tv Lockup Tampa - Extended Stay MSNBC December 12, 2016 12:00am-1:01am PST
ms. quevas, do you want to explain to me why i should not put you in prison? >> i'm tired of getting high. >> and you weren't tired when i gave you a five-year prison sentence before? >> a drug addicted mother asks a judge to keep her out of prison. >> could you call my dad and tell him to look for someone who has collateral? >> just brought in on drug charges, a young man attempts to make bail. >> just hung up. >> while another awaits sentencing for an unthinkable
crime. >> a young lady was assaulted. drug behind the library. beaten within an inch of her life and brutally raped. >> if it was a crime to be in love then i'm guilty because i'm in love with you. >> an alleged murderer and rapist seeks a lover and benefactor. >> scary is not the word but gives you the creeps. with an average of 361 days of sunshine per year, life in tampa, florida, would seem like paradise. but crime knows no geographical bounds.
on any given day, the two sprawling facilities that make up tampa's hillsborough county jail system house roughly 3,000 men and women. >> your hands should be on the wall. >> most only stand accused of crime and are awaiting trial. others are serving short sentences of one year or less. they all begin their incarceration in the jail's intake department. but the crimes they're associated with range from horrific to petty and everything in between. >> i'm very photogenic. >> deandre barnes was just arrested on charges of cocaine and marijuana possession with intent to sell. he plans to plead not guilty. >> melissa, who was that? >> my baby mama. >> your baby mama. you got that drama? >> if he seems at ease here, it might be because this is barnes' third stay at hillsborough county.
>> slide all the way back. >> barnes is already familiar with the full-body scan chairs and facial scanners used to detect weapons or other contraband that might be hidden inside body cavities. >> barnes. >> i know you're barnes. go ahead, sir. welcome back. >> i said i wasn't going to come back, and i'm back. i let myself down. yeah, it still looks the same. i guess i'll make my bed up. >> though barnes has been arrested a half dozen times, the charges haven't always stuck. he only has one prior conviction for obstructing a law enforcement officer. >> coming to jail i ain't going to lie, it's like, damn, how the hell am i going to get myself out of this situation, and how long my going to be here? >> barnes hopes to leave jail within a couple of days on bail. but life at hillsborough county is a world of extremes.
another young man confined here faces the possibility of never seeing home again. >> all i have to do is use this time as best i can and hope i get out. >> 19-year-old kendrick morris was found guilty on two counts of sexual battery with a deadly weapon. he is awaiting sentencing. prosecutors are asking for 120 years. >> a young lady was simply going to the community library. and was -- she was assaulted, drug behind the library, beaten within an inch of her life, and brutally raped. >> after morris had been taken into custody for the library attack, authorities connected him to another assault that had occurred ten months earlier. >> he'd actually been the assailant in another rape of an elderly day care worker. >> morris was also convicted of that crime and is now in jail awaiting sentencing.
he still claims he's innocent. >> they say anything else, armed robbery or something like that, maybe i probably will say i'm capable of it. but rape, no. attacking a girl, no. hitting a girl, no. at the end of the day, that's just not me. after looking back on the case and how we handled it in defense and how our closing statement was, the jury had no choice but to say guilty in the end. we didn't do a good job of coming out with the evidence. our final statement wasn't concise. it wasn't even clear. and so, i mean, all they could have said was guilty. >> the library victim who was 17 at the time of the attack was beaten so badly she sustained brain damage and can no longer see, walk, or talk. >> my daughter and stepdaughter go to the library where this occurred. this crime that he was convicted of happened less than a mile from where i live. and the community, obviously, is
happy to have someone like him off the streets. as a father and member of the community, it's difficult to keep that separation between my professional and personal self. i try to focus on the fact that he is not a management problem. he's actually, i'll use the term, he's a model confinement to me. never gives us any problems and does everything asked of him. the requirements of my profession is to treat him no differently than i would a petty thief, and that takes practice. it really does. >> morris was arrested when he was 16 and has been at the jail for three years now. he is housed in the confinement unit. because of the nature of his crime. >> if word got out that he had brutally assaulted an elderly woman and a young girl and beat the young girl into a vegetative state, he would probably suffer a similar fate. it's a situation we cannot risk. we could be held liable for not protecting him. so for that reason, he's kept
