them, and were kind enough to take me in as well. While in the custody of my sister’s father, I felt like an interloper, or outsider, I felt that I did not belong. All the other children in the house had some connection to the adults, being children of the woman, or man of the house. My only connection was my little sister and I felt like I didn’t have a legitimate reason to be fed their or cared for. I was nobody’s kid living in someone else’s family, an intruder.

When I received a phone call from my mother after she completed whatever program she was in, I returned to her where I felt I belonged. But I returned alone, my brother and my sister, had to stay with their fathers… before long, I was removed from my mothers care again and went to live with my little brothers father this time. Once again, I was an interloper, and an outsider. Only this time I was made to feel that way by the woman of the house who resented my being their. Who fed me meals only grudgingly as if it were an unpleasant chore, who made a show of giving Christmas gifts to the other kids in the house, but none for me; When I found out where my mother was, I ran away to be with her.

That started a pattern of “running away” that grew as I grew until it became a part of me and who I was. Living with my mother who had become a drunk full time, I took care of myself. I no longer went to school and I started stealing. My mother would drink through her social security money half way through the month and there would be no food in the house or money to buy food, so I would steal some and bring it home. I would steal mostly candy as a child would pick to eat. With no money to buy alcohol either, my mom would suffer from withdrawals and I got so scared to see her uncontrollable shakes that I started running into liquor stores and grabbing bottles closest to the exit and dashing back out with the liquor store clerk chasing me down the street. I would make it home and actually feel good to watch her gulp it down just to stop those shakes.

One day my mom set out to leave our bare apartment to go to the liquor store and she was so drunk, that she stumbled 2 or 3 times before she got to the front door. I was worried that she was going to fall down the stairs or get hit by a car or something so I tried to prevent her from leaving, I tried to restrain her and we struggled. When she struck me, which she had never done before, I let her go. Neighbors having heard the commotion called the police. When the police arrived my mom said I assaulted her and the police arrested me and took me to juvenile hall, I was twelve years old and it was my first time being in jail. My first time being in a fight, and getting beat up. My mother had disappeared and the charges against me were dropped. I stayed in jail waiting for a group home placement, with no where else to be released to.

They put me in a home in Aurora where everyone who lived there was black, and I felt way out of place living there, being picked on just because I was white. It wasn’t a week before I ran; only this time I didn’t have my mom to run to, I didn’t know where she was; That first night, not knowing where else to go, I went to the apartment complex that we had last lived in. I went in the laundry room where there was a closet with a big hot water heater in it, that’s where I slept, next to the warmth of the hot water heater. When I woke up, I made a breakfast of some candy bars I stole from the same store I had been stealing from when my mom and I lived there. Then I wondered the streets, learning how to take care of myself out there and how to survive.

After a month, I was arrested when the landlord of the apartment complex entered the water closet in which I was sleeping. When the police woke me up, they ran my name and discovered I had a run away warrant. I was back in jail waiting for a group home placement, when it came though, I ran right away again. It was a cycle that continued until I was about fifteen years old, running away and getting caught, spending a month or two in jail and then running again; Spending all my time out on the street, on the run, and mixed up with a rough crowd. During one of those stays in jail, I received a phone call from my mother who said she had been looking for me forever, and didn’t know where I was. Now that I knew where my mother was, when my group home placement came through, I ran away to live with her.

It was the best time of my life, I was able to help with the rent and food and we never went without. We were happy to be reunited, happy to be in each others company, and happy living life. While out running the streets as I had done since the age of twelve I got picked up yet again on another run away warrant. By this time I was a familiar face at the jail, and in the court, and It was decided that I was to be released to my mothers custody since I would run away to live with her from any group home they put me in anyway. My mom came to visit me, and I told her the good news. With no more warrants and no more being on the run, perhaps I could get a job and an I.D. and quit hustling out there. My moms only condition was that I straighten up, get back I school ad apply myself, quit running with the crowd I was running with stay off the streets ad out of trouble. I promised that I would do all of these things ad I meant it.

