My name is Chris Trotter, I’m talking live from Wabash Valley, inside the belly of the beast.
On May 11th, I went to the Indiana parole board for a clemency hearing, which is nothing but a sham. I presented evidence of mitigating circumstances. And one of the things presented to the Indiana was a statement that was by the investigator who did my investigation report. And this was the circumstances, which led to the riot on February the 1st, 1985.
The Indiana reformatory is a artificial environment that usually brings out of the worst of the person there is. The overcrowded conditions that have captured federal court attention are responsible in part for the stress, attitudes of personnel toward the inmates tend to be aggressive and extreme. One of the officers here who was involved in the beating that set off the riots is now in federal prison for that beating. The Indiana reformatory is sometimes likened to a jungle and with reason. This was the investigator’s own words that did the investigation before they sentenced me.
When I was sitting at the parole board, they asked me, “Why should we release you?” And after I explained to them that I wasn’t the person that I used to be and I shared with them the things that I was able to achieve since my 39 years of incarceration. They told me, “Well, Mr. Trotter, we know you’re a changed man, but due to the nature and circumstances of the crime, it doesn’t warrant you getting clemency!” Now what kind of statement is that? Here he is, saying I’m a changed man, you know I’m a changed man, but in the other hand, he says due to the nature and circumstances of the crime, you shouldn’t be released.
Now we both that the nature and circumstances of the crime is never going to change. We’re talking about an incident that happened in 1985. This is 2021. So how long are you gonna use that against me? Where does rehabilitation even take place in all of this? And this is another reason why prisons should be abolished, and this is why the Indiana parole board is a sham. Here’s the judge’s own words about the incident that took place, this is what the judge said.
Here’s to say that this judge who wrote that vacated my sentence. My sentence was vacated in 2018. I had 142 years for that incident, for the February 1st, 1985 riot in which no one was killed. They gave 142 years. Imagine that! No one was killed. I started out with 4 years for theft. This judge vacated my sentence based on mitigating circumstance that wasn’t presented at trial, but when I went to resentencing, this judge was not allowed to resentence me, because had he been allowed to resentence me, they would have had to release me, give me time served.
They switched judges on the day of my resentencing, and the judge who resentenced me disregarded everything that this judge had said. And that judge would know I’m a changed man. Even the prosecutors said I was a changed man. But due to the nature and the circumstances, we can’t release you. This is never going change, just like the Indiana state parole board. Now the sentence is finally supposed to go to the governor. But that’s to show you how much of a sham this Indiana state parole board is. They did no type of investigation. I gave them witnesses, they never contacted any of my witnesses. And the only thing they could use to justify their decision is, the mitigating circumstances of their sentence, which we both know they’ll never changed.
And that’s again why the parole board should be abolished. That’s the reason why the justice system needs not reform but to be abolished. It doesn’t work in a capitalist and imperialist society. These societies are not made to work for the people. They’re not made to work for the people. And we can fool ourselves with the reforms all we want, the criminal justice reforms, all we want. They done reform the criminal justice system for the last fifty seventy years. It’s the same way with police shootings. Every time there’s a shooting, they talk about passing police reform. They been doing it for the last fifty years, and it’s not going to change.
But I encourage people to please write the Indiana parole board. You can write them at Indiana Government Center, 302 W Washington St, Indianapolis, IN 46204, and you can fax them at 317-232-5731. That’s 317-232-5731. And please send a letter of support to the Indiana parole board on behalf of Christopher Trotter. I’ve been locked up for almost 48, 40 years, for a situation that I shouldn’t never had to involve myself in, and that’s serving a life of another human being or going home. I shouldn’t have had to choose between the two.
And I thank you all for listening to me. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to reach out to you. I promise to you more podcasts in the coming weeks, you know, because it’s a lot going on inside this Wabash Valley Correctional Facility. We still got COVID in here, and the prisoners not fully vaccinated, and they let everyone run around like it never existed, you know, and people are still getting sick, people are getting sick from the vaccines, they’re not doing any type of medical check-up to see if allergies or if people are allergic. People are getting sick, you know, and that’s a big deal too. You know, they have no way to knowing who’s vaccinated or who’s not vaccinated. We have no way of knowing which guard is vaccinated or which guard isn’t vaccinated, because a lot of them have refused to be vaccinated. You know, not to say that I want to mandate, but you know, it says it’ll work here, and if it’s a federal mandate to wear a mask, they should be vaccinated, because that puts our lives at risk, and there’s more to come from Wabash Valley. I thank y’all for listening to me, and everyone have a good day.
Alright, thank you.
These commentaries are recorded by Prison Radio.