January 25, 2021
To: National Leaders, State Leaders, Parole Officials, Director of Ohio Department of Rehabilitation & Correction, and society as a whole.
Topic: Reform, Reentry Proposal”The Consortium of Hope”
Goal: Drastically reduce recidivism rate.
From: Jim Fussell A154-973 M.C.I.Founder of Domino Deeds.
Greetings to the National Audience,My name is Jim Fussell, serving over four decades behind bars with questionable light at the end of the tunnel.In creating Domino Deeds, that platform has enabled me to reach out to society on a scale beyond imagination, to help those in need by donating over TEN THOUSAND landscape paintings. One artist producing that many is unthinkable.We often hear that help should begin in our own back yard. This is true. In my proposal, I do just that. Not only here in Ohio but also beyond, to every State in the United States.Prisoners face the same challenges, no matter what State they reside. To those who serve decades, they lose their connections to society, family members, relatives, pass away.
Friends sometimes lose hope and tap out, with rare exception. Basically everyone and everything vanishes. Some offer help but do not know how or what to do.Offenders end up helpless & hopeless. When any human is left without hope, without a path, it seems success becomes further from reach. The potential for failure becomes a dominant factor.The following are FIVE area’s that could be implemented, could become a means for success. If these five basic steps are taken, your future neighbors may turn out to be a asset to your communities. No one wants to see any ex offender return to prison. Revolving doors should never be acceptable.
STEP #1.CREDIT SCORE RESCUEUsing myself as a example, I have been away from society for 43 years, my credit has vanished into thin air. No credit is equally as bad as bad credit or bankrupsy. A solution to open countless doors in restoring credit, would be to implement the following.A anonymous donor/mentor may consider setting up a credit card account secretly, for a specific offender nearing release consideration. The card would have the donors name and allow the offenders name, BUT the offender will NOT have access to the card, will NOT know the card numbers, will NOT even know the name of the credit card vendor. The offender would NOT physically or verbally have any say or part in any purchases made while the donors name is attached to this start up process.The donor could make small monthly purchase’s on the card and pay off the card each month, thus creating a credit score path that gradually climbs to a favorable level.Once the offender obtains a official out date where he or she knows exactly what date they will be free from prison, the donor would be encouraged to contact the credit card company and have a new card issued with only the ex offenders name on the new card. The credit history will be fresh and with this card made available as soon as the ex offender steps out the door, he or she would then maybe be able to have ability to arrange a down payment on a work vehicle.It would be up to the offender to manage their own card. The donor is by then far removed from any responsibility. Stepping into society with a credit score is far different than stepping out with zero help.In some instances a power of attorney document may be necessary in the credit card set up credit phase. Depending on your State and/or restrictions.
STEP #2WORK CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR.Any offender nearing freedom after decades behind bars, needs clothing & footwear If a offenders sizes are entered into a database and a donor/mentor were interested in providing assistance to a offender, prior to becoming a ex offender, perhaps the correct sizes could be collected from goodwill or similar avenues, maybe yard sales, garage, estate sales, church functions, etc. Used clothing may mean the difference between success and failure. Eliminate fears of desperation. A care package of sundry items could be waiting on the offender as they step outside that prison door. One less worry, one less obstacle.
STEP #3HOUSING.Having worked pipeline construction prior to prison, I had the opportunity to live inside a 29 foot Airstream travel trailer, parked in various RV parks. A travel trailer is far less expensive and more practical than renting a apartment or similar dwelling.Travel trailers are fully furnished and simply require adding your clothing and food, find a suitable RV lot, hook up your electric, water and sewage and you are ready to focus on employment demands. After living in a cramped cell for decades, a 29 foot travel trailer would seem like a mansion.It would be prudent for prison and State leaders as well as private corporations or business leaders, to explore the concept of creating sites, perhaps old prison property no longer in use. Pour concrete or asphalt slabs to park travel trailers on, run water, sewage and electricity to the slabs, creating a place where ex offenders can get a fresh start.In doing so, this would also solve a problem of sex offender housing. Having many ex offenders located in one spot, this makes supervision from parole officers much easier to monitor activity and simplifies aspect of keeping everyone accountable. In Ohio, locating suitable housing for sex offenders is problematic, navigating away from schools and daycare centers. This option would be a avenue never explored before. Ex offenders would have jobs and pay lot fees and participate in programs to benefit the community.The ex offender satellite sites could also create community gardens and provide vegetables to county food pantries, local elderly and other needs.States may also be able to partner with manufacturers of travel trailers to secure more affordable models or explore starting up manufacturing inside existing prisons, creating more jobs for incarcerated while providing housing for those released.One stipulation should be that once a offender is no longer under parole supervision, he or she would then be required to pack up their trailer that they are paying monthly payments for and move it to a pre approved location. This vacancy would enable another ex offender to park his or her travel trailer on the vacant lot and remain until supervision is no longer warranted.Donors/mentors may decide to help ex offenders secure a travel trailer. Those options are individual choices. There may be instances where someone has a trailer they might consider donating, or some other arrangement. Options exist.
