Profiles of debate participants

Luigi
I am 36 years old, and am currently serving a 38-year sentence for 1st degree murder, of which I have already served about 10 years. I am originally from the northwest suburbs of Chicago. The most important things in my life are my faith and my family. Before my incarceration in late December of 2007, I was president of a property management firm, as well as an owner/operator of various other small businesses all around Chicagoland. I am an avid reader, natural problem solver and critical thinker.

Since my conviction, I have become dedicated to self-betterment learning as much as I can about whatever subjects I can get my hands on. As of this writing, I have earned 317 certificates or diplomas from classes, courses, or seminars I have taken while incarcerated. I have also become a certified paralegal from the Black Stone Career Institute and have earned an associate’s degree in theology from Calvary Christian College in South Bend, IN, with a bachelor degree in the same forthcoming in January of 2018.

I am fairly conservative in my beliefs and opinions, and I try to view all issues through the lens of my faith in the Messiah Yeshua Ben Elohim.

Louie was incarcerated at age 26, though he was 19 years old when the crime was committed, and his release is set for 2045 at age 64.
~Luigi Adamo R74391

Richard*
I am Richard Morris, 43 years old. I’ve been incarcerated for 22 years.

I was wrongfully convicted of first degree murder, aggravated kidnapping and aggravated hijacking for which I was sentenced to death. That sentence was commuted by Governor George Ryan. In 2004, the Illinois Supreme Court overturned my conviction and granted me a new trial due to ineffective assistance of counsel.

Unfortunately, I was once again convicted and given a sentence which I am appealing.

I would like to be seen as someone worthy of the time and effort that goes into the type of assistance I am hoping for.

Raheem was incarcerated at age 21. He was originally on death row, but his release is now set for 2048 at age 75.
~Richard Morris B65709

Michael*
My name is Michael Sullivan, I’m 46 years old. I have been incarcerated since I was 21 years old. I am a father of 4 children and a grandfather of 7. My parents are still alive and have supported me throughout this ordeal. I also have a supportive fiance. I am an artistic painter and animator as well as a writer. I have illustrated a children’s book for my think tank class here at Stateville. I am also currently writing two books. The first is a children’s book titled “THE TOOLS OF CHESS: The Cognitive Development Process.” The second is “The Restoration of Justice.” It is similar to a dissertation and is based on a restorative justice class I attended here at Stateville.

Lastly, I want to state that I believe that Illinois should bring back the parole board because you’ll discover that a second chance for many will be morally right, and you’ll see that many of us, like myself, will be an asset to our society.

Tall Mike was incarcerated at age 22 in 1992 and he is ineligible for parole.
~Michael Sullivan B67920

Eugene*
Eugene is one of Illinois’ juvenile lifers. He has been incarcerated for the last 21 years.

Eugene was hand-selected by his peers – being one out of 1,300 others (for only 12 available seats) chosen to represent Stateville’s debate team; being one of the prison’s “best and brightest.” This is one of many accomplishments he has had while incarcerated. He has completed multiple classes and programs, contributed to children’s books, dedicated himself to mentoring youth, and spearheaded a “My Life Matters” letter writing campaign among fellow prisoners which resulted in an event at DePaul University and a national invitation to the restorative justice conference held in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. The work was presented there to a national restorative justice and educational panel.

Eugene’s impeccable leadership and communication skills were on full display as he coached his team to a championship in comeback fashion in the prison’s inaugural March Madness basketball tournament.

In addition to these involvements, Eugene is a Muslim by faith and is very active in the prison’s Islamic community. He leads the weekly Friday prayer service, gives weekly lectures, and teaches both Islamic studies and Arabic. His nickname “Al Ameen” comes from Arabic and means “truthful and trustworthy.”

Eugene was incarcerated at age 20 in 1997 and he is ineligible for parole.
~Eugene Ross K73977

Raul*
Raul Dorado is an incarcerated student and author. He is serving a life without parole sentence under the legal theory of accountability. He is working towards a bachelor’s degree from the University Without Walls sponsored by Northeastern Illinois University. He has published poetry, essays, and articles, including, “In Mind’s Eye,” “The Skiff,” “The Presumption of Justice: Capitalism and Alchemists,” and “Plea Bargains: A Fair Deal or Fair Game.”

Raul was incarcerated at age 19 in 1998 and he is ineligible for parole.
~Raul Dorado K53842

Howard
Howard Keller was a former high school dropout and alcohol abuser who turned his life completely around. Today he is a GED and vocational tutor, published writer, poet, and advocate for higher education in prison. He is also a barber by trade. A staunch believer in the transformative power of education, Howard uses the barbering platform to engage others in critical dialogue about the importance of education, and to provide valued one-on-one tutoring to men with unique learning needs.

Howard is currently a visiting student of North Park Theological Seminary. His hope is to become a full-time student there, complete an M.A. in Christian Ministry, and one day work with organizations that provide counseling and assistance to young people with alcohol addictions.

