Jerry L. James
In July of 2000, Jerry L. James was picked up by Virginia Beach police for (7) robberies and (1) attempted robbery. He was held and questioned without an attorney and the only evidence they had on him was his statement. He was also charged with (7) counts of use of firearms in commission of a felony which was for an unloaded bb gun found in the car he was driving. Jerry was on alcohol and using recreational drugs at the time because of a bad relationship he was in with a woman. Prior to all this, Jerry was a rising football player and mentor for a local football team in the Virginia Beach area. He played the drums basically all his life at his fathers local church, he spent time with his brothers and sister. He unfortunately felt sheltered and trapped in the life of a preacher’s son–wanting to escape he dropped out of high school and married an older woman. This was no escape for him as he was in a 5 year abusive marriage both mentally and physically. He would fall prey to drugs, alcohol and crime to escape.
After 20 years serving time, completing his GED and graduating valedictorian. Jerry has taken every course offered by VADOC to better himself; he’s even taking certification courses in carpet cleaning, janitorial services and using chemicals to clean floors and walls. He is taking college courses to receive his Associates degree in Biblical Studies. His goal upon release is to mentor youths about his experiences, the importance of an education and how to handling life situations. Jerry was a truck driver and had his CDL prior to his arrest. He has connected with individuals on the outside to line up the opportunity for him to get his CDL again as well as a job driving trucks. He has definitely rehabilitated himself despite the circumstances and has a strong support system behind him upon release including his wife and employment in construction.
What He Has Achieved Since Incarceration in the last 20 years
- Associates Degree in Biblical Studies
- Certifications in Janitorial Services
- Certifications in Anger Management, Thinking for a Change, Narcotics/Alcohol Anonymous and Breaking Barriers
Sincere B. Allah
Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Sincere, always maintaining his innocence signed an Alford Plea for the charges of 1st degree murder, arson of personal property, and use of a firearm. He was initially charged with Capital Murder and planned to go to trial to fight b/c he was innocent of all but arson which he admitted to. However, on the advisement of his counsel he accepted a plea deal for the lesser charge of 1st degree homicide, arson, and use of a firearm unaware there was insufficient evidence for the charge of capital murder. His legal team convinced him he would get the death penalty at 19 if convicted of capital murder. He had turned down several plea deals with plans to go to trial. He had an alibi who unfortunately decided not to testify one year later. Therefore, he felt taking the plea “was in his best interest”. He received 45 years as a first time offender in 1999.
Initially adjusting to incarceration as an 18 year old it took Sincere some time to grow. He experienced issues with growth and development coming into his own in the prison system. He had issues with self worthiness, depression, substance use, isolation, anxiety, challenges with authority, issues with abandonment, and thoughts of suicide. For the first several years he admits he was in denial of his sentence length. Earlier in his incarceration to financially support himself he engaged in activities frowned upon by the DOC. However, like most of us as we begin to mature, he got to an age where he realized the idea of life outside of prison was a possibility and better than being in prison. Therefore, in his 30s he decided to change his life and increase his human capital. Always a sincere and genuinely nice person, he used the relationships he built with staff to get involved in programs that would otherwise not have been afforded to him due to his age and type of conviction he received. He set a goal at age 35 to work towards becoming certified as a peer recovery specialist for people with substance abuse and mental health issues. As part of that goal he started becoming certified in the areas that would enhance his knowledge of this subject. Now 5 years later and 40 years old, he is a Shared Allied Management Therapeutic Aide which is a state wide program where he coordinates and facilitates programs, provides mentorship, and acts as a pod liaison between inmates and staff. He was chosen to be 1 of 16 out of 96 applicants. He created his own program to teach intra and interpersonal skills, leadership, and goal setting. For his work he has received many awards in leadership. Due to Covid-19 he has to wait to be certified as a peer support recovery specialist. He has never been in trouble as a adult prior to prison and in prison he has only received two infractions in 23 years. Unfortunately, he developed covid which he is still recuperating from. His only life lived was as a child into a teen. When he went to prison he had only been 18 years old for 4 months. He was not an adult. He has matured and is remorseful of his role in the crime that sent him to prison. He admits prison changed his life for the good but now it is time for him to come home. He wants to be with his family, pay taxes, work, and give back to his community. He has a niece and nephew that want to meet him and siblings who were babies when he left and are now grown. He has a home, sustainable employment opportunities, and financial and mental health support when released. Let’s bring Sincere home.
What He Has Achieved Since Incarceration in the last 23 years
- GED in 2004
- GED tutor 2004-2005
- College Courses – Washington and Lee Univ. Socio-Economic Course
- Therapeutic Aide in the S.A.M Program 2016-current
- Several certifications including Anger Management for Mental Health and Substance Abuse, DBT Mindfulness Interpersonal Effectiveness, Distress Tolerance, Anger Management Program Aide, Substance abuse AA/NA, Personal finance & small business ownership
- Created ‘Personal Growth’ Program to teach goal setting and leadership
Quadaire M. Patterson
Quadaire Patterson is a promising young man in his early 30’s who found himself on the tough side of life after his 18th birthday. After a stint of teenage parenthood, having to drop out of school to support a newborn, being homeless and not able to get into the military due to court fees, he found himself in a desperate situation. He was arrested in 2008 after being charged with robbing drug dealers – 3 robbery charges, 3 use of a firearm charges in commission of a felony, as well as armed burglary and a probation violation. The day of the criminal event, Quadaire did not take anything nor did he have a gun. After going to a judge trial and not pleading guilty, he received 81 years with 66 suspended, and 5 years for probation violation. That’s 20 years behind bars for merely showing up to rob drug dealers with 2 other people. His other co-defendants took pleas and one received 8 yrs and the other did not receive any time.
What he has done with the last 12 yrs: Spending his entire 20’s in prison, he’s made the most of his time. He started on his mindfulness journey with meditation, learning tai chi and practicing daily and sharing his gifts with others. From an educational standpoint, he received his GED in 2012. He’s currently taking print-based college courses through Ohio University in pursuit of an Associate’s degree in Social Sciences while incarcerated. He also completed a trade in brick masonry. He has been organizer of the Zen Buddhist group at Lawrenceville for a couple years. He’s assisted with planning, organizing and speaking at various reentry efforts over the years. He’s offered counselling for gang intervention and prevention for the length of incarceration. He’s also counselled and mentored many inmates of various ages, offering advice on many topics including self-care, mental health issues, family-building and education. Most recently, Quadaire has organized, written, and championed a website called BrillianceBehindBars.com, which helps give incarcerated voices a chance to be heard on various topics and bring extended humanization to their names and helps with reframing mindsets for rehabilitation and re-entry. He wants to obtain a bachelor’s degree, and start his own business. He will have a wonderful home with his fiancé and a job when he gets released.
What He Has Achieved Since Incarceration in the last 12 years
- Studying for Associate’s Degree in Social Sciences
- Brick Masonry Trade
- Creator and Organizer of BrillianceBehindBars.com
- Leader of Zen Buddhist Group