here. >> morris gets an hour of recreation time outside his cell six days a week. to pass the rest of the time, he exercises, reads and draws. >> i draw because at the end of the day i can walk out of here right now and i can probably have a job or something i could do that would make me money. i could do something. i could be worth something. i want to do a religious piece where the mother was the main character. it was after one visit when mom was crying or whatever. how many times would anyone have thought about how that affected the mother where she has to have her child tooken away or whatever. coming up -- >> we'll be moving our most problematic inmates today. the majority of the inmates housed down there are those with histories of assaulting us and are disciplinary management problems. >> the jail performs a high-risk move of dangerous inmates. and later -- >> when i first met inmate josh, he gave me that back of the neck hair standing up vibe. >> i will be willing to try to kill any and everyone that talks
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you wouldn't pick a slow race car. then why settle for slow internet? comcast business. built for speed. built for business. like many other newly arrived inmates at the hillsborough county jail in tampa, florida, deandre barnes is going through drug withdrawal. >> i told the nurse that i was coming down off of rushes, and about five or six of them a day. and he told me, he was like, use this chance to get clean because it's messing up my heart. almost two years. 20 months he said. 20 months. i go through this all the time. all the time i battle with this, come down, having to worry about
getting just a little bit not to be sick. >> how you feeling off your detox? >> miserable. yeah, miserable. i feel sick. i feel my stomach hurting but it's all right, it's all good. >> it's going to get worse, though. as the days go. your fourth or fifth day is going to be the worst. >> i have no appetite. >> you probably won't. you won't. you'll probably want to sleep for a few days. >> rather than sleep barnes has decided to focus on getting out of jail. the first step is calling a bail bondsman. >> yeah, my name is deandre barnes. i'm in jail for two felonies and two misdemeanors. >> barnes' bail has been set at $26,000. he will be released if he can pay a bondsman $2,600 plus collateral. >> $2,600. he just hung up.
>> barnes next reaches out to a family member. >> okay, well, can you just call my dad and tell him to look for someone who has collateral? i really appreciate it. i'll check back in with you tomorrow. all right. i need somebody with collateral. >> until he makes bail barnes will reside in one of the jail's low-security housing units. but some inmates pose a greater threat to security. they're housed in the confinement unit where they're locked down 23 hours a day. today 180 will be moved to a new newly refurbished confinement unit. and staff is taking an abundance of caution. >> good morning. today we'll be relocating the inmates from 3 delta to 1 delta, concluding the house of for refurbishment. we will be moving our most problematic inmates today.
as you know the majority of inmates down there have histories of assaulting us and are disciplinary management problems. you guys will have binder chains available to you unless they require a box chain. there's about ten of them down there that will be in box chains, two-man escort. >> with inmates that are more high risk, we're going to do it in numbers. at least two deputies, sometimes three, maybe four. >> just grab a set of chains. 205, one man. 206 has assaulted us before. two-man with a box chain. >> one of the inmates on the move is esteban murchon. >> i got into some trouble since i've been here with the guards. guess you could say i've attempted to batter one of the deps. they say i try to beat him up but it was, i guess you could call it, a misdirected anger. >> he's more likely just
combative. so we have to be more cautious with him. >> he was identified not only as a certified member of the bloods but a high-ranking member. >> he has been charged with three counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder. he's pled not guilty to all charges. >> i'm not a killer. i'm a fighter, i'm not a killer. i'm a go-to man. i like money. i like the finer things in life. i'm a pretty boy in the streets. that's what i am. >> you got your pillow in there too? >> yeah. >> the inmates are moved in small groups with a team of deputies assigned to each individual. >> 1 delta, 51 with the next group. >> it's about a 600-yard walk from housing unit 3 delta to 1 delta but there's no rushing. >> we're not here to do it quickly. we're here to do it safely and thoroughly.