Howard is a positive force both inside and outside of the prison system. His compassion and desire to serve others is what makes him a great leader.

Howard was incarcerated at age 21, and his release is set for 2055 at age 77.
~Howard Keller K67292

Mike*
My name is Michael Simmons. I have three siblings, two older brothers and a younger sister. My earliest memory as a child was being told that my dad had been shot and killed. I was 6 and a half years old. Unfortunately for me, my aunt did not possess any tact in informing me of the bad news. “That damn prostitute got yo daddy shot in the head,” she told me.

Growing up, we were often on the move as my mother struggled to keep a roof over our heads. At one point, we lived in the Henry Hornet projects on Chicago’s west side. The hornets was probably one of the worst places to live in the city. It was like a super overcrowded prison where there was constant battle between the mice and roaches for space and bread. It was in the hornets, while loading into my mother’s friend’s minivan, getting ready to go to church, that I first saw someone get shot multiple times at point-blank range.

Church was a regular in my family. After the passing of my grandfather in ‘86, my grandmother, Ollie Mae Simmons, became an ordained minister with her apartment serving as her church. My mom would take us to live with grandma when we couldn’t afford rent, which was quite often.

My brother Darryl got involved with the gang crowd in middle school. He would have his friends over while mom worked, which was basically all of the time. They would drink and smoke and listen to rap music. I was fascinated with the name brand clothes, gold chains, and Michael Jordan shoes. Oh yeah, and the cars they drove. I wanted to be just like them.

It wasn’t long before I started getting into trouble myself. I was in the sixth grade when I first joined the gang. I didn’t have to go through the so-called ritual of taking an oath like most gangs did. Because my brother was respected, I was welcomed right on in. I always knew that, deep inside, the person I knew I was on the inside never fit the gang-banging lifestyle that I was living, yet it was hard for me to remove the mask that allowed me to be accepted.

I can go forever long about the things I’ve experienced, things that have left me wondering how I am still alive today. Not only alive, but so much better and wiser than I knew I was capable of being. I’ve been in prison for nearly sixteen years, convicted of armed robbery, and murder under the accountability theory.

The son of the victim who, like myself, lost his dad to a senseless act at such a young age, and his mother, Mrs. McKinley, have all had the most profound impact on my life. Mrs. McKinley, in her victim statement, at what had to be one of the most difficult times in her life, stated that she hoped that I would someday make my life count for something. They, along with my family support, for which I am grateful, have been and continue to be the strength of my resolve to do everything in my power to honor the victim in my case and his family. I believe that the things that I’ve been through will somehow serve a greater cause and this allows me to remain hopeful and able to have a peace of mind and continue to push for greatness even when my circumstance begs otherwise.

Mike was incarcerated at age 24, and his release is set for 2052 at age 74.
~Michael Simmons K58311

Joe*
Joseph Dole has won numerous awards for his writing, including most recently a first place award in the 2017 Columbia Journal Writing Contest. He is the author of the books “A Costly American Hatred” and “Control Units and Supermaxes: A National Security Threat.” He has been published in a number of academic journals, including the Mississippi review, the Columbia Journal, The Journal of Ethical Urban Living, and the Journal Justice Power, and Resistance, as well as in numerous other print and media online. More of his work is available at his facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/JosephDoleIncarceratedWriter/. He is currently serving a life without parole sentence at Stateville Correctional Center. He spent nearly a decade of his life in isolation at the notorious Tamms Supermax Prison. Recently, he was granted a scholarship by the Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund in recognition of his activism.

Joe was incarcerated at age 22 and is ineligible for parole.
~Joseph Dole K84446

Les
Born in 1980 in the ghettos of Chicago, Les grew up with five brothers. As his dad carried the burden of child support for his three half-sisters, their family always struggled financially, which contributed to his having moved five times, transferring schools eight times, dropping out of school and leaving home all by age 14. The gang he entered trained him to sell crack cocaine and heroin, and excessively abuse marijuana and alcohol.

Over the next two years, he had a number of encounters with Chicago police officers in which he was threatened, assaulted, and physically and emotionally abused. At age 16, he was arrested as a juvenile, and was subsequently incarcerated twice more for parole violations. He was on parole for 5 months before his fourth and final arrest, and has now been in prison continuously since age 19. Since his incarceration, he has committed himself to self-improvement through the rigorous pursuit of faith and education.
He wants to become the best man he possibly can for God and every person who is connected to his life.

Les was incarcerated at age 19, and his release is set for 2050 at age 70.
~Lester Dobbey R16237

Oscar*
Oscar Parham is also known as Smiley. He likes to be called Smiley because the name depicts his easy-going personality. Despite his circumstances, he has maintained a positive attitude.

Oscar was 18 years old when his crime occurred. He has served 28 years of a mandatory natural life sentence for guilt by association, under the theory of accountability. Since he has been incarcerated, he has striven to better himself even though the natural life sentence took away all incentive to do so. From the beginning, he has taken every class that has been available to him.

