I've been in prison for almost 24 years and yet I'm only 38 years old. I was convicted of several crimes in the Richmond area at the age of 15 and I was sentenced to 78 years, with 28 suspended. In 1995, I was one of the first juveniles to be convicted of a crime and unfairly sentenced.
Never in my wildest dreams would I be removed from the family and friends for so long. The mistake I made as a kid has hurt everyone I know. My best friends cry when we talk on the phone. My sisters and I do not have a strong relationship because of me being in prison. My youngest brother, who I have not seen since he was seven years old, was killed in 2011 at the age of 24. Do I feel like it was my fault? Yes! Yes, I do because if I was there, he would still be here.
Since being in prison, I've had heart surgery and I had to have a defibrillator placed in my chest and I'm doing everything that's asked of me and more. I would like to say "thank you" for all your help [in working] to end mass incarceration and to bring back parole.