The Suburbanite
  • Locked up to start new year

  • Waking up New Year’s Day behind bars at the Stark County Jail is hardly an auspicious start for 2013. But four inmates agreed to share personal facts, failures and hopes for the future.

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  • Waking up New Year’s Day behind bars at the Stark County Jail is hardly an auspicious start for 2013. But four inmates agreed to share personal facts, failures and hopes for the future.
    When Salem police found Alliance resident Brandi Pasco in a WalMart parking lot, she was alone, passed out in a puddle of vomit in a car she didn’t recognize. Arrested on an outstanding warrant, she was returned to Stark County.
    Since Dec. 2, Pasco, a heroin addict, has been incarcerated on felony charges of theft and breaking and entering. She’ll be sentenced today in Stark County Common Pleas Court.
    “I still don’t know whose car that was, and it was all to feed my drug habit. I stole from a family friend,” said Pasco, 34 and the mother of three children her parents are raising.
    A willowy six-footer with dark hair and soft blue eyes, she once aced a modeling competition ... and survived two overdoses.
    Released just nine months ago after a two-and-a-half-year stint at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville for drug trafficking, she managed to regain her job as a sub-contractor, cleaning and patching up public housing.
    “I honestly thought I’d never use again,” she said, irony visible on her face. “But that first paycheck, well, it was all over and it was pretty much a rampage from there.”
    Pasco’s mother visited New Year’s Eve.
    “She asked me, ‘Where are all those other people now?’ And she’s right. My parents aren’t paying for anything any more. It’s tough love, and I understand. I could shower there, but they wouldn’t let me stay when they knew I was using again. They think they failed me, but I was the one with a syringe.”
    Jailed since Oct. 4 on a felony charge of domestic violence, Robert Suter, a 38-year-old Plain Township resident, anxiously awaits a bed to become available at the Stark Regional Community Correction Center. In a multi-month program there, he will undergo treatment, classes and gradually be re-integrated into society.
    Alcohol, he said, has been his nemesis.
    “I was healthy and sober for three years and then I just started drinking again. Women and alcohol just don’t go together for me,” said the father of three.
    The arrest cost him a good job, he said, but he hopes his 22 years of experience working in concrete will help him find employment again.
    “I’m a good person, just not a good person to drink. I want to show my kids that, not the drunken person,” he said.
    If there is any good to come of his jail stay, Suter said it is the officers he has met while there.
    Page 2 of 3 - “My kids know my story, and they know this is not a good place to come,” he said. “But I’m lucky enough that if it comes to the point where I’m worried about one of them getting into trouble, I know I can bring them here to talk to somebody.”
    A heroin possession conviction put 22-year-old Brentnie Williams in prison, but she was released on probation two months early. Then she fell off the proverbial wagon and again lost her freedom.
    During her New Year’s Eve court appearance, Williams learned a probation violation would send her back to prison to complete her sentence.
    The 22-year-old Louisville resident is the mother of a 3-year-old son now in her mother’s care.
    “I was signed up for school at Kent Stark,” Williams explained, “and I was going to be a drug counselor. But I needed to change the people I was with and the places I was going. So now I’m going back for two months.”
    Her 2013 resolution, she said, is “to show myself and my family that I can be a good mother to my son and not put my mom through so much.”
    When Robert Yoder is released Jan. 21, he will have served nearly four months for theft and forgery, stealing checks from family members and cashing them. The 37-year-old Massillon resident served time seven years ago for felony theft but, since then, said he had taken the high road until he succumbed to drugs and alcohol.
    “I don’t get visitors here because my family is pretty small and I’d rather not have them see me like this,” Yoder, who previously worked as a landscaper, said.
    He grew up without a father and now that he has a young son, he intends to “get back on track and be there for him.”
    “I love being a dad,” Yoder said, his face crinkling in a wide grin. “It puts a smile on my face just thinking about him. I get him every other weekend when I’m out.”
    His plan for the new year?
    “Ninety (Alcoholics Anonymous) meetings in 90 days and staying sober. I want to show that cocaine didn’t get the best of me.”
    Area law enforcement officials checked 15 people into the Stark County Jail between 9 p.m. New Year’s Eve and 10 a.m. New Year’s Day. That raised the inmate population to 355 in a facility that can accommodate 501.
    Five of the 15 were arrested on OVI charges.
    Enhanced drunk-driving laws and patrols, Lt. Rick Ady said, have resulted in fewer New Year’s Eve OVI arrests.
    Page 3 of 3 - “It was much busier with those arrests in the early ’90s,” he said.
    Ady, who Friday begins his 23rd year working at the jail, said the majority of the other arrests involved domestic violence.
    “Somebody kissed the wrong girl at midnight,” he explained. “Or the other way around.”
    Of the 15 arrests, eight were women.
    Philosophical about the jail and its residents — frequent fliers and newbies alike — Ady said there is no one-size-fits-all approach to inmates.
    “A lot of them have just made bad choices, dumb decisions that put them here. They get started on alcohol and drugs, and they don’t have the will to resist. Sometimes they want to talk to somebody about how to turn things around. You don’t go in thinking about what they’re in for, you go to listen,” he said. “A lot of them only knew violence growing up. So they come in and get clean and sober and healthy, and when they leave, you hope you don’t see them again.”?

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