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The Marshall Project [Opinion]: What I Think about When I Think about Freedom

November 13, 2019

The Marshall Project

By John J. Lennon

I’ve been locked up almost 18 years now. In 2001, back in Brooklyn, I shot and killed a man. I was all in selling and snorting mounds of drugs—life was fast and cheap. In September 2029, a little less than 10 years from now, I’ll see the parole board. I will probably appear before the commissioners on a large screen monitor, the same way they will appear before me. They’ll have the results from a computerized survey, which I’ll take weeks before, assessing my risk to the community. I’ll tell them that I am sorry and take responsibility. Then I’ll suggest, trying not to sound too smug about it, that perhaps assessing my CV and writing career is a better way to predict my future risk—or success—in society.

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