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Step up and come to the aid of current Old Law Prisoners.

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                                                  You Can't Con A Con

     Yet that's exactly what the Ohio Parole Board has been doing for the last sixteen years to the taxpayers of Ohio. Allow me the liberty to explain to you what a convict is. It is derived from the word Con-artist. A con-artist is someone who tries to paint a picture in your mind of a false reality so that they can con you out of a resource. If they are caught and convicted, that person becomes a convict. This is the term that has been applied to "Old Law convicts" who were sentenced pre-1996 under Senate Bill 2. As convicts we have accepted the responsibility for doing the time in which the judge has sentenced us to do according to the Ohio Revised Code. As convicts we want to paint a picture of how the Ohio Parole Board is conning the taxpayers out of approximately two billion dollars for the incarceration of "old law convicts" since Senate Bill 2 was enacted in 1996. This does not include the medical costs of these aging prisoners or the litigation of various lawsuits for the past sixteen years that were filed in the courts against the D.R.& C. and the Parole Board. This cost also doesn't include the cost of maintaining the Ohio Parole Board, which would run into billions of dollars that was spent in the past. The con comes into play when one of the key factors that the Ohio Parole Board uses to make their decisions is not only the safety of the public, but mainly for their job security. Let us explain.

     CON #1: Prior to the passing of Senate Bill 2 in 1996, all states received federal funds for prison reforms to enact flat time sentences for all inmates. It was this funding that resulted in the enactment of Senate Bill 2. Old law convicts were supposed to be brought into compliance with this bill. This would have made old law sentences retroactive with the new law sentences. The Attorney General's Office and the Ohio Parole Board lobbied against that part of the bill, pressuring law makers to delete this part, leaving this state with dual sentencing laws. The reason why the Ohio Parole Board fought against this is because they have no jurisdiction over flat time sentences. These inmates do their time as sentenced by the judge and are released at the expiration of their sentence. But old law convicts still have to go before the parole board. To secure their jobs, the Ohio Parole Board started giving out so called "Super Flops", meaning they were giving out time well in excess of what an inmate normally would have received at a board hearing. This consisted of a convict getting anywhere between 10 and 40 year "flops" at their hearings, which was unheard of in the history of the Ohio Parole Board.

     CON #2: In 1998 and in 2007, the Ohio Parole Board enacted new guide lines that were more restrictive than the original guide lines of 1987. These new guide lines were used by the parole board to enhance the sentence of old law convicts, which was a violation of the Expo Facto clause of state and federal laws and fair and meaningful hearings. Several lawsuits were filed on this matter, Layne, Ankrom, Sirak, Hall, Dotson, Allen and Gerhardstein, just to name a few. This action by the parole board in creating these new guidelines strengthened their job security by keeping old law inmates locked up even longer than justified.

     CON #3: In 2009, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of all old law convicts concerning the new guidelines used by the Parole Board. When the Federal Court judge saw that the lawsuit had merit in favor of the old law convicts, the Ohio Parole Board threw out the new guidelines which rendered our lawsuit moot. This took place in April 2010. This action by the Parole Board eliminated any remedy of relief through the courts, leaving the Parole Board with total jurisdiction. Why did the Parole Board do this? To secure their jobs even more.

     CON #4: To justify their cause of not releasing old law convicts, the Ohio Parole Board categorized us as being "THE WORST OF THE WORST" inmates, not suitable for society. The question is, how can old law convicts be categorized as the  "worst of the worst" inmates when the Parole Board in the past was releasing inmates who have committed indenticle offenses Pre Senate Bill 2? How can a murderer or rapist who was sentenced today under the new law, doing less time for the same crimes as we committed, be any less dangerous? None of these groups mentioned are labeled as the "worst of the worst", but in order to  secure their jobs, the Ohio Parole Board is  conning the public with fear, getting some to believe that we (old law convicts) are unsuitable for release.

     CON #5: In a recent newspaper article, JoEllen Smith, spokeswoman for the  Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction said ..."That after 16 years, all the inmates likely to be paroled have been released already, leaving behind the states worst inmates to recycle through the process again and again." In another article, Cynthia Mauser, Chairwoman of the Ohio Parole Board said that..."Because we are siixteen years from Senate Bill 2, most of the people suitable for parole have already been released." The question is-if we are going to be recycled through the system over and over again, wasting tax payer dollars, then why do we need a Parole Board, if they are never going to release us? Why are Ohio Taxpayers spending billions of dollars to keep us locked up, when our educational systems in Ohio are being depleted of resources? Based upon this evidence, there needs to be an immediate hearing concerning old law convicts and their release. Both the Governor and the Director have executive powers to replace the Parole Board with a new board that would comply with their prison reform efforts. Finally, the only reason why we are still incarcerated is because of job security for a select few. Old law convicts are being held as political prisoners by the worst of the worst cons in the State of Ohio, (The Ohio Parole Board), but you can't conn a con.

       Written by two old law convicts.


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