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Christine D Patterson

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Terry Moses - A Slow Death Behind Prison Bars
by Christine D Patterson   
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, March 05, 2009
Posted: Wednesday, October 08, 2003

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In the State Of California, murdering a person will get you 25 years to life. Under the Three Strikes Law of California,non-violet and petty crimes will get you 25 years to life. What is wrong with this picture? Non-Violet and petty crimes under the old law would carry a term of five to seven years in prison, but now the Three Strikes Law has over burden the system with petty crimes under this law. 8722 inmates falling under this law which has to be amended not yesterday, but now. The California tax payer pays the tune of 26,000.00 each year for each inmate's needs, which half of the inmates never receive. Times that amount by 8722 and you will see one of the reasons California is in debt.




  This is another true story of an inmate serving 25 years to life under the California Three Strikes Law. Story number 5 of California’s great law takes place in Los Angeles.


   Nickerson Gardens Projects in Watts is no picnic for a child. Even today the people there are afraid to come out of their houses in fear a being killed or raped. Terry Moses grew up there and at the age of ten he committed his first crime of stealing something simple. He was already exposed to murders, rapes and robberies. At this age a child is suppose to see what life has to offer. What Terry Moses experienced at a young age was the harsh truth and reality. He fell in the epidemic of drugs in the 1980’s which we all have read about, but some how ignored all these years.


In the early 1980’s, Mr. Moses life took a dive into drugs and crime. What he grew up with was now a part of his life. Prison to him was like a revolving door. Once he got out, the drugs and crime became his friend again. But where was the help that he should have got? Why wasn’t any one there to help this man? The system knew he had a drug problem from before.  Was it cheaper to keep putting him in and out of prison instead of getting him the help he needed to turn his life around? (California tax payer pays $26,000.00 for each inmate for what?)


Due to the Three Strikes Law Terry Moses priors would keep him from seeing the outside of life again. Under the Three Strikes law he is sentenced to a slow death behind bars. The last time Terry Moses enjoyed the outside was 1995.


Since Mr. Moses has been confined to the state prison, He has written a book called:


Married to the Streets – for better or for Worse

Publisher – First Books Library

ISBN- 0-7596-8818-4


Also at Barnes &Noble, Walden Book stores


I have read this book, which will take you to the other side of life. But what is enough for these men and women that are doing time when they should be getting help? Yes, what they have done is wrong, but let the crime fit the time. How many more like Mr. Moses will we just stuff into the prisons and hope that they will just go away? How many more murders will be let out of prison instead of letting out non violet offenders and getting them help?

Truth is a hard thing to face, but reality is even harder.


All proceeds from Mr. Moses’s book goes to his daughter who is eleven. Even though he cannot be with her, he can still be a part of her life and in seeing her grow up.


Footnote: Last week in Los Angeles a 6 year old boy was shot in the head by a drive by shooter while on his way home from Church with his family. How many months or years must we stand by a watch our children innocents be destroyed.













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Reviewed by Walt Hardester 10/21/2007
Christine, unfortunately, most states find it cheaper to warehouse people with real problems, be it drug or psychiatric, in prison than to spend the extra tax dollars needed to turn thiem into productive citizens again. But If you have never known what it is to be a productive citizen. You are doomed. Herein lies the delima.

Reviewed by Michael True 10/26/2003
I like your convictions on this issue. I am a resident of CA and am appalled at its stupidity in the management of this aspect of its social "problems". Have you ever done a comparative analysis on the cost of building and maintaining the prison systems here as opposed to the school systems and other more relevent community-based rehab/social service programs? Whatever happened to the dreams of the baby boomers in the 60s and 70s?
Reviewed by Carolyn Red Bear (The Bear Paw) 10/9/2003
Again, Christine, an eye-opening write! And the question will linger, How many? How long? When? The judicial system is running amock, all for the almighty dollar. And the government will take the dollars from whichever means they can. So sad, because it's a punishment on the people that need not be. Excellent write....
In Spirit,
Reviewed by Janet Caldwell 10/9/2003
I am glad that you brought this issue up. I for one do-not understand the judicial system at all. I know a 'kid' in California that really got a bad rap, Brandon Hein, he's no angel but the punishment sure didn't fit the crime. Here in Tx., it's really nuts. Thanks again Dear Angel, it's a shame the way things are.

Love, Janet xoxoxo
Reviewed by Claywoman 10/8/2003
Angel, this is powerful! Unlike most of your others in this series, I've actually read about this person.

I've always hated the three strikes law, it should be confined to violent offenders, not petty criminals, but then I've been known to protest executions also...hehe
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