Douglas Lee Wright

photo of Douglas Lee Wright 3-29-2017

Doughlas Lee Wright, March 2017

April 2017

DOUGLAS LEE WRIGHT

. . . has served almost 39 years in California prisons as inmate number 013994, will be 74 years old this year, is a U.S. Army veteran, has no prior arrest or conviction record, but is now in extremely poor health.

Doug has shrunk to five foot seven and some 120 pounds. On the picture here on the left, his “Mobility Impaired” green vest and orthotic shoes are visible; he currently needs yet awaits hip replacement surgery.

This profile prepared by: Ken Gage

There may once have been good cause for Doug’s imprisonment, back in 1979, but today his continuing daily torment equally punishes California taxpayers. Collectively wasting billions in tax dollars annually, Doug is one of thousands of harmless and decades-serving geriatrics in California prisons. The State should release Doug today!

After honorably serving eight years in our U.S. Army, and with a wife and child in Hawaii, in mid-1979 Doug was enticed by persons in Solana County California to visit a would-be friend-acquaintance to provide allegedly urgent financial and personal aid. However, it soon became clear that this man was befriending and leaching off of Doug to support a drug habit — Doug, a “square” non-smoker non-drinker, generously but foolishly aiding this con-man, a man well-known to local police. Assuming this man to be armed, the result of this conflict was that Doug, under extreme mental and financial pressure, fired several shots at this man outdoors in front of the residence, tragically killing three who attempted to either shield or aid this man. This man, the instigator, managed to survive by hiding behind a tree.

Doug squarely admitted his culpability, repeatedly expressing extreme remorse. However, Doug’s jurors were treated to altered testimony of witnesses at his trial, testimony curiously and substantially different from their initial police statements — pressure tactics routinely applied by prosecutors scheming for a maximum penalty. Yet the jurors, likely confused by Doug’s patriotic and clean record, refused to reward the prosecutor with a Death Penalty sentence.

Amazingly, state records show that after having served fewer decades than Doug, some persons convicted of murder-robbery, kidnap-murder, multiple murders, rape-murder, etc., are now paroled, while various schemes for early release of young men and addicts bound to reoffend are planned to relieve prison crowding. Yet thousands of harmless geriatrics remain imprisoned at outrageous expense for both their custody and poor medical care. These are tragic cases for both victim and prisoner families, but taxpayers are not at fault.

— Ken Gage

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A Future Stolen: Walk With Me Now

Greetings, my name is Damone Johnson and I would like to tell you about myself and how I came about being incarcerated.

Photo of Damone Johnson with family

Damone Johnson, his  mom and nephews

Well, I consider myself a fair, open-minded person, good-hearted, God-fearing, and hardworking, just to name a few. Back in 1993 the world was different. I had just turned 21 years old and never really was focused on who I was or where I was going. I grew up in a community where financial increase was the focus although I never had a problem working hard to earn an honest dollar; from the age of 10 years old, I was fixing on old lawnmowers and going door-to-door in the neighborhood, asking to cut spacious Sacramento lawns while living with my mom.

My dad taught me a good work ethic, so at the age of 12 I got my first official job with a West County Times Paper route (Man! those Sunday editions LoL). As I grew in age, so did my needs and desires, which lead me to seek better employment such as Taco Bell and Jack In the Box, which both had their pros and cons, which resulted in me sleeping in class, so I had to quit. Yes, I was working while still in high school (a Freshman to be exact). So as I became a Sophomore, my desires forced me to acquire better employment with Safeway, who was willing to work with my school schedule and I truly enjoyed working there for over a year. Around this time, I saw that the men in my era were doing less (Streets/Hustling) for a lot more money. So before I knew it, I was no longer a legit worker, but a heavy Pharmaceutical seller, which lead to time in Juvenile Hall, and then 9 months in Byron Boys Ranch, where I turned 18 years old.

The thought of going to State Prison refocused me and I got a job at UPS. My older cousin motivated me and shamed me into earning a living legitimately, although I was still keeping the wrong company which brought all the past negative elements back into my life, but without financial gain.

