“When I came in I was 15. I’ve been here for over a year. I’m XX3. They put me in XX3 once I was sentenced in 90-to-life. I can’t parole until 72 years. Technically, they can’t give you a life sentence, but they did. I wouldn’t call myself washed because I’m coming home. I think the most I’ll do is 30, but I’m appealing. Washed means, like, I’ll get rid of you. I’ll wash you away. You’re washed by an institution. An institution can do that to people…but I’m going to keep myself positive. I’m a member of the Fudge Town Mafia Crips in Watts. I was 16 when I was sentenced. And they have me housed like this in case I hurt myself. But I’m in the SHU because I’m an HRO (high risk offender.)

Why do you fight? Why do you shoot people? Because nobody wants to lose in Watts…
Why you’re looking so hard at fighting depends on the details.

Barry J Nidorf Juvenile Hall, 16350 Filbert St, Sylmar, CA 91342

My mom and dad visit. I have two brothers, I’m the youngest. I need three and a half credits for my high school diploma. Once I get my credits they’ll send me to YA—youth authority. Gangbanging is deeper than territory. It used to be about respect for people. That changed in the 80’s, with crack and sherm. Drugs affected everything then. Rival gang members have issues that are deeper than colors. Colors don’t mean much anymore. Red and blue, doesn’t matter. I wear whatever I want. There’s no structure within the gangs. No rules to follow. Lots of the crime comes from fights. Lots of the fights come from drugs. I didn’t ask for this. At 12 my mind was somewhere else. Then I went to Marcham Middle School, there are five different hoods there. Even earlier, in sixth grade, I was already in a gang. Respect comes with pride. And we do things to gain respect. Sometimes there’s just too much pride involved. Why do you fight? Why do you shoot people? Because nobody wants to lose in Watts. Everybody knows everybody. So it’s not too hard to figure out what’s going on. Why you’re looking so hard at fighting depends on the details.”

-D.D., age 17

**Interviews with youth are recorded to the best of our ability. All personal histories and anecdotes are self-reported by the children. To protect confidentiality of the youth, identities have been obscured, initials have been changed, and identifying details have been removed. Interviews have not been edited or altered for content.

One thought on “I can’t parole until 72 years.

  1. What about Rick Wershe who is 27 years into a life sentence?? -> Richard Wershe Jr is currently serving a life prison sentence in the Michigan Department of Corrections for a single drug possession conviction from January 1988. When he was arrested he was only 17 years old. Newly uncovered evidence proves he was led into the life of being a teenage drug dealer by the federal government. Rick was recruited by a narcotics task force made up by the FBI, DEA, and several Detroit Police Department detectives in 1984 as a 14 year old juvenile, encouraged to drop out of high school and eventually put to work as a paid undercover operative in some of the state’s most dangerous criminal organizations for the next three years.
    Following his conviction, he was sentenced under Michigan’s ultra-tough “650-Lifer Law”, a law erased from the books in 1998, allowing him to be eligible for parole. In the three times before the parole board in the last decade, he’s been rejected every time. As of 2012, he was the only minor sentenced under that law in the whole Michigan prison system that remains behind bars. He is also the only person in the country convicted as a minor for a non violent crime facing the prospect of serving a life sentence.
    In the 25 years Rick has been incarcerated, he has cooperated with law enforcement extensively. Prosecutors have said that without his help, the largest police corruption case in Detroit’s history would not have been possible. Some of the people ending up being convicted included members of Coleman Young’s family.
    Rick’s situation doesn’t feel right in many ways. This site will hopefully educate people who are unfamiliar with his situation , however isn’t intended for “fans” to glamorize or endorse his behavior.
    Once a boy who made a mistake, Rick is now simply a man in his mid-40’s in search of a second chance.








    This is a letter from a retired Detroit police officer to the Michigan Parole Board in June, 2012. -> http://i1369.photobucket.com/albums/ag220/Dave_Majkowski/greene_zps6423a7e5.jpg

    This is a letter to the Michigan Parole Board from a former FBI agent who worked directly with Rick Wershe when he was working undercover for them and the Detroit Police Department. He is someone who knows the truth and is not afraid to speak up. -> http://i1369.photobucket.com/albums/ag220/Dave_Majkowski/gregg_zps8013fa8f.jpg


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