Born October 22, 1980 in the ghetto neighborhoods of Chicago, IL, I was raised in a household of eight… father, mother and five brothers. I also had three sisters of my father, all of whom were older than my brothers and me. His daughters were all born prior to his marriage to my mother, so his burden of child support was instant.
My father in his early years was a person who ran the streets. He was uneducated and didn’t obtain his G.E.D. until his mid-50’s, more or less. Raising his sons not to become like him, he turned to the Holy Bible and grasped hold of the concept, “spare the rod, spoil the child.” In adopting this concept in his everyday life, he allowed physical beatings (“discipline”) to compensate his lack of social skills, and his inability to articulate lessons for a child’s understanding. Nevertheless, he possessed the skill of a master welder, as well as knowledge of an auto mechanic. However, after the steel mill where he worked closed down, he began to instill basic, bottom-line survival into my brothers and myself. “Garbage Collecting.” He would drive us around the city and some suburbs to collect newspapers, beer & soda cans, aluminum, bikes, TVs, tools, furniture, refrigerators, etc. Thrift stores, Goodwill and hand-me-down clothing were appreciated the same as a person who had purchased high-priced Louis Vuitton or Gucci. As times became even harder, some days or months were spent with no electricity, no water, no gas, no telephone, and survived from minimal amounts of food. Living with excessive amounts of roaches and mice became normal occurrences. Life was harsh. He became a janitor.
My mother on the other hand was an educated woman, college graduated, and became a school teacher until her retirement. My mother believed that my brothers and I would be better off if we learned in school and through text. So the scales of learning were in a sense unbalanced, but equally applicable to surviving. They were married in 1977, and remain married today.
As I aged, and became more exposed to my peers who were similarly situated, I adopted a new philosophy of what survival meant. I was affected by my family’s living conditions. By the age of 13 years old, I had moved at least five times home-to-home, and at least eight transfers school-to-school. My grades became below average as I became somewhat of an introvert. I lacked a certain level of social skills which caused me not to have many friends as a child.
By the age of 14, I left my parent’s home and began to roam in the ghetto streets of Chicago. I began to experience the “street life.” Still while 14 years old, I had two separate incidents where gang members had placed guns to my head while threatening to kill me over my own (hand-built) bicycles. I was kidnapped and tortured and/or physically abused by Chicago police, and these incidents taught me to live impulsively without any forethought as to how I could be productive and useful to my family, the community or society. I was a school drop-out.
Still 14 years old, I joined a Chicago street gang and moved into one of the gangs 24 hour, 7 days a week crack house. I was taught how to sell crack cocaine and heroin. I was taught how to excessively abuse marijuana and alcohol. My role models were my peers, who were also gang members: drug dealers, who taught me how to make $1,500 – $3,000 a day, thieves, who taught me how to steal and burglarize, whoremongers who taught me how to disregard the sanctity of marriage and fornicate, and everyday thugs and hoodlums.
14 years old, I began to get arrested which continued while I was 15 years old. I was taught that the risk of crime would give me a better life, which was the reward. Still 15 years old, while walking down the street, I began to get robbed, by uniformed Chicago police officers, at gun-point. Money that I made from drug sales. Or sometimes the police would catch me with large amounts of drugs, and would take the drugs, and let me go. In one particular incident, a Chicago police detective caught me with a pistol and caught one of my fellow gang-members also with a pistol. One detective took the gun off my person, pointed it at my friend, and told me that he should kill him with my pistol and charge me with his murder. I was still 15 years old.
At 16 years old, I recall Chicago police detectives placing me under arrest for a juvenile arrest warrant, and accusation of being involved in a shooting. Detectives at approximately 1:30am took me in their unmarked police car behind abandoned factories as one unholstered his service weapon (a pistol) and placed it to my face while threatening to kill me and dump my body on railroad tracks, then come back the following morning and say that they found my dead body. These types of incidents created a life-long distrust for law enforcement. Still at 16 years old, I was committed to the Illinois Youth Center (“IYC”) St. Charles and Murphysboro Boot Camp (1997). Paroled October 2, 1997.
