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I am not one to put light or attention on a story like this. However, it's something I've found very hard to talk about. It's been easier for me to ignore, than to come to terms with the life I've been given. I'm swallowing my pride and breaking my silence because justice is long overdue.
I have decided to share my story, in hope that someone in a similar situation knows they are not alone and to seek true justice. I've recently found myself struggling and down on my knees because I'm finally coming to acceptance but still feeling the need of validation. I have so many unanswered questions for our judicial system, yet have not found answers.
Brief background on my last 16 years: I was 9 years old when my best friend, my dad, was taken away and will never return home. His new home is behind bars with a family of inmates. Home has never felt so far away from me. Home to me is where family is, my dad will never be home again.
My dad has been incarcerated for the past 16 years. He is serving consecutive sentences. Over these difficult 16 years so many things have happened that I will never be able to get back. I remember the day my dad went to trial my teacher put a big smiley face on my desk and bought me some poem books. This was so hard on me as a 2nd grader. While everyone else was in class, my teacher had a special room and I would go cry in there for what felt like hours. When everyone was talking about their dad or making gifts for them at Christmas time I'd make one too. But I would throw mine in the garbage because I knew the state of Michigan would not allow my dad to have anything like that. I would lie to my friends when they would ask where my dad was, and why I wasn't going to attend the daddy daughter dances.
Fast forwarding a few years, I became a ward of the state. The judge granted me emancipation at sixteen. Having to go to court for foster care hearings, my favorite part was being able to see my dad on the video chat. The judge would always allow me 30 extra minutes to video chat with him, which I thought was awesome. I pay an enormous amount of money to global tel link phone services to be able to keep any type of relationship with my dad. I feel this is important to not only me and my dad, but is tremendously important for any inmate to have the privilege to speak to their loved ones.
Unfortunately, since my dad was incarcerated so far away when I was younger I was unable to visit. He has since moved slightly closer, so I am able to visit him a couple times a year. I'd like to touch briefly on how hard it is for me emotionally to visit my dad. It's literally the hardest thing I've done in my entire life. It's so intimidating, they make you feel like a criminal, which I do not understand, is that their job? The part that kills me is to see my dad in a blue and orange suit, knowing those are the colors he will live in the rest of his life. It's so dehumanizing. I hate good-byes watching those gates lock and leaving my dad there is nothing more than a night-mare. No visit gets easier. I can tell you every single time I leave I go straight to their restrooms lock myself in a stall and cry. No matter how many times I visit my dad it's never good-bye it's see you later.
This has been traumatic on myself and my brother. He was older, my dad and my brother were so close it absolutely killed him inside. When my dad sent him letters he wouldn't even open them. I believe it was because he couldn't handle it emotionally. Since this trauma accrued in our life, my brother has become disabled. His life will change forever too. Although my dad is the one incarcerated I will also be a prisoner for the rest of my life.
A little background knowledge of his sentence: yes, my father did have a prior record which in the state of Michigan they believe 3 strikes and your out. Game over. Not soft on crime policy. I believe this is the first error in our judicial system. The poor choices my dad made involving drugs ended him a death sentence in prison. No violence & no one was hurt. Three charges of 20 to 75 years, two of which are to be served consecutively. I am by no means justifying the fact for breaking the law. Although, I do believe the crime committed should fit the period of time served.
Around 2001 the law changed in regard to drug crimes committed. My dad was charged in 2002 by jury. In my spare time I find myself researching laws and learning my dad's case more. The crimes that where charged against my dad had absolutely no violence associated with them. The state has spent almost $500,000 already for his incarceration. It costs roughly $28,000 a year to house one individual. I wish the state would focus more on making the punishment fit the crime.
Please include B & C under senate Bill 0072 & 0073.
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