Open Letter To Gov. Ron Desantis (Op-ed)

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Why, Governor, do we continue to imprison non-violent offenders who have obviously reformed themselves and have served almost all their sentence?  

Please, Governor, when it comes to COVID-19-vulnerable prisoners, don’t let your legacy from this pandemic be “live and let die.”  

Why are you ignoring all the experts, epidemiologists and science and just continue to sit on your hands and do nothing to protect Florida’s most vulnerable population, prisoners and prison staff, from the coronavirus pandemic? 

There are thousands upon thousands of prisoners in the grips of panic and despair seeing COVID-19 approaching their cell blocks where they’re packed like sardines . . . awaiting the inevitable like sitting ducks! 

One of them is a non-violent offender named Bill.  He’s a reformed con-man and thief, who has taken college courses in prison, written books that have been published, been a model prisoner with only a few months to go on his 15-year sentence, yet he fears the virus around his cell has turned his final months in prison into a death sentence. And he is not alone. 

Please let him go along with other non-violent offenders who have served most of their time.  Why keep them at risk, especially those like Bill who have turned their lives around and have a place to go where they’ll be safe and begin living honest, productive lives? 

Bill’s long pending application for Commutation of Sentence containing both DOJ/ATF requests to expedite a hearing has been totally ignored. 

And he just sits in his cell in Virginia, where he is serving his sentence due to extenuating circumstances concerning his safety. 

For the few scary months he has left, Bill just sits and waits for either his release or for the virus to get him first as it is spreading throughout many prison populations.

Call my office at TransMedia Group 561-750-9800 x0 and I’ll give you his full name and the Virginia prison where he was sent after he was tried and convicted in Martin County for a non-violent crime he’ll never commit again. 

As President Reagan used to say, do this one for the Gipper, Governor, before the virus does this fully redeemed prisoner in, which would be on our collective consciences.   

Thank you!  

Thomas J. Madden, Chairman and CEO, Transmedia Group

2 Comments

  1. Robin Varallo on at 12:39 PM

    During this unprecedented time we need to evoke all our emotions for decision making. I also feel we need to show compassion and kindness as we make educated decisions regarding everyone’s safety. I for one totally agree with the discretionary decision for early release of non violent inmates who have served a majority of their sentence and show rehabilitated behavior. What would Jesus do?



  2. Charles Browning on at 12:27 PM

    Dear Sir,
    This letter is in support of the above letter by Thomas J Madden. I first met Bill on a Kairos Prison Ministry weekend in March of 2015. Bill was one of nine men who sat at our table (three of whom were Kairos outside servants) over the course of the weekend. Bill was very easy to get to know and responded well to our ministry. I have found that over the course of my prison ministry in four prisons, where I have served, the men who seek forgiveness through the grace of our Savior, clearly have transformed hearts, and want a peace within themselves, as well as an authentic relationship with Christ, and other Christ-focused men. Bill and I kept in touch through correspondence and reunions at the prison. I believe Bill is worthy for consideration of early release, for the reasons stated in the aforementioned letter, but also as a man who has found peace in Christ.