STEP#4TELEPHONEStepping outside the prison gates, a ex offender needs to be able to communicate with potential employers as well as have a means to connect with those in charge of supervision. A basic phone is needed, not a top of the line model. A donor/mentor may consider providing a phone.
STEP #5LAPTOPEveryone knows in this day and age, everything is available online and a laptop can provide necessary communication, job searches, basic research, everything. Many people in society have used outdated laptops they may consider donating to a ex offender. I would have a concern about contents the previous owner may have explored, sites not suitable for a ex offender.Most people believe that if they delete something, it is indeed gone. Unfortunately that is not the case. I have served time with many prisoners who though they had erased/deleted images or info from their computer, but professionals at various agencies are equipped to bring every single key stroke back to life and whomever has access to that laptop is legally responsible for the contents. That always ends badly. That is the reason I would not be comfortable in using a pre-owned laptop. I would seek a new laptop that provides the basic needs.
If all five of these basic steps were covered and the ex offender still failed, all hope would be lost for that person. Donors/mentors can only do so much, ex offenders are grown and should be able to make sound choices and strive to lead a productive life, giving back to others, the domino effect.
If I were stepping outside the prison gates and I had a favorable credit score, I could apply a down payment on a work vehicle, obtain auto insurance, maybe a down payment on a used travel trailer, if I had no where else to live.With a phone and laptop, I could explore potential employment, set up interviews and with slightly used clothing, engage in interviews in hopes of securing a job where I can work towards my independence, paying my own bills and able to hold my head up with self respect and dignity.Generous donors/mentors could remain anonymous or they could have hands on interaction while the journey unfolds, leading from a caged animal to a productive member of society. It would be their choice.
Reaching out to a stranger in need and helping to turn a life around, is extremely rewarding. It takes a lot of compassion to bless another human in such a way.Such acts should not fall entirely on one persons shoulders. Donor #1 could select what area they are prepared to help with while Donor #2 selects another area where they can help. If five different people focus on one offender to help transform he or she into a future success, That support group can perform wonders and perhaps even become a lifelong friend who later helps some other helpless/hopeless soul to reenter society.These steps and actions would definitely drastically reduce recidivism and help to rebuild a society once ignored. To restore hope, dignity, pride, self respect, those things are priceless yet donors/mentors could be that missing link.Often solutions are within reach if we first understand the need and have some direction. To those who believe in second chances, have concerns about mass incarceration, and reform, this proposal gives you a crude blueprint to apply your own footprint.
You may be the leader of a movement that changes many lives. Similar steps could be utilized to tackle homelessness in this country. Instead of putting a bandaid on a problem, create a solution. It only takes that first step.As founder of Domino Deeds, I am prepared to offer 100 landscape paintings to be auctioned off to help boost any start up costs associated with “The Consortium of Hope” project.
I invite and challenge all State & local leaders, as well of parole authorities in every State, Governors, Corrections and individuals, as well a business owners, churches, or private agencies to become a united front.
We all face challenges, together we can think outside the box and solutions are at our fingertips.We owe it to ourselves, let’s make this happen on a national scale.
Domino Deeds endorses this project 100%. Will you join this fight?
Jim Fussell A154-973 M.C.I.P.O. Box 57Marion, Ohio 43301
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