What The First Step Act means to me

My name is Connie Farris, I will be 74 this October, and I have served over 7 years of a 144 month sentence for white collar mail fraud. I am presently at the Satellite Prison Camp in Dublin, Ca. I have no previous criminal history and have zero custody status.

The First Step Act as well as  Clemency could allow me to go home to my husband as his caregiver. Not only will I be able to make sure my husband is not alone and getting the care he desperately needs, I will be able to address my medical issues as well by getting proper and timely treatment.

My husband is 75 years of age, we have been married for 54 years, he’s a veteran, and diagnosed with Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy, a slow progressing disease that erodes the muscles and has no cure. I was Rex’s caregiver before I went to prison. His health has now gotten much worse, it has affected his arms, hands and now his legs. He is alone, we have no children or family to care for him, and he cannot afford a nurse. Just imagine him sitting alone, 24 hours a day waiting for my call, he has no one else. I call him twice a day, in the morning for five minutes and in the evening for five minutes every day. I write him once a week. I worry so much about him and his condition getting worse, with no one to help him.

He lives on social security and he presently trying to find a place to live; it is hard to qualify because rental companies require you have a salary of 3 times the rent. So his social security doesn’t come close to that, even though he has paid his rent every month for over 7 years, it seems not to matter. The VA doesn’t know how to help him, no one seems to care. If I was there my social security income would let us qualify for a place to live. So many homeless veterans are in this same situation, where is our VA?

My husband should not have to worry about turning the heat up in the house because he can’t afford it, or having something good to eat, he has lost so much weight. I don’t want to lose my husband to this horrible disease when I could be with him taking care of him during this time of his life.

Over the past years I applied for a Compassionate Release as allowed by the Bureau of Prisons Program Statement based on my husbands medical condition. The first time I was denied because my husband was not bedridden; the second time I applied both my husband and I were approved by the U.S. Correctional Division who recommended to the General Counsel that the Compassionate Release be approved. The General Counsel denied the request based on my offense of mail fraud.

The First Step Act would give me, along with many others, the opportunity of early release based on various requirement’s of programming, non-violence, good work history and many other options.

Learn more about the First Step Act here

Sign Connie’s petition here

If you can help Rex out, donate here

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