At 17 years old, while parking my car in front of my parent’s home, I was shot six times with a 9mm tech by a rival gang member, at point-blank range, and left to die while bleeding from eleven bullet holes in my body. I was blessed to survive. Violating my parole for failure to contact my parole officer, I was sent back to IYC St. Charles in April 1998. Paroled again September 1998. By November 1998, a friend of mine introduced me to the college life scene. He was a student at Southern Illinois University (“SIU”) and invited me to come stay with him to get away from the city life. I must say it was one of my best experiences to date. I never wanted to go back to Chicago. I was tired of all the violence… the murder, the rapes, the assault & battery, the pregnant drug addicts, and young run-aways, etc.
Now 18 years old, I violated my parole again for failing to keep in contact with my parole officer. Around March of 1999, I was sent back to IYC Harrisburg until my 19th birthday. I was released October 22, 1999. Still having no sense of real purpose, I was again trapped mentally in my environment.
Being released from IYC at 19 years old, I learned that I had fathered a child with a woman who I was never emotionally invested in. After learning of the birth of my daughter, I knew that I had to start making better choices, although it seemed as though I could not comprehend how to make those better choices I needed in my life. This was evidenced by my arrest within eleven days of my release on my 19th birthday. I went to the cook county jail for about one month and was released on a misdemeanor charge. I remained free for about another four months, and have been incarcerated ever since. (April 2, 2000.)
After imprisonment, I made a conscious effort to renew my mind spiritually first. Then, after a few years, I began to learn how to learn. I had to reapply myself to learning hwo to spell and read. Then I applied myself to learning criminal law, all the while, studying various correspondence courses which help build character. In building character, I applied myself to inspire and teach my daughter, “Quality of Life,” “Quality in Women,” “Quality in Men,” “Loyalty in Family,” and “God First.” I then applied myself in learning civil law regarding prisoner rights. I have become an avid writer and poet, and now aspire to become one of the great debaters, a free man, a spiritual man, a husband to a deserving wife, (if I can find one), a dedicated father, a wise brother, a proud son, a memorable grandson, and a faithful friend.
Although this is the abridged version of my status of being the man that I am and aspire to be, I am dedicated to seeing the best side of myself come to fruition. As I get close to my day of freedom, I am more determined than ever to get things right. My accomplishments have just yet begun. May God continue to bless me with the ability to listen, learn, discern, and aply all the necessary tools to be the man I was created to be.
To be continued…
Les was incarcerated at age 19, and his release is set for 2050 at age 70.
~ Lester Dobbey R16237
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 Justice, Power, and Resistance, as well as in numerous other print media and online. More of his work is available at his facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/JosephDoleIncarceratedWriter/. He spent nearly a decade of his life in isolation at the notorious Tamms Supermax Prison. He entered prison with only a high school education (from night school) and educated himself while incarcerated. 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 under the current system.
~Joseph Dole K84446
My name is Michael Simmons. I have three siblings, two older brothers and younger sister. My earliest memory as a child was being told that my dad had been shot and killed. I was 6 ½ 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. At the funeral I was fixated on finding some evidence of what she said. The “prostitute” I would learn many years later was the mother of my half-brother. My father had been killed in a jealous domestic dispute over her.
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 over-crowded 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. I’ll never forget the menacing grimace on the shooter’s face, nor my mom and her friend’s frantic whispers to keep our heads and eyes down as we drove off for church. Before leaving church we would all get holy oil written on our foreheads in the shape of a cross for protection.
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. She would always tell us not to worry, that we would one day own our own house. House, she stressed. Grandma’s apartments were always so crowded. At any given time, there was a host of aunts, uncles, and cousins all living in the same two or three-bedroom apartment. Looking back, it’s a wonder that they were able to pull that off. So many people. Grandma, to the chagrin of a few aunts, would also, on occasion, invite those that were down on their luck to come and stay at her already crowded apartment.
There were church services at least three times a week and twice on Sundays. Us kids hated it, unless of course it was Easter when we would get dollar bills pinned on us for every Bible scripture we memorized. As I grew to learn about our family dysfunctions, the drug, alcohol, and sexual abuses that began in Mississippi and continued through generations, I understand that Grandma was simply doing her best to keep those old demons at bay.
