For about 14 years now, I haven’t really told nobody the story behind what really got me locked up, besides a few recent friends. Mainly because as a juvenile, many of my old friends and family was saying that they heard that I said I did this or that and that I admitted to it. So out of fear of someone saying I changed the story of what happened, I decided to just not say anything and go along with what was being said. I also felt fear of what people would think of me, being automatically judged without someone giving me the chance to show them I’m not what the courts labeled me as. I was just 15 years old then though. But now I’m a grown man and I feel its time to get the truth out. And its taking me a lot of courage to do this, but I’m tired of living behind fear and discrimination. And I just hope that whoever reads this has an understanding mindset and can see past the corrupted system and into what I hope to accomplish.
Before my case happened, I was living with my grandma and older brother at the time. I was 15 yrs old. I can’t recall the date, but it was some time in Sept. My brother was going to AA meetings at night. And my grandma liked to go play cards or bingo with friends. But I was grounded at the time and didn’t have anywhere to go anyways. I wanted my brother to stay home with me so I wouldn’t be alone, knowing what I’d do if I got bored.
Growing up, I was the unruly child, always getting me and my brother in trouble. I never really thought about consequences; I just only wanted to live a fun life, but not knowing that I was hurting the very people that loved me. I didn’t understand what respect was then, nor did I understand what many other things meant. I wanted to live my life the way I wanted to, breaking into houses, car lots, cars, stealing out of stores, etc; I was a kid that really didn’t know any better, because I was still learning.
But for a little while, I was in a secret relationship with an older woman (24-25 yrs old). And when I could, when my grandma and brother would leave, that’s when I’d go and spend time with her; she didn’t want nobody to know because of how old I was, fearing and knowing that she’d get in trouble. But I never really paid no mind to it because I was careless.
The night that my brother and grandma left, I went to her house to spend some time, which was right next door. But she was on her way to leave too, so I didn’t get to stay long. So I had nothing to do…besides what I liked to do. And I decided to break into her house to see what I could get and make money with. I didn’t think about her coming back so soon, nor what it would cause between us. But she came back and caught me in the house, which caused us to argue; she told me that she’s gonna call the cops and I told her I’d tell them about our relationship, but I didn’t mean it. So when I left, my grandma and brother was already home; my grandma said she called the cops cause I was missing, so she had to call them back to let them know I was home. And they said they wanted to come check on me to see if I was okay. And I guess the girl I was seeing had called them too, fearing that I’d call them as I said, because after seeing me they came back and said I was a suspect in a rape case and cuffed me up.
When I got to the county jail, I tried to plead my case, that I didn’t rape anyone. I tried to tell them then what was really happening, but it was her word against mine; she spoke up first. But she was also a white girl vs me being a black teenager with a long juvenile record. I’m not racist and I don’t like to pull the race card, because my mom is white, but reality is clear that the system takes sides with race and gender (no offense to nobody). And white females against an African american…they have the upper hand.
Before this time, I’ve never had a rape conviction. I never forced myself on a woman, because how my father raised me. I may have been a troubled child, but I wasn’t a pervert or creep. I liked to hang with friends and do bad things, including smoking weed, but I never had a history of inappropriate sexual acts with anybody.
Going thru the juvenile court system, I was given a lawyer that basically just let them push me thru to the adult courts. I was then given another lawyer that wouldn’t fight for me at all. And my family didn’t have the money to afford a paid Attorney; one that would’ve really helped me. The lawyer I had kept telling me that I could get up to 60 or 70 something years if I took it to trial and lost. He said that the prosecutors was offering me 20 yrs mandatory and they’d take off some charges. Out of fear and knowing my lawyer wasn’t trying to fight, I took the plea deal…not knowing or understanding what I was really doing to my life at the time. I didn’t understand much of what was going on, except that I was locked up on charges I didn’t do.
And while I was already doing my time in the system, my own grandma seen a suspect on TV that she called the detective about, saying that it looked like me. I was then interrogated by two detectives that portrayed to be old caseworkers of mine when I was younger. They asked if I remembered them, but I’ve never seen them before. They went into explaining the case, then recorded me talking with them about it and twisted their report to say that I admitted to wanting to rape the girl. But it was an attempted rape that took place. I was given 11 more yrs.
Since I been locked up, all I’ve ever really experienced is people holding judgement against me for things they don’t even take the time to ask about first. I’ve been discriminated against and made to look like something that I’m not, altho many people know how corrupt the system is. People get wrongfully convicted all the time, but they fail to look at the flaws of the system, especially concerning men with rape cases because their spouse lied on them. And this judgement mainly comes from females. When a female gets locked up for rape, they don’t get looked at as bad as us men. Men will still mess with a woman with a rape case, but a woman will hold judgement on a man for the same thing. I really don’t understand why feminist see things the way they do, because I see things as equal, but that men sometimes gets the worse end of things than women. But I’m not a judgemental person and hold nothing against women.
But take a look at the famous case of “Rodney Reed” in the State of Texas. He was convicted for Murder and Rape and given the death sentence. And after all this time of his family fighting for his life, new evidence has been coming up to prove his innocents. But he is still fighting for his freedom despite the evidence at hand.
Rodney Reed is an African American, which was in a relationship with a white racist cops wife. The husband admitted to murdering his wife to another person when he got locked up for a different case. But to the courts and Governor of the State, that evidence seems to make no difference in their eyes.
For some time now, I been trying to reach out to the outside to seek real friends and develop a supportive network. But its hard with the type of case people hold against me. I’ve been politically active in the prison I’m at, which causes me to be a target to the system for standing up for my rights and others. Me and my only comrade struggle to find real support with organizations that profess to oppose the system, but their nowhere to be found when it comes down to it.
I’m writing this to everybody out there in hopes that people will see the reality of what us people in here go thru, to hopefully build a network that can work together with prisoners for our rights as human beings, despite our past mistakes or wrongful convictions. We’re looking for people that can look past what may not be true of us prisoners, people that understand that the system makes mistakes too.
If anybody is out there willing to stand up with us, please come forward and reach out. We’re looking for people that’s motivated and dedicated, that’s willing to help with social media, fundraising, audio editing and whatever you can do. We need reliable people that can be contacted in case something happens, but also just to get the word out about injustice and inhumane treatment of us prisoners.
Its others already involved that you’ll get in contact with outside, but we need more people…no matter what State your in. But I’d really like to find people in Ohio to start off with.
To get in contact with me and find out more of what we’re trying to accomplish, you can set up a free Jpay account for email. Go to Jpay.com and add me to your contact list by going to “Add Inmate”, then provide my info. I’m at Toledo Correctional Institution in Ohio.
Or you can send my Phone a call request by setting up a free account with ConnectNetwork.com. Go to “Add Inmate”, provide my ID # and facility I’m in (Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction). You’ll see the option to send a “Call Request”. You can send them to me any time between 6:00am and 11:00pm ET, no matter if it says online or offline. And I will pay for all calls if you can’t afford an 80¢ to $1.00 collect call. But I really hope many people can to help me save cost for those who really can’t.
Please reach out, if even just wanting to be a real friend. I accept any and all people that will hold no judgement against me, that’s able to understand the struggles in life. Anybody can follow my Facebook page at Free James Ward to see what I’m involved in doing.
Categories: James Ward