DETROIT – An inmate who has helped expose corruption in Michigan prisons for three decades has busted dozens of corrupt workers, but his snitching has also put him in tremendous danger.
The prison system has taken Jimmy's photo off the internet to protect him from people who might wish him harm. But he's still been brutally attacked numerous times while behind bars.
"It's like living in fear constantly," Jimmy said. "I'm always watching my back."
The Detroit native, and son of a preacher, said God told him to help law enforcement officials.
"I know that what God has planned for you, guess what? No man can stand up against you," Jimmy said.
His inside information has solved murders, busted multimillion-dollar fraud schemes and led to the arrest of dozens of corrupt corrections officials.
It's also made him a target of violence.
"He literally was beaten, was poisoned, was threatened, and this is by people in the jail," said John Smietanka, Jimmy's attorney.
"A lot of people in prison don't respect a rat," Jimmy said.
He sewed together magazines as protective vests to try to protect himself.
"You sew them together and you walk with that up under your shirt," Jimmy said. "If you get stuck in the back or something like that, you know it won't penetrate."
He has still been stabbed seven different times over the years, he said.
"I turned around and he stuck me in my stomach and he stuck me in my chest, you know," Jimmy said. "I called for the police. He's five feet from me. He acts like he didn't hear me."
He's also been beaten and poisoned. It's difficult to hide when inmates and prison guards are after him for snitching.
Most people would demand early release for giving up such valuable information, but Jimmy does it for his mother and father.
"Religious righteousness, and it comes from his family background, and he made a marvelous transformation," Smietanka said.
"I don't know any greater force than faith that would compel someone to do something like that," said Nakisha Chaney, Jimmy's attorney.
Jimmy was sentenced to 50 to 200 years in prison for a robbery, during which one of his codefendants killed a man. He has served more than 30 years behind bars, nearly all of them as an informant helping police close cases.
He is described by law enforcement officials as one of the state's most productive informants ever.
"He made a decision very early on to be a decent, good human being," Chaney said. "Even when it came at the expense of his own safety. He spent decades doing whatever he could behind bars to try to help people (from) inside the prison."
Despite horrific attacks that have hospitalized and nearly killed him, Jimmy continues to snitch, hoping his service to God will make a difference in the lives of others.
"My testimony to you today is something that I'm hoping someone would be able to take my situation and learn from it and turn their life around and not go down that dark path, which I did," Jimmy said.
The prison system has put Jimmy in protective custody several times, but he repeatedly asks to go back into general population, saying he prefers being at risk living among other prisons to the isolation of 23 hours a day locked up in a tiny cell alone.