>> 1 delta, we're about 30 seconds. >> safety is always a priority. and the refurbished housing unit has several security enhancements. >> that's a 12-year-old building that we moved out of. this is a brand-new building. some of the things they incorporated into the new housing unit is new technology and door controls. i think it will make it safer. >> merchan approves of some of the changes as well. >> it's nicer, i'll tell you that much. >> go ahead and take off your uniform. >> overall the best change i like is the uniform. i guess they decided to have us wear red since we're in confinement. i was getting tired of orange. making me feel like an orange pumpkin. i mean, i'm a blood. right? so my favorite color is red overall. the bloods wear red. feel me? so it makes me feel comfortable, more comfortable. it brings a smile to my face. look at my cheeks.
>> in addition to his history of assaulting staff, his gang affiliation is another reason he's in confinement. >> if you openly throw up gang signs, mention you're in a gang or give the appearance of trying to recruit for your gang you'll be confined in here. >> that's what society calls us, a gang. i tell you right now i'm not a gang member. i don't gang bang. i'm part of a brotherhood, a nation. this is my church, this is my religion. this is what i believe in. you feel me? i am a blood. i swore to myself this is what i'm going to do for the rest of my life. coming up, an accused murderer and rapist seeks a relationship. >> on the back it says, p.s., i want to be the girl in your dreams tonight. only god can judge us.
to get up. >> sonya is concerned about the effect her recent arrest is having on her family. she's in jail for violating her probation on a cocaine possession conviction. >> i have two girls and i don't want to be a role model having my girls thinking that it's cute to go to jail or use drugs or depend on a man. i don't want them to make the same mistakes i've made. there's no way in hell. >> tell me what keeps bringing you back here. >> the drugs, to be honest with you. >> sergeant sarah herman takes a personal interest in many of hillsborough county's female inmates and wants to discuss her plan to get back on track. >> i'm ready for a change and i'm ready to be with my babies and my family. >> how old are your children? >> my daughter's 4 and my other
one is 3 and my son just turned 14 thursday. >> what is going to keep you other than your kids, from not coming here again? >> i'm willing to change. >> what's your plan? >> my plan is to actually complete my ged, go finish school, and find me a job to keep myself busy and occupied. that's the key, i've realized. >> she says she didn't start taking drugs until she was 24 and addiction quickly took over her life. >> each day you have to choose and decide, what is sonya going to do today? if it didn't feel right, if you feel it in your gut, leave. run, run, run. i'm happy to see you've got your mind set on doing the right thing. >> i thank you and appreciate it. >> no problem. >> thanks. >> she had a five-year suspended prison sentence and was in a court-ordered drug treatment program when she took a methadone pill and failed a drug test. >> i want to make sure you don't come back here anymore. >> i threw it all away just to get high one time, being it was
my birthday. because it was my birthday, i'm thinking let me get high. i'm going to get away with it. it wasn't like that. >> she further violated her probation by leaving the treatment facility after failing the drug test and now she may have to serve her five-year suspended prison sentence. >> i'm nervous about going to court. it's really basically up to the judge. and that kind of scares me. because maybe she can have a bad day or be just fed up of me bs'ing her and send me up the road. >> most hillsborough county inmates live with similar anxieties. as the decision of a judge or jury will impact their lives forever. but each day there's one event that can temporarily take their minds off the uncertainties of their future. mail call. >> you get your mail? >> not yet, man. i wish. >> that's for you. >> this is very important to them. this is their communication to
the outside when they're not using the telephones. when they don't have visitation. this is what they've got. >> but not everyone is lucky enough to receive mail. kenneth jackson says he rarely hears from his family or anyone else. >> it would be nice to get mail coming in. it don't have to be every day, it don't have to be once a month. it can just be every now and again. just get a letter from someone say be, look, how you doing? everything going great? >> kenneth jackson, year i've been back here, he's got one letter since i've been back here. >> when jackson got a love letter it was a welcome surprise. >> i see a sweet person inside you. you must have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time. at least you have got me on your side if that means anything. i hope you write me back soon
and keep your sexy ass out of trouble. love always. and on the back it says, p.s., i want to be the girl in your dreams tonight. only god can judge us in big bold letters. >> the letter is from a female inmate jackson says he met at court. he says she was in a holding cell and they communicated using jailhouse sign language. >> i signed to her my name and booking number, and she somehow or other got a letter to me. actually when i got it i was shocked by it. the personal stuff she put in there and she don't know me, know what i did or my charges or nothing. >> if she had known his charges jackson's pen pal may have thought twice about writing. >> i was accused of raping and killing and burning a woman inside her vehicle. but i did not do this. why rape someone when you can go out there and give just $20 and get what i want?