The court hearing in which I was to be released was scheduled for the next morning ad se said shed be their, to pick me up and take me home. I hugged her when our visiting time was over, and as she turned to leave, I called her back to hug her again. I lingered over that second hug for some reason ad held her fiercely tight and told her how much I loved her and how id make her proud the way I was going to get myself straightened up. She looked radiant at that visit; full of smiles and hugs and kisses, those “mom hugs” that feel the best.

That night lying awake in my cell, I was positively brimming with optimism and looking forward to the future with hope and relief, relief that the bad times were over. I entertained thoughts of getting my brother and sister back and becoming a family again. The next morning however, when my mother didn’t show up at court I felt a stabbing pain in my gut and I knew something was wrong. Her absence at court did not cage the outcome. My mom was awarded custody of me, all she had to do was come and pick me up… when I returned to the jail from court, I called my mom and my moms boyfriend answered the phone and told me he’d be up that evening, the he hung up on me.

All that morning, the rest of the day and into the evening I was filled with dread and apprehension, wondering why my mom had not come to pick me up yet. At eight o’clock that night, I was called out to the visiting room where I saw my moms’ boyfriend and a chaplain seated there. They told me that my mother had died in the night from spinal meningitis. That pain that I’d been having all day in my gut suddenly exploded throughout my entire body and it felt like I couldn’t breathe, it felt like my heart was crushed and broken and I tore my clothes and howled like a wild animal. I couldn’t control my pain or grief and had to be restrained. I had just seen her the night before and that second hug kept playing in my mind over and over. Why had I insisted on that second hug? Did I know she was about to go subconsciously?

I assumed that I’d be released to my mom’s boyfriend so I could go and see her body and say goodbye but that didn’t happen. Now that my legal guardian was dead{on the same day she became my legal guardian}once again I had to wait for a group home replacement. This left me broken, the timing of it. Not only had my mother passed away, but all my hopes and plans died with her. That was the proverbial last straw, and in my 15 year old state of mind I felt that all was lost and I had nothing left to lose, having already lost everything, first my brother and sister, now my mom. I was all alone in the world and inconsolable. I had no more cares.

Needless to say, when the group home placement came through and I was released, I ran away and disappeared into the streets. This time was different though. I just didn’t care, I had no more caution. I didn’t look both ways before I crossed the street. I didn’t cover up or seek shelter when it rained. O would partake of a staggering amount of drinking and drugs, three times as much as an adult, somehow trying to blow my own mind. I wasn’t scared to fight anyone and would get my ass kicked by grown men twice my size. I started robbing people and eventually got arrested for it and thrown in jail.

Sitting in jail, only this time not for a runaway warrant, I was in jail for aggravated robbery. When I went to court, I was surprised that I was being charged as an adult. I had just turned sixteen, and I was shipped off to Denver County Jail. Arriving at the jail with the adults was a shock to the senses. If the streets were rough, than “real jail” was infinitely more so. People were stabbed, thrown off the third tier, jumped and beaten with their teeth scattered all over the floor; People hanging themselves, knocking people unconscious and taking off their shoes. You could smell the crack and weed smoke as u entered the building, and see people shooting heroin on the stairs, nodding out, sleepwalkers.

This was the world I entered at the age of sixteen and it was sink or swim. Everyone seemed to be a predator with a nose for weakness, so I had to make sure I had none. The grief over my mothers’ death gave me recklessness and disregard for my own life that people took for courage and boldness and I learned to fit in and was respected. When I went to face

My charges at court I was told that if I pleaded guilty id get three years in a program for juveniles charged as adults with three years in adult prison suspended over my head if I didn’t complete the program. I was told that if I didn’t plead guilty id get thirty-two years. Even though I was charged as an adult I was far from being one and the threat of thirty-two years got through to me and I took the deal and pled guilty. With no mother or father there to give me advice, no guardian, it seemed like a good deal to me and as an “adult” now, the choice was mine and I was sent off to Y.O.S. {Youth Offender System}.

