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September 8, 2017
From the Pastor’s Desk
For the past couple of months, I have been telling you that there is a developing situation with the Ohio Department of Corrections that needs to be addressed. Well, it’s time for all of us to be:
James 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.
For over 30 years I’ve been ministering to prisoners in jails and prisons, both men and women per:
Matthew 25:36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
Remember the “Good Old Days” when there was only two genders, Male and Female?
In the past, I have had to deal with corruption, sometimes on a large scale, within the Department of Corrections and or “Department of Corruption.” Recently things have been much worse. First, two of the pastors were removed from the visiting roster and denied access to the Death Row inmates of whom they had ministered to for years. That was Pastor Kevin and Pastor Joe. Then they went after me and removed me as pastor of record for many of the Death Row inmates. What was their explanation for doing so? The claim was that we had violated D.O.C. rules that all nine of us pastor didn’t know existed. What could be the real reason for wanting our team of pastors and chaplains off the prison grounds?
Could it be that there were goings on that the administration didn’t want nine honest men to know a whole lot about? There is a real problem of a Jezebel Spirit, a spirit of wanting to control people, far beyond whatever boundaries of law and common decency allow.
For many years, we pastors have been on our own dime to cover the expense of driving five hours each way to minister to Death Row inmates. We would first visit Death Row inmates at the Franklin Medical Center in Columbus and then drive down to Chillicothe to spend the night at a motel. Two men to a room and typically 3-4 rooms were needed. Early the next morning we would get up and drive to Chillicothe Correctional for our scheduled visits.
Over the years, we have developed a very strong, close and trusting relationship with our Brothers in Christ on Death Row. We also had developed a good relationship with many of the corrections officers (CO’s) of whom I can’t remember that there was even one that I didn’t like. They were always courteous, professional and we had a mutual respect.
This unfortunately was not the case with the Warden Charlotte Jenkins or her assistant Amy Hamilton. When Pastor Joe, Pastor Kevin and myself received letters from Warden Jenkins stating we had been removed from the position of ministers, the date to appeal this decision had already passed. When I called Warden Jenkins for an explanation, I was spoken to disrespectfully. Warden Jenkins did not even extend the common courtesy of taking my call. I made five different attempts to settle the matter by phone and in each case, was spoken to in a rude manner.
When I attempted to call D.O.C Director Gary Mohr, I was denied the common courtesy that a Pastor, tax payer, and voter should be granted to speak to a public servant. Today is Sept. 9, 2017. On Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2017, a good friend of mine, inmate Gary Otte is scheduled to be executed. I have been his Pastor of Record for many years. Gary has requested that I be with him at the time of execution. His request has been denied. Gary told Pastor Eshelman, Pastor Garner, Pastor Sundermeier and myself that Warden Jenkins was smiling when she informed him that I could not be with him at his execution, and when she informed him that the stay of execution from the governor had been denied. Gary went on to state that Amy Hamilton took a very cheap shot at him, when she brought a communication from Lucasville Correctional to Chillicothe that was never meant for Gary’s eyes to see. It simply stated that they had enough poison on hand to kill inmate Gary Otte.
There is a mindset in the D.O.C. that they are above the law and that they can continue to disrespect whomever, whenever they choose.
Well, as for us nine pastors, we would like an apology from the D.O.C. and to be reinstated to be with over brothers in Christ on Death Row. We didn’t do anything that would justify the treatment that we received. We are not lesser men just because we happen to be pastors. If this letter is ignored like those of the past, well with over thirty years in the prison ministry, I’ll have a lot of true stories of the D.O.C. both past and present to talk about.
If after reading this letter, you feel compelled to voice your opposition, here are the phone numbers and mailing addresses to call or write.
In His Majesties Service
Pastor Ernie Sanders
The Voice of the Christian Resistance
Governor John Kasich--Riffe Center, 30th Floor--77 South High Street--Columbus, OH 43215-6117
Lt. Governor Mary Taylor--Riffe Center, 30th Floor--77 South High Street--Columbus, OH 43215-6177
Attorney General Mike DeWine--30 East Broad Street, 14th Floor--Columbus, OH 43215
Toll Free: 800.282.0515--Local: 614.466.4987
Dept. of Corrections Director Gary Mohr—770 West Broad Street—Columbus, Ohio 43222
Warden Charlotte Jenkins, Chillicothe Correctional Institute--15802 State Route North 104--Chillicothe, OH 45601
Phone: 740.774.7080--Fax: 740.779.5398
Assistant Warden Amy Hamilton may be reached at the same address and phone number as Warden Jenkins.
WHAT'S RIGHT WHAT'S LEFT