Raul Dorado: LWOP

I wake up each morning with the burden of having to serve another day of a life sentence in prison. This debt to society is not measured by years, but by breaths.

All life sentences in Illinois are without the possibility of parole (LWOP). So, my debt will be paid, in full, upon my last breath.

Just as fractions can be converted into decimals and decimals into fractions, there must be a mathematical formula to convert breaths into years and give me a sense of what percentage of my life is leveraged against me.

Perhaps I can get there by counting the number of breaths I take in a single day, multiply that number by 365 and divide the result by the life expectancy of an incarcerated Latino male. It’s important to adjust for life-diminishing factors, such as being male, a minority and incarcerated. It’s estimated that each year in prison diminishes a person’s life expectancy by two years.


Raul Dorado is a Parole Illinois Board Member at Stateville Correctional Center who’s currently showing symptoms of COVID-19. Raul has an underlying heart condition, which makes us particularly concerned about him. 🙏❤️