About Me- A Mom Now Behind Bars

On June 16, 2010 I was indicted on multiple counts of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud stemming from a mortgage fraud case in the state of Connecticut. At that time I was 9 months pregnant with m y second son. Determined to go to trial on these charges, I spent the next 16 months committed to fighting the case. In the time I spent reviewing the “evidence” the prosecutors had, I realized that they could assert whatever they wanted, truthful or not, and I didn’t have confidence in a jury to have the right result. In my heart I believed the best thing to do was to take a plea and I was assured that I would be sentenced not only based on my “crime” but my characteristics as well. I was a mother of two young boys, had my own business for 10 years followed by a successful few years with Bank of America where I was praised not only by customers, but by my coworkers and superiors. Most importantly, this was my first offense.  When I pled guilty in 2011, I was assured by my attorney that I would have an opportunity to make a case for a lower sentence based on the fact that I was the sole caregiver to my two small boys, and we were disputing the alleged loss amount, which is how he coerced me to sign the plea. I was also misinformed that a co-defendant was pleading to a lesser guideline range due to the statute of limitations running out. I couldn’t fathom how this attorney who had his hands in every aspect of the mortgage fraud scheme could be deemed less culpable than me. When I told my attorney I didn’t want to go forward with the plea, he used the statue of limitations to prompt me to move forward. Even though I was also promised a hearing on my children as well as the loss amount ( which dictates the guideline range which you are sentenced), those two things never happened. Instead, my judge misread my plea thinking I accepted a 41 month sentence. The prosecutors supported a 27 month sentence due to the fact that a co-defendant that was considered similarly situated had been sentenced to that time. The prosecutors issued a letter to probation stating this as well as stating it at my hearing . My judge asserted that although one of the sentencing factors he is required to consider is the need to avoid unwarranted sentencing disparities, he does not have to and that my co-defendant just got a better plea. The judge went on to explain that he only needed to consider national disparities. The shame is, if he had, I would not still be sitting here at the Danbury Federal Prison Camp. I have been here since July of 2012 and I am due to be released in July of 2015. If he considered the national disparity as illustrated in the study recently done my CultureQuantiX, he would have seen that 41 months was a harsh sentence. Now I am at the mercy of the appeals court to undue this. The success rate in appeals court in my district is 3%. Not only that, but despite a 90 day window for the prosecutors to respond to my appeal ( largely based on a sentence that they themselves find unjust) I have been waiting 9 months for them to reply.  Now the only hope I have to get home to my boys is for federal parole to be reestablished.

While my two young sons struggle without the mother who was with them every day. They are now 3 and 5 and I miss them tremendously. There are no words to describe the pain in my heart when I think of them missing me. They have been showing the damaging signs of separation , which is very detrimental in all children, but especially at their ages when they are forming bonds and their sense of security. I am heartbroken that this system did not consider the well being of my children when they sentenced me to this camp. I do hope however, that my time here can serve the purpose of bringing awareness to how necessarily it is to reform our prison system.

In the meantime, I’d appreciate if you would follow my blog, get active with Calls to Action to help Moms like me and women like me who are facing disparate and excessive sentences.

 

UPDATE:

As of July 8, 2014 I have been in a community corrections facility in Columbus Ohio. In a rare move, the Bureau of Prisons ( thanks to the intelligent and supportive staff at FDC Philadelphia) placed me in the community – as my security and custody dictates- for the last 12 months of my sentence. The Bureau of Prisons is required to evaluate each inmate for a reentry period in the community for up to the last 12 months of their sentence. The BOP , however, has systematically defied this law and created internal rules that refuse consideration for most inmates, especially those that are minimum security – as if there are no reentry needs for that population.   I will be in a halfway house until March, then on home confinement until July. Most recently I had my second request for appeal denied and I am working on my next steps to appeal my sentence.