Far from the madness of the county jail, Y.O.S was not your average juvenile hall. Everyone was charged as an adult, everyone had something to prove, everyone was rowdy. It might as well have been a boxing academy, and I learned how to fight every body type. If I had a dollar for every time I got punched in the face, or punched someone else in the face then id still have money left over even now after all these years later. After two years there of seemingly endless conflict I was released to the programs halfway house. Without the bars, razor wire, and fences that I had become accustomed to over the past two years it was just like a group home setting again and I fell back into the habit of running away. I didn’t jump over a fence, or tunnel through a wall, I simply walked out through the front door. Unlike my previous experiences though, this wasn’t considered running away, I was escape and now I was a “fugitive” with a felony warrant.

I wasn’t out a month before I was caught. The police being notified of my whereabouts by one of my sibling’s father, who thought he was doing the right thing. I was back in Denver County jail, building B the “Gladiators Dome” as it was known, amidst racial riots, drug over doses, and everyday tension and violence. I couldn’t break through the violence and realized I shouldn’t have run away, I had no time to reflect while adapting to the human zoo. When I went to court, I pleaded guilty to attempted escape and was sentenced to one year in prison. Right after my eighteenth birthday I boarded the bus to Canon City with the rest of the inmates and got off at the Centennial Correctional Facility which back then was known as a “live joint” meaning dangerous and violent.

When I arrived at the facility I realized that this was no Y.O.S. I wasn’t there but a week when I saw another inmate get stabbed to death as I was standing in line for dinner. I was in prison where eighty percent of the inmates were “lifers”, doing forty or more years. When I arrived I was given a “care package” from the “fellas” which consisted of some stamps, magazines, cigarettes and a shank. I was told to keep it on me at all times. I was being “schooled” by the old timers and experienced convicts there about how you were supposed to carry yourself in prison. My fertile eighteen year old mind was absorbing there morals, values, virtue, and wisdom and code of lifers, killers, and gangsters and my year flew by in a tremendously severe, serious and violent atmosphere where people would try to kill one another for the slightest provocation or slight.

When my mandatory release date came around I was told to provide an address where I wanted to parole to. I told them I had no address to go to, no home or family to take me in. They informed me that I was to report to the parole office downtown and that id me paroled to the homeless shelter there. As I got off the bus downtown and wandered over to the homeless shelter to have a look at where I’d be living, I was dismayed to see the type of people that you would expect to see at a homeless shelter. Filthy and smelling bums pushing shopping carts full of trash in and out, filthy beards and soiled clothing, drunkenly lurching and staggering in and out of the entrance.

Coming where I was coming from, and always on guard as if id been living in a military outpost, I couldn’t even bring myself to go inside, so I ran away again as I had always done and didn’t report the parole office. I knew I’d have another warrant out for me again. All of my experiences from the age of 12 up to that point when I was 19 left me warped and bitter and I self-destructed, drinking and using drugs with reckless abandon and turning to robbery once again to support myself, never stopping long enough to realize how wrong it was. From 12 to 19 I spent my time in jail or on the street, those formative years that shape you into the person that you’re going to be. I didn’t learn my morals or the notion of right and wrong in school, or in church, or at home from my parents, like a normal person would.

My idiotic reasoning was that it’s o.k. to steal as long as you don’t hurt anyone. Like Robin Hood I stole from the rich and gave to the poor, myself being the poor. Such was my delusion…. ON the day of my last arrest, after a robbery, I stole a car at gun point and drove off with the driver still inside whom I let out a few blocks later unharmed. After a chase I crashed the car and was caught on foot. Sitting in the back of the police car I knew that I had messed up big time and was going to have to pay for it. I was thinking I might have to do 15 or even 20 years. When your 19 that seems like forever, but I figured I deserved it and I’d just have to suck it up and do that time. I had no idea of the rude awakening that was in store for me. My life was already over….. I just didn’t know it yet.

