I’m a 44 y/o black man, from New Orleans, Louisiana without a true voice, nor an opportunity to show the man that I have become solely due to my incarceration. You see, I’ve been incarcerated in the Louisiana penal system since July 1994. Over the course of my prison term I have exhausted almost every self help or rehabiliatative program offered to me. I have acquired vocational skills in Culinary Arts and Carpentry, OSHA and NCCER certifictaions. I previously labored without complaint as an offender counsel substitute (the equivalent of a paralegal) on behalf of hundreds of prisoners seeking a fair chance at regaining their freedom. I have written and hope to publish an Urban Novel (though little assistance seems available). Yet I am what the judicial system recognized as a Juvenile offender who should be given a ‘meaningful opportunity for release’, pursuant to a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Graham v. Florida. However, that ‘meaningful opportunity’ seems to exist only in terminology instead of actual practice for me. Whereas, despite my numerous efforts at reform the freedom holders (judges and district attorneys) have deafened their ears or closed their sights without an ounce of consideration of my prison record as I was handed a Life without Parole sentence (later reduced to Life with parole). Apparently, no one cares that I can be a productive member of society by working and paying taxes, being a great father and husband and most of all a asset to my community to help deter violent crime. I am literally expected to serve a Death without lethal injection term without an utterance of the pain or loneliness that accompanies a prison term of this magnitude. i am expected to sit here and rot at the cost of the taxpayers.
Categories: Derrick Woodberry