In Extraordinary Move, Mel Reynolds Writes Judge

In an unprecedented move, former congressman Mel Reynolds has written his sentencing judge, asking to be spared a potentially “frightening and dangerous situation” which may await him at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center. 

Reynolds was recently convicted of failure to file income taxes, and is due to soon begin serving four months in prison. In his letter to Judge Robert Gettleman, he further states that he should not be sent to another potential location, the Kankakee County Jail, because of possible danger from local gangs. 

“I just don’t know if I can survive the torture of solitary confinement,” Reynolds said, “along with the potential threat to my life looming nearby.” 

In outlining the Kankakee danger, Reynolds noted his efforts to help local law enforcement with information gleaned from a fellow inmate about the 2015 murder of 9 year old Tyshawn Lee. 

“For the sake of my children who love me very much because I have been the father to them that I never had, I want to come out with my life intact,” Reynolds wrote, asking to serve his time in a Chicago halfway house. “If I am allowed to serve my time in this manner, I will avoid the torture of solitary confinement.” 

In a brief reply, Gettleman told Reynolds that while he is sympathetic to his plight, he has no authority to direct the Federal Bureau of Prisons on how and where he will be incarcerated.

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