[Ppnews] Support Parole for US Political Prisoner Robert Seth Hayes

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Mon Jun 5 14:16:28 EDT 2006



Locked down for more than a lifetime
Soliciting letters of support for a U.S. political prisoner Robert Seth
Hayes's Parole - June 2006

A letter from the Robert Seth Hayes Support Committee -
www.sethhayes.org | info at sethhayes.org

Robert "Seth" Hayes is a U.S. political prisoner and former member of
the Black Panther Party who has been imprisoned in New York state for
more than three decades.  When Seth was convicted in 1974, his sentence
was 25 years to life. The implicit understanding at the time of his
sentencing was that Seth would serve 25 years as a minimum, after which
time he would be eligible for release based on his record and conduct in
prison.

In July, 2006, Seth will be going before the parole board for the fourth
time. At each of Seth's previous parole hearings, he was denied release
due to the serious nature of the crime he was convicted for and given
another two years in jail.  The refusal of parole for the serious nature
of the crime seems contrary to the spirit of the law, for it is
something that a prisoner can never change, and the giving of parole is
based upon the prisoner's behavior while behind bars.

Seth is not the only one being subjected to these unfair rules. This has
become common practice for the New York state parole board, who, by
denying parole based on the seriousness of the conviction, are defacto
re-sentencing many prisoners to life in prison without the possibility
of parole.

Seth's prison record is exemplary, and if a decision about Seth's parole
were to be based on his conduct and personal growth, he would have
rejoined his family and his community years ago.

Please write a letter to the parole board to let them know that you
think Seth deserves to be released.  Write your own letter, or use the
sample letter that has been included in this document.

If you have a personal relationship with Seth, please consider writing
about this relationship in your letter.  If you work with a community
organization or union, have a professional job, or are a rock star,
please consider mentioning this in your letter (or writing on
letterhead, etc.).

If you decide to personalize your letter, you may choose to include
information drawn from the short biography also included in this
package, where some of Seth's accomplishments are highlighted.

More information about Seth can be found on a web page that has been put
together by his supporters at www.sethhayes.org

All letters should be mailed or faxed to Seth's lawyer, Susan Tipograph,
by no later than June 30th, 2006 as Seth's parole hearing is taking
place on July 15, 2006. Please send all of your letters to:

Susan Tipograph
Attorney At Law
350 Broadway
New York, NY
10013
fax (212) 625-3939


Sample Letter

Re: Robert Seth Hayes
#74A2280

Dear Senior Parole Officer of Wende Correctional Institute,

I am writing on behalf of Robert Hayes who is scheduled to appear before
the parole board for the fifth time in July of 2006.

Robert Hayes' application for parole was denied when he last appeared
before the board two years ago. At the time of that appearance, his
record was excellent. However, since that time his record is
outstanding. Mr. Hayes has continued to work to help others and improve
himself. While at Clinton Correctional Facility, he facilitated in the
HIV  Educators program to assist others as well as becoming a member of
the Lifer's and Long Termers Organization whose primary goal is to
educate and instruct newly arriving inmates in adjustment to and
preparation for final release from incarceration. Since his transfer to
Wende Correctional Facility, he has coached basketball and participated
in a local restorative justice project.  These are but a few of his many
accomplishments over his years of incarceration. I am confident that
were he to be released, he would be a great asset to the community and
to society at large.

There is no question that the crime for which Mr. Hayes was convicted
was a serious crime. However, he has shown remorse and takes full
responsibility for his acts. I am sure that you will agree that after
serving almost 33 years Mr. Hayes' release at this time would not so
deprecate the seriousness of the crime so as to undermine respect for
the law. Moreover, if you examine all of the factors that are used to
predict whether person is most likely to recidivate, those factors
indicate that Mr. Hayes will not engage in any criminal activity. His
disciplinary history during his incarceration indicates that he obeys
the rules in prison; he has a supportive network of family and friends
on the outside available to assist him in his reintegration back into
society and he had an extensive work history prior to being incarcerated
in addition to obtaining marketable skills in prison that will help him
to obtain employment. Nothing is gained by his continued incarceration,
and much is lost, as he has much to offer the community upon his
release.

