Charles Scott – 51 years

Sign and share Charles’s Change petition seeking support for clemency:

charles-scott_fullName: Charles Scott #05917-028
Race: African American
Marital Status: Single
Age: 46
Children: 1 daughter
Grandchildren: 1 grandson
State raised: Indiana
State charged: Indiana
Will release: Indianapolis, Indiana
Charge: Conspiracy to interfere with commerce and 924 (c) stacking
Sentence: 51 years
Served to date: 22 years
Started Sentence: September of 1998
Priors: 1 prior juvenile conviction
Prison conduct: Exemplary conduct
Clemency status: Pending from Obama era – Case C161783
Supporters:  Family, friends, staff here at the prison, CAN-DO Foundation
Institution:  FCI Terre Haute, P.O. Box 33 Terre Haute, IN 47808

Accomplishments: Apprenticeship in residential and commercial house cleaning, college credits and vocational trades in Computer Tech educ., Building Trades, Mentoring in Mental health, and Theology Proper, took and completed courses, Health awareness, Spanish, advanced Spanish, ceramics, refereeing, health education. chess, parenting, trauma therapy, victim impact, creative writing, Re-entry programming,… and many more

According to Charles: 

At 20 years old I made some bad choices. Not making excuses, but sometimes seeds are nurtured and cultivated because they are planted in rich soil with plenty of sunshine.  Other times, seeds are tossed and left in areas that are not conducive to healthy growth, and although they grow, the light is dim, so the result is a weak foundation with no solid roots. The soil might be toxic, so when the storms of life come blowing through in the form of criminal thinking, self-pride, egos, poverty, etc., weak individual with no root system end up in places like prison, and sometimes, even the grave.

I was one of those seeds. My roots weren’t strong and when the storms of life came I couldn’t hold on. It happens.  Still, when one is tossed into places where you run into other seeds whom have been nurtured and cultivated, they can lead and direct you to good soil and real light from the sun where the rays are education, vocational trades, anger management, business skill, computer tech. education, mentoring programs, etc. and now you start growing stronger and stronger roots, and now the winds and storms of life can’t move you, because your deeply rooted and on solid ground.

I have been incarcerated for the last 22 years. I grew up in the streets as a youth with no guidance, no hope, and no dreams. I associated myself with the same sick people that grew up like myself. These were the only family I had which showed me loyalty that I mistook for values. The hard streets of Gary Indiana formed my thinking and belief system. This led me to being a delinquent at a young age. Although I grew physically my mindset stayed the same, because I surrounded myself with more sick people like myself and eventually I placed myself in a bad situation that caused me 51 years of my life. On top of the bad choice I made, my girlfriend at the time became pregnant with a little girl who I left at only 4 months old. I was in trauma and shock when the Judge gave me 51 years. I would lay in my bunk and stare out into space about my life. Prison has a way of bringing out what is dormant in you, good or bad. I had to get busy living or get busy dying. I cut myself off from the bad advice, misery, self-pity, anger, and self destruction. I would ask myself, ” Why am I in this world? For me, the sun came, in the form of incarceration, in the form of programming, in the form of knowledge and the form of light, and I began to seek it willfully. Then all my self pity, all my bad thinking , and bad habits, and bad characteristics began to evaporate. Today I’m not the same little misguided boy that came in. Today I’m a loving father, and (surprisingly because of that 4 month old girl) also a loving grandfather. I’m a good person and a friend. I’m a son and a uncle that my people are proud of. but most of all, I’m proud to say I’m a mentor in a mental health program called S.T.A.G.E.S. I mentor inmates and those who struggle with mental health issues and issues of self-harm. I am looked upon with honor and respect from inmates and staff here in the prison. If I can do it here, I am more than capable of doing it out there.  I know I can make a dramatic impact upon society. I have forgiven that misguided boy that had no guidance and yearn to show the world a man that has emerged out of the murky waters of life. I don’t need 51 years to be redeemed; 20 years has left an indelible mark upon the man I am today.  I have learned to love myself and others  – please let me give the gift of love and hope to my community. Allow me to build back up what I helped tear down. I know I can help guide the young, who could be a better teacher than me?

Thank you for your time, Charles Scott

P.S. Have you ever wondered how we can take a individual who committed a crime in one day and forever judge him by it as a criminal, but we can take 20 years of consistent growth, change and positivity done by the same individual and never consider him any differently?

This was a process, just like every fruit that grows to be that bright, desirable, and fulfilling thing we love, it must go through stages of growth or difficulties.  Life places us all in some difficult situations and how we choose to deal with it is up to us. Sometimes we get so caught up on who is a success or failures that we miss the guy who were on the road to failure but had an ah-ha moment and found a way to turn it all around, and live to tell about it. Those are the important guys. Those are guys who know there is hope in every situation.

Charles with family members

Charles with family members

I spend so many days in here constantly doing the right thing now, not because I have an ulterior motive or any kind of incentive such as a year off like RDAP or a time cut like the 2 point reduction, but because that’s the change I want to see in the world today. It breaks my heart to see all those killings in Chicago, or how young these guys are coming in here daily.  I have a grandson I want to influence and a daughter that needs my help. I don’t just do good in prison. I teach good in prison, and that’s my desire. I teach classes, mentor, and make sure others stay out of trouble. Anybody can come to jail and stay out of trouble, but how many come in and make sure others stay out of trouble, give others something to do to be constructive and find purpose? That’s what we need out there, not people that will merely get out and forget where they came from, but those that can help keep trouble down and help others stay out of trouble, that’s being my brother’s keeper. This is what I want and that’s why I pray for clemency.

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