Greetings to everyone, I’m Santia Nance and my journey with criminal justice reform starts with reconnecting with Quadaire Patterson in 2018. As you probably guessed, he is currently incarcerated, and has been since he was 20 years old. You can read so much more about him here, but his crime is one of robbery, which is one of the top convictions here in Virginia.
As I continued to learn about the injustices brought against him, I realized that his crimes were severely over-sentenced for the situation, and did not match the 20 years that he must serve behind bars. I continued to educate myself about mass incarceration and the racial disparities of our country’s criminal justice system and began understanding that his case was actually the normal, especially in Virginia.
I was mad, angry and frustrated that the system did not work for him and ended up learning about advocating through a co-worker, who has a husband that was incarcerated, and had been since the 90s. She shared Facebook groups, resources, and legislation information with me. She also introduced me to other advocates and advocate groups here in Richmond. Since then, I’ve gotten super passionate about changing the system, and more specifically, passionate about getting my loved one out of prison, who has served WAY too much time behind bars.
Quadaire Patterson is one of the smartest and humble people I know, and we have a love story for the ages. Having met by happenstance over 15 years ago, it was easy to tell we were meant to be, even though we lost contact for 10 years. We have our own website all about that if you’re curious, but the moral of the story is that people behind bars are PEOPLE first and will always be people.
After learning all I know now, seeing the stats and the facts, it’s clear to see that we have a humanization problem here in Virginia. Seeing people as people is the first step in realizing that we ALL make mistakes, and we ALL deserve second chances. Currently, Virginia has very limited options to grant those second chances to their 32,000 incarcerated citizens – especially those who have proven themselves to be able to go back out into society, rehabilited and giving back to the community.
I will continue to fight for second chances, changing law policy that doesn’t allow judges and juries to do their jobs, and letting people out of prison who have DONE ENOUGH TIME. Join me. 😊