My attorney told me that the D.A had an offer for me. If I pleaded guilty I’d receive 48 years, with 10 years consecutive, 58 years in total that was the offer. If I didn’t plead guilty I’d get 72 years with 48 years consecutive fore 120 years total as a habitual criminal. “Habitual criminal”, I said? The 3 strikes law and this was my third felony, I didn’t think my juvenile conviction would count… So my options were life in prison, or life in prison. I begged my lawyer to talk him down to 30 years, I could probably do that. I told him I was sorry, and that I didn’t hurt anyone, why were they treating me as if I’d killed somebody? They wouldn’t budge so I decided to go to trial, because why not? A small chance is better than no chance at all.

The jury deliberated for only 10 minutes and I was found guilty of aggravated robbery, kidnapping, aggravated motor vehicle theft, and possession of a weapon by a previous offender. At a separate hearing I was judged to be a habitual criminal and was sentenced to 72 years, with 36 and 9 running concurrent…. At my second trial I didn’t even go because they wanted to put me in front of the jury in chains and wearing an electric shock device. They held the trial without me even being in the courtroom, and I was found guilty of aggravated Robbery and sentenced to 48 more years consecutive. I now had 120 years in prison, more time that I could ever hope to live.

10 years has now gone by now and only too late have I matured and grown up, getting over my mothers death and my upbringing in the sewers of humanity. I’ve educated myself, and became a mad and better person, but to no avail, it does me no good because my future is laid out in front of me… I’m sorry for what I’ve done, not just because I got caught, but because it was wrong. My decision making process was entirely flawed and spurred on a profound grief. 10 years was enough to realize this, 10 years was enough to change the ways I am, the way I think and feel. What am I supposed to do with the next 110 years? I’m at a loss. 10 or 20 years would have done the trick… What’s harsh to me is the disparity I live with. I’m housed here with a guy who took a 24 year deal on 2 counts of murder for reckless manslaughter. Routinely I see guys with 20 and 30 year sentences for second degree murder. Why did I get such overkill? Most guys doing time as habitual criminals are in their 30s and 40s, no one had ever seen a 19 year old kid get sentenced under the habitual guidelines, your not a habitual anything at that age.

It’s too late to complain now. What’s done has been done. A life sentence is like a stalling pattern for death, your cell just an empty waiting room where you wait to expire… and when you enter that waiting room at 19 you’re in for a very long wait… I think that to be executed is preferable. I mean if I’m such scum that I don’t deserve to be free ever as an adult then why do I deserve to be preserved and fed in a room for 50 or 60 years or however long it takes me to die? If you want to be rid of me why not be rid of me in fact? I have a hard time getting over the pointlessness of my existence here in this cell. Couldn’t the money spent feeding me be better spent elsewhere?

That brings me to the end of the story reader. I hope you don’t think that anything I’ve said is because I feel sorry for myself, because I don’t. I deserved to be punished for what I’ve done. My point is that an injustice isn’t justice. While the people I stole from lost something, I have lost everything. While the people I stole from are still alive and didn’t receive so much as a bruise or scratch from me, I’ve been condemned to, in my opinion, the worst fate a person could possibly have. Born with the capacity to feel and experience, the gifts we’re born with innate inside of us, to have this precious and limited gift of life and be stripped of every single thing that makes it worth having… There ar4e some people who deserve that to be sure, I just don’t thin that I’m one of these people. I’ve made mistakes as a youngster, just like we all have, but I’m no monster that should be suspended here in nothingness until death.

Whoever you are I hope yours is a happier story than mine and with a better ending. Don’t let simple pleasures be below your regard, they’re the ones you’ll miss the most when they’re not there. Take care out there and have yourself a very wonderful day, Ill be sure to do the same. Bye…

Signed,

Nathan C. Jordan #96656