All I was trying to tell the (DVI) officer was to speak to my counselor, I wasn’t supposed to be here… then the officer told me I had five seconds to comply with his order and to get back in the cell,” said Randell Countryman.
After spending 21 years behind bars, Countryman, 39, granted parole, departed San Quentin, only to return two days later.
A bureaucratic snafu by prison officials, led Countryman through a harrowing ordeal in his attempt to parole. Countryman, who was to be transferred to San Diego so he could be picked up by his parole agent, was instead dropped off at Deuel Vocational Institution in Tracy for two days, than returned to S.Q., according to Countryman.
Countryman, a fixture within S.Q.’s many self-help and leisurely activity groups, participated in groups such as: Anger Management, Alternatives to Violence, Breaking Barriers, AA/NA, Patton College, The Journalism Guild of S.Q., Blues Brothers Football and the Giants Baseball programs.
Everyone who knew Countryman couldn’t help but like him with his easygoing personality, and he liked to laugh and joke a lot. In his college classes he always introduced himself as “Republican Randy.”
“I’m comfortable with who I am now. I don’t just see things through my own perspective anymore,” said Countryman. “The college program has helped me to look at things with more of an open mind,” he said.
“The prison environment, along with maturity, has taught me balance and peace. I’ve gained a greater sense of compassion for other human-beings, and its something I will take with me outside,” he said.
Anybody who knows Countryman, knows he’s got a couple of big passions. His first love is NASCAR, especially Dale Earnhardt Sr. He also loves baseball, and was a member of the S. Q. Giants baseball team.
“The first thing I plan on doing is picking up a pack of smokes, a lighter, and a Pepsi, because, I’m still pissed off tobacco was taken,” said Countryman. When asked what his immediate plans were, he said, “My first meal will be my mom’s lasagna, and this Mother’s Day will be the first time in 22 years that my brothers and I will be able to spend it together with her, I can’t wait.”
When asked what he did when the correctional officer ordered him to get back into the cell within five seconds, Countryman said, “I told him I didn’t need that long and I immediately got my butt back inside.”
Eventually the error was recognized by staff, Countryman was sent back to S.Q., spent the night, and said goodbye to everyone all over again. The next morning Countryman was provided a special transport to Lancaster state prison where his parole agent was to meet him and take him to San Diego and his waiting family.