This is the first-person account from the wife of an incarcerated registered citizen. Names are changed and locations other than Nebraska are concealed to protect the identity of this family. The story appears here as it was related to NebraskaFACTS, with minimal editing or other changes. We relate this story during a week in which we give thanks for, among other things, the freedoms we are supposed to enjoy in this nation. When you give thanks this week for being with your loved ones, stop for just a brief moment and say a prayer for David, his wife and his 2-year-old daughter. Ponder what their country has done to them.
Some readers will be moved to pass judgment on David and for his decisions. If you are among them, think about this: Here is a guy suffering from chemical addiction, which is as much a disease as cancer. What if, instead of imposing a lifetime of bashing for a terrible mistake when he was 18, we had somehow been able to help David get treatment for his addiction? Ask any recovering addict: Treatment and recovery will free you from fear and vastly improve your decision-making ability.
PART VI: PO’s Order – Just Go Sleep in a Field
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About that same time David was arrested in May 2013, I kept having to go to court for issues with the staff at my dad’s nursing home, all without the support of my husband.
David was released — again with lifetime probation — in December 2013. The cycle of shady motels and periodic homelessness now was complicated by some additional restrictions from the PO.
David had a 6 p.m. curfew. His PO told him that she needed to be contacted if he had any contact with a minor. She said that if he went into a store and there happened to be a minor there, he had to leave the store and call her. If she didn’t answer, he was supposed to wait 10 minutes and try again. If that’s not blatant insanity . . .
We had pretty much burned all of our bridges for being down on our luck for such a long time. People were just tired of hearing it, not understanding how crazy the registry and restrictions can make you. They probably were thinking all of our problems were just because of the choices we made. That is true to a point, but the restrictions add craziness. For instance, how are you supposed to never be in the same store as a minor?
By now, David was at least allowed to be around his sister, only because she was no longer a minor. Their relationship is severely strained because she was 5 years old when he first went to prison, and the brother that turned him in has told her several lies about David to amplify that strained relationship.
After trying to jump through a ton of hoops for the PO, and our relationship hanging on by a thread, and me deciding I just couldn’t do it anymore, David was unable to maintain a residence. He is almost completely blind, which makes it doubly difficult to find work. He was denied for disability and SSI based on his identity theft issue in 2008, and again in 2013. I’m not sure why he was denied the second time, because he was rearrested in March 2014 before he could appeal the denial of assistance and apply again.
This arrest stemmed from David’s homelessness, which was imposed in part by his PO. She would not let him live at my former mother-in-law’s address although it had been approved in 2010. Now, suddenly, a school was too close because it could be seen from her yard. David located another place to live but she refused to answer the phone to approve it. When she finally did call him back, she told him no, and that he had to go sleep in a field. That’s right – the PO ordered him to just go sleep outside, in a field, in a dangerous area. In that field, he was assaulted and robbed.
When he was arrested, he was hopeless, depressed, suicidal, alone, and I think wanted to be arrested. He was charged with failure to register, drug possession, and with cutting off his ankle bracelet. His court date was June 2014. His PO agreed VERBALLY with him and his lawyer that she didn’t think he was a good candidate for probation, but in her report (which contradicted itself all over the place, and was so full of lies), she stated that she wanted him to be on probation. She wanted to give him 13 years, and then leave it up to the judge if he still got the lifetime probation.
TOMORROW: Part VII – “Only” Six More Years