In 1995, as I heard the Harsh Guilty Verdict of a crime I did not nor could have committed; I say to myself, “Felony Murder! How did I get here!?” Shaking my head. “My life is over…” Fast forward, several years of incarceration, years of constantly studying in different Prison Law Libraries, and perfecting my understanding of this Justice System. God blesses me to truly understand and apply what I have spent all these endless hours learning, which resulted in me discovering that my prosecuting attorney not only was unethical and used false DNA evidence clearly exonerating me of this crime! This evidence was intentionally withheld for 18 years and the FALSE DNA has been retested by today’s technology and proven to be false.

Because I don’t have any financial means to retain a lawyer, I still sit in Prison for a crime I truly didn’t commit. IF I did have the financial means, my case would be on the news about all the injustice of my WRONGFUL CONVICTION. This is my 24th Christmas, Thanksgiving, Birthdays and much more. Not only did I lose most of my life, but the passing of my Dad, the person who taught me to ride a bike, how to bathe, brush my teeth, clean up, a strong work ethic, save my money, and talk to people with respect. Yes! I experienced the teaching of a Hands on Father! Literally at times. LoL. I am worthy of your investment in my injustice. I have dignity, honor, respect, and gratitude, but most of all; I’m truly God fearing.

Thank you for reading this excerpt of my life. Hopefully it has intrigued you and I will hear back from you.
Very truly yours,

Photo of Damone Johnson

Damone Johnson youth picture

Mr. Damone Johnson J-81022
CSP Solano B8-149
Box 4000
Vacaville, California 95696

Pictures: Me, mom and nephew, and an old picture of me. LoL

Ruben Contreras

Photo of Ruben on a visit with family

Ruben and family during a visit

I have been in prison for 27 years. I am doing an LWOP (Life without Possibility of Parole) for aiding and abetting 1st degree murder, LWOP (Life without Possibility of Parole) for attempted murder plus 2 counts of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. I was 19 years when I was arrested and was sent to Folsom Prison at the age of 21.

I have a big family that loves me and wants me home! Before all this happened I had never been in trouble and not even a traffic ticket. I used to be many things; a hard worker, a brother, a son, an uncle and a friend. Now I am reduced to being labeled “ a murderer without redeemable qualities.” I have brothers, sisters, nephews and nieces who still remember me. They have their own lives to worry about still they help me when I truly need it. I have my lady who is a God send and my soulmate. She’s been in my corner since we were fortunate to find one another 6 years ago and we plan to get married in the near future. My hope is to one day come home to her…

During my time in prison I have furthered my education by earning my GED, taken AA classes along with courses in Life Skills, Relapse Prevention and also earned my Forklift License while working in prison. Currently I am training to be a mentor with Life Line for Youthful Offenders so I can help out the younger generation through my experiences and hopefully get them pointed in a positive and productive direction. I want to stay positive and be around people that want the same.

Sincerely, Ruben Contreras

Photo of Ruben and family during a visit

Ruben and more family during a visit

Ruben Contreras
H-14475
CSP Solano B7-138u
P.O. Box 4000
Vacaville California 95696

Carlos Foster

Photo of Carlos Foster

Carlos Foster

Carlos Foster
CDCR# F67464

“The Life of Being a LWOP On a Journey Trying To Regain My Redemption From My Past Transgressions While In Prison”

Hi my name is Carlos and like many LWOPs, I am another “Youth Offender” that unfortunately has made bad decisions that put me at the mercy of California broken system.

In 2005, when I was 19 years of age I was arrested and charged with Murder, Robbery, I was convicted in 2006 of all charges when I was 21 years of age. The Prosecution used the Felony-Murder Rule (FMR) which lessoned the Prosecutor’s burden of proving every element of the crime and made it easier to secure my conviction. The FMR only requires proof of an intent to commit the underlying felony, (Robbery) to receive a sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

So through my communication I hope and pray that, when you hear my story and others who are LWOPs, please let it encourage Friends, Families, Churches, Grassroots Organizations, and Legislatures to adopt and/or support me and all LWOPs in our cause for Redemption.

Born and raised in a broken home in Oakland, Ca. by my Mother, a single parent trying the best she could to raise three (3) kids on her own. I never really knew my Father because he drowned and died when I was only 3 years of age, (sighs). As I got older, I felt that growing up fast could help my Mother and myself.