By the time that Mr. Hayes appears before the parole board, he will be
58 years old - more than 30 years older and considerably wiser than the
man who was charged with committing the crime. He is a compassionate,
caring individual and deserves a second chance. Please grant Mr. Hayes
parole and give him that second chance.

Sincerely,

_____________________

Biography

Robert Seth Hayes was born in Harlem, New York in October 1948.  His
father, John Franklin Hayes, was the child of sharecroppers and came to
New York City from South Carolina; his mother, Francine Washington
Hayes, moved to New York from Pittsburgh.  Both of Mr. Hayes' parents
worked for the U.S. Postal Service, trying to provide a better life for
Seth and his four brothers and sisters.  They also instilled in their
children the desire to work for the betterment of their community.  Seth
writes, "My mother  taught me to visualize family universally, not
individually."  Seth's father was a World War II veteran and a member of
the United Negro Improvement Association, the Black Nationalist
organization founded by Marcus Garvey.

Growing up in New York City, first in Harlem, later in the Bronx and
Queens, Mr. Hayes saw one Black neighborhood after another suffering
from neglect, despair, anger and defeat. During 1950s and 1960s with the
growing rise of the civil rights and Black power movements Seth recalls
witnessing over the years a birth of hope and determination to overcome
these conditions.

After his schooling in New York City, Mr. Hayes worked as a psychiatric
aide at Creedmoor Hospital.  He was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent
to Vietnam.  He saw combat, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart,
National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal and the
Vietnam Campaign Medal.

In the armed forces, Seth underwent a change of consciousness.  After
the death of Martin Luther King Junior in 1968, Seth's troop was ordered
to patrol the city streets with fixed bayonets to put down the
rebellions resulting from Dr. King's assassination.  "It was the saddest
day of my life," Seth remembers, "and I could never identify again with
the aims of the armed forces or the government."

Upon returning to the United States from Vietnam, Seth was swept up in
the Black Liberation movement and joined the Black Panther Party.  He
worked in the free breakfast for children program and began dedicating
his life to the betterment of Black people.  His knowledge of the
effects of racism on the Black community convinced him that the Black
Panthers' program of community service ad community self-defense was
what was needed.  His work, like that of so many others, was disrupted
by COINTELPRO.  Fearing further attacks, he went underground, believing
it to be the only way to protect the work of the Black Panther Party and
the Black movement in general.

Robert Seth Hayes had two children prior to his arrest and imprisonment,
and he has remained closely involved their lives and upbringing, despite
the difficulties presented by his long incarceration.  His son, Chunga,
lives and works in Atlanta.  His daughter, Crystal, herself mother of
14-year-old Myaisha, is a student at the Smith College graduate school
of social work in Western Massachusetts.  Seth calls his family "the
loves of my life."  He describes his relationship with Crystal this way,
"She has had the most intense impact on my life, always questioning,
full of joy and insight, grasping lessons and maintaining her own
dreams.  She has kept me striving always to expand my knowledge and
illuminate my principles, as I struggle to stay abreast of her
questioning mind."

Seth has been diagnosed with Type II diabetes and Hepatitis C.  He has
been extremely ill and had great difficulty procuring the necessary
healthcare and has needed the help of his lawyers and some state
political leaders in order to get adequate treatment.

While in prison, Seth continues to work for the betterment of the
community in which he lives.  He has participated in programs with the
NAACP, the Jaycees and other organizations and has worked as a
librarian, pre-release advisor and AIDS counselor. Whenever possible, he
has taken college courses. He is also a longtime advisor and
collaborator in the annual "Certain Days" Political Prisoner calendar
project. He is dedicated to continuing to work for social justice when
he gets out of prison. At Wende correctional facility where he is
currently incarcerated, Seth is working to put together a "lifers
program" to help rehabilitate prisoners and prepare them to reenter the
community. Seth also coaches basketball and works on assisting a local
restorative justice project taking place in Buffalo.

For more information about Seth, please check out www.sethhayes.org or
e-mail info at sethhayes.org.

The Freedom Archives
522 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-9977
www.freedomarchives.org 
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