Charles G.

Charles G.

from MO
Story #205
One day in 1976 I caught a ride with some boosters who stole thousands of dollars in clothes every day. I walked into Ventures in Johnson County and stole 2 small boxes of Kodak instamatic film. I could resale them to the bootleg man for $5.00. Anyway I thought I had gotten way but someone wrote down the license plate number and I got arrested. I gave the name Michael Lynn Smith with a dob of 7/7/1960. I was given 5 years probation, but what did I care? Michael Smith was not my name. So I went back to Johnson County and stole two Jogging suits valued at $6.50 a piece. A warrant for my arrest was issued.

It was then that I made up my mind to catch the greyhound bus to LaGrange, GA. I went to sign up as a long shore man. No one told me how long that the waiting list would be. So here I am in Georgia not knowing a living soul and stranded. So I sat in the bus station debating and Satan walked right up to me and said, “you new in town?” I replied yes. You up on getting some real fast, easy money? I replied yes! All you have to do is drive and I’ll do the rest. Little did I know those hard working people would put up a fight. Well shots were exchanged and we were quickly caught. The person shot lived for 18 days and died while we were in the county jail. Yes I was now afraid and knew my fate wouldn’t be a bed of roses.

I was tried and convicted in less than 72 hours. I was given two consecutive life sentences. In maximum security prison this amount of time is called a dead man’s sentence. I didn’t know a living soul and would spend the next 32 years in Georgia with grown hardened men who gave up on life many moons ago. I never knew I would see, hear, feel and witness racism. A place where they say “a good nigga is a nigga swinging from a rope.”

I worked fields, crop dusted, planted without machinery. I saw lifestyles inside those walls that would make men skip showers for months because of ungodly sex acts. I’ve witnessed killings during race riots. I’ve seen rapes and everyone goes about their way as if nothing is happening. I was not liked by many because I’m not from Georgia. I continued to box but preditors still run rampant. I had my guts completely open in a riot. There is no babysitting unless you are some man’s wife. Then you’re beaten until you take on the ways of a woman, wearing make-up and walking like a woman.

No standing to use the restroom you must clean up, wash, cook and do all the duties of a wife. Most who are caught in that “web,” have no support from family or education. They will never get out to be free so living and dying doesn’t really matter.
This is a place where hate lives, hope vanishes. A place where a contract can be put on your life for a $1.00 pack of Bugler rolling tobacco because you won’t be friendly with someone who wants to have sex with you. So what do you do to survive?
You get in a zone and you pick someone, anyone and stab them no less than 18 times to send out a message, “you’re not to be messed with.” Or you go to mental health and stay in a cell so long you start to eat your bowel movement. The word passes you’ve lost your mind. I had to pick out people to knife or beat up badly. Telling on anyone down there is a death sentence.

You can’t sleep because someone who doesn’t like you may have bought some “gas” form one of the shops and wait until you doze and douse you and set you on fire and have a huge laugh. This is a place where wine, weed and pills are consumed, your things are stolen and you can’t ask who did it. You just beat someone severely and someone will slide up to you and give you a name. Only thing is the name you get may be someone’s enemy and they want you to do their dirty work.
This is a place that houses 6500 convicts and out of that population you may have 140 devoted Christians. Still they have to carry knives and sleep in shifts. I left a boxing record of 26 – 2 – 1.

I got saved in March of 1997. I had tried everything but Jesus and I was tired. My last incident was with a young gang leader from Cartel #13. He hounded me to teach him how to box for all the wrong reasons. They were at war with some crips gang members, so I decided to not get involved. Well the Cartel #13 jumped me. I waited until that Friday when I knew they played poker and dropped a buffer on them.
While I was in the hole I asked Jesus to take me away from all this violence. I asked God to give me a good wife and daughter to teach things to, give me good health and to free me. I felt in my heart God had punished me for the sins I didn’t get caught for so I accepted my fate like a man. God gave me one more chance.

As I told you I never received mail, visits or anything. God sent my firstborn son's mother Walterine and her daughter Joyce. Joyce was only 6 years old and Walterine was saved and not looking for any kind of relationship. Well for once I did what God told Moses, be still and I will fight your battle for you. I never felt God would open the gates to free my mind from incarceration or open the gates to free me.

He did on January 26, 2010, the US Marshalls transported me from Georgia to the state of Kansas. I had to serve 4 years on a 1976 detainer for 2 packs of Kodak film and 2 jogging suits. I spent 36 very long years. I paroled out from the state of Kansas on June 26, 2014. So as Charles Griffin #EF133493 and Michael Lynn Smith # 32661 are finally out of prison. Both being the same made it. Only by the grace and mercy of God and the two angels that he sent me Walterine and Joycelynn.

So if you truly believe in God, but are doubtful of miracles “I am one.” I’m still saved, praising Jesus for my life, trying to support my family now and worship my creator Jesus Christ. In closing remember this “Tough times pass, tuff people don’t! God will provide and send angels to assist you, keep the faith.