I am currently enrolled in Capital University Law School as a student in the paralegal Studies graduate program. As I have worked through my reentry program, I am able to spend 30 hours a week out in the community. I chose to use those hours caring for my two sons, who are 4 and 6. The halfway house does not acknowledge parenting or caretaking as a job ( or else I could be home for up to 12 hours a day with my sons) , so I use my free time to try and reestablish our bond and work on the damage done to my boys by our separation.

There is so much work to be done in this system and I hope to be able to open the eyes of those who take the time to read this blog!

Stacey Petro

c/o The Alvis House

868 Bryden Road

Columbus OH 43205

 

NOTE: HATE MAIL WILL NOT BE PERMITTED THROUGH THIS SITE. Everyone is entitled to opinion. There is also fact. This blog intends to portray accurate and truthful representations and respectfully presented personal opinions. Therefore it is expected that visitors to this site will reciprocate this. Any hateful or abusive comments will be deleted and/or users will be reported and blocked. Thank you for your respect and understanding.

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14 Responses to About Me- A Mom Now Behind Bars

  1. Tony D. says:

    If you really loved your kids as you say you do, you would have thought twice about doing anything illegal. With that said, no one believes anything you say…inmate..

    • whoistoblame says:

      Dear Tony D, self-proclaimed “retired fed,”
      Ah, Tony, Tony, Tony…as a two time visitor to this site or anyone else’s site, who has now left tow short-winded comments in a a row (…And another thing, and another thing…), you definitely will not know the facts now or ever. You also cannot with your tag adequately represent the criminal justice system, who alleges that you are innocent until proven guilty. You have not held trial for your own accusations. Nor do you know the facts (on record and those in truth) that really occurred in this case, where no trial was conducted. It is also interesting that “get a life” implies someone did not have a life before they were incarcerated nor when they return to their communities, both of which are oh so very false.
      Your comments also reflect the lack of understanding and compassion that Ms. Perkins was reported to have reflected to have shared. In fact she said the very insults that you have said here…and look where she is right now. It is a precarious situation. Is she guilty? According to the FBI, they are not so sure. Time will tell. You will never know the facts or the full story behind the story. EVER.
      Perhaps it is this very climate as has been established with someone like Ms. Perkins, and statements such as yours which spur even conservatives as of late, to jump onto the dire cause of criminal justice reform.
      This site additionally is not a private plea for you dear sir, to do anything. It is here for those who actually care about the expository issues therein and contribute their part in bettering the world, which it does not seem you have an interest in doing. You are free to move along.
      Also, you must have not read the note on the first page for which I will be happy to copy and paste for you:
      ****NOTE: HATE MAIL WILL NOT BE PERMITTED THROUGH THIS SITE. Everyone is entitled to opinion. There is also fact. This blog intends to portray accurate and truthful representations and respectfully presented personal opinions. Therefore it is expected that visitors to this site will reciprocate this. Any hateful comments will be deleted and/or users will be reported and blocked. Thank you for your respect and understanding.****
      Last but not least, we wish that you and your family do not find themselves in the criminal justice system, as that is the ONLY way you will ever truly know the truth and the intricacies (although there are a thousand scholars and studies which tell the EXACT SAME tales). As a former employee one would think you would know this, so apparently you were not a “higher up,” as you would have been privy to the extent of corruption, sabotage, cover ups, conspiracies and framing, scapegoating, etc., etc., and the systematic and institutionalized creation of unfair disparities across the system as a whole.
      Maybe this and other posts will be quite educational for you, albeit in your post-retirement unfortunately. In regards to guilt, not every in prison is actually guilty, and not always found guilty for what media and reports portray. There are many politics and biases in the mix. ANY educated person who chooses to learn and pay attention knows this as fact. Perhaps the MANY scholars and professionals who produce reports, studies, assessments and interviews would be more credible sources for you to critique? Then you could spare the juvenile name calling, YET you should be prepared to offer more intellectual and well thought out points to counter their staunch evidence. Additionally, we offer this to ponder: where is the line between civilian “criminals” and legally-approved “criminals” who violate or break policies and laws? Hmmm…that is a question bigger than you, dear sir. It is one for society. Name calling and labelling won’t rectify it…only TRUE reform will. If you actually read this blog, you would have seen the depth of the hypocrisy.
      We are a nation with the highest number of persons incarcerated, and those who are behind “bars” have serious misrepresentation and reflect multiple levels of disparities. This is a point of this blog which you have missed, or maybe not care to even believe or think about. Then something would have to be done. I agree it is much easier to call names and then lay back and point fingers at others while your other three are pointing back at yourself. Much more comfortable that way. Indeed!
      As a human being, I must also share that attacking a woman’s personal pages which advocate for well-documented and much-needed systemic changes is not the forum to spit your ignorance. Yet we thank you, because you have so shamefully, and internationally, have just told the world that you, allegedly a retired fed, are and were a part of the problem and mimic the SAME EXACT sentiments that fuel this seriously dysfunctional system. Thank you for this contribution. I wish you luck for living a peaceful existence on earth with fellow humans. Karma is a bitch, so once I have heard.

