A Bipartisan Moment for Criminal Justice
Jeremy Haile
164

In 2002 and in 2005 I got my first 2 felonies . I did an inpatient treatment program at WERDCC ( a woman’s prison in Vandalia ,Missouri.) When I got my second felony my probation I was doing for the first felony was revoked and I was sent to prison for 18 months. It was after that time I served ,that I decided I better straighten up or my life was going to turn into a living hell. So I came out clean ready to fight this disease called drug addiction. After over 10 years of working on my recovery for my addiction to meth and improving my behaviors , I got a job, bought a small mobile home and a city lot in town, I had a good job working as a CNA, doing home health care. I also bought a SUV- fairly new. I was proud of my accomplishment but of course I’ve had my hard times as well. I lapsed on 4 different occasions in these past 10 years but I’ve always got myself back on track with the help of my sponsor, NA meetings and the support of my family. The last time I used meth was 2 1/2 years ago. It was right after the unexpected death of my younger sister. I was devastated at the time and feeling bad that my family and I couldn’t do more for her. She was addicted to perscription pain pills. Anyway last year in July of 2015/the city cops got a call from a woman that thought I was seeing her boyfriend . She told them I was selling meth out of my home. So the cops got a search warrant and came to my house. I was compliant and sat in a chair in my livingroom while the search was performed. To make my story short, they found a pill ( a 15 mg hydrocodone pill on my bedroom floor.) I think I picked it up while working for a patient 2 months prior to this day. I was on the floor cleaning a spill and stuck it in my pocket. I intended to throw it away once I got back up from cleaning the floor. Apparently I forgot about it and once I got home it must have fell on my bedroom floor. It was found on my bedroom floor barely under my bed. The officer also found an empty small baggie. They sent the evidence to the crime lab for testing. The bag came back and it tested positive for meth — I don’t know where they found the baggie. It had to be hidden deep in my room somewhere or I would have seen it. Anyway I got charged with 2 more felonies. The Prosecuting Attorney charged me with prior and persistant enhancement. I was told I would do 8 years for it. I hadn’t been in any trouble in 10 years and here I was looking at 8 years in prison. The PA finally came down to a 1 year treatment program at the same place as I did my 120 treatment. The treatment program they offer is a big joke. They treat you like you are in a first grade military type school. All the women there are mostly in their 20s and hard into drugs. I’m not looking forward to listening to all the drug stories I’m going to hear day in and day out. I’m 55 years old and have been in recovery for 10 years now. I feel that there should be a cap on the time length that a person has been in trouble before giving someone a prior and persistant enhancement charge. I can understand if I was still on parole and already got in trouble again but that’s not my case. I’ve been out of trouble and in recovery for over 10 years. This makes me want to throw all that time away and not put any effort in to my recovery. On April 5th I’ll be leaving to go back to the prison treatment program. I will lose my home, my car, my job and will be putting my dogs down as I don’t have anyone to take them and they won’t do well with out me. I don’t understand how the Justice system sees that this will help me in any way. The mandatory sentencing laws are not right. I feel as though my life is ruined. I also feel that I’m not being charged for the same crime twice but I’m being punished for the same crimes twice as I was told if it wasn’t for my prior convictions I would only be doing 5 years probation. I’m at the lowest point I’ve ever been in my life. My first 2 convictions were understandable, I wasn’t living right, was druggin everyday and I deserved my punishment. But this case isn’t the same. I feel I’m being cheated by the system