So I’d like to share a personal update and some information about my impending stay at an Illinois State Prison.
Once my disabling severe chronic knee and back pain got worse and worse, my activism had to gradually shift so that writing and educating people, and helping to take care of rescued animals, like me and my fiance’s dog, 2 cats, and 6 rats (we had 7, but our sweet darling Trenton just passed away a few days ago ), were my sole forms of trying to affect social change.
I was recently arrested after an illegal traffic stop and illegal search and seizure in Illinois involving medical marijuana, of which I am a patient. I have been in dire financially straights for over 2 years now, and did something stupid and desperate, being unable to work both physically and mentally (read concentration shot), disabled according to my doctors but denied for disability twice; I was also motivated out of compassion for humans and animals; many people, myself included, receive enormous relief from medical marijuana (in my case, that means flower buds from a 100% organically grown PLANT) and people are often able to reduce or even ELIMINATE their dependence on Big Pharma(ceuticals), thereby helping animals as well.
The plea deal on the table is 7 years (reduced to 3.5 for good behavior, how kind!), but with NO CHANCE of reducing that through educational credits or anything else. This for a first time offender with no prior record, a university graduate, and a person with disabilities. I would be pleading to a Class X felony, which includes three other types of offenders: 1) armed robbers. 2) attempted murderers. 3) rapists. So apparently transporting a PLANT with medicinal properties that is not physically addictive is on par with violent offenses that most likely severly harm or destroy lives. HOWEVER, if my family can pay an extra ~$35,000 (probably able to be negotiated down a little) on top of the $16,000 already paid (!!) to bail me out of jail, my plea deal can be reduced to a Class 3 felony, where I will be in a minimum instead of medium security facility, surrounded by other nonviolent offenders, for 4 years, reduced to 2 for good behavior and with the chance of working off further time with educational credits, so that I may be able to get out in 18 months or even less. My mom is able and potentially willing to come up with most of the money, but it is going to be very difficult and we need all the help we can get. My doggie soulmate Rikki whines just when I go outside my solar powered cabin to pee, we know she is going to be unimaginably devastated to be without me for so long; please help make sure we get to be reunited (along with me and my fiance) 2 years sooner or more.
As my good friend said today, I’m one of the least deserving persons in the universe for this to happen to. I need to be out of jail as soon as possible where I can receive decent medical care for my disability and where I can most effectively fight for animals, the natural world, racial/ethnic/sexual equality, and other social justice issues. Please help us make this happen! Everything helps, from small donations to large donations to kind words to letters and books sent to me in jail and contributions to my commissary fund so I can purchase necessary writing/etc. supplies and adequate (or as close to adequate as possible) vegan food.
Visit my support site at [link removed b/c it now redirects to rightwing trash]
On facebook, join the group “Support Jan” where updates, like my address, will be made as soon as we know, and information about my condition and how you can help us out.
Thank you so much! Love and rage (mostly rage at this corrupt, heartless, classist, racist, unjust “justice” system),
❤ Jan Austin Smith