The State of Michigan has begun seriously considering the release of some of its indeterminate and lifer inmates due to prison overcrowding, budget constraints and several other motivating factors. Many commutations have already been considered and the inmates released.
The Michigan Parole and Commutation Board are taxed with considering more than 300 commutation applications per month; only some are selected to receive public hearings before they see the Governor’s desk. Typically, the community does not have a say in whose sentence gets commuted. The Family & Friends Committee to Free Josh Puckett would like to offer the people an opportunity for their voices to be heard. Therefore, we would like to expose Joshua as a candidate for release and let the people speak for themselves.
In many cases, the number of years served is considered a critical factor to a potential candidate. While significant “punishment” is certainly a legitimate philosophy, those inmates who have spent a great number of years in the penal system lack support and stability to make it in the free world, often to return to a life of crime. You will find the opposite is true for Joshua.
We believe Josh Puckett makes an extraordinary candidate given his personal development since incarceration, his exceptionally strong and committed support system, his relative age and his determination not only to rejoin society but to give back to the community.
Josh Puckett and the Family & Friends Committee to Free Josh Puckett has been meticulous in preparing a substantial Re-entry and Relapse Prevention Plan. This plan was formulated to assist with his reintegration into society, takes into account the importance of a structured lifestyle and offers realistic goals.
The Family & Friends Committee to Free Josh Puckett is dedicated to ensuring Joshua’s successful transition back into society. We understand that being champions for his release comes with an obligation to the public. Our committee is fully prepared to support, guide, educate and otherwise assist Joshua to make certain he experiences victories both personal and within the community.
Working side by side to develop the plan ensures the committee members and Joshua have a holistic understanding of the timeline and expectations.
Joshua has been actively involved with his all-embracing network of supporters to establish home, transportation, employment, educational, spiritual and psychological support. Formal communications submitted with his Application for Commutation of Sentence authenticate said support.
Under this, Josh has a Housing Plan and an Employment Plan, with achievable and attainable goals upon his release.
Parole Risk Assessment Report by Dr. Steven R. Miller, PhD
The supporting and opposing perspectives of Josh Puckett’s release were compiled after an extensive case review including: psych evaluation by Dr. Steven R. Miller, Ph.D., review of Josh’s institutional file and multiple interviews with family/supporters who keep in close contact with him. As we see it, these are our findings:
At every stage of the process, Joshua has shown consistent and absolute remorse for the crime and empathy for the victim’s family.
He has matured greatly since his conviction in November 1995.
He was convicted when he was 18 years old and is now 45 years old.
He has a lot of public support (individual and groups, alike.)
He has addressed anger management by participating in various programs offered by the MDOC such as “Cage your Rage” and “Crime Victims Awareness”. However, he has found his greatest breakthroughs in individual counseling and by participating in the documentary film being produced about the hate-related murders of his lesbian mothers.
He has mentored fellow inmates and personal acquaintances outside the prison system.
Despite the fact that gang life boasts a family-like environment, Josh gave up that lifestyle and left behind the distorted thinking of the “prison code” in order to have productive working relationships with staff (See Work reports/Block reports).
He has completed many educational training courses (i.e. horticulture training – which he has put into practice during his incarceration by working in countless greenhouses and on innovative projects in his field).
He has a number of family members and friends who are very supportive of his release and financially stable enough to provide support to him both emotionally and financially.
Substance abuse has not been an issue in the past. He has demonstrated sober living by being completely substance-free since his incarceration, as well as, completing various drug programs.
Since incarceration, he has not had any serious assaults or demonstrated consistent aggressive behavior. He has no ticket history with respect to substance abuse, weapons or unsafe contraband.
He has employment and placement opportunities upon his release.
He has demonstrated positive leadership qualities by repeatedly serving on the Wardens Forum Committee and Prisoner Benefit Committee and assisting in the effort to balance the Inmate Benefit Fund.
Currently taking courses to earn his associates degree: He will complete this upon his release from prison if not completed while he is still incarcerated.