On January 1, 1995 Virginia abolished parole leaving individuals to serve 85% of their sentences, earning little or no good time credit to be released back into their community. August 11, 1995 I was arrested at the age of 18. I was sentenced to 35 years. I have dedicated myself to, at least, reform and rehabilitate my life. The task hasn't been easy. I've made a lot of mistakes while in prison but I've never stopped striving to better myself as a person.
While incarcerated I've accomplished education, vocational and personal achievements. I earned a GED, vocational skills: paper and finisher, drywall application, paper hanger and painter; custodial maintenance; treatment programs: anger management, problem solving skills, art for the substance abuser, cognitive restricting program, and substance abuse 1 and 2. Even after all of this I am not eligible for parole or eligible to receive any real good time credits [to offset my sentence].
At this point, Virginia taxpayers are paying $30,000/year for me to sit in prison. Every program the prison system has offered me, I have enrolled and completed. I am 41 years old. I have reformed and rehabilitated myself. This August 11, 2019 will be my 24th year in prison. The reason why I decided to share my story is because I am an example of why sentencing reform and consideration for parole eligibility should seriously be discussed. May 2019, I will be filing a petition for conditional pardon with the Governor of Virginia for the reasons stated here and will also be addressing sentencing errors. Any support or letters would be appreciated.
NOTE from CFJ: Please write to the Committee of the Courts of Justice and tell them that you support bringing back parole and sentencing reform.