Jonathan's Second Chance

Help Give Jonathan a Second Chance
This fundraiser is raising money for Jonathan A. Reese Jr., who is incarcerated and has been in solitary confinement for over four and a half years.

Years ago he was shot and left for dead by a police officer.

Jonathan has a criminal record, but he is also a human being with hopes and dreams to grow food and share the bounties of his garden with others.

His prison time has not done much to help him build his future - but you can help him have a second chance.

This is a request for an investment not just in Jonathan’s future, but in our collective future, a place where someone who has made poor choices in the past can make good choices moving forward and become a contributing member of society.


Jonathan’s Background

At age 20, Jonathan found himself lying on a sidewalk, shot in the back and leg by a police officer and left for dead.
How did he end up there? And how, at age 54, did he find himself incarcerated and stuck in solitary confinement for over four and a half years, anxiously awaiting parole and dreaming of living on a farm where he can grow his own organic food and medicine?
I became Jonathan’s friend through the Adopt-an-Inmate program, and have come to know his story and understand how he came to end up in prison. I’d like to tell you his story in my own words and explain why I think he needs help getting a second chance.
Jonathan’s life didn’t start so badly. He was the pride and joy of his grandparents and was given their unconditional love and attention for the first years of his life. When these kindly grandparents all passed away before Jonathan was aged 7, his world was shattered. At the funeral of his favorite grandmother, he tried to climb into the casket with her.
At that point, Jonathan would have benefitted from the help of a social worker and a therapist or psychologist – he got neither.
His promising beginning had suddenly changed. His mother developed mental health issues, and his father developed a drug addiction. Without his grandparents' support and stabilizing influence, Jonathan’s home environment failed to prevent him from making poor choices.
At age 20, Jonathan’s girlfriend at the time was pregnant, and he found himself working at a friend’s drug house to make money to buy food for himself and his girlfriend.
The two of them were living with his drug-addicted father at the time. When his father made a pass at his girlfriend, Jonathan knew he had to get her out of there and to a safer location.
His friend with the drug house suggested he rent a drug addict’s car to move his girlfriend (the addict was “renting” her car out in exchange for drugs) – but this so-called friend failed to mention that the addict’s spouse would report the vehicle as stolen.
Jonathan found himself pursued by the police, and trying to get away from them, ended up being chased on foot, was shot by a police officer, and left behind on the sidewalk, bleeding to death.
He was shot in the leg and in the back, losing 16 pints of blood. The bullet that entered his back traveled up into his neck, hitting vocal cords, nerves, cartilage, veins, ligaments, and arteries until it stopped at his nasal cavity.
He should have died – that’s what he was told afterwards. But he didn't. The wounds from his injuries have caused him chronic pain and a permanent limp.
Over the next years, although he gained some skills in carpentry and electrical work along the way, life presented Jonathan with additional opportunities to make poor choices.
Jonathan was involved in an armed robbery. In 2009 he was convicted for this crime and sentenced to fifteen years in prison. He has been eligible for parole since 2016, but so far, parole has been denied.
His projected release date is February 22nd, 2024, although he hopes to be released on parole earlier.
During this prison sentence, Jonathan has had a spiritual awakening. He feels the presence of a higher power at work in his life and has learned to look at life differently. He looks forward to a future where he can contribute to society, working to help heal both other people and the earth.
Nonetheless, Jonathan’s time in prison has been fraught with difficulties.
Jonathan was required to do hard manual labor working in fields owned by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice in 2017 and was in great pain because of his previous injuries. He followed the mandated procedures to complain about his health situation, but his complaints weren’t taken seriously. A fellow inmate gave him the terrible advice that he should write a letter to the TDCJ threatening to escape if he was forced to continue doing this painful manual labor. Being a rather trusting soul, Jonathan took this individual’s bad advice.
The result of that letter was that Jonathan was put into “administrative segregation” – a euphemistic term for solitary confinement. In order to be allowed back into the general population more quickly, he signed on to take part in a “diversion program,” (another euphemistic term) that labeled him as having chronic mental illness. He was accepted into this program without any medical or psychological examination or any history of mental illness.
However, signing himself up as having a mental illness did not help him get back to normal prison life faster than he had hoped. He has remained in “administrative segregation” for over four years and seven months at this writing.
Jonathan remains in solitary confinement, where he is usually only offered a shower or recreation (but not both) on average once a week. He cannot take advantage of the opportunities that prisoners in the general population (those not in solitary) receive, such as the means of pursuing an education. Jonathan hoped to pursue a diploma in greenhouse work, but his confinement keeps him from working on that goal.
Jonathan’s Future
Despite the difficulties of his incarceration, Jonathan is optimistic about his future. He has come to have a deep spiritual understanding of life and feels the comforting presence of a creator in his life.
His hopes for his future are to earn money with his foundational skillset of carpentry and electric work while starting his own farm. He wants to grow medicinal herbs, to grow enough vegetables to share with others in need, and to be a good influence on his children and grandchildren. He loves animals and hopes to incorporate animal rehabilitation into his future life.
Plans for His Transition
When Jonathan is released on parole, he will have to go to a transitional housing arrangement for the first 3-6 months.
After or during this transition period, Jonathan would like to find a work-stay exchange at a permaculture education center or farm, where he could contribute, live, and learn for some time.
When his situation permits, he plans to return to Ohio to be closer to his family.
How I help Jonathan and How You Can Help Too
Over the past year and a half, I have offered Jonathan my friendship through an exchange of letters. I send him books each month to allow him to continue his self-education in gardening and herbal medicine. I also try to offer ideas on his transition out of incarceration.
Now, I am trying to help him through crowd-sourced fundraising.
While his heart and mind are in the right place to succeed once out of prison, the practicalities of his situation will make success extremely difficult.
Jonathan has not been able to earn money while in prison, yet he has had legal and medical fees. At this writing, those fees amount to about $3000. This means that Jonathan will leave jail with the burden of a criminal record and debt as well.
The amount of money I’d like to raise for him is the following:
• $3000 for his legal and medical fees.
• $500 per month for one year, or $6000. Five hundred dollars per month for one year might mean the difference between being in a desperate situation and having a small amount of help to fall back on. Sometimes a little bit of financial help makes a big difference.
Total amount requested: $9000
How will the raised money be disbursed?
Since Jonathan cannot create a bank account for himself while incarcerated, I have created a savings account dedicated to this fundraiser and will keep this money for him until he can use it.
If $3000 or less is raised, the money will go to Jonathan as soon as needed to help pay off his medical and legal debt.
If any amount of the additional $6000 is raised, I will send him up to $500 a month for the next 12 months. If more than $6000 is raised, I will divide the total by 12 and send that amount per month.
With Extreme Gratitude for Your Help
Before posting Jonathan’s story and the terms of this fundraiser, I asked Jonathan to approve the conditions of this fundraiser and give his consent to share his story, which he has done.
In Jonathan’s own words:
Thank you all for helping me; it’s a humbling experience to learn that it’s good people in this world, willing to help a man who’s made poor choices in his life, who’s tired of being tired, and who’s put forth the effort to do it right for once in my life. Because of God and individuals like Kristina Hicks-Hamblin and my family and friends, I have an opportunity to finally get it right in God’s and society as a whole’s eyes.
We are incredibly grateful for your support and your belief that Jonathan deserves a second chance! Thank you!
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Kristina Hicks-Hamblin 
Roosevelt, UT