      Thank you. Respectfully,
      The Site Administrator

      • I am a prison Chaplain. I believe what you say. People like Tony D. cannot understand how easy it is to get “caught up” in the Judicial system in this country. They have even less empathy for people that make mistakes since their lives have been so perfect. I believe your fate was part of a larger process ordained by God to bring to light what you must endure. When you are released your “testimony” will lead to a much richer life had you not become a number. God bless you, and I hope to stay in touch as I too work constantly against a system that profits in the same way slavery profited as the foundation of this country.

      • whoistoblame says:

        Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. I truly do feel like this was part of my plan. I understand how many want to just move on and not speak about their experience. For me , the only way to make any sense of this time is to use my experience to educate others- and hopefully help change the system. The prison you work in is truly lucky to have you for a Chaplin!

  2. Tony D says:

    Maybe you should’ve thought about your kids before you ripped everyone else off…inmate.. your word means nothing now..
    This seems to be the latest growing trend.. blame everyone else for your problems you created.. and your kids are eventually end up right where you are and its going to be the Government’s fault that your kids grow up to be inmates also right?? Because you are not there to teach them right and wrong.. Take some accountability for your actions inmate.. get a life.!!

    • whoistoblame says:

      Dear Tony D, self-proclaimed “retired fed,”
      Ah, Tony, Tony, Tony…as a two time visitor to this site or anyone else’s site, who has now left two short-winded comments in a row (…And another thing, and another thing…), you definitely will not know the facts now or ever. You also cannot with your tag adequately represent the criminal justice system, who alleges that you are innocent until proven guilty. You have not held trial for your own accusations. Nor do you know the facts (on record and those in truth) that really occurred in this case, where no trial was conducted. It is also interesting that “get a life” implies someone did not have a life before they were incarcerated nor when they return to their communities, both of which are oh so very false.
      Your comments also reflect the lack of understanding and compassion that Ms. Perkins was reported to have reflected to have shared. In fact she said the very insults that you have said here…and look where she is right now. It is a precarious situation. Is she guilty? According to the FBI, they are not so sure. Time will tell. You will never know the facts or the full story behind the story. EVER.
      Perhaps it is this very climate as has been established with someone like Ms. Perkins, and statements such as yours which spur even conservatives as of late, to jump onto the dire cause of criminal justice reform.
      This site additionally is not a private plea for you dear sir, to do anything. It is here for those who actually care about the expository issues therein and contribute their part in bettering the world, which it does not seem you have an interest in doing. You are free to move along.
      Also, you must have not read the note on the first page for which I will be happy to copy and paste for you:
      ****NOTE: HATE MAIL WILL NOT BE PERMITTED THROUGH THIS SITE. Everyone is entitled to opinion. There is also fact. This blog intends to portray accurate and truthful representations and respectfully presented personal opinions. Therefore it is expected that visitors to this site will reciprocate this. Any hateful comments will be deleted and/or users will be reported and blocked. Thank you for your respect and understanding.****