>> jackson was arrested on murder, sexual battery and arson charges only two months after finishing a five-year prison sentence for grand theft of a motor vehicle. he's pled not guilty to the latest charges and has been at the jail for three years awaiting trial. >> when i first met inmate jackson, he gave me that back of my neck hair standing up kind of vibe. >> after 17 years in law enforcement, master deputy stephen gray has learned to trust his instincts. his first impression was supported when he looked at jackson's paperwork. >> inmate jackson has got a rap sheet of everything from insolence toward staff members, you know, verbally, sometimes physically. to, your, kicking on the door, violent behavior. if you add all that up, 15, 16 pages worth, it literally spells out lockdown for his duration of his time of his stay here at hillsborough county.
>> in the meantime jackson can only write to his new pen pal. >> it says, what's up, my true love? babe, you have me [ bleep ] about you. i would be willing to try to kill any and everyone who tries to talk to you or looks at you. anyways, why don't you tell me you loved me before you left? if it was a crime to be in love then i'm guilty because i'm in love with you. so don't play with my heart, okay? >> scary's not the word but gives you the creeps. coming up -- >> first i make the barbecued chicken. >> esteban merchan whips up a snack. >> it's the pickle juice that's going to give you the juice of the hot sauce. >> and kenneth jackson turns his attention from women to men. >> treat them like they're my girlfriend. even though they ain't.
sleeping when i first came in here. then after that i got more active. i knew it could break you or help you. you feel me? >> esteban merchan is awaiting trial on murder charges and has been in the hillsborough county jail in tampa, florida, for a year. but his stay hasn't been without some benefits. >> i started reading anywhere between two to four books a week. now i'm reading anywhere between three to five books a week. i write letters. i draw. i do push-ups, a thousand every day. exercise to keep my mind and my body occupied. >> line up on this side, please. >> with the same routine one day of the week can feel like any other. but mondays brings something to look forward to. it's delivery day for jail canteen. >> i get canteen. to be honest, the food here is
not that bad. it's just the quantity. the quantity is too little. i'm a growing man. i'm used to eating in bundles. >> canteen around here is like gold to them. it is probably one of the most important things aside from getting a visit or a letter. they are allowed to order something different from the normal food we provide to them. >> today merchan is using canteen ingredients to make his unique version of jailhouse barbecue chicken. >> first i put the rice the barbecue chips and crumble them, mustard and sugar. put it in there and shake it up. next put in the chicken. then we can make the hot sauce. the pickle juice, it's going to give you like the juice of the hot sauce. this is the messiest part right here. right now i'm putting the pickle and the sauce together. then take the hot chips and mix everything together. i can't top martha stewart.
this is the result you get. you feel me? >> delivering canteen to the jail's inmates is no small task. corporal mims and a team of deputies will distribute 125 order in just one housing unit alone. >> it's one of the most stressful times for a lot of the deputies as well as the inmates because we know that there's a lot of food, there's a lot of them that are indigent which means they have no money in their fund, and they steal. >> stealing the stuff being that the canteen manners so much to these inmates, it can cause fights and people get hurt. whether it's inmates or staff members responding to the fights. so it's a big deal. i think it's a big deal to everybody. >> because it has the potential to lead to violence even the theft of the smallest item is investigated.
daniel feroni is currently in jail awaiting trial on charges of aggravated stalking, possession of a controlled substance and theft. he's pled not guilty. but now he's got a new problem on his hands. >> what you're saying is you didn't steal. >> i didn't steal anything. i had the receipt. i had the canteen in my box. >> he was recently given 21 days in confinement after the jail's disciplinary committee concluded that he stole a candy bar from another inmate. >> it's a misunderstanding, a mistake. but i have to go through the bureaucratic stuff to have any of my things heard. >> he's filled out paperwork to appeal the decision. and now corporal debose will review it. >> so this is what you were accused of. you are accused of stealing somebody's canteen, right? >> yeah. >> this was on the other shift. >> yeah. >> it says you went in there while the guy was in the shower and you took his canteen. okay, all right -- >> i have a receipt saying that i paid for the items.
