I recently applied for a pardon. But, I wasn’t afforded an opportunity to speak to the decision makers. Let me share with you what I wanted to convey:

A Human Rights Watch report states that advances in neuroscience have found that adolescents and young adults continue to develop in ways particularly relevant to assessing criminal behavior and an individual’s ability to be rehabilitated. These findings show that young offenders are particularly amenable to change and Rehabilitation.

I am not trying to deny the wrongs that I have done, nor the crimes which I have committed, neither am I seeking to try and justify them in any shape or form.

My childhood was what it was.

Sure when I committed my crimes I was an angry, hurt, self destructive young male with no realistic idea that I could have a better life. Therefore, I owned with absolute certainty, the ignorant mindset; ‘nothing would ever change!’

The belief system construed at such a young age made me feel: I had no chance whatsoever for a better life.

However after years of inner reflection and finally finding answers to my troubled childhood questions – which forced me to pause and to for once understand, that I did not have to be what my circumstances dictated – the realization came that I could actually change my own conditions.

It wasn’t easy coming to this awareness. It has taken well over 20 years of self learning in this environment for me to be able to conceive that I could break the family cycle and stand as my own man.

All that I want is a chance, the opportunity to exhibit to the world the man that I have become.

I want to be … more than some negative statistic; I want to be … much more than a prisoner who dies behind walls.

I want the opportunity to stand and walk as a man. To do enough good with the rest of my life that others will know that I have changed and grown. And I am no longer that lost, angry, and deluded ‘man child’.

I have become a man with a heart, soul, and mind who really does care and has the acuity to be a tremendous asset to my community and to benefit society as a whole.

In here where wanting is never having; day and night are basically the same, only the sun and stars mark the difference. I find myself dreaming, hoping in the face of despair and desiring what is most unlikely. Simply because I now know that I am better than my situation is and I can rise above my circumstance. I am now a responsible human being, I have no excuses.

* * * * *

‘Pardon Denied – Apply at a Later Date.’

With that simple phrase above, I was recently denied my Petition for a Pardon. Yet, with the comprehension and wisdom of my own positive change, I, fortunately, learnt the power of being optimistic as well. Yes, the answer was a ‘No’ this time, but I am hopeful for a better future.

The fight does not stop!

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