The loss of my Father created the very first stages of me seeking approval where my Father’s knowledge, wisdom, and guidance was very much needed. By not having a father, I sought a father figure in all the wrong places, and in people that never had my best interest in their hearts. Being misled by strangers in the street (drug dealers) and even some people in my family, I was misled to their own drug addiction and alcohol. So when I was 12 years old I began to emulate the drug dealers that I saw and looked up to in the streets, being around this abnormal repetitive environment throughout my entire young life growing up, the “abnormal” became “normal” to me.

At 16 years old unfortunately I lost my Mother, and from this tragic loss of my Mother, the pain and grief I was feeling I had never experienced or felt in my entire life, and not wanting to ever feel this kind of pain again, I turned off my “humanity”, and it turned me into a different person that I couldn’t even recognize. Too far gone, and out of control, was the cause of me losing control.

For almost l2 years now I haveve been incarcerated in State Prison, surviving life without the possibility of parole, plus, 25 years to life for a gun enhancement. Bound by concrete walls, shackled and chained to the restraints that bind my flesh.

I have finally, through my journey of almost 12 years, matured mentally, spiritually, and physically. As of 2016, I have been constantly working on improving myself through active participation in A.A., a Socialization Group, earned my G.E.D., and through the Mental Health Lifer Group I have gained new insight in myself and Life too! For instance, through my Socialization Self Help Group, I am now able to identify my “anti-social” behaviors, and it gave me the tools I need to continue working every day for a better me and practice good “Social Skills” that I’ll need in society to live a more productive life! God Bless.

Download a PDF flyer of Carlos’ story here

LIFERS OFFER RENEWED HOPE

Lifers with Optimistic Progress

By Michael Brown, Contributing Editor

Throughout my eighteen years of incarceration on a life sentence, there have been many times where I’ve found myself trying to discover a renewed sense of purpose and way to be of service to others. I realized that as a lifer I’m part of the class of prisoners that is often discriminated against by the prison system. We are usually housed in facilities that limit our activities and our access to positive programs. Moreover, society rejects us (lifers) because, from their perspective, we have nothing to offer or give back to their communities… as we are sentenced to die in prison.

However, the program, Lifers With Optimistic Progress program (L.W.O.P.), is more than an activity to partake in or just another program. After 18 years of incarceration, with the last twelve of those years being serviced in the Security Housing Unit (SHU), the L.W.O.P. Lifeline Youth Offender Program provides me with a new sense of purpose – mentoring the youth who are entering the prison system. This amazing program also allows us as a collective group to give back to society.

The L.W.O.P. program illustrates how this class of life prisoners generally rejected by the system and society can be a positive and productive resource for both the prison system and society. The L.W.O.P. mentors with more than 200 years combined experience in prison utilize their experience and insight to teach incarcerated young men the importance of participating in positive prison programs. Allowing these lifers to give back to society by enabling them to assist and influence young men who will reenter their communities with a more positive and productive mindset, is beneficial to all of us.

It is important to understand that the real engine or driving force of the L.W.O.P. Youth Offender Program is the youth! These young men made a conscious decision to work on bettering themselves while incarcerated so that they will reenter society better prepared to succeed as men and fathers: to be positive examples in their respective communities and for their families. It is for these reasons that the system and society should begin to recognize and utilize the insight, experience and will of the lifers in prison. It’s time to fully acknowledge and treat Lifers as having something valuable to offer.

My hope in writing this on behalf of the L.W.O.P. Lifeline Youth Offender Program is to increase interest and receive much needed and deserved support and sponsorship from those on the outside. It is one thing for society to overlook the lifers, but another issue all – together for society to NOT take an interest in the incarcerated youth who will return to their communities in the near future. It all begins by supporting the positive programs available to them while they are still behind the walls.

Measure to repeal California’s death penalty qualifies for the November ballot

This is from the L.A. Times, July 30, 2016:

California voters will be asked this fall whether to repeal the state’s 38-year-old death penalty, as elections officials announced Friday that an initiative to abolish the law has earned a spot on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Read the rest here: http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-sac-essential-politics-measure-to-repeal-california-s-death-1466215480-htmlstory.html

Loretta Sanchez backs repeal of California’s death penalty

July 6, 2016

Decrying California’s administration of capital punishment as unfair, inefficient and ineffective, U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez on Wednesday endorsed a fall ballot initiative to repeal the state’s long-dormant death penalty.