Letter from Anthony "Jalil" Bottom
Requesting Letters in Support of Parole


May 2004

Dear Friends and Supporters:

In July 2004, I will be reappearing before the parole board for release considerations. When I reappear before them, I will have completed 32 years of imprisonment, the last 27 of those years in New York State serving a 25-to-life sentence. In July 2002, I was denied parole for the nature of the crime and criminal history, despite the fact the parole board recognized I had an exemplary prison record. However, under New York state parole guidelines, there are no provisions for release because of good behavior and performance of assignments. Parole release is based solely on the discretion of parole commissioners void of any specific criteria requiring my release.

In other words, despite three decades of imprisonment and no egregious rule violations, the parole board has the discretion to deny my release on parole. What is particularly ominous is the fact Governor Pataki has instituted an unwritten mandate that those convicted of violent felony offense(s) must complete 85% of their sentence to be eligible for release. This mandate adheres to the federal "Truth in Sentencing" laws, which provides New York state over $200 million from the government to keep violent felony offenders in prison for longer periods of time.

Due to the political nature of my conviction, NYS parole authorities are hard to persuade I am a suitable candidate for parole and should be released. Additionally, the PBA [NYPD's union, the Police Benevolence Assn.] has lobbied against my release by submitting a petition of 10,000 signatures opposing it; therefore, it is incumbent upon my friends and supporters to write letters highlighting my achievements.

Accompanying my request to you, please find a sample letter, which can be used as a guide for you to write a letter in support of my release on parole. I further exhort that you make copies of this, and distribute to others requesting they do the same. It would be ideal to inundate the parole authorities with letters of support, urging them to grant my release.

Importantly, all letters written in support of my release should be sent no later than the second of July, if possible, and a copy sent to my attorney: Ms. Cheryl L. Kates, Esq., Edge of Justice, 121 N. Fitzhugh St., Rochester, NY 14614.

Thank you for your support -- together we can win!

A. Jalil Bottom
 

SAMPLE LETTER
[Date]

Chairman
N.Y.S. Division of Parole
97 Central Avenue
Albany, NY 12206

Re: Parole for Anthony "Jalil" Bottom, 77A-4283

Dear Parole Commissioners:

I am writing this letter on behalf of Anthony "Jalil" Bottom, 77A-4283, urging your office to grant him release on parole. Over the past three decades, he has made exceptional contributions to the prison population, and the outside community. While in prison, he has obtained two degrees (Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology). He has become a published author, poet, and educator. He has established various programs in prison, including a Men's Group for therapeutic training, African/Black studies programs, a sociology class, computer literacy class, a poetry class, and has worked as a Teacher's Aide.

On at least two occasions, A. Jalil bottom has received commendations for preventing prison riots (gangs); raising funds for the Children Funds; for being the Office Manager of the Computer Lab; and, for being a Teacher's Aide. Furthermore, in his thirty years of incarceration, he has maintained an excellent disciplinary record and has availed himself of and received all the required certificates for rehabilitation programming, including some not required for release considerations.

A. Jalil Bottom has been imprisoned since he was 19. He is a grandfather and going to be 53 years of age. He has maintained a close, loving relationship with his daughter and grandchildren. In 2000, along with his daughter and granddaughter, he was depicted in Essence Magazine, a national publication, in a featured article on father/daughter relationships. He has a family, home and job waiting his release; however, he also has expressed, upon release, a desire to obtain a Master's degree to complete his education. Statistics illustrate that prisoners released after spending in excess of ten years of incarceration, over 35 years old, with a college degree, are less than three percent to recidivate. Given the profile and experience of A. Jalil Bottom, he is an excellent candidate for release on parole.

Based on the foregoing, it is my sincere hope you will grant A. Jalil Bottom parole.

Sincerely yours,






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