Hello everyone!   This is Carol Buckley Frazier, John Calvin’s Aunt, and I wanted to share an update of my own with you.  I try to keep in close touch with John thru phones calls and emails, which can be challenging for John who has to find a phone available at the time is out of his cell and to get to a computer that isn’t already being used.  We also stay in touch by writing letters, and I always love getting a letter from John who is very good at expressing his thoughts and how he feels about what’s going on in his world.

It’s been a very rough year for John personally and for his case.  Not only was he attacked and almost killed (read previous updates) at Lee County Adjustment Center in  KY at the end of August, but all of his possessions were either stolen or broken (including his treasured guitar), his money account frozen, he received no treatment for injuries, and his visits were taken away for a full year seemingly for threatening litigation right when he was moved to another prison 2 months after the attack (most of the 2 months spent in Solitary).  On the legal front, his case has been denied at the State level at every step and now we are headed into the Federal Courts. You can read the update about his legal status here.

At this point we are trying to pursue justice regarding the horrific attack on John which happened with the full complicity of the guards and no accountability from prison administration. We have compiled records which show that the prison changed the date of the attack and medical details to avoid accountability and liability. We are not surprised unfortunately.  Our experience with John’s journey thru prison has been littered with several incidences of prison corruption and cover up, much of it we can do nothing about since prison is a law unto itself.   Lee County threw away everything John had that pertained to the attack—90% of all of his papers and much of his legal work and copies of grievances.  They even took a whole folder of their Policies and Procedures that he had.   He had a specific argument he had been working on since Green River about the loss of visitation and he was working on a lawsuit draft–they took that too.

His medical needs, which are specific to his veteran status of 100% disabled PTSD and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), have been all but ignored while he’s been incarcerated, most medical staff never even bother to look at his extensive medical record  in and out of prison (at the KY Veterans Association) –easily accessible online to them—and only offer him pain medication.  His injuries from the time he served his country in Afghanistan and Iraq are extensive and include intense headaches and seizures, back and shoulder pain from injuries as well as emotional and mental trauma.  Pre-prison he was receiving very good care from the VA, but all of that ended after conviction.  And now with the attack at Lee County, John has more injuries that are being ignored and 10 months after the attack still has not seen a neurosurgeon for the head injuries he received.  Last week he told me on a call that his tooth was cracked and that there was nothing being done.

 We are currently in need of another lawyer for the federal appeal, and trying to figure that out with very little funds for the battle.  We anticipated when we started this journey that we might not receive any relief unless at the federal level, but we were hopeful that somehow we would find a sympathetic ear. This appeal will also take several years to work through the federal courts and John Calvin has some funds, but the price tag will be enormous so we may be doing another fund drive very soon.  I will update you on that when we have secured legal representation.  If you have any contacts or recommendations, please let us know!

As icing on the cake, COVID-19 has been running not only thru our communities, but also through jails and prisons.  John Calvin is at Green River Correctional Prison which has been the epicenter of incarceration infections in Kentucky.  At the time of writing John is not infected with the virus, but that is indeed a miracle because very little measures are being taken to prevent infection, including any type of sanitation of cells.  And you can image how difficult it would be to keep socially distant in a prison.  It seems their main way of keeping prisoners “safe” is to keep them in their cells most of the time with their cellmates, severely limit usage of showers, phones, computers, let a small group out in the yard at one time, and cut off all visitation.  The cafeteria has been closed for months, and staff is packing and delivering  3 sandwich bags per day. For more on this, click here.

While things have improved somewhat since this linked story broke, imagine being imprisoned there with this going on—the fear and anger must be intense, as well as the hunger.  And John Calvin would say the same. This is the last place you’d want someone you love to be.

John has been incarcerated for over 8 years now and this is around the time when prisoners begin to lose hope that anything will ever be different. It’s also the time when their friends usually stop writing letters and emails, or stay in touch. People understandably have their own lives to lead, and in John’s case they may still be in the military, they probably have families with children growing up and going thru the school years, they’re attending to their marriages and all the comings and goings of their jobs and lives. It’s incredibly hard if you’re incarcerated, and even more so if you know you’re innocent, to get through the days and weeks, the birthdays and the holidays—to keep the chin up and to try to find any joy at all.  Each year that passes is time John Calvin could be spending with his 3 sweet girls—hanging out, taking them shopping, being the cook and the clown, listening to them talk about school and boys and giving fatherly advice, being with family and friends, running with his rescue dogs—I know he’d have at least a couple, he’s such a Dog Whisperer!—meeting up with your Army Ranger comrades and leaning on each other to hang in there, finishing his college degree, healing from his combat wounds inside and out, writing a book and writing more songs, helping the unjustly convicted, marginalized and forgotten, and being a leader in a Veterans organizations—like he was at University of KY.  But instead John is still in prison just trying to survive this hell.

There’s not a day that goes by that John Calvin isn’t on our minds, and the family is doing anything we can think of to help free him eventually. We have an investigative reporter working on his story and we hope that will be done soon.   In the meantime, I try to use calls and letters to encourage and empathize, to help him dream ahead and also take concrete steps in the present to be able to survive this situation.

John loves reading your comments on the website (I copy and send them to him), so please leave them here and also,  if you’d like to write John Calvin, you can let us know here—or go to the “contact us” button at the top right-hand corner of website pages.   Thank you for caring and praying for John Calvin!  Please share his story with your social circles and ask others to sign the petition.   

Much love and health to you and yours — Carol