Jermane Scott is serving life without parole for the 1996 murder of Bertram Thomas, in Springfield, OH.
He has currently been fighting his wrongful conviction for 23 years. Here he speaks candidly about his past experiences, and the present unfolding crisis of Covid-19.
I thought that life in prison couldn’t get any tougher, then along comes this Covid-19/Corona virus pandemic which has taken over the world, that does not discriminate.
Due to being in prison I do not have anything to distract me from facing mortality. When I speak about facing mortality, I think about this: I as well as most prisoners do not have social media, and I certainly can’t afford to speak on the phone all day long to connect with the outside world to distract me from the persistent thoughts that this virus can over run the prison population in a matter of days.
I think to myself almost daily now, I do not want to die in prison to a relatively unknown virus that has come out of nowhere with no cure in sight for the immediate future .
The prison staff are just as worried as the prisoners, and this is where there is some truth to the mantra that is being spoken worldwide: we are in this together.
We, meaning ALL human beings are in this together whether we like it or not. This includes prisoners; guilty and innocent alike.
This is reality, our reality.
We all have fear of what this virus can bring into our collective lives. I know I’m scared of this virus, and of dying in prison . I’m relatively healthy, but watching the news, and learning that 18-year-old kids that have zero medical history are dying, certainly brings my anxiety to a higher level.
I will speak on something that just occurred whilst I was typing out this e-mail–and I mean literally just happened. The American flag has just been lowered to half mast, which signals that a death has occurred within the prison itself. Whether this death stems from the virus has yet to be verified but it is a scary prospect.
I know as of today, it’s only a matter of time before this place gets completely locked down. As we were walking to the prison dining hall about an hour ago, the 6 feet rule was being enforced aggressively. Guys were being sent to the hole if they did not maintain the 6 feet rule that has been put in place. Things are getting serious for sure.
For prisoners our concern is real. If staff decide to revolt, and choose not to come to work to protect their families from catching the virus where does this leave thousands of inmates? Locked in a cell until ‘SOMETHING’ can be figured out. Just another scary prospect for defenseless human beings. These are situations that I’ve not even thought about for the past several years, and now here come paranoid thoughts of, “what if?”
Are we in this together as fellow human beings?
Only time and experience will tell .
From a human being that doesn’t want to die in prison, this is a written journal entry from inside these prison walls — Jermane Scott. March, 27th.
I am going to step outside my own thoughts just a little bit, and make an attempt at including another perspective from a fellow prisoner.
I chose this inmate for 2 key reasons, one being that this man came to prisoner at the tender age of 19-years-old, much like myself. The second being that this young man, has found himself at a crossroads after being in prison for just about 18 months. I will not rob him of his privacy because this young man has a family, however, I politely asked him to step into my cell so that I could ask him a couple of questions.
Now, for those not informed, asking a young prisoner to come to your cell could be misconstrued as an attempt at some sort of sexual advance, as that is the stigma attached to a vast majority of older male prisoners. That they want to take advantage of a young vulnerable inmate for their own sexual needs. I reassured this young man that my intentions were pure; that I just wanted to gain his perspective about prison, and the impact it has had on him– keeping in mind that this young man has never been to prison prior to this ‘stint,’ again much like myself.
The questions I asked him ranged from: How has prison affected you? What do you miss about not being at home? What is it like living with a total stranger?
His responses were kind of short, however, he thought about his responses before writing them out.
This is what he wrote: “Prison has first of all made me a more patient and less impulsive person, and has also taught me I cannot trust everybody.”
“I miss my family.”
“It isn’t too much bad living with a stranger as long as they ain’t a bug out (meaning psychologically compromised.)
I also asked one more question, as the Covid-19 virus has put a stop to prison visits, which are critical for young men such as the inmate who answered the question.
How does not having a visit effect you?
“It makes me feel more distanced, and it also makes me strongly regret coming to prison.”
I took on the task of asking this young man to give a glimpse into what really goes on in the mind of a prisoner. A prisoner who does have a name, and that name is Alex.
He feels robbed of being the young man he wanted to be. However, bad choices as well as his community not paying attention to his silent cries for help helped lead to where he is today. I am around this young man daily, and like most people in here, a little bit of care can save this young man from further destroying his life.
I took it upon myself after he answered my questions to just remind him, let this be your lesson that this prison existence isn’t an existence in the sense of normalcy. There is nothing normal about prison . Your family is waiting for you to come home, make going home your priority over everything else.
Then he was off into the flow of prison life for the rest of the night .
I have learned many lessons over all these years in prison. Most young males have been raised without their father, so taking the time to have a, “normal conversation” with Alex hopefully made a difference to his day; at least, that is my hope.
That was my first attempt at, ‘journalism.’ I hope I haven’t disappointed?
If there are questions that you think should be asked ,message me your suggestions and I will do my best to get you unfiltered, yet informative answers as they are given to me.
Signing off from The Inside — Jermane Scott. April, 3rd.
Jermane can be contacted via JPay with any questions that you may have. Maybe you’d just like to speak with Jermane. I’m sure he’d like that too.
Jermane is incarcerated in Ohio, his inmate number: A350302
Any further questions can be sent to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or via my twitter.