they're saying that i stole them. that is not right. there's no mention of the ticket number in there or anything. >> it doesn't say a snickers candy bar or a milky way candy bar or whatever. you know, like your -- it just says candy bar. >> yeah. >> okay? so i can't pinpoint that. okay? because it's not in the report. i've dealt with you before. >> i know. >> okay? you seem to stay in trouble. okay? and being that you seem to stay in trouble, you know, it's like this stuff just seems to follow you around. i don't think it's coincidence. >> all right. >> i'm going to take you down to 6 charlie lockdown. then they'll deal with that either tomorrow or within the next couple of days, anyway. okay? all right. you want to head down there now? he's well known because he tends to stay in trouble. it's not fighting or anything like that but it's things like this, stealing. >> what's up? >> nothing much. >> he'll stay for the next 21
days unless his appeal goes through the captain and he decides to reduce it or throw it out. >> in this case he was out of luck. the captain upheld the 21-day confinement sanction for allegedly stealing the candy bar. kenneth jackson is awaiting trial for a brutal crime in which a woman was raped, murdered and set on fire. he's also in confinement. and for him, buying canteen is not an option. >> my family don't want nothing to do with me, i don't get no money, and the jail food kind of sucks, so. >> during a prior stay in prison jackson hustled canteen money by placing personal ads on a website for gay men seeking pen pals. >> i wrote the letter. i started receiving letters back. i started receiving letters back, i started asking for money here and there and i started building up money in my account. i'm like, whoa. it's a whole different life. >> jackson says he isn't gay but doesn't find it difficult to write the letters. >> treat them like they're my girlfriend, even though they ain't. but treat them like that. you want to keep them writing you. keep that money coming. so you write sexual stuff to them to keep them coming. think about how fun it would be to be at your house and in your bed with you.
i know that boy [ bleep ] is so good and you would love to let me have it. >> jackson is once again looking for a canteen benefactor. he's placed a personal ad. if he gets a response he will send his letter off in the mail. >> says i'm getting $30 per pen pal, i've got 10 or 15 pen pals, i'm banking. i'm banking. coming up -- >> this is your daily visit. let me see your arms. don't mess with it. >> kenneth jackson takes pleasure in cutting. >> just like having the best orgasm you've ever had. >> knowing that my mom is still there, everything is fine. >> and kendrick morris meets with one person -- >> hey, honey. >> -- who believes in him. >> i'm proud of you. either way i'm proud of you.
it's my life. i'm going to grow and i'm going to learn. it's my life and you know i'm going to burn every single day until the world don't turn. i'm a warrior so you know i'm gonna earn. just [ bleep ]. ♪ warrior and then it repeats. >> when deandre barnes first arrived at the hillsborough county jail in tampa, florida, he was going through drug withdrawal. >> that's no joke. that ain't no joke. feels like death in your stomach. >> but after three weeks in jail barnes says he feels much better. >> i ain't felt like this in a long time. i feel like my innocence. i see it in my face. i feel good. i don't got to worry about waking up feeling sick. >> and today barnes has more than just his health to be happy about. he received good news at a court hearing. >> i actually went to court
today. and they released me on the two highest bonds that i have. >> barnes' bail was reduced from $26,000 to $3,250. a bondsman can get him out for only 10% of that amount. >> it's a blessing. from $2,500 to get out and now $300, $400 to get out. >> barnes is hopeful his family will be able to come up with the money. >> i got an 80% chance of getting out. i ain't gonna say no 90s because there ain't nothing guaranteed or whatever. but 80% chance i get out. >> kenneth jackson is also hoping for a change in environment. he spent most of the last three years in the jail's confinement unit and he'd like to move to general population. >> i've been -- i'm trying to go
back to population. i'm supposed to talk to -- they're supposed to talk to me about it today. today is the confinement meeting. >> each week a team of deputies discusses the possibility of moving confinement inmates back to general population. but sergeant sarah herman thinks that's unlikely in jackson's case. >> kenneth jackson is simply in confinement because he cannot cope in general population. he's more afraid of being in general pop with other inmates with a roommate, with a cellmate. because we've tried a couple times to get him to go to general population. he didn't last 24 hours. he did not feel safe. go put your clothes on. >> jackson's coping issues are not limited to general population. he recently cut himself in order to deal with the stress of living in confinement. >> the best way to relieve all the pressure, i cut on myself. i cut my arm. when i bleed and got the pain it just relaxes me. it's like having the most orgasm you could ever have.