When I was about ten years old, at the time living with my grandma on the north side in the uptown area, my mom, ensuring that we had our best rags on, gather my siblings and I into her raggedy Buick on a Saturday morning. She was happier than I was used to seeing her. She told us that we were finally going to get our house that she’d been promising for the longest time. The ride was only about 2-3 minutes. We pulled in front of this big, empty lot with a couple of makeshift tables, a camera set up, and about a dozen or so white people milling about. Pointing to the lot, mom explained that this is where our house would be built. I remember being a bit disappointed. The only house on that lot was a picture of one painted on a big board with the words “Habitat for Humanity”. We ended up taking pictures with the sign. Despite my own doubts, mom’s hope was contagious.
The process did not take long to get off the ground. Literally. There were six town-home frames standing within three months of the day we took the photos. One part of the process that impacted me the most was all of the volunteers that pitched in. They were all so selfless and loving and caring… and white. My grandma had a few white friends but I’d thought that they were exceptions. I had never experienced white people on such a level, and I loved it. At the end of the building, my family, along with eleven others, were blessed with townhomes, fully-furnished down to every single detail. There was even a shed (I had no idea what a shed was before then) and a parking spot for mom’s raggedy Buick. Although we still struggled, things were better than they’d ever been.
Of my two older brothers, David, the eldest, could sing very well and as a result got involved with theatre as he is to this very day. He was never any real trouble for mom. My other brother, Darryl got involved with the gang crowd in middle school and was in and out of trouble, mostly in. To David’s chagrin, 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, or so I thought.
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’d looked for and found “love” in the wrong place. Part of that was because there was no positive adult male role model in my family. My uncles were all busy trying to drown out their own sins and whatever plagued them with alcohol and crack cocaine. Once, when my mom found a gun in the house that I was holding for the gang, she called a friend of the family who we called Uncle Sonny, although he was not our uncle. She gave him the gun and he, in front of her, gave me a good talking to. No less than two hours later he would negotiate a deal with the gang, through me, for fifty dollars-worth of crack cocaine and an agreement to secrecy in exchange for the gun back. His secret remained safe with me. That was, in a nutshell, the kind of “positive” male reinforcement I had.
I can go forever long about the things that I’ve experienced, things that have left me wondering how or why 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 accountability theory. My case is so much more than a number. The victim, Kurt Landrum, his son, 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 impact 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 not only to honor the victim in my case and his family but also to bring awareness to and help stop the vicious cycle of black men being lost to the prison industrial system and early graves. 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
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 years 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 youth in incarcerated voices. 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 for 2101 at age 116.
~Benard McKinley R30033
Oscar Parham is also known as Smiley. He likes to be called Smiley because the name depicts his easy-going personality. Despite his circumstances, Smiley has maintained a positive attitude.
Smiley 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 guise of accountability. Since he has been incarcerated, Smiley has striven to better himself even though the natural life sentence took away all incentive to do so. From the beginning, Smiley has taken every class that has been available to him.
In 1991, Smiley took a food service course offered by Mac Murray College. Even though he had been a gang member since he was a youth, Smiley matured and removed himself from the gang in 1998. In 2003, he renounced all gang activity according to institutional rules. Since that time, Smiley has advocated to young gang members about the pitfalls of gang life.
Smiley also became a man of faith while in Menard. Smiley’s faith is a major part of who he is.
Since post-secondary educational programming became available in Stateville in 2012, Smiley has participated in and completed many classes. These classes include: Restorative Justice, taught by Professor Kimberley Moe from DePaul University, L.T.O. Values, taught by Professor Jennifer Lackey from Northwestern University, L.T.O. Mass Incarceration, also taught by Professor Lackey.
During Professor Lackey’s mass incarceration class, Smiley was one of five students chosen to have his article written in the mass incarceration class, published by the New Yorker. During the mass incarceration class, Smiley also met U.S. Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky who wrote an op-ed in the Chicago Sun Times titled, “Natural Life for Young Offenders is Indefensible”. In this op-ed Mrs. Schakowsky makes mention of the atrocity of Smiley 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.
