Well, after finding out that they still have not taken my boyfriend to the Detention/Diversion Centers, I finally sent out a couple of emails that were long overdue. This first one, I sent out to any state official that I could get my hands on their email.
To whom it may concern:
My boyfriend, TK was arrested on April 6th for a probation violation. He was found guilty in May. The lawyers, Mr. H and Commonwealth Attorney, and the judge could not find any earlier date than August 8th for his sentencing.
During this time, he was supposed to be screened for a detention/diversion center. When he went to court on August 8th, he had a new court-appointed lawyer, Ms. P, and the detention/diversion centers still had not approved his screening, eventhough they had over 3 months to screen him. So, they set another date for August 25th. He also asked to be screened for drug court while he waited.
On August 11th, the Detention/Diversion center came to get TK, but he hadn't even been sentenced yet.
On August 25, 2005, he had his sentencing. Drug court had still not screened him before his court date, and they asked if he wanted his sentencing postponed once again so they could screen him. He said no because he was tired of just sitting in jail, wasting his time. He was sentenced to the Detention/Diversion Centers at this time.
Two days later, the head Public Defender of the city came with drug court for his screening. He explained how he had already been sentenced, and they said that if he was approved for drug court, the detention/diversion center sentencing could be overridden. So, he received the screening.
Around September 5th, I called his lawyer, Ms. P to find out the results of the drug court screening because TK was getting impatient with waiting in jail instead of starting his sentence. The secretary at the Public Defender's office told me that she believed he had been approved for drug court and would transfer me to the lawyer handling his case while Ms. P was on vacation. This lawyer could not give me any information and just told me he had a meeting that afternoon for the drug court decision. I would have to wait until Ms. P returned before I could receive any information.
All this time, TK has been sitting in jail, asking to see his lawyer. As of today, September 21, 2005, she still has not come to see him, though me and his mother have called her at least 8 times to go see him.
When I finally got ahold of Ms. P on September 13th, she told me his drug court screening had been stopped and told me, just like she had told TK, that detention/diversion should come pick him up the next Monday. (She's been saying that since August 25th.) She said that if he wanted to appeal and see if he could be re-screened for drug court, he could receive a worse sentencing than he already had. I called the head Public Defender and explained how I had been told he had been approved for drug court, from what the secretary had told me, and Ms. P was being uncooperative. She said she stood behind anything that Ms. P said, and that if his drug court screening had stopped, he must not have been approved.
I called the Commonwealth Attorney, and she finally gave me more information than his own lawyer would. She said she did not know whether he had been reviewed for drug court, but she would have a meeting with the head Public Defender the next afternoon to discuss it. I just received a call today from the Commonwealth Attorney, stating his was not approved for drug court just because he had been approved for detention/diversion. Now, almost a month later, TK still has not gone to the detention/diversion center. His mother has also called Ms. P, the head Public Defender, and the circuit court office, and finally received a call from circuit court, stating TK had been declined for drug court and detention/diversion was backed up, and that must be why they haven't picked him up yet.
I am writing this letter because I have become very frustrated with this entire situation. If you can read the court documents from his conviction court date, you will see that TK has been taking care of me and most of his other responsibilities. I have a disability which makes it impossible to work outside my home, and he was our primary income. I don't make anything close to the amount I need to pay the bills. The longer it takes for his sentencing to start, the more probable it is that I will lose our apartment and end up homeless.
I am wondering how long does it take for him to finally start his sentencing? They told me that the almost 6 months in jail that he has done during this time will go towards any jail time that he receives in the future, but he has no intention of being a criminal anymore. He has changed most of his ways before he was ever convicted, excluding reinstating his probation, but he has ADD and never got around to it. He was diagnosed with ADD in February, and was supposed to go to the doctor 2 days after he was arrested to get on the medicine. We were hoping that would help him stick to his probation.
TK, his mother and I had all been very disappointed with the lawyers and the system with this whole matter. TK just wants to get out and take care of his responsibilities again. It just doesn't seem fair that just because he doesn't have the money for a good lawyer, we don't have any idea how long this will take. It seems like his mother and I are just receiving excuses for people not doing their jobs. I am contacting you to get this situation resolved, since we just keep getting shifted around with no answers.
So, can you tell me what the next best step is for us to take so that TK can finish his debt to society so that he can start anew?
Thank you for your time.
Well, since then, I have received one phone call from a state official, and he told me that they cannot use jail time to go towards crimes in the future. He said I needed to see if the time he's spent in jail will go towards the time he was supposed to be in the programs. He said that the courts can make the time he's waiting part of the sentence if they word the paperwork right. I looked over his sentencing statement, and it says he's been placed on indeterminate probation and must complete Detention and Diversion. The programs are 20 weeks each. That means he SHOULD already been in the second part of the program, according to his sentence papers. If they don't have room for him at the programs, why isn't he out of jail until they can, since no where in the paperwork does it say that he is to do time until the programs are available? Politics... ugh.
TK always used to complain so much about the system, and I, a normal naive citizen, thought it ran great. Now, my eyes have been opened, to say the least. I realize more and more if you don't have the money, you are just screwed (with no lube).
I also sent out an email to the Correctional Billing Services company. They are the company that I pay to get his collect phone calls while in jail. Here's that email:
I have used your company of Correctional Billing Services since the end of April or the beginning of May. I was billed on my telephone bill until the end of July. I paid $51.68 on August 1st for a bill sent to my house, the first bill I received from you. I paid $48.56 on another bill on August 23rd because I was unable to receive calls. The customer service rep said that they were having technical difficulties with the system, and I would not be able to get it fixed for about a week unless I changed my bill paying to pre-pay. Which I did. Needless to say, within a week, I could not receive calls again, saying that my balance was in the negative. So, I paid another $33 towards my bill. Within another week, once again, I could not receive calls because my account was in the negative. I called customer service and talked to representatives and supervisors for over 8 hours, yes, 8 hours
, and never had my account resolved. They just told me I needed to manage my money and calls better.
I did not pay my balance, and within a week, my balance went from -$2 to -$11. How is that possible if I'm not taking calls? I really needed to speak with the inmate I receive calls from, so I put another $33 on my account. Within 4 days, I could not receive phone calls again.
The customer service representatives were very inconsiderate and would put me on hold for up to 45 minutes when I would finally hang up and call again. The supervisors would also give me no information including how to contact the company besides their customer service line, just that they would send a note to the credit department.
I am extremely frustrated and upset with your business practices at this time. I have given your company over $166 in six weeks, and still, my account is in the negative balance. There is no way possible that I have received this many calls, especially since I wasn't even accepting calls for over a week of that time. I would like this issue resolved immediately.
Thank you for your time.
I received a call from Collection Billing Services this morning, and due to a technical problem and lack of customer service rep knowledge, they finally fixed the problem. They've credited me with $30. Not much, but enough to keep me quiet.
My mother tells me I shouldn't make waves, just keep my faith in God, and He will change things. Sorry, mom, he may do that for you, but I've had my faith in God before, and nothing changed for the better. I may stick my foot in my mouth sometimes, but at least I'm doing something instead of hoping my rain dances will make it rain.
The government has still done nothing to resolve the problem with TK. God Bless America.