Dear Senator, Delegates and Governor
How are you? It is both a pleasure and an honor to have this moment to share in both heart and mind.. My name is Tommie Matthias Forster and I’m currently incarcerated at Nottoway Correctional Center in Burkeville, Virginia. Back in February 2008 I was arrested and charged with First Degree Murder in Chesapeake, Virginia. November 2008 I was convicted and April 2009, I was sentenced to serve 85 years, with 35 years suspended leaving an active sentence of 50 years. I was 22 years old at the time. This November I will be turning 34 years of age.
Time is the only change that is constant, and a lot of change has taken place over the past 12 years. The world is no longer what it was moments, days and years prior, because the people, places and things that inhabit our social order are constantly being formed and reformed to suit our needs.. In fact, the ideal of life is about reformation and evolution as well as the advancement of the mental and moral state of those who partake in keeping our civilization afloat. However, a reality of life is that we sometimes lack at and fail to develop the moral state necessary to make responsible decisions that aid our progress. Where we fall short, incarceration is likely the result.
Incarceration is all about reformation meaning reforming or undoing the form or format that has misled one into irresponsible actions. The amount of time necessary to correct ones judgment and action, is based on the individual at hand. This is due to the fact that it takes the individual to desire change for onesself, perspective and outlook on life in order for progress to take place. Therefore, the institution of Correction nor any amount of time can force such change without ones very own desire to do so. I state this claim because having been sentenced to serve 50 years in prison, I realize that the change and progress that I have been able to make over these past 12 years was due to my very own desire to want betterment for myself and those around me.
Time is our most valuable asset because it is the one thing in life that we can never get back. Therefore, I have made it my duty to be extremely mindful of the passage of time as well as its productive use by partaking in the educational, social as well as psychological programing offered by VDOC. As a sacrifice for my desire for change, I have also taken out of pocket College courses to aid in my educational development and success upon returning to society.
Some of the accomplishments that I’ve acquired since my incarceration are:
Symptom Management through Horticulture 8/2019
Horticulture (Vocational) 5/2019
Greenhouse Operators Certification 2019
Pesticide License In Virginia 2019
Houses of Healing 1/2018
Thinking For A Change 2017
Longwood University Panel Mentoring 42 Student 11/2017; 3/2017; 11/2016
Narcotics Anonymous 8/2013
Custodial Maintenance and Commercial Cleaning (Vocational) 8/2012
How To Start and Operate Business in Virginia 11/2011
Development of Business Plan 10/2011
In 2017, I petitioned Governor Terry McAuliffe for pardon (clemency) and sentence reduction. At the time I submitted my petition, I had approximately 34 years left to serve. I requested that my sentence be reduced to half of my remaining sentence which would be 16 or 17 more years to serve. 17 years on top of the 12 years that I have already served would mean that I would have served a total of 29 years in the Virginia Department Of Corrections. 2 and 1/2 years later from my filing, I still await a answer to my petition.
I understand that societal as well and family and community support are vital in receiving second chances to return to society in order to function as a productive citizen. Political support also plays an important role in persuading the state to grant such a request. As a means to this end, I seek your letter of support, to greaten my chances of being able to flourish and reintegrate myself as a responsible citizen into a functioning society.
I have received numerous letters of support from Correctional Staff, Majors Lieutentants and Sergeants. In 2018, I received a letter of Support from 8th District Senator Bill DeSteph. May I too have the honor of receiving your support for petition. Your assistance and consideration is greatly appreciated. Thank you for taking the time to read and consider everything stated.
May peace and blesses reign supreme within your heart and mind.
Tommie Matthias Forster #1403251
Nottoway Correctional Center
P.O. Box 488
Burkeville, VA 23922