Smiley has also taken four courses with North Park Theological Seminary. These classes include: Urban Studies, Black Faith Matters, Faith and Philosophy in Action, and he is currently taking a course called Peace, Justice, and Restorative Practices. He is also currently involved in a 2-year degree program with North Park College, and – should he be released – he would enroll in North Park College.
Also, Smiley is currently involved in two think tanks. He is involved in a Restorative Justice Think Tank taught by Professor Kim. Moe. He is also in a Law and Politics think tank taught by Professor Christine Rivers.
In closing, Smiley has an impeccable prison record, with very few minor infractions in his 28 years of incarceration with no violence. In short, Smiley has been a model prisoner.
Smiley was incarcerated at age 20 and is ineligible for parole under the current system.
~Oscar Parham N95863
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 vehicular 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 of a sentence to 105 years, 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
Howard Keller was a former high school drop-out 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
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 137 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
Al Ameen (which means truthful and trustworthy in Arabic) is currently incarcerated at the Stateville Correctional Center – a maximum security prison in Illinois – and has been so incapacitated continuously for the past 21 years, as one of our state’s remaining juvenile lifers. Even under such harsh circumstances, Al Ameen hasn’t allowed his physical incapacitation to impede his ability to excel. In fact, he’s managed to be very productive and as become a relied upon pillar both inside and outside of prison.
Al Ameen 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”. His debate style is very sophisticated. His knowledge of the issues, meticulous preparation and command of the debate stage are what set him apart.
Al Ameen has some very remarkable accomplishments. While they are too vast to mention them all, some of them include the following:
After successfully completing a four-month restorative justice program alongside DePaul University students, Al Ameen was selected by DePaul University professor, Kimberley Moe, to become a member of a Stateville think tank whose primary objective it to affect positive meaningful change both in and outside of prison.
Al Ameen’s contributions have been immeasurable. In the past year alone, the think tank has written two children’s books in a collaborative effort with Father Kelley and other youth organizations to inspire and foster positive change in youth. In addition, he also mentors the youth associated with this project through letter writing – answering questions they pose about their curiosities and the challenges they face. Along with this, the think tank is working toward creating a podcast that would provide youth with direct access to positive mentorship.
Similarly, in 2014, Al Ameen spearheaded a “My Life Matters” letter writing campaign among fellow prisoners which resulted in an event at DePaul University and a national invitation to a restorative justice conference held in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, where the work was presented to a national restorative justice and educational panel.
In addition to these involvements, Al Ameen is a Muslim by faith and is very active in the prison’s Islamic community. He leads the weakly Friday prayer service, gives weekly lectures, and teaches both Islamic studies and Arabic – all the while excelling in the esteemed Zaytuna College’s distant learning program.
Al Ameen’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. He contributed to the win both as a player and a coach. “My passion and drive is fueled by my compassion and love for others. I never want to stop benefitting and serving others. Isn’t that what life is really about?”
If you want to learn more about Al Ameen, please feel free to contact him at the address listed.
Al Ameen was incarcerated at age 20 in 1997 and he is ineligible for parole under the current system.
~ Eugene Ross K73977
Antonio Jones is 36 years old. He is sentenced to a term of 72 years based upon the theory of accountability. He has been incarcerated for over 18 years. Since his incarceration at age 17, he has become an example of the power of self-discipline to make a positive change. In 2002, he received his G.E.D. and in the intervening years he’s enrolled in several college-level courses. In 2014, he was personally chosen by Stateville administration to become a peer educator. His evolution demonstrates that we can grow and change.
Note – all of Antonio’s co-defendants were adults at the time of the offense. None were held accountable. All are currently free.
Tony was incarcerated at age 17, and his release is set for 2065 at age 84.
~Antonio Jones R16774
Raúl 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.”
Raúl was incarcerated at age 19 in 1998 and he is ineligible for parole under the current system.
~ Raúl Dorado K53842
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 fiancée. [Outside of that I’m a father, grandfather and son.] 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 Developmental 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 under the current system.
~Michael Sullivan B67920
Alfred Moore Bey
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 most of my life. I am 49 years old, currently residing at Stateville Correctional Center, serving a 100 year 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 tournaments 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 am 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 Sr. R11310