Parole Review for All
We are making available a number of brief statements written by individuals
serving Life Without Parole sentences in Massachusetts. Here's one story...


My name is José. I was born in Springfield, Massachusetts, on August 1, 1976. When I was young, my parents separated, and my brother and I moved to Philadelphia with my mother. The area of Philly where we lived experienced a lot of crime. By the time I turned fourteen, my mother had become fearful that I was going to end up in a life of crime like so many of the other kids in my neighborhood. In an effort to protect me, my mother sent me back to Springfield to live with my father. Unfortunately, my change in address did little to prevent me from answering the call of the streets.

In 1999, I was living a double life: holding down an honest job during the day and running the streets at night. Everything came crashing down when I was charged with and convicted of First Degree Murder - Joint Venture. Facing a life without the possibility of parole sent my soul into a very dark place. I lost all hope and allowed thoughts of suicide to consume me at-times. I remember verbalizing to myself that "today could be the last phone call I will make." Then, or soon afterwards, one day while talking with my daughter on the phone, she asked me, "Daddy, when are you coming home?" Her voice and question awakened my heart - brought me back to life. Her love pulled me from the dark hole my spirit had fallen into. She instilled in me a new hope for my life.

I saw the depravity of my soul exposed and the need for a savior. I gave my life to Christ Jesus and promised to work each day to spread His message of love and forgiveness - a promise I keep to this day. Next, I was inspired to educate myself. In 2005, I received my GED and was awarded Student of the Year. With a solid foundation in place, I could finally face my past and strive to create a better future. I participated in Jericho Circle, Emotional Awareness, Alternatives to Violence, and Restorative Justice. I also completed basic and advanced Computer Skills and two post-secondary education classes. And I am faithful member of the Protestant Church.

My sentence of life without the possibility of parole erased all hope in my life. My daughter - my princess - and my son gave me that hope back. No one deserves to be sentenced to complete hopelessness.

Sponsored by...
Criminal Justice Policy Coalition,