      Last but not least, we wish that you and your family do not find themselves in the criminal justice system, as that is the ONLY way you will ever truly know the truth and the intricacies (although there are a thousand scholars and studies which tell the EXACT SAME tales). As a former employee one would think you would know this, so apparently you were not a “higher up,” as you would have been privy to the extent of corruption, sabotage, cover ups, conspiracies and framing, scapegoating, etc., etc., and the systematic and institutionalized creation of unfair disparities across the system as a whole.
      Maybe this and other posts will be quite educational for you, albeit in your post-retirement unfortunately. In regards to guilt, not every in prison is actually guilty, and not always found guilty for what media and reports portray. There are many politics and biases in the mix. ANY educated person who chooses to learn and pay attention knows this as fact. Perhaps the MANY scholars and professionals who produce reports, studies, assessments and interviews would be more credible sources for you to critique? Then you could spare the juvenile name calling, YET you should be prepared to offer more intellectual and well thought out points to counter their staunch evidence. Additionally, we offer this to ponder: where is the line between civilian “criminals” and legally-approved “criminals” who violate or break policies and laws? Hmmm…that is a question bigger than you, dear sir. It is one for society. Name calling and labelling won’t rectify it…only TRUE reform will. If you actually read this blog, you would have seen the depth of the hypocrisy.
      We are a nation with the highest number of persons incarcerated, and those who are behind “bars” have serious misrepresentation and reflect multiple levels of disparities. This is a point of this blog which you have missed, or maybe not care to even believe or think about. Then something would have to be done. I agree it is much easier to call names and then lay back and point fingers at others while your other three are pointing back at yourself. Much more comfortable that way. Indeed!
      As a human being, I must also share that attacking a woman’s personal pages which advocate for well-documented and much-needed systemic changes is not the forum to spit your ignorance. Yet we thank you, because you have so shamefully, and internationally, have just told the world that you, allegedly a retired fed, are and were a part of the problem and mimic the SAME EXACT sentiments that fuel this seriously dysfunctional system. Thank you for this contribution. I wish you luck for living a peaceful existence on earth with fellow humans. Karma is a bitch, so once I have heard.

      Thank you. Respectfully,
      The Site Administrator

    • whoistoblame says:

      Oh and in your likeness…I add “and another thing”….
      Being incarcerated does NOT mean NOT having a voice. That is the most ignorant thing heard by my ears all day.
      World leaders have created change from inside and outside “the walls”…check your history. Nelson Mandela, Ghandi, local leaders, authors, activists, citizens. Last time we checked this was a democratic country not a Siberian Gulag?…may want to check your map…
      Thank you. Respectfully,
      The Site Adninistrator

    • Tona Way says:

      Mainly because I am tired of hearing you talk crap… You don’t know the entire situation. And regardless of her guilt or innocence everyone in life makes mistakes. EVERYONE… I bet if you laid your sins out there you wouldn’t be so damn snow white either…. Now as far as her children are concerned you sir are an ignorant bastard, her children will probably grow up to be more successful than you because they have seen what that life entails. Just because your parent goes to prison doesn’t mean you will do the same. I was a soldier and my oldest two boys won’t be joining the service although they were raised by two veterans. People like you make me sick and disgrace our once beloved country. Get a life and learn compassion or at best to keep comments to yourself.