my blood pressure is 147/104 and i cut and 20 minutes later it's down to 110/70. i relax. straight up. >> this is your daily visit. remember we talked on thursday. where are you at today? let me see your arms. both. both. don't mess with it. >> sergeant herman has come to check on jackson and discuss his request to return to general population. >> when you told me on thursday you were about to break, remember that? what's changed since thursday? you can't be about to break and go into general population. >> i was stressed out. >> you remember what happened the last time when you left here and went to general pop, how did it make you feel? >> i was shaking and nervous. >> because what? why were you shaking and nervous? >> i couldn't be around a lot of people. >> okay. what makes you think this is going to be any different? you're wasting your time, jackson. every time you come back you get
frustrated. we go through the same cycle again -- hold on a minute. we go through the same cycle to readjust you back into the way we do things. you get angry because you are not in a certain cell, right? put your eyebrow down. it's the truth. i'm just telling you your life. you end up in the restraint chair because you're doing something you have no business, cutting your arms. right? so -- i don't know, you playing your game? >> please let me have a chance. >> i'm not the deciding factor. we're done. got it? good. >> listen, sergeant -- >> got it. >> sergeant. look at me. >> all right. >> kendrick morris who is awaiting sentencing on two sexual battery convictions has also been in confinement for most of his three years at the jail. but unlike jackson, he does his time quietly. >> he doesn't give us any problems as far as management. he's moderately respectful,
doesn't act out. >> morris says it's regular communication and visits with his mother that help him cope with his solitary existence. >> just knowing that, you know, my mom's still there everything's fine. we can still talk to each other, say i love her and everything, and she can see that i'm fine. >> good afternoon. >> morris's mother, lisa stevens, who owns a custom cake and dessert company in tampa, visits him two or they times a week. >> he's not a monster. he's my son. i love him dearly. i know he didn't do the crimes he was convicted of. and we're praying for the day when we can walk out of here together. and we can put all this behind us. >> the jail requires visits to take place over telephone and closed circuit tv and they are limited to 40 minutes in length. >> hey, honey. >> hey. how you doing?
>> just tired. i've been working all day since about 4:00 or 5:00 this morning. how you doing? >> i'm doing fine. it's not as bad as i thought it was. i've been playing chess all day. >> how do you do that? >> you have to draw out the board and rip up the pieces of paper and write all the different pieces on it and play like that. >> what do you feel as far as staying in confinement? because i mean, i know -- >> it's not going to break me. it's nothing. i get used to it. if i'm able to see you all, have canteen and do my drawing and reading, i'm fine. i can ride this out until it's time for me to go wherever i need to go.
>> i don't know how you do it. nobody can do confinement like you do. >> i look at it differently. you can say this is going against me. i'm going to give up. i'm saying this is going against me, can i keep on going? if i keep on going that shows how strong i am. >> i'm proud of you. either way i'm proud of you. >> i'm proud of you too. how are things going? how are you taking it? mom. >> morris could spend the rest of his life in prison. the prosecutors in his case are asking for two consecutive 60-year sentences. he and his mother are hopeful he'll be exonerated on a future appeal. but they're not completely in agreement on how morris spends his future, especially when it comes to his desire to be a tattoo artist. >> i don't want to go through that again. >> i want to make a name for myself doing tattoos. >> but your focus is only tattoos. your art extends beyond that. your art is bigger than tattoos. >> that's one thing i can work on right now. so right when i get out i can go
work on tattoos. but you know i want to make video games and all that. and i want -- >> that's my point. how do you go from tattoos to computer engineering? >> you're not. art is art. you keep on working on it. >> let that be the plan b. you can do computer engineer in there. i'm pretty sure. god forbid if you do get sent to prison, you can do computer engineering in there you can learn that there. >> i can learn all things. >> tell me usual learn tattoos so i can reach through. >> oh, man. i was just about to say. >> i love you. >> i love you, too. i love you, too. >> let's pray before this ends. >> yes, ma'am. >> our eternal father, thank you for this opportunity to share with kenny. i thank you that he continues to have a smile on his face, o god. he's coming home. i believe it. i have to believe it. i have to. i have to for his sake. i have to. we pray your will will be done. in the name of your son jesus christ for his name's sake. amen. >> love you, ma. >> love you too, honey. >> bye. >> bye. >> all i have is hope. and i believe so much. so much in him that i'm
confident that he is going to come home. everything else falls together. however redemption takes place, it will take place. coming up -- >> any other reason why i should not put you in prison? >> because of my girls that are 3 and 4. >> did you think about your girls before you used while you were in a residential treatment facility? >> sonya learns her fate. >> anything else you'd like to add?