Oscar also became a man of faith while in Menard. His faith is a major part of who he is.

During a class that Oscar took with Professor Jennifer Lackey of Northwestern University on Mass Incarceration, he was one of five students chosen to have an article published by the New Yorker. During the mass incarceration class, Oscar also met U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky who wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Sun Times titled, “Natural Life for Young Offenders in Indefensible.” In this op-ed, Mrs. Schakowsky makes mention of the atrocity of Oscar being given a natural life sentence after being offered an unconditional eleven year plea. Had Smiley taken the eleven year plea, he would have served 50% of his time and been home in 1995.

Oscar was incarcerated at age 20 and is ineligible for parole.
~Oscar Parham N95863

Benard
Hello, my name is Benard McKinley. I’m 32 years old. I presently reside at Stateville Correctional Center. I was born and raised on the west side of Chicago. At the age of 16 I was charged with first degree murder. I was later convicted and sentenced to 100 years in the Department of Corrections. While incarcerated, I dedicated my time as a motivational speaker to the incarcerated youth. Since my incarceration, I have become a paralegal and a proud member of the National Lawyers Guild.

In January 2016, the Federal 7th Circuit Appellate Court ruled that my sentence was a de facto life sentence. Since that decision, I have been back in state court, and in the process of having my time vacated and resentenced in light of the US Supreme Court Miller case decision.

Since my incarceration, I have focused on bettering myself physically, mentally, and spiritually. I look forward to giving back to my community, and becoming a productive citizen, given this second chance at my physical freedom. Until that day I continue to evolve into a better man than I was yesterday.

Benard was incarcerated at age 16, and his release is set at 2101 at age 116.
~Benard McKinley R30033

Alfred*
Hello my name is Alfred Moore Bey. I am a flesh and blood human being. I am not a criminal, inmate, or offender, because these things are human deficiencies – an inherent mentality. Raised in poverty, I suffered from inadequacies and lived with deficiencies for most of my life. I am 49 years old, currently residing at Stateville Correctional Center, serving a 100 year life sentence under the Accountability theory, 20 years now.

I know man has the ability to change, because I did it. Given the right opportunity, tools, and guidance with the right attitude, I developed the right mentality.

Initiated into manhood at the late age of 33, I’ve learned it is not how much I can accumulate or accomplish that makes me a man, but understanding how to use my achievements to help others. For the last 20 years, I’ve worked to be a Sheik in the Moorish Science Temple of America (M.S.T. of A) motivational Speaker, mentor to our youth and young adults and athletic coordinator. However, these achievements are secondary. For me, learning how to be a father, son, brother, uncle and friend with hopes of becoming a husband, are my most proud achievements for me, family, community, state, country, and all humanity. I exhibit the attributes of a human being who has learned to heal my soul and ask you to help me, to help others to learn to exhibit the attributes of humanity (justice for all.) “Know thyself.”

Alfred was incarcerated at age 31 and his release is set for 2089 at age 120.
~Alfred Moore N80845

Carnell Fitzpatrick Sr.
My name is Carnell Fitzpatrick Sr. I am 47 years old. I have 4 kids and 5 grandchildren. My mother is my sole living parent. I have been incarcerated for 17 years. My first 10 years were spent at Menard where I worked in the kitchen for 7 years for $19.90/month. Obviously I wasn’t working for pay – more for recreation and movement. Unfortunately, Menard had no programs to offer other than GED, so other than working, I mainly worked on my case and studied business. During my 7 years here at Stateville, I have completed 2 college courses from DePaul, earning a B in Restorative Justice and an A in Masculinity and Social Justice. I am now waiting to attend DePaul’s final class. I have a huge passion for our youth and community. I coached basketball for 14-16 year old boys in 1996-1998, taking them from our area on the west side of Chicago to tournamentas all over the city. I felt the need to expose those teenagers to something positive in contrast to the negativity that surrounded us. Most of them had never been anywhere outside of our Austin Community. I want to continue working with our youth and someday open a boys and girls club in my area. I want to name it after my younger brother who was an excellent basketball player and was recently murdered.

I am 100% innocent of the charge for which I was convicted. My case is back in court and I should be proven innocent soon.

I was 31 years old when I was given a 45 year sentence. Some would call this a life sentence. I call it a death sentence.

Carnell was incarcerated at age 30. His release is set for 2046 at age 76.
~Carnell Fitzpatrick Dr. R11310

Contact
If you are interested in contacting any of the debate team members, you can do so via email at:
Full Name – IDOC Number
Stateville Correctional Center
P.O. Box 112
Joliet, IL 60434

Full names and IDOC numbers are listed at the bottom of each individual’s bio. When you contact them, please expect at least 40 days before receiving a response. The process of screening mail that comes in and out of the facility causes multiple weeks of delay.