Jimmy has agreed to send a monthly letter to his fans which will be posted here.
Please feel free to visit often to see what he is working on.
In March 2019 the Federal Penitentiary System in Russia reported a total prisoner population of 558,778. Jimmy is in a Labor Camp in the Republic of Mordovia, about 500 miles outside of Moscow. The arrangements are like military barracks, except with a lot of barbed wire fencing. There are about 18 buildings at this Camp. The interior is open and about 60 prisoners sleep inside. Jimmy makes friends easily and gets along with all of them, teaching English and learning a few Russian phrases. He is good friends with an American prisoner, Tom Stwalley, who is imprisoned on charges of growing marijuana in his Moscow apartment. Tom is a jazz musician/singer and they share a lot of music stories.
As of August 1, 2020, Jimmy submitted a request for a Prisoner Transfer from Russia to the US. His request with the US Dept. of Justice has been approved and Russia has been so notified. His application with the Russian Ministry of Justice was submitted in January 2018 and we are waiting for their decision .
Sept. 5, 2020: Jimmy made a surprise phone call to his parents on Sept. 4. His cellmate Tom was physically attacked by a Russian inmate who was younger and stronger. Tom was immediately removed but not the assailant. Jimmy was at the factory at the time and received a call to report to the office. When he arrived, he and Tom were detained there for more than 7 hours, after which they were ushered to a confinement cell and remained there for 7 days.
Jimmy could not get an explanation as to why he was being held in solitary confinement when he had nothing to do with the altercation. When they were released a week later, they were asked to sign a paper confessing they were "held in confinement because they had broken prison rules". The statement was in Russian so the interpreter told them what they were signing and if they didn't sign this document they could not go back to their regular cell.
When they were returned to their regular cell, the Russian attacker was still there and was never punished. Jimmy was told by another prisoner that the Russian prisoners were encouraged by the Commandant to fight with the Americans, to get them in trouble. The Russians would not be punished.so long as witnesses confirmed the American started the fight. In this case, Tom was in the cell with a couple of Russian prisoners while Jimmy was working at the factory.
Jimmy claims he and Tom, the only Americans in building 17, get along very well with the guards. As a matter of fact, as soon as Jimmy returned to his cell, a guard called to invite him to use the office phone, which he did to call his wife and parents. The guards told Jimmy that the Commandant at this Labor Camp does not believe in pardons for Americans and, with multiple charges of violations, he can extend Jimmy's sentence beyond 12.5 years.
It appears that the Commandant at this Labor Camp has a vendetta against Americans and has charged Jimmy with several violations which Jimmy claims are false. Jimmy has requested that somebody do something to get him transferred to another prison near Moscow. His wife Elena has located such a prison and his parents are asking the US Department of State to insist that he be transferred to the prison closer to Moscow where he can be safer and monitored more often by the American Citizen Services, a branch of the US Embassy in Moscow.
Jimmy has also requested that his fellow American, Thomas Swalley, be included in a transfer. His parents are working on this option, as well as his transfer to a US Federal Penitentiary for a retrial. We’ll keep you posted.