      • T. Mathis says:

        Composing a mortgage fraud is not a mistake, it’s a choice. Hitting the wrong key while typing on a computer is a mistake…however, I do agree that serious reform in the system is needed, especially with sentencing guidelines and prosecutors being civilly and criminally immune from their negligence. With that said, I have worked in the “system” myself and it needs repairing. Yet, I have seen many inmates advocate their positions as victims. Actually most of them. Remember, the only victims are your innocent kids. And after reading your initial posts, I can attest that you are fully unaware of BOP policy statements and the Second Chance Act. NOWHERE does it state that you are entitled to a recommendation of a 12 month halfway house placement on a 27 month sentence, which by the way, you aren’t serving 27 months because you receive Good Conduct Time. Those recommendations are reserved for those inmates who are most likely to re-offend, which you have claimed that you are not. It’s unfortunate that you were subjected to the issues with Perkins and it’s not fair to you or your family. Also unfortunate was your move to Philadelphia. But the same people you write to in Congress and the Senate are the same ones who allowed your move to happen. They have the power to freeze budgets and prevent these moves, and they did nothing. Open your eyes.

      • whoistoblame says:

        Perhaps my arguement was not clear… and I am more than aware of BOP Policy statements and the Second Chance Act as well as local reentry initiatives. My case and my advocacy for prison reform are two different things. My children are most certainly victims and I fight each and everyday for them and so other family perhaps dont have to have the same struggles that mine have had. Anyone in this criminal justice system – no matter how they became involved – is a victim if the system is not adhereing to the duties and obligations vested in them. When the DOJ and BOP neglect to adhere to laws and that causes negative consequences to any prisoner or their family then they are a victim.
        In no way have I asserted that the the BOP is obligated to place anyone – including myself – in a halfway house for 12 months. They are obligated under the Seond Chance Act to review each and every prisoner on an individual basis for up to 12 months without regard for length of sentence, social or economic status, or any other factor that is not enmurated in 18 USCS 3621(b). To systematically deny REVIEW for prisoners based on assumptions of reentry obstacles is contrary to the purposes behind the Act. My sentence was 41 months and I have been placed in a halfway house for the last 12 of those months because I demonstrated that I have reentry needs as well. I get that resources are limited, and therefore those who have needs for housing and employment should be placed with priority. My point is then dont dent prisoners the opportunit for reentry when the governement resources are scare. The Second Chance Act also states that family resources are underutlized… this is where more use of home confinement would come in. The sad thing is when I was placed in this halfway house in Columbus, OH there were empty federal beds… so obviously there wasnt a lack of resources. The other issue is that using the Bureau of Prisons security and custody classification system, I- as well as thousands of others- are rated as needing miminal security needs and are considered “commmunity custody eligible”. My fight for me to be placed in a halfway house is not just about me – it is about getting the BOP to look at the existing policies and obligations to reduce the prison population.
        I was placed in a halfway house for the last 12 months of my sentnce, but I actually was asking to be placed in home confinement. Supreme Court says home confinement is credit towards a sentence, courts say that the BOP restrictions on community confinement ( last 12 months, 10%) are unlwaful because it denies the authority placed on the BOP to place inmates and use the five factors at ALL stages of a sentence. So why is the BOP allowed to continue to make up their own rules that are contrary to statutes, congressional intent, the needs of the public ( especially now with the severe budget issues) ??? Lets not forget the BOPS statutory obligation to place inmates in the least restrtive manner possible. The BOP calls home confinement the least restrive means for imprisonment. We have alot of work to do!!!

  3. Linda Bryan says:

    stacyvhow can I help? I read all of this and I am really pissed in how woman are treated in these prisons.

    • whoistoblame says:

      I am so happy to see your post! Educate as many people as you can! When the VA had issues with medical care, the attention brought sweeping – immediate- changes … in the Bureau of Prisons the same issues occur with healthcare but society as a whole does not value humane treatment of prisoners. Maybe if they knew how easy it is to get caught up into the system they would start to pressure the government to do their job.
      I am in a halfway house in Ohio – Abe was transferred for his job. I am also in a graduate paralegal studies program which I am absolutely loving! Please email me when you can and let me know how you are! stacey.moises@yahoo.com

  4. SageCT27 says:

    I Think Stacy Grew Up In Branford, CT.

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