i'm at the crib right now. home sweet home. trying not to go back. i ain't trying to go back there. you know what i'm saying? trying to stay out of that. >> staying out of jail is often difficult for a drug addict. sonya cuevas is back in hillsborough county for her third probation violation on a cocaine possession charge. she was 47 days into a court-ordered drug treatment program when she tested positive for methadone and ran away from the treatment facility. >> they used to say believe it or not when you leave the rehab, you'll miss it. i'd be like, yeah, right. as soon as i left, the next day, i did. because i actually knew what i threw away was like, not even worth me running for. >> two months after leaving the treatment program, she turned herself in to authorities with hopes she'd get another chance at rehabilitation. cuevas will soon face a judge
who will decide to give her another chance at rehab or send her to prison to serve what had been a suspended five-year sentence. >> my priority is to do what i have to do as a mom and as a woman and get my [ bleep ] straight. i'm running out of chances. not going to get any better. it's just going to get worse from here. >> be seated. come to order. no talking, please. >> cuevas must now convince judge vivian corbo to give her that second chance. >> please raise your right hand. swear to tell the truth, nothing but the truth so help you god? >> yes. >> you can put your hand down. what's your true and correct legal name? >> sonya maria cuevas. >> the judge is known for recommending rehab for most drug offenders. but she has seen cuevas before. >> miss cuevas, you score mandatory prison. i gave you residential treatment and you walked away from it. you want to explain to me why i should not put you in prison?
>> i'm just tired of getting high. i'm tired. >> and you weren't tired when i gave you a five-year suspended prison sentence before? >> yes. >> you're just a little more tired now? >> yeah. >> is that what it is? >> yes. >> any other reason why i should not put you in prison? >> also because of my girls that are 3 and 4. >> did you think about your girls when you absconded? >> yes. >> did you think about your girls before you used while you were in a residential treatment facility? >> no. >> how old are you? >> 32. >> 32 years old. how many times have you violated my probation now? >> this is the third one. >> the third one. unfortunately, miss cuevas has not convinced me with any sincerity at all. and after six years of this, i am not inclined to waste another residential bed on someone who is not sincere. is there anything else you'd
like to add? >> yes, ma'am. >> go ahead. >> i am sincere about my controversy. to the methadone usage, it was somebody no longer in my life that didn't really love me the way i thought they did. by bringing that to me when i'm in recovery. i was doing good. i was working and on phase ii. >> anything further to say, anything to add? >> no, your honor. we've covered it. >> all right. except your admission is there anything you'd like to add? >> just again, your honor, we have not seen her complete the program. give her the opportunity to complete the in-jail drug treatment program. and then proceed into residential. >> had she not absconded, i would have considered that. but absconding with a five-year prison sentence hanging over your head says a lot to this court.
having found her in willful violation i'm going to adjudicate her guilty. i'm going to sentence her to 36 months in florida state prison with credit. she has 30 days to appeal. the reason i didn't give you the five is because you turned yourself in. you have 30 days to appeal. good luck to you. i'm going to recommend a drug treatment modality in florida state prison. thank you. next case, please. >> the ruling means cuevas will soon pack up her belongings and board a bus from the hillsborough county jail en route to a florida state prison for the next three years. >> i just didn't think it was fair for her to act like she knew if i was being sincere or not. because regardless of you being an addict, you can mess up. it doesn't mean you're not being sincere and you don't care. and i feel like she just threw the book at me and gave up on me. but it is what it is. i made my grave. now i've just got to deal with it.