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Michael Hanshew

Testimony of Michael Hanshew

I have been in prison off and on since 1982.  In the twenty-three years that I have been here in the ADC and KDC, I never once felt comfortable in chapel service.  I usually went because I was bored or I was going to take care of some business, like pick up money owed to me or dope.

Every time an officer would notify the other cons that it was “church call” I would holler, “Go pray to the punk on the pole”.  I’ve never believed in God or satan, but there was these cons that I have known for years who have always told me that one of these days God was going to open my eyes.

In December 2004 I was transferred from Tucker Unit to Varner Unit.  I was assigned to maintenance because I have always worked maintenance since I have been in prison.  This past spring (2005), my supervisor Mr. Grant asked me to help the free world folks install a steeple on top of the Varner unit’s church.  I didn’t want to, but Mr. Grant asked me so I did.  I felt so uncomfortable, sick, I even got into it with the chaplain.  The steeple was installed but I was determined not to go back.

Varner Unit is like a dope city.  They’ve got everything; grass, pills, powder, heroin, meth, ice, whiskey, bootleg and female officers selling their bodies.  I work maintenance and the guys who worked with me were always hustling.  They would give me a cut of their dope for walking with them through the unit.  All I did was watch what was going on around us and run interference if someone tried to stop us.  If someone wanted to try and take the stuff that the guys were carrying then my job was to handle it.  In my past I was a troublemaker.  All I did was fight, stab and get stabbed.  I’m a white male who stands 6’9” and I weigh 364 lbs.  I don’t consider myself a tough S.O.B. but nobody is going to put their hands on me and talk about it either.

Since I’ve been here at Varner Unit, the drugs have ruled me, plus the people I knew were always shooting dope and always offering it to me.  From April to September of 2005, all I did was shoot dope every day.  It took me away from here, the loneliness, the despair.  I miss my daughter so much that I felt like I was having a heart attack but the dope eased the pain.  I could escape the life I had now.

On September 10, 2005 it all came to an end.  I had been doing cocaine all day and someone offered me oxycotton (synthetic heroin).  I mixed the two, called speedball, and the rush was so intense that I had to concentrate to breathe.  My heart was beating so fast and hard that I thought my heart was going to explode, then nothing…….

I woke up in the infirmary, handcuffed and legs shackled to the stretcher.  My throat hurt.  I asked an officer who was sitting next to me what happened.  He told me I had assaulted an officer, took a scalpel and shoved it in my throat, cutting my jugular vein and damaging some nerves and muscles.  The officer and nurse said I was lucky because I was bleeding out when they finally got me to Cummins infirmary.

On September 13, 2005 I was sitting in isolation when Larry Medford showed up at my cell.  I asked myself how did he know that I was here?  The officer wouldn’t let Larry into my cell for security reasons.  Larry told me Jesus loved me and He didn’t want me to die that night; that is why I was sitting in that cell now.  Everything Larry was telling me was making sense.  I have been listening to satan all this time.  I have been telling myself there wasn’t a God but all this time satan has been guiding my thoughts.  When Larry left, I got down on my knees and begged Jesus to forgive me for all my sins.  I’ll not lie, I cried like a baby because I felt love surround me and all the stress and pressure just disappeared.  I wrote my family and told them the good news and I wrote and told Larry the change in my life.

It has been six weeks since I asked Jesus for forgiveness and I’ll tell you it has been really hard.  I have dreams of drugs, of my past and of the sex parties; but mostly it’s of drugs.  One night I was asleep and I dreamed I was shooting dope and as the rush intensified I saw satan in a robe with a hood on sitting on a pile of human bones like a throne.  I could feel him smiling down on me, then I woke up.

I feel at times that God and Jesus may not have forgiven me, but I think maybe satan is putting those negative thoughts inside my head.  I know I can read the Bible and I can understand the Scriptures better now than when I wasn’t a Christian.  I just have to hope and have faith that Jesus did in fact forgive me.  It’s hard being a Christian in prison, but I will be a good Christian.

Michael Hanshew #86275
2501 State Farm Rd.
Tucker, AR  72168